Food Borne Illness: Infections and Intoxications

Food borne illness, also known as food poisoning, is a common public health problem that occurs when people consume contaminated food or drink. It is caused by harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, or their toxins that contaminate food or water.Symptoms of food borne illness can vary but often include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. In some cases, food borne illness can be severe and even life-threatening, particularly for individuals with weakened immune systems, young children, pregnant women, and elderly people. Common causes of food borne illness include improper handling and preparation of food, inadequate cooking or storage, and contamination from sources such as infected food handlers or animals. Prevention measures such as proper hand hygiene, safe food storage and preparation, and avoiding risky foods and water sources can help to reduce the incidence of food borne illness.

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Top universities to Study Food Science and Food Technology

Food science is a dynamic field that combines the principles of biology, chemistry, and engineering to understand and improve the quality, safety, and nutritional value of food products. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in food science, it’s important to find a university with a strong program that will prepare you for success in the field. Here are the popular 22 universities to study food science, food technology, food safety and nutrition.  This article contains all the details that every student would  worry about such as major subjects, degree offered, application criteria, application deadlines, scholarships offered and department link are provided in the article.

1. Cornell University, USA

Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is a top-ranked Ivy League school with a renowned food science program. The university was founded in 1865 and has since then been a leader in research and education.The Department of Food Science offers undergraduate and graduate programs that focus on the chemical, microbiological, and sensory aspects of food. The Department of Food Science at Cornell is a renowned department that has been providing excellent education and research opportunities to students since its inception in 1880. The Department of Food Science at Cornell is known for its exceptional research facilities and faculty members, who are involved in cutting-edge research projects.

Fig. 1: Overview of Cornell University

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Top Ten Food Science Textbooks Every Food Technology Student Should Read

With so many complex concepts and theories to understand, having the right resources at your reading desk can make all the difference. This is why we have compiled a list of must have food science textbooks that every food technology student. Whether you are just starting out in the field or you are looking to deepen your understanding of food science, these books are essential resources for your studies.

1.”Food Chemistry” by H.-D. Belitz, Werner Grosch, and Peter Schieberle

Fig 1: Food Chemistry Book

This comprehensive textbook covers the chemical composition of food and the chemical changes that occur during processing and storage. It also explores the functional properties of food components and their interactions with each other. This textbook is an essential resource for any food science student. “Food Chemistry” is available on Amazon and has a 4.9 out of 5-star rating. Read more

Method of Heat Penetration during Thermal Processing

Heat penetration

During processing of food, heat penetration is an important factor and it should be known to ensure that every particle of food within the container receive the required heat treatment. If the cans are heated from outside, larger the can, larger time it will take to heat the center portion of can to any desired temperature. However, there are several factor besides size and shape of can that affect the heat penetration into food within it.

Liquid food such as canned tomato juice can be readily set into convection heating motion after receiving heat by conduction from the wall of the can. On other hand, solid food such as canned beef hash is too viscous to circulate and so it will be completely heated by conduction through the can wall and through itself. A product containing a combination of free liquid and solid such as  can of peas within a sugar syrup will be intermediate and will rise in temperature from the combination of conduction and convection. Convection heating is more rapid than conduction heating.

Methods of heat Penetration

During thermal processing, contents of the can is heated by following methods; Read more

What are the quality attributes of foods ?

Quality attributes

The term quality attributes includes all the factor that influence product’s value to the consumer. Quality attributes can be positive or negative. Negative attributes includes spoilage, contamination, discoloration, off odor etc. while positive attribute includes safety, nutrition, flavor, color, texture, suitability of processing etc. quality attributes of food can be well described by following classification.

  1.  Quantitative attribute: It is important from standpoint of both traders and ultimate consumers. It is expressed as proportion of ingredients net weight, drain weight etc.
  2. Hidden attribute: It implies suitability of product from standpoint of health and which consumers cannot evaluate through their own sense. It includes safety and nutritional factors.
  3. sensory attributes: It is based on consumer’s preferences perceived by their senses. This includes appearance, kinesthetic factor and flavor factor.


Factor Influencing sensory attributes

Appearance factor

It is an eye appeal judged by sense of sight. Such as,

a) Size and shape wholesomeness:  It can be easily perceived by eyes. However, for accuracy and standards, devices such as screen, scale, micrometer etc. are used. For shape, weight/volume ratio, symmetry, length/width ratio, curvature area etc. are measured.

b) Size and shape wholesomeness:  It can be easily perceived by eyes. However, for accuracy and standards, devices such as screen, scale, micrometer etc. are used. For shape, weight/volume ratio, symmetry, length/width ratio, curvature area etc. are measured.

c) Defects, damage, extraneous matter: Defects are imperfections due to presence of something unwanted. Defects may include

  1. Insect damage or injury (bruising, crushing)
  2. Extraneous matter or foreign matter. Extraneous matter might be harmless but not part of edible portion. Such as eyes in canned pineapple slices
  3. Deformed shape of fruits and vegetables (due to environment or genetic factor) or other processed food (due to fault in processing).

Spectral: This includes color, gloss, transparency, turbidity etc. color and gloss are attributed to spectral distribution of light. Transparency, haziness and turbidity is attributable to absorbance or transmittance of light by the material.

Consistency: This includes viscosity, gel flow and spread. Major quality attributes with food such as ketchup, juice, cream, jam marmalade, syrups etc. viscosity is resistant force to deformation when subjected to shearing force. Measurement of viscosity not only indicate consistency of final product but also quality control tools applied for raw material and during processing to obtain desired final product.


