Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for
an organism. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains
essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins,
or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated
by the organism's cells to provide energy, maintain life, or stimulate
Historically, humans secured food through two methods: hunting and
gathering and agriculture. Today, the majority of the food energy
required by the ever increasing population of the world is supplied by
the food industry.
Food safety and food security are monitored by agencies like the
International Association for
Food Protection, World Resources
Food Information Council. They address issues such
as sustainability, biological diversity, climate change, nutritional
economics, population growth, water supply, and access to food.
The right to food is a human right derived from the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), recognizing
the "right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate
food", as well as the "fundamental right to be free from hunger".
4.2 Contrast in texture
4.3 Contrast in taste
4.4.3 Raw food preparation
5 Commercial trade
5.1 International food imports and exports
5.2 Marketing and retailing
5.4 As investment
Famine and hunger
7.2 Other health issues
8.1 Cultural and religious diets
8.2 Diet deficiencies
8.3 Moral, ethical, and health-conscious diets
Nutrition and dietary problems
10 Legal definition
11 Types of food
12 See also
15 Further reading
16 External links
Most food has its origin in plants. Some food is obtained directly
from plants; but even animals that are used as food sources are raised
by feeding them food derived from plants.
Cereal grain is a staple
food that provides more food energy worldwide than any other type of
crop. Corn (maize), wheat, and rice – in all of their varieties
– account for 87% of all grain production worldwide. Most
of the grain that is produced worldwide is fed to livestock.
Some foods not from animal or plant sources include various edible
fungi, especially mushrooms.
Fungi and ambient bacteria are used in
the preparation of fermented and pickled foods like leavened bread,
alcoholic drinks, cheese, pickles, kombucha, and yogurt. Another
example is blue-green algae such as Spirulina. Inorganic substances
such as salt, baking soda and cream of tartar are used to preserve or
chemically alter an ingredient.
Herb and spice
Many plants and plant parts are eaten as food and around 2,000 plant
species are cultivated for food. Many of these plant species have
several distinct cultivars.
Seeds of plants are a good source of food for animals, including
humans, because they contain the nutrients necessary for the plant's
initial growth, including many healthful fats, such as omega fats. In
fact, the majority of food consumed by human beings are seed-based
foods. Edible seeds include cereals (corn, wheat, rice, et cetera),
legumes (beans, peas, lentils, et cetera), and nuts. Oilseeds are
often pressed to produce rich oils - sunflower, flaxseed, rapeseed
(including canola oil), sesame, et cetera.
Seeds are typically high in unsaturated fats and, in moderation, are
considered a health food, although not all seeds are edible. Large
seeds, such as those from a lemon, pose a choking hazard, while seeds
from cherries and apples contain cyanide which could be poisonous only
if consumed in large volumes.
Fruits are the ripened ovaries of plants, including the seeds within.
Many plants and animals have coevolved such that the fruits of the
former are an attractive food source to the latter, because animals
that eat the fruits may excrete the seeds some distance away. Fruits,
therefore, make up a significant part of the diets of most cultures.
Some botanical fruits, such as tomatoes, pumpkins, and eggplants, are
eaten as vegetables. (For more information, see list of fruits.)
Vegetables are a second type of plant matter that is commonly eaten as
food. These include root vegetables (potatoes and carrots), bulbs
(onion family), leaf vegetables (spinach and lettuce), stem vegetables
(bamboo shoots and asparagus), and inflorescence vegetables (globe
artichokes and broccoli and other vegetables such as cabbage or
Animal source foods and
Various raw meats
Animals are used as food either directly or indirectly by the products
Meat is an example of a direct product taken from an
animal, which comes from muscle systems or from organs.
Food products produced by animals include milk produced by mammary
glands, which in many cultures is drunk or processed into dairy
products (cheese, butter, etc.). In addition, birds and other animals
lay eggs, which are often eaten, and bees produce honey, a reduced
nectar from flowers, which is a popular sweetener in many cultures.
Some cultures consume blood, sometimes in the form of blood sausage,
as a thickener for sauces, or in a cured, salted form for times of
food scarcity, and others use blood in stews such as jugged hare.
Some cultures and people do not consume meat or animal food products
for cultural, dietary, health, ethical, or ideological reasons.
Vegetarians choose to forgo food from animal sources to varying
degrees. Vegans do not consume any foods that are or contain
ingredients from an animal source.
