After reading this lesson, you’ll learn what a bromatologist is, and what one does. You’ll also see just how important such a position is when it comes to the health of food businesses and consumers alike.
What is Bromatology?
Bromatology, the study of food, is a relatively new field. Bromatology is also called food science and a bromatologist, a food scientist. You see the results of food science on every aisle in the supermarket from the way items are stored and the new items that are available.
Let’s take a closer look.
Bromatologists are often in charge of creating new products. For example, a yogurt or ice cream company creating a new flavor relies on the skills of a bromatologist to create that new flavor as part of its new product development.
Bromatology is not just about mixing ingredients together. The bromatologist needs to make sure those ingredients mix well and taste good together. Texture becomes important. Sometimes, flavors from different ingredients don’t always mix well; the bromatologist will experiment with various ingredients to find the right combination.
Healthy foods need to be both tasty and healthy. Right now, many consumers would rather go for the tastier, less healthy versions of certain foods, rather than the healthy ones. Usually healthy versions have less sugar, less fat, and fewer preservatives. To make a healthy product, the decrease in sugars, fats, and preservatives needs to be balanced with both taste and texture so that the product continues to appeal to buyers.
If the new yogurt flavor is to incorporate fresh fruits and natural flavors with less sugar, the bromatologist needs to find a way to make that yogurt sweet enough to appeal to customers who expect and want sweet yogurts. Maybe adding another fruit that is naturally sweet to the mixture to act as a natural sweetener will suffice. The fruit may also have to be crushed into a pulp and then thoroughly blended into the yogurt to be appealing.
Food Safety & Quality Control
Once the right ingredients are combined in the right way, food safety is another part of the bromatologist’s job. He or she will provide answers to questions such as these:
- How long will this food stay fresh?
- How should the food be cooked and prepared for maximum taste and freshness?
- What kinds of preservatives will allow this food to be shelf-stable for at least a few months without changing the taste?
- How should this food be stored to preserve freshness?
- Is this food healthy?
- Does it meet all FDA guidelines for the right labeling such as gluten-free, natural, organic, etc.?
Often, several different recipes are tried before the one that satisfactorily answers all the above questions is found.
Food safety is a big concern, especially when selling foods to stores where they will be stored for a time before they are purchased. Any preservatives that are used need to be safe to ingest. Any packaging also needs to maintain freshness. For example, air-tight containers are needed to keep some foods fresh, while other foods require oxygen to remain fresh.
Sometimes, bromatology also involves managing food security. In Oregon in 1984, 751 individuals were deliberately poisoned with salmonella; and in 2008, due to tainted milk, 300,000 babies were sickened, 16 diagnosed with kidney stones, and 6 died. As new crises and new needs emerge, bromatologists are continually finding ways to keep foods safe from food terrorism and from contamination.
For example, the yogurt company would have certain measures and practices in place in its factory to avoid contamination. Chemicals are used to clean the equipment and a strict cleaning routine is practiced so that no chemical residues are left on the machinery. Also, all ingredients are properly stored so everything is fresh when added to the yogurt. A bromatologist provides all the specifics needed to handle all of these tasks.
Bromatology is the study of food. Bromatology is also called food science and a bromatologist, a food scientist.
Food scientists are involved in the product development of new foods, keeping foods safe from bio terrorism and contamination, and quality control to make sure foods remain fresh while they are waiting to be sold on store shelves and elsewhere.