Food Facts Consumer tips in the home, at the store, on the go

 Cocoa  

Chocolate 101 Video Button

Here’s a brief look at where chocolate comes from, nutritional information, how it’s made, and the ingredients that make chocolate – whether milk, dark or white – a memorable treat.

 
 Crops
 

What You Need to Know About GMOs, GM Crops, and the Techniques of Modern Biotechnology Video Button

Genetically modified (GM) crops and foods and ingredients made available with the techniques of modern biotechnology have recently been dominating food and agriculture news coverage in the United States.

 
 Turkey
 

Bird is the Word. Plus Some Side Dish Science! Video Button

Kantha Shelke, PhD, CFS, a well-known food scientist and spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), deconstructs the turkey-day menu by giving us the low-down on why all the flavors and textures go together so well and if l-tryptophan is the real culprit behind our post-meal food coma.

 
 Mary Ellen Camire
 

What are Trans Fats? Video Button

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it is taking steps to further reduce artificial trans fat from processed food. The following Q&A with Institute of Food Technologists President-Elect, Mary Ellen Camire, PhD, CFS explains what consumers need to know about trans fat.

 
 Sweeteners
 

Facts About Low-Calorie Sweeteners Video Button

Low-calorie sweeteners (also referred to as alternative sweeteners, non-nutritive sweeteners, intense sweeteners, or sugar substitutes) are used in foods and beverages instead of sugar (sucrose) to provide sweetness without adding a significant amount of calories.

 
 Foodborne Illness
 

Myth or Fact: Foodborne Illness Video Button

Common myths about foodborne illness and tips on how to prevent them. 

 
 Kids Lunch
 

Food Safety Tips for Packing School LunchesVideo Button

When it comes to back-to-school safety, you cover the basics vigilantly, such as teaching kids to avoid strangers, buckling them in the car and providing appropriate safety gear when they play sports. But have you considered taking as much care when it comes to packing lunch boxes?

 Dining Outdoors  

Dining outdoors? Tips for keeping food safe and delicious Video Button

To ensure your meals are safe and enjoyable, it’s important to know how to prepare, transport and store food for outdoor eating.

 Organic  

What Do You Know About Organic Foods? Video Button

Are organic foods healthier for consumers, and are they worth the sometimes higher cost and shorter shelf life?

 Egg Safety  

What You Need to Know About Egg Safety Video Button

It’s important to practice good food safety when you’re dealing with eggs. Following are some good egg safety tips to keep in mind the next time you’re buying, storing or cooking eggs.

 Grocery  

Processed Foods Video Button

Food scientists explain how processed foods contribute many nutrients to our diet, how they enable today's busy lifestyles and why they are essential to feeding a growing population.

 Milk  

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Milk Video Button

The average American drinks 25 gallons of milk each year, which is why it’s important to know some facts about milk.

 Food Thermometer  

Using a Food Thermometer Video Button

Many cooks believe they can tell if food is done - and safe to eat - by how it looks and feels. However, according to the USDA, recent research has shown that color and texture are unreliable indicators of food temperature safety.

 Gluten Free  

Everything You Want to Know about Gluten Video Button

What is gluten? Does gluten have a taste? How do you identify that a food product has gluten in it? If a product isn’t labeled, what are some other ways to determine if it has gluten in it? Which people benefit most from a gluten-free diet?

 Bagging Groceries  

Top 10 Tips for Bagging Groceries Video Button

To make sure that the food you bring home is as safe and delicious as it was at the store, it’s important to know the best way to pack and transport your groceries.

 

 Tailgate  

How to Keep Food Safe When Tailgating Q&A

Tailgating is a fun American tradition where food is prepared and enjoyed near the back of a car or truck, often in the parking lot of a sporting, music or other large event. However, food-borne illness is no fun.

 

 Kosher food  

Kosher Food Q&A Video Button

What does “kosher” mean? Are kosher foods only for persons observing Jewish food laws? How do I know if a food is Kosher? What are the benefits of kosher food?

 

 Microwave  

Fast Facts for Fast Heating: The Microwave Oven Video Button

Microwaves are easy and convenient to use for cooking meals, preparing frozen foods, and reheating leftovers. However, it’s important to remember that microwaves differ greatly from conventional ovens.

 World Without Food Science  

World Without Food Science Video Button

IFT's new public education campaign and video series created to generate awareness of the role that food science plays in ensuring a nutritious, safe and abundant food supply.

Locally Grown Fruits & Vegetables

Smart Tips for Shopping at Farmer's Markets Video Button

Being a "locavore" and eating foods grown near where you live have become a popular practice, as many people want to support their local farmers. Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you buy produce at your local farmer's market.

Food Safety in the Produce Aisle

Food Safety in the Produce Aisle Video Button

In light of the recent Listeria outbreak in cantaloupe, it is more important than ever to choose your fresh fruits and vegetables carefully. It is important to select produce that has been stored properly and safely from the grocery store or market. To keep yourself and your family safe, what exactly should you look for next time you hit the produce aisle?