A tractor pulling a chaser bin
Main articles: Agriculture,
Food industry, and Genetically modified
Most food has always been obtained through agriculture. With
increasing concern over both the methods and products of modern
industrial agriculture, there has been a growing trend toward
sustainable agricultural practices. This approach, partly fueled by
consumer demand, encourages biodiversity, local self-reliance and
organic farming methods. Major influences on food production
include international organizations (e.g. the World Trade Organization
and Common Agricultural Policy), national government policy (or law),
In popular culture, the mass production of food, specifically meats
such as chicken and beef, has come under fire from various
documentaries, most recently Food, Inc, documenting the mass slaughter
and poor treatment of animals, often for easier revenues from large
corporations. Along with a current trend towards environmentalism,
Western culture have had an increasing trend towards the use
of herbal supplements, foods for a specific group of people (such as
dieters, women, or athletes), functional foods (fortified foods, such
as omega-3 eggs), and a more ethnically diverse diet.
Several organisations have begun calling for a new kind of agriculture
in which agroecosystems provide food but also support vital ecosystem
services so that soil fertility and biodiversity are maintained rather
than compromised. According to the International
Institute and UNEP, well-managed agroecosystems not only provide food,
fiber and animal products, they also provide services such as flood
mitigation, groundwater recharge, erosion control and habitats for
plants, birds, fish and other animals.
Main article: Taste
Animals, specifically humans, have five different types of tastes:
sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. As animals have evolved, the
tastes that provide the most energy (sugar and fats) are the most
pleasant to eat while others, such as bitter, are not enjoyable.
Water, while important for survival, has no taste. Fats, on the
other hand, especially saturated fats, are thicker and rich and are
thus considered more enjoyable to eat.
Structure of sucrose
Generally regarded as the most pleasant taste, sweetness is almost
always caused by a type of simple sugar such as glucose or fructose,
or disaccharides such as sucrose, a molecule combining glucose and
fructose. Complex carbohydrates are long chains and thus do not
have the sweet taste. Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose are used
to mimic the sugar molecule, creating the sensation of sweet, without
the calories. Other types of sugar include raw sugar, which is known
for its amber color, as it is unprocessed. As sugar is vital for
energy and survival, the taste of sugar is pleasant.
The stevia plant contains a compound known as steviol which, when
extracted, has 300 times the sweetness of sugar while having minimal
impact on blood sugar.
Sourness is caused by the taste of acids, such as vinegar in alcoholic
Sour foods include citrus, specifically lemons, limes, and
to a lesser degree oranges.
Sour is evolutionarily significant as it
is a sign for a food that may have gone rancid due to bacteria.
Many foods, however, are slightly acidic, and help stimulate the taste
buds and enhance flavor.
Salt mounds in Bolivia
Saltiness is the taste of alkali metal ions such as sodium and
potassium. It is found in almost every food in low to moderate
proportions to enhance flavor, although to eat pure salt is regarded
as highly unpleasant. There are many different types of salt, with
each having a different degree of saltiness, including sea salt, fleur
de sel, kosher salt, mined salt, and grey salt. Other than enhancing
flavor, its significance is that the body needs and maintains a
delicate electrolyte balance, which is the kidney's function.
be iodized, meaning iodine has been added to it, a necessary nutrient
that promotes thyroid function. Some canned foods, notably soups or
packaged broths, tend to be high in salt as a means of preserving the
food longer. Historically salt has long been used as a meat
preservative as salt promotes water excretion. Similarly, dried foods
also promote food safety.
Bitterness is a sensation often considered unpleasant characterized by
having a sharp, pungent taste. Unsweetened dark chocolate, caffeine,
lemon rind, and some types of fruit are known to be bitter.
Umami, the Japanese word for delicious, is the least known in Western
popular culture but has a long tradition in Asian cuisine.
the taste of glutamates, especially monosodium glutamate (MSG). It
is characterized as savory, meaty, and rich in flavor.
mushrooms are foods high in umami.
Main articles: Cuisine, Regional cuisine, and Global cuisines
Balinese cuisine in Indonesia
Many scholars claim that the rhetorical function of food is to
represent the culture of a country, and that it can be used as a form
of communication. According to Goode, Curtis and Theophano, food "is
the last aspect of an ethnic culture to be lost".
