The nutrients found in foods provide our bodies with energy for growth and repair, as they are composed of carbohydrates, protein, fats, minerals and vitamins. Carbohydrates make up a group of organic compounds that include sugars and starches, while proteins are important for growth and repair, and fats or lipids can supply more than twice the amount of energy as carbohydrates or proteins. The amount of a given nutrient found in a food item can be determined using analytical chemistry tests. Continue Reading

Remember in school when the math teacher gave you a problem to solve, and how you felt when your answer matched the one in the back of the textbook? Didn’t it feel great knowing you solved the problem correctly?

Validating the answer to grade school math problems carries the same concept as validating analytical methods. When scientists validate an analytical method, they need to show that it correctly measures the metric they’re testing for. To effectively do so, first they need to identify a product with existing results for the test they’re running as a control. Then, once the results from the test come in, they can verify that their results match the known answer, just like in school when you could check if your answer matched the one in the back of the textbook. Continue Reading

The use of veterinary drugs in the food industry is a hot topic with both consumers and regulatory agencies. The public is becoming increasingly concerned with the routine use of antibiotics, hormones, beta agonists and many more compounds in food production due to the potential effects on human health. Foods that are most commonly affected by these drugs are foods that most of us eat on a weekly basis and include: meat, milk and eggs. Check out our “fun” facts below to learn more about veterinary drugs and the food industry. Continue Reading

Due to decades of chemistry-related advancements in consumer and industrial goods, we are continually finding new discoveries about the various groups of anthropogenic compounds with which we unfortunately share our planet. A quick scan of recent stories in the media indicates frequent public outcry about what’s released into our environment and how it affects us. Continue Reading

Toxic chemical compounds called dioxins have been the subject of concern in two media stories recently. In one instance, residents of Saginaw, Michigan are battling Dow Chemical Company over dioxin pollution that began in the 1980s. The issue was brought to light in 2002 when environmental regulators in Michigan reported on the effects of dioxin contamination on the soil along the river. Over 40 residents have brought charges against the chemical giant. Since the lawsuit began nearly fifteen years ago, Dow has removed portions of sediment deemed contaminated and pledged to reduce contamination in the future. Continue Reading

How much do you know about dioxins? Dioxins are toxic compounds that persist in the environment all around us. They exist in the air, the soil, rivers, lakes and even in the human food supply. They differ from other food contaminants in their unique chemical structure, which allows them to remain very resistant to breakdown. Throughout the past couple of decades, researchers have only begun to scratch the surface in gaining a thorough understanding of these molecules and their impact on the health of our society. Continue Reading

The mid- 2000s saw the rise of ractopamine as a prominent growth promoting agent for the meat industry. Suppliers in this industry are probably familiar with ractopamine, but manufacturers using meat in their products may not know much about its use and effects. We’ve pulled together the top 3 facts to know about ractopamine: Continue Reading

Most people are aware of typical environmental contaminants that are produced as a result of modern human activity, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. Residents of larger cities may even be familiar with the visible smog that can engulf a skyline as a result of these air pollutants.

Aside from the common ones, other toxic contaminants exist in the environment that may be lesser-known by the general population, but can be just as harmful to humans. The word, “dioxins” refers to a group of compounds that includes dioxins, furans, and certain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These structurally similar compounds are produced inadvertently as a result of large scale combustion activities such as incineration, thermal metal processes, and car exhaust. PCBs were actually intentionally produced during the mid twentieth century to be used in transformer oil, coolant fluids, carbonless copy paper, and plasticizers, until their manufacture was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1979. Continue Reading