Quality Progress - March 2013 - (Page 44)

InnovatIon ImPeratIve BY Peter Merrill Seize the opportunity Who will improve food safety? i was waiting at the departure gate at the Tampa airport and started browsing quences, putting food safety at great risk. heart disease. Microwaving food in plastic For example, we focus on accidental containers breaks down that same chemical and contaminates food. through the magazine stand. A copy of the contaminants in the food chain2 without Scientific American caught my attention. necessarily addressing the deliberate con- In my engineering days, it had been a taminants. There is a long list of deliberate colored sweets and candies are designed regular read, and I recalled the long lapse contaminants designed to make a food to appeal to the very young with their of time since I last read the journal. product easier to process or easier to sell bright colorings—but they are derived without necessarily paying attention to from coal tar. Tests with mice and rats you—the person eating that food. have revealed brain, gland, thyroid and I bought a copy and skimmed through the articles during my flight until I came to Michael Webber’s, “How to Make the Food System More Energy Efficient.”1 One of the great innovations of the industry is the use of the humble bread It goes without saying that artificially kidney tumors caused by these chemicals. The cattle industry has engaged in the He had my attention. crumb. One manufacturer alone has more use of growth hormones to increase speed The article was packed with data than 2,000 flavors of breadcrumbs. The to market. The hormone diethylstilbes- presented in an easy-to-read and logical breadcrumbs coat the food you are about trol, which is found in 85% of U.S. meats, format, but the bottom line of his argu- to eat and are your first contact with that causes breast cancer and cancer of re- ment was that we use 10 units of fossil food. They makes you salivate and titillate productive organs. In cattle, recombinant energy to produce one unit of food energy. your taste buds. As those breadcrumbs bovine growth hormone has been linked His argument in British thermal units slip over your tongue, you are consuming to breast cancer. captured my chemical engineering mind. chemicals such as monosodium glutamate, He also captured my innovative mind: 10% partially hydrogenated oils and trans- focused innovation mean that your body is efficiency—what an opportunity. butenedioic—all designed to excite your loaded with a list of horrific toxins. As you may well know, opportunity is the These examples of short-term, inwardly taste experience. Unfortunately, many na- start of the innovation process. Looking at tional regulators do not require disclosure The social aspect the 10:1 energy inefficiency ratio shows the of the chemical content of breadcrumbs as Innovation in the food industry, as with food industry has an enormous opportunity it is not regarded as a constituent part of any other industry, also has been driven by for innovation. The inefficiency of convert- the food you will eat. social change. Probably the most signifi- ing sunlight to plant growth to animal feed As your teeth sink into the food, you cant change in our eating habits was the to human consumption presents an innova- may be consuming sodium nitrite, which tor with an opportunity that—to use food preserves the food from decay but also language—should make you salivate. mixes with your stomach acid and leads in the 1920s in the U.K. with the legend- to the formation of carcinogenic nitrosa- ary fish and chips. West Yorkshire was the mines in your body. home of fish and chips. Cod from the North ‘Innovative’ villians Innovation in the industry has been driven If you are eating fish as the healthy development of fast food. The first significant example of this was Sea was landed in Hull and potatoes were by the use of fossil fuels and fertilizers to alternative, was it farmed or fresh caught? harvested in Lincolnshire. Industrial West increase food production. Unfortunately, Fresh-caught tuna and swordfish, as we Yorkshire fried this food in beer batter and we are well aware of the negative effect know, contains high mercury levels and served it wrapped in newspaper. This was these chemicals have, causing pollution so we avoid them. However, farmed fish incredibly resourceful and cost effective, and global warming. often are fed “innovative” polychlorinated and the secret was the beer batter, which biphenyls, which we, of course, eat. gave the magical grease flavor. Fast for- Much of the innovation in the food industry has been driven by manufacturer need Packaging is also a villain. Cans are ward 30 years and the McDonald brothers rather than consumer need. It has often coated on the inside with biphenyl-A, began servicing a variation on this meal. been executed with ignorance of the conse- which is associated with diabetes and Fish was not as abundant, but beef was, 44 QP • www.qualityprogress.com http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - March 2013

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
The Right Ingredients
Before the Fact
Apples to Oranges?
Five at the Forefront
Innovation Imperative
Measure for Measure
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
Standards Outlook
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea

Quality Progress - March 2013

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