Many cultures have a recognizable cuisine, a specific set of cooking
traditions using various spices or a combination of flavors unique to
that culture, which evolves over time. Other differences include
preferences (hot or cold, spicy, etc.) and practices, the study of
which is known as gastronomy. Many cultures have diversified their
foods by means of preparation, cooking methods, and manufacturing.
This also includes a complex food trade which helps the cultures to
economically survive by way of food, not just by consumption.
Some popular types of ethnic foods include Italian, French, Japanese,
Chinese, American, Cajun, Thai, African, Indian and Nepalese. Various
cultures throughout the world study the dietary analysis of food
habits. While evolutionarily speaking, as opposed to culturally,
humans are omnivores, religion and social constructs such as morality,
activism, or environmentalism will often affect which foods they will
Food is eaten and typically enjoyed through the sense of
taste, the perception of flavor from eating and drinking. Certain
tastes are more enjoyable than others, for evolutionary purposes.
A French basil salmon terrine, with eye-appealing garnishes
Aesthetically pleasing and eye-appealing food presentations can
encourage people to consume foods. A common saying is that people "eat
with their eyes".
Food presented in a clean and appetizing way will
encourage a good flavor, even if unsatisfactory.
Contrast in texture
Texture plays a crucial role in the enjoyment of eating foods.
Contrasts in textures, such as something crunchy in an otherwise
smooth dish, may increase the appeal of eating it. Common examples
include adding granola to yogurt, adding croutons to a salad or soup,
and toasting bread to enhance its crunchiness for a smooth topping,
such as jam or butter.
Contrast in taste
Another universal phenomenon regarding food is the appeal of contrast
in taste and presentation. For example, such opposite flavors as
sweetness and saltiness tend to go well together, as in kettle corn
Main article: Outline of food preparation
While many foods can be eaten raw, many also undergo some form of
preparation for reasons of safety, palatability, texture, or flavor.
At the simplest level this may involve washing, cutting, trimming, or
adding other foods or ingredients, such as spices. It may also involve
mixing, heating or cooling, pressure cooking, fermentation, or
combination with other food. In a home, most food preparation takes
place in a kitchen. Some preparation is done to enhance the taste or
aesthetic appeal; other preparation may help to preserve the food;
others may be involved in cultural identity. A meal is made up of food
which is prepared to be eaten at a specific time and place.
A refrigerator helps to keep foods fresh.
The preparation of animal-based food usually involves slaughter,
evisceration, hanging, portioning, and rendering. In developed
countries, this is usually done outside the home in slaughterhouses,
which are used to process animals en masse for meat production. Many
countries regulate their slaughterhouses by law. For example, the
United States has established the
Humane Slaughter Act
Humane Slaughter Act of 1958, which
requires that an animal be stunned before killing. This act, like
those in many countries, exempts slaughter in accordance to religious
law, such as kosher, shechita, and dhabīḥah halal. Strict
interpretations of kashrut require the animal to be fully aware when
its carotid artery is cut.
On the local level, a butcher may commonly break down larger animal
meat into smaller manageable cuts, and pre-wrap them for commercial
sale or wrap them to order in butcher paper. In addition, fish and
seafood may be fabricated into smaller cuts by a fish monger. However,
fish butchery may be done on board a fishing vessel and quick-frozen
for preservation of quality.
Cooking with a wok in China
Main article: Cooking
The term "cooking" encompasses a vast range of methods, tools, and
combinations of ingredients to improve the flavor or digestibility of
Cooking technique, known as culinary art, generally requires the
selection, measurement, and combining of ingredients in an ordered
procedure in an effort to achieve the desired result. Constraints on
success include the variability of ingredients, ambient conditions,
tools, and the skill of the individual cook. The diversity of
cooking worldwide is a reflection of the myriad nutritional,
aesthetic, agricultural, economic, cultural, and religious
considerations that affect it.
Cooking requires applying heat to a food which usually, though not
always, chemically changes the molecules, thus changing its flavor,
texture, appearance, and nutritional properties.
proteins, such as egg whites, meats, and fish, denatures the protein,
causing it to firm. There is archaeological evidence of roasted
Homo erectus campsites dating from 420,000 years
Boiling as a means of cooking requires a container, and has
been practiced at least since the 10th millennium BC with the
introduction of pottery.
