Food plays a large role in our daily lives, but choosing the right foods to fit our individual lifestyles is not always easy. For example, someone may need to eat more calories if they’re training for a triathlon or incorporate more vegetables and whole grains into their meals if they’re trying to increase their fiber intake. Other times, consumers may simply be trying to choose a nutritionally-sound option for a meal on-the-go.

The theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month is “Go Further with Food,” which places an emphasis on selecting the right foods to meet individual needs. For restaurants and food manufacturers, this month serves as a reminder to track your progress in complying with upcoming labeling regulations and examine opportunities to develop new products to meet consumer needs. The Food Drug Administration (FDA) is making it easier for consumers to find transparent nutrition information on the foods they eat with menu labeling and nutrition labeling regulations coming into compliance soon. Continue Reading

Sensory testing plays a large role in ensuring product quality in the food industry. From determining consumer preferences to testing for product quality, sensory services can offer valuable insights at every stage of the product development and manufacturing process. To share insight into the world of sensory under the umbrella of food science, I sat down with Allison Chandler, the Product Performance Operations Manager at Mérieux NutriSciences’ laboratory in Gainesville, Florida.

Q: Can you describe your role at Mérieux NutriSciences?
A: As Product Performance Operations Manager for Mérieux NutriSciences, I manage a team of food scientists focused on food quality. We perform physical tests, such as texture analysis, color measurement and viscosity, as well as a variety of sensory tests, such as triangle tests and hedonic testing. We also manage large supplier monitoring programs in which we compare food samples to specified parameters in order to ensure restaurants and retailers are purchasing the highest quality products.   Continue Reading

An Ever-Expanding List

California’s Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act, known more commonly as Proposition 65, is a law adopted by California voters in 1986. The goal of the new regulation was, to not only protect citizens from potential health hazards in water, but also protect them from exposure to any cancer-causing substances, in general. Since its enactment over three decades ago, the list of chemicals within the legislation has grown to include nearly 1,000 entries. The regulation requires businesses to publish a “clear and reasonable” warning prior to knowingly and intentionally exposing any consumer in California to a listed chemical. On food products, this warning must be placed somewhere on the food label. Keep in mind, Proposition 65 allows for a one-year grace period from the date a chemical is added to the list before a warning is required. Continue Reading

Imagine you purchase a new soup brand from the grocery store and end up really enjoying it. You tell your friends about this new favorite soup and then go back the next week to buy it again. However, after you try it the second time, you realize that the flavor and the ratio of veggies to broth aren’t the same as the first time. This may sound like a food manufacturer’s worst nightmare, but don’t stress, you can avoid this scenario by implementing physical testing into your food safety and quality monitoring. Continue Reading

Questions about the safety of fresh produce are in the headlines again following recent North American outbreaks involving Salmonella in sprouts, Salmonella in papayas and E. coli O157:H7 linked to romaine lettuce. Moreover, the Produce Safety rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) took effect for large farms in January, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the next stage of its targeted sampling program for fresh produce and related commodities. Continue Reading