Studying Food Quality Control? How Chemical Processes Can Affect Food

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When a food changes, whether while cooking, rotting, or browning, a complex chemical process is taking place. These chemical processes can make our food tastier, change texture, or even go bad and make us sick. As a result, food quality professionals around the world need to understand the chemical processes that affect food. By understanding what’s going on within our food on a microscopic level, professionals can take extra precautions to keep them delicious and safe to eat.

If you’re considering enrolling in a food quality diploma program, read on to discover several important chemical processes that can affect food.

Students in a Food Quality Control Program May Learn About Enzymatic Browning

If you’ve ever chopped up an apple and watched it turn from a crisp white or yellow to brown, then you’ve witnessed enzymatic browning at work. Not only does this chemical process affect the colour of food, it can also impact the taste and texture of it as well.

The culprits behind this kind of browning are polyphenols. Polyphenols are made up of chemicals commonly found in fruits and vegetables. When these polyphenols are exposed to oxygen, they oxidize phenols, turning them into quinones.

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Browning can affect the quality of fruits and vegetables

The quinones then undergo several rapid chemical reactions that within minutes cause brown pigments to form on the fruit or vegetable. The amount of browning that occurs is related to the amount of polyphenol present in the food, which is why some foods brown faster than others.

Food browning is a major issue in the food industry because it causes a significant amount of food to go to waste. Fortunately, food quality control professionals know there are several ways to prevent this type of browning. Blanching, which involves heating the food to destroy enzymes, is one top method for preventing browning. However, it’s certainly not the only option food industry professionals can use. Freezing, refrigeration, and dehydration can also keep foods from browning.

Students in a Food Safety Diploma Program May Learn About Emulsification

Anyone who has ever tried to make salad dressing or sauce using oil and water will understand the need for emulsification. When you shake the two together they will mix, but only stay that way temporarily. Emulsification is the chemical process that ensures these ingredients stay together.

The process begins with an emulsifier. An emulsifier is a particle that has the composition necessary to bind well with both ingredients, such as oil and water. One end is hydrophilic which means that it interacts effectively with water. The other end of the particle is hydrophobic which means it will bind well with oil. The hydrophilic ends of particles repel each other like magnets, which helps keep the oil floating evenly in the water instead of clumping.

As you may learn during your food safety diploma program, common emulsifiers include egg yolks, mustard, or honey. They are all common ingredients in sauces and dressings because they help keep other ingredients together.

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Egg yolk is a common emulsifier used by food industry professionals

Although emulsifiers are an important part of the process, they don’t work alone. The other key element to the process of emulsification is force. Intense shaking, stirring, or whisking is needed in order to break apart the oil and let it disperse throughout the mixture. By adding an emulsifier to an oil and water based sauce and forcefully mixing it together, the process of emulsification occurs.

Thanks to the process of emulsification people everywhere are able to enjoy sauces and treats like hollandaise, béarnaise, custard, and aioli.

Are you interested in enrolling in quality control training courses?

Contact AAPS today to learn more!