A stainless steel frying pan
A traditional asado (barbecue)
Main article: Cookware and bakeware
There are many different types of equipment used for cooking.
Ovens are mostly hollow devices that get very hot (up to 500 °F
(260 °C)) and are used for baking or roasting and offer a
dry-heat cooking method. Different cuisines will use different types
of ovens. For example, Indian culture uses a tandoor oven, which is a
cylindrical clay oven which operates at a single high temperature.
Western kitchens use variable temperature convection ovens,
conventional ovens, toaster ovens, or non-radiant heat ovens like the
microwave oven. Classic
Italian cuisine includes the use of a brick
oven containing burning wood. Ovens may be wood-fired, coal-fired,
gas, electric, or oil-fired.
Various types of cook-tops are used as well. They carry the same
variations of fuel types as the ovens mentioned above. Cook-tops are
used to heat vessels placed on top of the heat source, such as a
sauté pan, sauce pot, frying pan, or pressure cooker. These pieces of
equipment can use either a moist or dry cooking method and include
methods such as steaming, simmering, boiling, and poaching for moist
methods, while the dry methods include sautéing, pan frying, and
In addition, many cultures use grills for cooking. A grill operates
with a radiant heat source from below, usually covered with a metal
grid and sometimes a cover. An open pit barbecue in the American south
is one example along with the American style outdoor grill fueled by
wood, liquid propane, or charcoal along with soaked wood chips for
smoking. A Mexican style of barbecue is called barbacoa, which
involves the cooking of meats such as whole sheep over an open fire.
In Argentina, an asado (Spanish for "grilled") is prepared on a grill
held over an open pit or fire made upon the ground, on which a whole
animal or smaller cuts are grilled.
Raw food preparation
Many types of fish ready to be eaten, including salmon and tuna
Certain cultures highlight animal and vegetable foods in a raw state.
Salads consisting of raw vegetables or fruits are common in many
Japanese cuisine consists of raw sliced fish or
other meat, and sushi often incorporates raw fish or seafood. Steak
tartare and salmon tartare are dishes made from diced or ground raw
beef or salmon, mixed with various ingredients and served with
baguettes, brioche, or frites. In Italy, carpaccio is a dish of
very thinly sliced raw beef, drizzled with a vinaigrette made with
olive oil. The health food movement known as raw foodism promotes
a mostly vegan diet of raw fruits, vegetables, and grains prepared in
various ways, including juicing, food dehydration, sprouting, and
other methods of preparation that do not heat the food above
118 °F (47.8 °C). An example of a raw meat dish is
ceviche, a Latin American dish made with raw meat that is "cooked"
from the highly acidic citric juice from lemons and limes along with
other aromatics such as garlic.
The Allyn House restaurant menu (March 5, 1859)
Tom's Restaurant, a restaurant in New York City
Main article: Restaurant
Restaurants employ trained chefs who prepare food, and trained
waitstaff to serve the customers. The term restaurant is credited to
the French from the 19th century, as it relates to the restorative
nature of the bouillons that were once served in them. However, the
concept pre-dates the naming of these establishments, as evidence
suggests commercial food preparation may have existed during the age
of the city of Pompeii, and urban sales of prepared foods may have
China during the Song dynasty. The coffee shops or cafés
of 17th century
Europe may also be considered an early version of the
restaurant. In 2005, the population of the
United States spent
$496 billion for out-of-home dining. Expenditures by type of
out-of-home dining were as follows: 40% in full-service restaurants,
37.2% in limited service restaurants (fast food), 6.6% in schools or
colleges, 5.4% in bars and vending machines, 4.7% in hotels and
motels, 4.0% in recreational places, and 2.2% in others, which
includes military bases.
Packaged household food items
Packaged foods are manufactured outside the home for purchase. This
can be as simple as a butcher preparing meat, or as complex as a
modern international food industry. Early food processing techniques
were limited by available food preservation, packaging, and
transportation. This mainly involved salting, curing, curdling,
drying, pickling, fermenting, and smoking.
arose during the industrial revolution in the 19th century. This
development took advantage of new mass markets and emerging
technology, such as milling, preservation, packaging and labeling, and
transportation. It brought the advantages of pre-prepared time-saving
food to the bulk of ordinary people who did not employ domestic
At the start of the 21st century, a two-tier structure has arisen,
with a few international food processing giants controlling a wide
range of well-known food brands. There also exists a wide array of
small local or national food processing companies. Advanced
technologies have also come to change food manufacture. Computer-based
control systems, sophisticated processing and packaging methods, and
logistics and distribution advances can enhance product quality,
improve food safety, and reduce costs.
