Thursday, August 28, 2014

Is It Really Organic?

Researchers at the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority in Oberschleissheim, Germany have found a way to use nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to answer the question "Is it really organic?"

The technique has previously been used to authenticate foods like honey and olive oil. The scientists analyzed tomatoes grown in greenhouses and outdoors, with conventional or organic fertilizers and their data showed a trend toward differentiation of organic and conventional produce.

The test is a good starting point for the authentication of organically produced tomatoes, they conclude, and its further refinement could help root out fraudulently labelled foods.

The global market for organic foods nearly tripled in value between 2002 and 2011, reaching $62.8 billion. But because organic food can fetch prices often twice as high as conventionally produced food, the risk for fraudulent labelling has grown just as fast.


Artwork: Organic Stickers
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Okra in Your Ice Cream

While okra is widely used as a vegetable for soups and stews, a new study suggests that okra extracts can be used as a stabilizer in ice cream.

Ice cream quality is highly dependent on the size of ice crystals. As ice cream melts and refreezes during distribution and storage, the ice crystals grow in size causing ice cream to become courser in texture which limits shelf life. Stabilizers are used to maintain a smooth consistency, hinder melting, improve the handling properties, and make ice cream last longer.
The study found that water extracts of okra fiber can be prepared and used to maintain ice cream quality during storage. These naturally extracted stabilizers offer an alternative food ingredient for the ice cream industry as well as for other food products.

Artwork: Okra
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