Food Science Overview

Undoubtedly, modern food safety is science-based. The integration of science into food production began back in the late 1950s, when NASA began developing the first space food program using cutting edge food technologies. Just like the engineering practices used to build the Saturn V Rocket that took the astronauts into space, the food was engineered using the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, where CCPs are identified and monitored throughout the supply chain using a science-based approach. HACCP now forms the basis of food safety standards, best practices, and regulations.

In addition to food testing technology that detects problems, food science is increasingly being used to facilitate proactive defenses and preventative measures. Local health units use scientific testing on food to measure and track pathogens in the environment and conduct epidemiology in the case of outbreaks. The development of new DNA-based food technology allows us to track suspected sources, confirm authenticity and study the evolution of bacterial pathogens as they adapt to their changing environment. There are technologies that can detect suspected adulterants, identify foreign contaminants, test for genetically-modified material, countless pesticides, nutrients, metals and diseases, pathogenic bacteria, viruses and allergens – the list is extensive and growing as newer methods are developed.

The modern regulatory landscape requires that the industry use food science to support their food safety and quality systems, in the identification, control and monitoring of food safety risks. Food science needs to evolve constantly to meet the changing conditions of the food industry and keep up with the present and emerging risks to commerce and public health.


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