SeaWiFS image for the global biosphere
Global average daily calorie consumption in 1995
Food imports in 2005
Population density of world regions
International food imports and exports
See also: Population density
World Bank reported that the European Union was the top food
importer in 2005, followed at a distance by the USA and Japan.
Britain's need for food was especially well illustrated in World War
II. Despite the implementation of food rationing, Britain remained
dependent on food imports and the result was a long term engagement in
the Battle of the Atlantic.
Food is traded and marketed on a global basis. The variety and
availability of food is no longer restricted by the diversity of
locally grown food or the limitations of the local growing season.
Between 1961 and 1999, there was a 400% increase in worldwide food
exports. Some countries are now economically dependent on food
exports, which in some cases account for over 80% of all exports.
In 1994, over 100 countries became signatories to the
Uruguay Round of
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in a dramatic increase in
trade liberalization. This included an agreement to reduce subsidies
paid to farmers, underpinned by the WTO enforcement of agricultural
subsidy, tariffs, import quotas, and settlement of trade disputes that
cannot be bilaterally resolved. Where trade barriers are raised on
the disputed grounds of public health and safety, the WTO refer the
dispute to the
Codex Alimentarius Commission, which was founded in
1962 by the
Agriculture Organization and the
World Health Organization.
Trade liberalization has greatly affected
world food trade.
Marketing and retailing
Packaged food aisles of supermarket in Portland, Oregon, United States
Food marketing brings together the producer and the consumer. The
marketing of even a single food product can be a complicated process
involving many producers and companies. For example, fifty-six
companies are involved in making one can of chicken noodle soup. These
businesses include not only chicken and vegetable processors but also
the companies that transport the ingredients and those who print
labels and manufacture cans. The food marketing system is the
largest direct and indirect non-government employer in the United
In the pre-modern era, the sale of surplus food took place once a week
when farmers took their wares on market day into the local village
marketplace. Here food was sold to grocers for sale in their local
shops for purchase by local consumers. With the onset of
industrialization and the development of the food processing industry,
a wider range of food could be sold and distributed in distant
locations. Typically early grocery shops would be counter-based shops,
in which purchasers told the shop-keeper what they wanted, so that the
shop-keeper could get it for them.
In the 20th century, supermarkets were born. Supermarkets brought with
them a self service approach to shopping using shopping carts, and
were able to offer quality food at lower cost through economies of
scale and reduced staffing costs. In the latter part of the 20th
century, this has been further revolutionized by the development of
vast warehouse-sized, out-of-town supermarkets, selling a wide range
of food from around the world.
Unlike food processors, food retailing is a two-tier market in which a
small number of very large companies control a large proportion of
supermarkets. The supermarket giants wield great purchasing power over
farmers and processors, and strong influence over consumers.
Nevertheless, less than 10% of consumer spending on food goes to
farmers, with larger percentages going to advertising, transportation,
and intermediate corporations.
Some essential food products including bread, rice and pasta
Food vs. fuel
Food, meat, dairy, cereals, vegetable oil, and sugar price indices,
deflated using the
World Bank Manufactures Unit Value Index (MUV)
It is rare for price spikes to hit all major foods in most countries
at once, but food prices suffered all-time peaks in 2008 and 2011,
posting a 15% and 12% deflated increase year-over-year, representing
prices higher than any data collected.
In December 2007, 37 countries faced food crises, and 20 had imposed
some sort of food-price controls. In China, the price of pork jumped
58% in 2007. In the 1980s and 1990s, farm subsidies and support
programs allowed major grain exporting countries to hold large
surpluses, which could be tapped during food shortages to keep prices
down. However, new trade policies had made agricultural production
much more responsive to market demands, putting global food reserves
at their lowest since 1983.
Rising food prices in those years have been linked with social unrest
around the world, including rioting in
Bangladesh and Mexico, and
the Arab Spring.
Food prices worldwide increased in 2008.
