Food Technologies Are Keeping Our Foods Longer

The Lempert Report
February 05, 2019

The folks at Apeel opened our eyes to how avocados can have a longer shelf life.

Now Penn State researchers have found a natural antioxidant found in grain bran that could preserve food longer and, even more important, replace synthetic antioxidants currently used by the food industry.     

"Currently, there's a big push within the food industry to replace synthetic ingredients with natural alternatives, and this is being driven by consumers," said Andrew S. Elder, doctoral candidate in food science, at Penn State. "Consumers want clean labels -- they want synthetic chemical-sounding ingredients removed because of the fact that they don't recognize them, and that some of them (the ingredients) have purported toxicity."

The Penn State researchers studied a class of compounds available in plants such as wheat, rye and barley which produce ARs naturally to prevent mold, bacteria and other organisms from growing on the grain kernels.  

Frontiers in Pediatricsreports that a bacterial enzyme that is used to improve food texture and shelf-life has been linked in several studies to celiac disease -- but it is unlabeled and hidden from public knowledge. Microbial transglutaminase -- a bacterial enzyme heavily used in industrial processing of meat, dairy, baked and other food products in order to adhere proteins, include texture, palability and shelf-life -- has emerged as the likely culprit.

In Switzerland for example, these products must be labeled as unsuitable for persons with celiac disease.