Books - Livres - Libros
Julie Miller Jones. 1992. St Paul, MN, USA, Eagan Press. 453 pp. ISBN 0-9624407-3-6. Price US$42 (USA), US$50 (elsewhere).
Dr Miller Jones is to be congratulated on her utterly readable text and outstanding style of writing, In addition, the book is not technically difficult. However, the more scientific the reader's background, the more he or she will profit from this publication. The book covers most of the important topics in food safety such as food safety legislation, evaluation of safety of food components including risk-benefit considerations, naturally occurring food toxicants, microbial safety problems, effects of processing on nutritional quality of food and food safety, food additives, pesticides, food irradiation and environmental contaminants including radionuclides.
This range of topics particularly reflects the developments in the author's own country, the United States. Some may feel that the book is too focused on the United States to be fully useful to an international audience. This is, however, not the case. Having been involved in food import control, preparation of food regulations and international harmonization of food safety legislation in another country, the undersigned reviewer found it fascinating to learn the background of issues that originated in the United States and have become relevant to work in other countries. And after all, with modern communication a problem in the United States today can become a problem in other countries tomorrow, and vice versa.
Regarding omissions and weaknesses in Food safety, more discussion on food intolerance would have been welcome as it may be a more relevant food safety issue than is generally recognized or expected. Modem biotechnology would have been worthy of consideration as well, although it is understandable that one cannot cover every topic. At times, the author makes loose statements regarding techniques in chemistry; however, these are of minor importance compared with the clear message that the book provides.
To the extent possible, terms are defined in the text, and there is a glossary for easy reference to clarify some less familiar terms and abbreviations. Each of the 15 chapters contains references to the scientific literature which would be of assistance to more advanced readers. Dr Miller Jones has been very precise in referring to published data. Unfortunately, the reviewer has identified one substantial error. In Box 14.3 on page 393 it is stated that the FAO/WHO provisional tolerable weekly intake (PTWI) for lead is 0.003 mg per kilogram of body weight (BW), whereas this figure should have been 0.05 mg/kg BW. (However, even this figure is no longer accepted since in 1993 the 41st Meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives established a new PTWI level of 0,025 mg/kg BW.)
An important subject covered throughout the book makes the book especially valuable to educators and those responsible for public relations. This involves the consumer's view of food safety in relation to various natural and human-made hazards. Dr Miller Jones expresses her position openly, and although this reviewer is usually in agreement with her, some readers may not be. If the book initiates useful discussion, the writer's effort will be justified.
The consumer's interest is becoming increasingly important in decision-making related to food safety. Therefore, Food safety is strongly recommended as a reference to everyone who is or should be interested in this matter. It will be particularly useful to students of food sciences, not least because of the fine writing.
Food packaging: principles and practice
Gordon L. Robertson. 1992. New York, Marcel Dekker. 676 pp. ISBN 0-8247-8749-8. Price US$165.
This book is a comprehensive general guide to food packaging, which is relevant to and practised by industrialized countries and economically advanced developing countries. It is well written and contains a wealth of references and a limited but well selected number of illustrations. The author considers it "the distillation of over 20 years experience teaching food packaging to fourth year undergraduate food technology students".
The first 250 pages treat the properties, structure and manufacture of the major packaging materials in use today. The next 370 pages bring a great deal of food science and technology to bear on packaging of foods in general (deterioration, preservation, processing and shelf-life) and specifically of microwavable foods, flesh foods, dairy products, horticultural products, cereal and snack foods and beverages. The final 40-page chapter is a survey of the literature on safety and legislative aspects of food packaging, relying mainly on publications from the United States and the United Kingdom.
The book will be an asset on the shelves of libraries and in the hands of teachers dealing with food preservation topics in higher-level institutions in many developing countries.
Karl O. Herz
Clostridium botulinum: ecology and control in foods
A.H.W. Hauschild and K.L. Dodds, eds. 1993. New York, Marcel Dekker. Food Science and Technology Series, Vol. 54. ISBN 0-8247-8748-X. Price US$135.
Botulism is still a feared threat, and Clostridium botulinum remains the microorganism, mainly in the spore form, by which the safety of processed foods is evaluated, although clostridia other than C. botulinum are now known to produce neurotoxins and to cause botulism. C. botulinum spores are virtually ubiquitous in soil and are present in foods of all types: meats, fish, fruits, vegetables and products such as honey.
Numerous reviews and books have been written on C. botulinum, as the editors note, but topics of ecology and control in food have been relatively neglected. The editors, who double as authors, have sought out 14 other acknowledged experts to cover these two topics comprehensively and in an up-to-date manner. The reported epidemiological data from both industrialized and developing countries are reviewed and their incompleteness is noted.