One cause of rising food prices is wealthier Asian consumers are
westernizing their diets, and farmers and nations of the third world
are struggling to keep up the pace. The past five years have seen
rapid growth in the contribution of Asian nations to the global fluid
and powdered milk manufacturing industry, which in 2008 accounted for
more than 30% of production, while
China alone accounts for more than
10% of both production and consumption in the global fruit and
vegetable processing and preserving industry.
Overseas Development Institute researchers showed that rice
has more than doubled in price since 2000, rising by 120% in real
terms. This was as a result of shifts in trade policy and restocking
by major producers. More fundamental drivers of increased prices are
the higher costs of fertiliser, diesel and labour. Parts of Asia see
rural wages rise with potential large benefits for the 1.3 billion
(2008 estimate) of Asia's poor in reducing the poverty they face.
However, this negatively impacts more vulnerable groups who don't
share in the economic boom, especially in Asian and African coastal
cities. The researchers said the threat means social-protection
policies are needed to guard against price shocks. The research
proposed that in the longer run, the rises present opportunities to
export for Western African farmers with high potential for rice
production to replace imports with domestic production.
Most recently, global food prices have been more stable and relatively
low, after a sizable increase in late 2017, they are back under 75% of
the nominal value seen during the all-time high in the 2011 food
Institutions such as hedge funds, pension funds and investment banks
like Barclays Capital,
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have been
instrumental in pushing up prices in the last five years, with
investment in food commodities rising from $65bn to $126bn (£41bn to
£79bn) between 2007 and 2012, contributing to 30-year highs. This has
caused price fluctuations which are not strongly related to the actual
supply of food, according to the United Nations. Financial
institutions now make up 61% of all investment in wheat futures.
According to Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on food,
there was a rush by institutions to enter the food market following
George W Bush's
Commodities Futures Modernization Act
Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000. De
Schutter told the Independent in March 2012: "What we are seeing now
is that these financial markets have developed massively with the
arrival of these new financial investors, who are purely interested in
the short-term monetary gain and are not really interested in the
physical thing – they never actually buy the ton of wheat or maize;
they only buy a promise to buy or to sell. The result of this
financialisation of the commodities market is that the prices of the
products respond increasingly to a purely speculative logic. This
explains why in very short periods of time we see prices spiking or
bubbles exploding, because prices are less and less determined by the
real match between supply and demand." In 2011, 450 economists
from around the world called on the
G20 to regulate the commodities
Some experts have said that speculation has merely aggravated other
factors, such as climate change, competition with bio-fuels and
overall rising demand. However, some such as Jayati Ghosh,
professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi,
have pointed out that prices have increased irrespective of supply and
demand issues: Ghosh points to world wheat prices, which doubled in
the period from June to December 2010, despite there being no fall in
Famine and hunger
Food deprivation leads to malnutrition and ultimately starvation. This
is often connected with famine, which involves the absence of food in
entire communities. This can have a devastating and widespread effect
on human health and mortality.
Rationing is sometimes used to
distribute food in times of shortage, most notably during times of
Starvation is a significant international problem. Approximately 815
million people are undernourished, and over 16,000 children die per
day from hunger-related causes.
Food deprivation is regarded as a
deficit need in
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Maslow's hierarchy of needs and is measured using
Food aid can benefit people suffering from a shortage of food. It can
be used to improve peoples' lives in the short term, so that a society
can increase its standard of living to the point that food aid is no
longer required. Conversely, badly managed food aid can create
problems by disrupting local markets, depressing crop prices, and
discouraging food production. Sometimes a cycle of food aid dependence
can develop. Its provision, or threatened withdrawal, is sometimes
used as a political tool to influence the policies of the destination
country, a strategy known as food politics. Sometimes, food aid
provisions will require certain types of food be purchased from
certain sellers, and food aid can be misused to enhance the markets of
donor countries. International efforts to distribute food to the
neediest countries are often coordinated by the World Food
Salmonella bacteria is a common cause of foodborne illness,
particularly in undercooked chicken and chicken eggs.
Foodborne illness, commonly called "food poisoning", is caused by
bacteria, toxins, viruses, parasites, and prions. Roughly 7 million
people die of food poisoning each year, with about 10 times as many
suffering from a non-fatal version. The two most common factors
leading to cases of bacterial foodborne illness are
cross-contamination of ready-to-eat food from other uncooked foods and
improper temperature control. Less commonly, acute adverse reactions
can also occur if chemical contamination of food occurs, for example
from improper storage, or use of non-food grade soaps and
Food can also be adulterated by a very wide range of
articles (known as "foreign bodies") during farming, manufacture,
cooking, packaging, distribution, or sale. These foreign bodies can
include pests or their droppings, hairs, cigarette butts, wood chips,
and all manner of other contaminants. It is possible for certain types
of food to become contaminated if stored or presented in an unsafe
container, such as a ceramic pot with lead-based glaze.
