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TRENDS IN FOOD ENGINEERING. Jorge E. Lozano, Cristina Añon, Efrén Parada-Arias, and Gustavo V. Barbosa-Cánovas, eds. Technomic Publishing Co., Inc., 851 New Holland Ave., Lancaster, PA 17604-9961. Phone 717-291-5609, fax 717-295-4538, or www.techpub.com. ISBN 1-56676-991-4. 2000. 347 pp. $124.95.
A collection of 23 invited papers from the Second Ibero-American Congress on Food Engineering held in Argentina in March 1998, this text has three parts: physical and sensory properties of foods, advances in food processing, and current topics in food engineering. The lead paper, “Structure–Property Relationships in Foods,” by J.M. Aguilera, sets the theme for much of the 22 remaining papers. He challenges food engineers and food scientists to develop an understanding of the macro structure of foods through understanding the forces holding together the building-block molecules. This plays out in such diverse areas as availability of nutrients, chemical deterioration rates, and sensory aspects of foods.
The first portion of the book covers the relation of molecular structures to rheology of starches, sensory responses, and functionality of food composites. The second portion provides overviews of juice filtration, food quality changes during drying, vacuum impregnation in fruit processing, and freezing technologies. Four papers deal with the minimal processing of fruits and vegetables as related to nonthermal preservation technologies. There is a good review of using high pressure to stabilize high-moisture foods. These papers provide a sound analysis of the incentives and disincentives related to minimal processing for extended-shelf-life foods that can compete with fresh counterparts.
Part three covers the role of enzymes in food processing and preparation of food additives. A review of modified-atmosphere packaging shows that films tailored to the gas-exchange needs of whole and cut refrigerated fruits and vegetables can help extend the shelf life of these products by several weeks. This shelf-life extension can open regional, national, and international markets.
Food scientists and engineers could benefit from this text. It challenges the food engineer to learn more about the chemistry of foods and how molecular building blocks can yield fresh-tasting, extended-shelf-life products.
Daniel Farkas, IFT Fellow, Professor, Food Science & Technology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore.
ESSENTIALS OF FUNCTIONAL FOODS. Mary K. Schmidl and Theodore P. Labuza, eds. Aspen Publishers, Inc., 200 Orchard Ridge Drive, Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MA 20878. Phone 800-638-8437 or www.aspenpublishers.com. ISBN 0-8342-1261-7. 2000. 395 pp. $89.
Since 1994, several books have been devoted to the subject of functional foods. And given that this is currently one of the most exciting and expansive topics in the food and nutrition sciences, future texts on the subject are inevitable. Thus, creating a fresh approach to the topic clearly presents a challenge. This book has attempted to meet that challenge by providing some unique attributes not addressed in previous publications, including information on flavoring systems, preservation methods, bioavailability measurements, infant formulas, and safety and efficacy.
Its 17 chapters are organized into six parts: (I) Introduction, (II) Technological Aspects, (III) Product Groups, (IV) Nutritional Aspects, (V) Safety and Efficacy, (VI) and Regulatory Issues.
Section I is composed of a single chapter which provides an excellent overview of the relationship between food, nutrition, and health based on the increased knowledge and the evolution that occurred in this field during the 20th century. Particularly noteworthy is a listing of key scientific reports on the relationship between diet and health which have been published between 1969 and 1996 and which have formed the basis for many public health recommendations.
Section II focuses on good manufacturing practices, regulations, stability testing, preservation methods, flavoring systems, and measurements of nutrients and their bioavailability. This is perhaps the most unique aspect of the book because it focuses on topics not previously covered by texts on functional foods.
Section III, which is approximately one-third of the text, focuses on a variety of functional foods, including infant formulas and medical foods, dietary supplements, dairy ingredients, pre- and probiotics, fats and oils, and soybeans. Because of the dynamic essence of science, this section obviously cannot be viewed as the most current literature on each topic. The topics are not particularly novel, as they have been discussed in many other sources, often with greater acumen. However, the chapters on infant formulas and medical foods and dairy ingredients as a source of functional foods are quite valuable, as they not only discuss the novel bioactive components associated with these functional food categories (the dairy ingredient chapter does this particularly well), but also address processing issues.
It is unclear why Section IV is differentiated from the previous section on Product Groups, as two out of the three chapters in this section also focus on specific groups of functional components: dietary fiber and antioxidants. Also included is a brief but insightful overview of food fortification of nutraceuticals with vitamins and minerals, although this topic seems better suited to the section on Technological Aspects.
Section V, on safety and efficacy, undoubtedly one of the most critical issues related to functional foods, is quite disappointing. It presents case examples of three different substances: xylitol, Lactobacillus GG and fructo-oligosaccharides. Although requirements for good clinical studies are discussed, the issue of nutrient–drug, particularly herb–drug, interactions is not, which is a major flaw in this chapter and leaves a considerable void in the book.
The final section will perhaps be of most value to those in the functional foods industry as it provides a unique, global overview of food regulations. The first of these two chapters provides a historical synopsis of U.S. regulations beginning with the Federal Food and Drug Act of 1906 and continuing through the FDA Modernization Act of 1997. Particularly valuable is that this chapter outlines the food classes regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 into 10 distinct statutory food categories, and also summarizes them in an appendix which includes the statutory requirements/ prohibitions applicable to product claims. The chapter on European and Japanese food regulations will also be of significant interest to those with little knowledge of how label claims are regulated outside the U.S. and includes a discussion of Japanese Foods for Specified Health Use, EU Novel Foods Regulation, the PARNUTS Directive (foodstuffs for particular nutritional uses), and Codex Alimentarius.
As the most recent addition to the growing library of texts on functional foods, Essentials of Functional Foods provides a little bit of everything for almost anyone interested in this fast-moving field.
Clare Hasler, Professor, Dept. of Food Science, University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.