Monday, June 18, 2012

The History of Food Chemistry

Filled tomatoes
Photo by Dnor

Food chemistry's history dates back as far as the late 18th century when many famous chemists were involved in discovering chemicals important in foods, including Carl Wilhelm Scheele (isolated malic acid from apples in 1785), and Sir Humphry Davy published the first ever book on agricultural and food chemistry in 1813 titled Elements of Agricultural Chemistry, in a Course of Lectures for the Board of Agriculture in theUnited Kingdom which would serve as a foundation for the profession worldwide, going into a fifth edition.
In 1874 the Society of Public Analysts was formed, with the aim of applying analytical methods to the benefit of the public[1]. Its early experiments were based on bread, milk and wine.
It was also out of concern for the quality of the food supply, mainly food adulteration and contamination issues that would first stem from intentional contamination to later with chemical food additives by the 1950s. The development of colleges and universities worldwide, most notably in the United States, would expand food chemistry as well with research of the dietary substances, most notably the Single-grain experiment during 1907-11. Additional research byHarvey W. Wiley at the United States Department of Agriculture during the late 19th century would play a key factor in the creation of the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1906. The American Chemical Society would establish their Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division in 1908 while the Institute of Food Technologists would establish their Food Chemistry Division in 1995.

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