Food poisoning has been recognized as a disease since as early as
Hippocrates. The sale of rancid, contaminated, or adulterated food
was commonplace until the introduction of hygiene, refrigeration, and
vermin controls in the 19th century. Discovery of techniques for
killing bacteria using heat, and other microbiological studies by
scientists such as Louis Pasteur, contributed to the modern sanitation
standards that are ubiquitous in developed nations today. This was
further underpinned by the work of Justus von Liebig, which led to the
development of modern food storage and food preservation methods.
In more recent years, a greater understanding of the causes of
food-borne illnesses has led to the development of more systematic
approaches such as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points
(HACCP), which can identify and eliminate many risks.
Recommended measures for ensuring food safety include maintaining a
clean preparation area with foods of different types kept separate,
ensuring an adequate cooking temperature, and refrigerating foods
promptly after cooking.
Foods that spoil easily, such as meats, dairy, and seafood, must be
prepared a certain way to avoid contaminating the people for whom they
are prepared. As such, the rule of thumb is that cold foods (such as
dairy products) should be kept cold and hot foods (such as soup)
should be kept hot until storage. Cold meats, such as chicken, that
are to be cooked should not be placed at room temperature for thawing,
at the risk of dangerous bacterial growth, such as
Salmonella or E.
Some people have allergies or sensitivities to foods which are not
problematic to most people. This occurs when a person's immune system
mistakes a certain food protein for a harmful foreign agent and
attacks it. About 2% of adults and 8% of children have a food
allergy. The amount of the food substance required to provoke a
reaction in a particularly susceptible individual can be quite small.
In some instances, traces of food in the air, too minute to be
perceived through smell, have been known to provoke lethal reactions
in extremely sensitive individuals. Common food allergens are gluten,
corn, shellfish (mollusks), peanuts, and soy. Allergens frequently
produce symptoms such as diarrhea, rashes, bloating, vomiting, and
regurgitation. The digestive complaints usually develop within half an
hour of ingesting the allergen.
Rarely, food allergies can lead to a medical emergency, such as
anaphylactic shock, hypotension (low blood pressure), and loss of
consciousness. An allergen associated with this type of reaction is
peanut, although latex products can induce similar reactions.
Initial treatment is with epinephrine (adrenaline), often carried by
known patients in the form of an
Epi-pen or Twinject.
Other health issues
Human diet was estimated to cause perhaps around 35% of cancers in a
human epidemiological analysis by
Richard Doll and
Richard Peto in
1981. These cancer may be caused by carcinogens that are present
in food naturally or as contaminants.
Food contaminated with fungal
growth may contain mycotoxins such as aflatoxins which may be found in
contaminated corn and peanuts. Other carcinogens identified in food
include heterocyclic amines generated in meat when cooked at high
temperature, polyaromatic hydrocarbons in charred meat and smoked
fish, and nitrosamines generated from nitrites used as food
preservatives in cured meat such as bacon.
Anticarcinogens that may help prevent cancer can also be found in many
food especially fruit and vegetables. Antioxidants are important
groups of compounds that may help remove potentially harmful
chemicals. It is however often difficult to identify the specific
components in diet that serve to increase or decrease cancer risk
since many food, such as beef steak and broccoli, contain low
concentrations of both carcinogens and anticarcinogens. There are
many international certifications in cooking field, such as Monde
Selection、A.A.Certification、iTQi. They use the high quality
evaluation methods to make the food become more safe.
Changes of food supply (by energy)
Other area (Yr 2010) * Africa, sub-Sahara - 2170 kcal/capita/day *
N.E. and N. Africa - 3120 kcal/capita/day * South Asia - 2450
kcal/capita/day * East Asia - 3040 kcal/capita/day * Latin America /
Caribbean - 2950 kcal/capita/day * Developed countries - 3470
Main article: Diet (nutrition)
Cultural and religious diets
Many cultures hold some food preferences and some food taboos. Dietary
choices can also define cultures and play a role in religion. For
example, only kosher foods are permitted by Judaism, halal foods by
Islam, and in
Hinduism beef is restricted. In addition, the
dietary choices of different countries or regions have different
characteristics. This is highly related to a culture's cuisine.