Kinesthetic factor

It is judged by sense of touch such as hand feel (firmness, softness, juiciness, grittiness) and mouth feel (chewiness, fibrousness, grittiness, mealiness, stickiness). Kinesthetic attributes or texture is the way in which structural components of food are arranged in micro or macro structure and the external manifestation of these structure. It includes qualities of food that can be felt with tongue, palate or teeth. The range of texture is considerable and departure from expected texture is a quality defect. Take for example; apples are expected to be firm, mango and plum to be soft, sweet corn to be juicy and potato chips to be crisp.

Some important kinesthetic parameters are



1HardnessSoft, firm, hard
2CohesivenessCrumby, crunchy, brittle, tender, chewy, tough, short, mealy, pasty, gummy
3AdhesivenessSticky, tacky, gummy
4Particle sizeGritty, grainy, coarse
5Shape and orientationFibrous, cellular, crystalline
6moistureDry, soggy, moist, wet, watery


Physical instruments can also be applied to simulate and measure the sensation which the consumer experiences (kinesthetic attributes) such as texture analyzer, viscometer etc.


Flavor factor

It Is judged by sense of taste and smell. It includes sense of odor such as fragrance, acid and burnt, sense of taste such as sweet, sour, salty and bitter and sense of off-flavor such as enzymatic, physiological, chemical, contamination, overcooked etc. Flavor attributes are evaluated by consumers with the sense of taste and smell. The term flavor indicates four basic taste and aroma received through tasting. There are four basic taste and are sensed by different receptor sites of tongue.


tip of tongue
Salt:tip and edge of tongue
Sour:edge of tongue


back of tongue


Fig. 1: Total flavor impression of food

Desirable flavor in food is a positive quality attributes which can be retained in food by

  1. Prevention of loss of desirable flavor during heat treatment, handling, transport and storage.
  2. Avoidance of development of undesirable flavor. Example, oxidative rancidity in fat and oil and metallic flavor in canned products.
  3. Development and preservation of desirable flavor as in roasting coffee bean, baking bread, aging wine etc.
  4. Fortification of food with natural flavors that are lost during processing.



About Author

Name : Pratiksha Shrestha

Ms. Shrestha holds masters degree in food engineering and bioprocess technology from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Thailand. She is currently working for Government of Nepal at Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC), Kathmandu. She is also a teaching faculty in College of Applied food and Dairy Technology (CAFODAT) affiliated to Purbanchal university, Nepal.


How Quality Assurance is more effective than Quality Control ?

1. Quality 

To the basic understanding, quality is the combination of characteristics of the product that are significant to determining the degree of acceptability of the product to the customer. According to sir Edwards Deming, quality should be aimed at customer present and future. Therefore, it can be said that quality is degree of goodness marked by consumers / customers. The quality is relative term and it is said to be met when goods and services are analyzed on basis of both consumers and producers perspective.

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Broadly speaking,

  1. Quality is fitness for use.
  2. Quality is grade or distinguishing feature of the product.
  3. Quality is degree of preference.
  4. Quality is degree of excellence.
  5. Quality is conformity to requirements.


2. Quality Control:

One of the approach of improving quality of the product is  implementing quality control. It is an operational technique and activities that are used to fulfill requirements for quality. it consists of corrective tools that are reactive in nature. The quality control tools help to find faults in the product or services and take necessary action to deliver good quality product or services.


3. Quality Assurance:

For better quality system, quality assurance is important. Quality assurance is a planned and systematic activities implemented to provide adequate confidence that product or services will fulfill requirements for quality. It is a system implemented by an organization which assures outside bodies that data generated is of proven and known quality and meets the need of end user. This assurance relies heavily on documentation of process, procedures, capabilities and monitoring of such.

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Quality assurance refers to the process used to create the deliverables and can be performed by a manager, client or even a third-party reviewer. For example, quality assurance includes process checklist and project audit. If the project is audited, the auditor might not be able to tell if the specific deliverable is acceptable. However, auditor should be able to tell if deliverable seem acceptable based on the process used to create it. This is why project auditor can perform quality assurance review because it is about knowing about how good process looks like. Quality assurance uses various tools such as bench marking, flow chart, cause and effect chart. Widely used approach for quality assurance is Plan – Do – Check – Act (PDCA) cycle.

Plan: Establish new objective and process necessary to deliver results in accordance with expected output.

Do: Implement the new process. Often small scale if possible

Check: Measure the new process and compare the result

Act: Analyze the difference and determine where to apply the changes to make improvement


4. Which comes first, Quality Assurance or Quality Control ?

Quality assurance is more effective in maintaining quality of any product or service. Quality control is product-oriented activity and quality assurance is process oriented activity. Without assuring quality of process, quality product cannot be achieved. Quality assurance is a broad approach which refers to the process used to create deliverables and can be performed by manager, client or even third-party reviewer. Whereas QC is focused on only deliverable itself and conducting QC needs technical skill. QC is about finding defect during or after the product development and correcting them whereas QA is meant to produce defect free goods and services which means being right for first time with no or minimum rework. However, both quality control and quality assurance is equally important for managing overall quality in the system and both need to be implemented for achieving quality goals of the institution.



About Author

Name : Pratiksha Shrestha

Ms. Shrestha holds masters degree in food engineering and bioprocess technology from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Thailand. She is currently working for Government of Nepal at Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC), Kathmandu. She is also a teaching faculty in College of Applied food and Dairy Technology (CAFODAT) affiliated to Purbanchal university, Nepal.