Insight into additives;Secondary;Technology;Reviews;Books

8th January 1999 at 00:00
UNDERSTANDING FOOD ADDITIVES. CIEC pound;10. Tel: 01904 432523.

It is difficult to imagine much of the food we eat today not containing additives. They serve many functions, and understanding their composition and properties is a crucial factor in food technology and product development.

Understanding Food Additives offers a comprehensive analysis of those in current use, for example, emulsifiers, gelling agents and sweeteners, and investigates their composition, type, function and application in food development. The publication is divided into factual information about the additives, and teacher's notes and pupil worksheets. A glossary is included.

This science-based publication offers a rigorous insight. At first, some elements may be challenging, and more suitable for GCSE food technology candidates and post-16 students.

The well-produced teacher's notes give answers to all the questions. They also give outlines for the results of experiments, and hints for the teacher about each activity.

However, it should be noted that the publication is intended for science and food technology departments, so that some tests may have to be modified slightly to work in a food technology room. For example, weighing 62.5g margarine and measuring 120 cubic centimetres of milk for scones may be a little tricky using a metal spoon and measuring jug.

Another experiment, in the preservative section, looks at different rice mixtures and growth of microbes after one to two weeks. Although an excellent way to see microbial action, it is not good practice in a food technology room, especially where food may be prepared on a daily basis, and where hygiene and food safety are paramount.

Roy Ballam is education officer for the British Nutrition Foundation

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