Introduction to Food Analysis

  • S. Suzanne Nielsen
Part of the Food Analysis book series (FSTS)


Investigations in food science and technology, whether by the food industry, governmental agencies, or universities, often require determination of food composition and characteristics. Trends and demands of consumers, the food industry, and national and international regulations challenge food scientists as they work to monitor food composition and to ensure the quality and safety of the food supply. All food products require analysis as part of a quality management program throughout the development process (including raw ingredients), through production, and after a product is in the market. In addition, analysis is done of problem samples and competitor products. The characteristics of foods (i.e., chemical composition, physical properties, sensory properties) are used to answer specific questions for regulatory purposes and typical quality control. The nature of the sample and the specific reason for the analysis commonly dictate the choice of analytical methods. Speed, precision, accuracy, and ruggedness often are key factors in this choice. Validation of the method for the specific food matrix being analyzed is necessary to ensure usefulness of the method. Making an appropriate choice of the analytical technique for a specific application requires a good knowledge of the various techniques (Fig. 1-1). For example, your choice of method to determine the salt content of potato chips would be different if it is for nutrition labeling than for quality control. The success of any analytical method relies on the proper selection and preparation of the food sample, carefully performing the analysis, and doing the appropriate calculations and interpretation of the data. Methods of analysis developed and endorsed by several nonprofit scientific organizations allow for standardized comparisons of results between different laboratories and for evaluation of less standard procedures. Such official methods are critical in the analysis of foods, to ensure that they meet the legal requirements established by governmental agencies. Government regulations and international standards most relevant to the analysis of foods are mentioned here but covered in more detail in Chap. 2, and nutrition labeling regulations in the USA are covered in Chap. 3. Internet addresses for many of the organizations and government agencies discussed are given at the end of this chapter.


Official Method Laboratory Information Management System Food Company Nutrition Label Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


1.9 Acknowledgements

The author thanks the numerous former students, working in quality assurance in the food industry, who reviewed this chapter and contributed ideas for its revision.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food SciencePurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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