The larger part of the book is devoted to the principles and practice of control of C. botulinum in foods such as meat and meat products, fishery products, fruits and vegetables and dairy products. Techniques of inactivation make use of heat, ionizing radiation and chemical compounds (chlorine compounds, hydrogen peroxide, ethylene oxide). Control by prevention of germination of spores is attempted by manipulation of redox potential, pH, temperature, water activity and use of preservatives such as nitrites, sodium chloride, sorbates and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). These and some other products and conditions (e.g. competing microorganisms) are also used to inhibit growth and toxin production of cells in foods.
A separate chapter deals with the potential hazards associated with refrigerated processed foods of extended durability, and another with botulism hazards from native foods prepared by people in inhabited arctic regions. A chapter is devoted to infant botulism, which differs from the usual kind in that it results from toxin production by microbial cells growing in the infant's intestines. The book concludes with a chapter on predictive modelling, describing the evolution and use of quantitative microbiology to assess and counter the potential health risk posed by C. botulinum. For professionals and graduate students working on these topics, this book can serve as a useful reference.
Karl O. Herz
Y. Ravary et J. Figarella. 1993. Collection Bioservices, Editions J. Lanore, Paris. 269 pages. ISBN 2-86-268-220-9.
Cet ouvrage, à l'usage des enseignants et des élevés du secondaire et de l'enseignement technique concernés par les sciences de l'alimentation, regroupe sous un format maniable un certain nombre de notions qui permettent de «comprendre comment l'organisme humain se maintient en bon état de santé, grâce aux molécules nutritives que lui apportent les aliments». Les auteurs partent d'un rappel de biochimie alimentaire et des implications physiques des procédés culinaires, étudient les principaux groupes d'aliments, présentent dans ses grandes lignes la physiologie de la digestion, proposent des bases pour une alimentation rationnelle, décrivent les problèmes de toxicologie et de parasitologie, discutent les aspects organoleptiques des aliments et concluent par une analyse du comportement alimentaire et de son évolution. Des travaux dirigés ou des travaux pratiques ont été introduits dans certains chapitres. Certaines des approches présentées sont relativement récentes et souvent mal connues du grand public.
La présentation est claire et aérée, le style accessible, et ce livre constituera sans aucun doute pour plusieurs années un ouvrage de référence utile; les auteurs ont donc rempli leurs objectifs.
On peut toutefois regretter certains des choix faits par les auteurs, dans la mesure où ils risquent de limiter la diffusion qu'il mérite. C'est ainsi que l'orientation trop explicitement française de l'ouvrage peut décourager les lecteurs des autres pays francophones, alors même qu'il pourrait leur être fort utile.
L'allégement du contenu en physique et en chimie (dont l'application pratique immédiate est discutable et qui est vraisemblablement traité en grande partie dans les programmes scolaires ou accessible dans d'autres manuels) aurait également permis a ce livre de mieux répondre aux besoins d'un certain nombre de professionnels concernés par les sciences de l'alimentation, et donc une utilisation plus large à des fins de recyclage et de vulgarisation.
Peut-être aurait-il été également utile d'aborder plus en détail certains aspects liés à l'approvisionnement et a la préparation des aliments (disponibilité, prix, temps et matériel nécessaires) qui auraient permis aux lecteurs de replacer le sujet dans le contexte socio-économique dont il ne peut être séparé.
Compendium of food consumption statistics from household surveys in developing countries
FAO Economic and Social Development Paper 116/1. 1993. Rome. 379 pp. ISBN 92-5-103311-0. Price US$32; to developing countries, US$20.80. Available from Distribution and Sales Section, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
This publication provides information on food consumption levels and patterns obtained from household surveys carried out in developing countries. The food consumption data presented in the publication refer to: food expenditure (monetary value of food consumed or acquired); quantities (in weight) of food items consumed or acquired; and nutritive values (i.e. calories, protein and fat) of food consumed or acquired. The information is in general presented in the form of averages for groups of households classified according to income or total expenditure levels/classes. In many cases, separate tabulations for urban and rural areas are also given. In addition, certain derived indicators, namely the percentage contribution of each food group to total expenditure, the percentage contribution of each food group to calorie consumption and the percentage of expenditure on food corresponding to the income/expenditure classes, are included in the relevant tables. The publication also contains descriptive country notes referring to survey coverage, concepts and definitions and the mode of data collection adopted.
The data presented are not only from recent surveys but also, in a number of cases, from some undertaken as long ago as the 1970s in order to provide some perspective of the changes over time. However, because of the many surveys involved, the publication is being issued in two volumes. Volume 1 pertains to the surveys carried out in the developing countries of Asia. Volume 2, which is expected to be available early in 1994, will cover the surveys carried out in the developing countries of Africa, Latin America and Oceania. Data from the publication are also available on diskette.
[Ukrainian] [English] [Russian]