Chocolate

Seven Sweet Facts about How Chocolate is Made

Cocoa trees produce pods, which is the fruit chocolate comes from. Large harvests occur by hand twice annually throughout the year. Chocolate liquor is the thick paste generated when chocolate nibs, the roasted and de-shelled chocolate beans, are heated to a high temperature; it's then separated into cocoa butter and cocoa powder.

Store Your Leftovers Safely

Got leftovers? Tips for safely savoring foods a second time around Video Button

Whether you cook all your food for the week on Sunday or have extra food left at the end of a meal—for many families, leftovers are key to solving the problem of "what's for dinner." Meals like pastas, soups, chili, and other home-cooked meals can easily be reheated for lunch at the office the next day or packed in a heat-insulated thermos for kids' lunches.

Allergens

What is the Difference Between a Food Allergy, Food Intolerance and Food Sensitivity? Video Button

While most people define any negative reaction to food as a food allergy, many actually suffer from a food sensitivity or intolerance. This video from IFT features Aurora Saulo, professor and extension specialist in food technology at University of Hawaii Manoa, discussing food allergies, food intolerances and food sensitivities.

Antioxidants

What are Antioxidants? Video Button

Antioxidants—what are they and why do you need them? IFT Member Claudia Fajardo-Lira, PhD, Professor of Food Science and Nutrition at California State University-Northridge, explains the facts about antioxidants in this video.

Shelf Life

Food Storage and Shelf Life Video Button

Ever wonder what all those numbers mean on canned, boxed or packaged food products? This video from IFT features Richard Ross, CEO of Ross Consulting LLC, discussing shelf-life of food, proper storage, expiration dates, lot codes and what it all means for you and your family.

Irradiated Food

Why are Foods Irradiated? Video Button

Christine Bruhn, PhD, director of the Center for Consumer Research at University of California-Davis, and a professor in the UC-Davis Department of Food Science and Safety, explains why foods are irradiated in this video from IFT.



Ten Tips for Enjoying and Preparing a Safer Packed Lunch

As Americans settle into their new fall routines with sending kids back to school and returning to work after relaxing vacations, they are packing more lunches for both school and work in an effort to save money. In this economy, packing your lunch or your child's can save your family money, and ensure a safe and healthy meal.

probiotic


Probiotics primer: The scoop on 'good bacteria' Video Button

If most of what you know about probiotics comes from yogurt advertisements, you may - understandably - be skeptical about the bacteria's health benefits. After all, the information came from a source that wants you to buy a probiotic product. Numerous independent researchers and health organizations, however, also back the value of probiotics.

Live Lobster

Selecting Safe Seafood: Q & A Video Button

The FDA recently announced that seafood from the Gulf is safe to eat. Whether it's from the Gulf or elsewhere, there are several ways you can ensure the seafood you're buying is fresh and safe. IFT food science expert, Kantha Shelke, PhD, offers tips on how to select and store seafood safely.

 

Cooking Oil

Fat or fiction? The skinny on the truth about fats Video Button

Fat is the enemy – that's the philosophy of many Americans who are trying to lose excess weight. While plenty of proven health risks can be tied to carrying extra pounds, not all fat is bad, experts say. In fact dietary fat is considered an essential nutrient, and some "good" types of fat actually deliver a myriad of health benefits – including aiding in weight control.

Umami

Unleashing the Power of Umami

Did you know there's a fifth taste? It's called umami and it's often described as a meaty, savory, full-flavor taste found in such foods as Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, red wine and seafood. Originally discovered by Japanese researchers almost a century ago, science is now catching up . Not only can umami enhance the taste experience, it can also play a role in reducing dietary sodium and dietary fat as well as make us feel fuller.

Food Facts Understanding Food Safety

How to Keep Summer Foods Fresh and Safe

Summer is the season to be outdoors with friends and family at picnics, barbecues and many other events. But the warm weather also brings an increase in foodborne illnesses when food sits out in hot, humid conditions. Make sure your summer party is memorable for reasons other than food poisoning by taking steps to keep food fresh and safe.

Food Science
  
 

About Food Science and Technology

To help consumers make informed decisions about the food they eat, IFT has developed IFT Food Facts to provide consumers with news they can use in their daily lives.

What is IFT
  

What is IFT?

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) exists to advance the science of food. Our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply contributing to healthier people everywhere.

Holiday Dinner

Holiday Food Safety Tips

The holiday season will be here before we know it, which means preparing for yummy feasting, the gathering of friends and family and shopping for all the food. Turkeys, hams, homemade salads and fruity desserts are all waiting to be whipped up and consumed.

Heart Chololate

Don't Let Fat Bloom Ruin Your Sweetheart's Valentine's Day

Giving chocolate to your sweetheart on Valentine's Day is a time-honored tradition. However, what you don't want is to give chocolate that has a chalky white film on the surface, known as "fat bloom." Not only does this make chocolate less visually appealing, it affects the texture and taste for your sweetheart.