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Food technology

Breakthrough Food Technology Process Protects Foods With Thin Film Made From Natural Ingredients; Replaces Plastic Wrap

Friday, August 06, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: food technology, food manufacturing, chitosan

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Every once in a while, new technology emerges in the field of food manufacturing that offers the potential for a real breakthrough in the delivery of fresh, nutritious food products to consumers. Such is the case with a new edible food film that has been developed by researchers from the Oregon State University and its Department of Food Science and Technology. This food protective fiber or film, which looks a lot like plastic wrap, combines two ingredients -- chitosan, a fiber derived from shellfish, and lysozyme, which is essentially egg white protein. By combining these two ingredients in a process that is now being patented, researchers were able to make a thin film food wrap that could cover sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, or even coat foods by dipping the foods in a liquid film.

In other words, you could take fresh strawberries and dip them in a liquid soup made from chitosan and lysozyme, and the strawberry would be coated with a thin plastic wrap, protecting it against microbial infection as well as preserving more of its nutrient content. When it comes time to eat the strawberry, consumers could simply pop the strawberry and the thin-film wrapping in their mouths. The thin-film is perfectly edible and would merely add a little bit of fiber and protein to consumers' diets.

Both of these ingredients are natural anti-microbial compounds, meaning they resist infection from microbes, molds, and fungi. That would potentially enhance the shelf life of foods, which could either serve to deliver more nutritious foods to consumers, or reduce the cost of such foods thanks to reduced spoilage. Furthermore, this thin-film coating can be enhanced with additional vitamins and minerals such as calcium or vitamin E to boost the nutritional value of the food being protected.

Personally, I think this is outstanding technology. It is a fantastic marriage of food technology and health from the natural world. This is a fiber that has been essentially provided by nature. These researchers have cleverly taken ingredients from nature and recombined them in a way that is more compatible with modern food processing, manufacturing, and packaging protocols. There is no doubt in my mind that this product would enhance food safety while also boosting its shelf life. This would enable more healthful foods to be delivered to consumers in a more convenient format. Also, knowing what I know about chitosan and egg protein, it seems that this thin film would be quite inexpensive to manufacture and use, meaning it would add little or no cost to packaged foods.

There's another important reason why I am in favor of this sort of food technology, by the way. That's because the use of plastic packaging poses a health risk to consumers, and if we can move away from plastic packaging (which is manufactured from petroleum products) and move toward a food wrapper that is made from natural edible ingredients such as chitosan and egg protein, then we can reduce some of the health risks associated with the consumption of packaged, processed foods. So it is a tremendous health benefit in terms of avoiding plastic wrap and plastic packaging in the first place.

Very rarely do I get excited about food technology, because these days, most of the technology about foods has to do with making them more easily marketable or finding new ways to trick consumers into thinking they're eating good-tasting and good-looking foods, when in fact the foods are merely overly processed. But this is an exception to all of that. I believe this to be a promising food technology that has widespread potential for enhancing the health and safety of the American food supply.

The only potential drawback whatsoever from this is that chitosan, which is derived from shellfish, tends to absorb and bind with dietary fats. So if you ate a food item that was wrapped in this new film, some of the chitosan in the film would bind with the oils in the meal you just ate and prevent your body from absorbing them. This could potentially interfere in a very small way with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D and vitamin E. But I think that overall, the amount of chitosan used in such a film is so small that this concern does not merit much discussion.

I'll be watching this food technology development and will hopefully be able to bring you more news on this in the months and years ahead.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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