Main article: Avitaminosis
Dietary habits play a significant role in the health and mortality of
all humans. Imbalances between the consumed fuels and expended energy
results in either starvation or excessive reserves of adipose tissue,
known as body fat. Poor intake of various vitamins and minerals
can lead to diseases that can have far-reaching effects on health. For
instance, 30% of the world's population either has, or is at risk for
developing, iodine deficiency. It is estimated that at least 3
million children are blind due to vitamin A deficiency.
deficiency results in scurvy. Calcium,
Vitamin D, and phosphorus
are inter-related; the consumption of each may affect the absorption
of the others.
Kwashiorkor and marasmus are childhood disorders caused
by lack of dietary protein.
Moral, ethical, and health-conscious diets
Many individuals limit what foods they eat for reasons of morality, or
other habit. For instance, vegetarians choose to forgo food from
animal sources to varying degrees. Others choose a healthier diet,
avoiding sugars or animal fats and increasing consumption of dietary
fiber and antioxidants. Obesity, a serious problem in the western
world, leads to higher chances of developing heart disease, diabetes,
cancer and many other diseases. More recently, dietary habits have
been influenced by the concerns that some people have about possible
impacts on health or the environment from genetically modified
food. Further concerns about the impact of industrial farming
(grains) on animal welfare, human health, and the environment are also
having an effect on contemporary human dietary habits. This has led to
the emergence of a movement with a preference for organic and local
Nutrition and dietary problems
MyPyramid as the
USDA nutrition guide.
Between the extremes of optimal health and death from starvation or
malnutrition, there is an array of disease states that can be caused
or alleviated by changes in diet. Deficiencies, excesses, and
imbalances in diet can produce negative impacts on health, which may
lead to various health problems such as scurvy, obesity, or
osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases as well as
psychological and behavioral problems. The science of nutrition
attempts to understand how and why specific dietary aspects influence
Nutrients in food are grouped into several categories. Macronutrients
are fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Micronutrients are the minerals
and vitamins. Additionally, food contains water and dietary fiber.
As previously discussed, the body is designed by natural selection to
enjoy sweet and fattening foods for evolutionary diets, ideal for
hunters and gatherers. Thus, sweet and fattening foods in nature are
typically rare and are very pleasurable to eat. In modern times, with
advanced technology, enjoyable foods are easily available to
consumers. Unfortunately, this promotes obesity in adults and children
Some countries list a legal definition of food, often referring them
with the word foodstuff. These countries list food as any item that is
to be processed, partially processed, or unprocessed for consumption.
The listing of items included as food include any substance intended
to be, or reasonably expected to be, ingested by humans. In addition
to these foodstuffs, drink, chewing gum, water, or other items
processed into said food items are part of the legal definition of
food. Items not included in the legal definition of food include
animal feed, live animals (unless being prepared for sale in a
market), plants prior to harvesting, medicinal products, cosmetics,
tobacco and tobacco products, narcotic or psychotropic substances, and
residues and contaminants.
Types of food
Agriculture and Agronomy portal
Food and Bioprocess Technology
Category:Lists of foods
Food Inc., a 2009 documentary
Future food technology
List of foods
Lists of prepared foods
Nutrition facts label
Optimal foraging theory
Outline of cooking
Outline of nutrition
Packaging and labeling
^ "food". Encyclopedia Britannica. Archived from the original on
2017-07-27. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
^ Society, National Geographic (2011-03-01). "food". National
Geographic Society. Archived from the original on 2017-03-22.
^ "ProdSTAT". FAOSTAT. Archived from the original on 2012-02-09.
Retrieved 2008. Check date values in: access-date= (help)
^ Favour, Eboh. "DESIGN AND FABRICATION OF A MILL PULVERIZER".
Archived from the original on 2017-12-26.
^ Engineers, NIIR Board of Consultants & (2006-04-01). The
Complete Book on Spices & Condiments (with Cultivation, Processing
& Uses) 2nd Revised Edition: With Cultivation, Processing &
Uses. ASIA PACIFIC BUSINESS PRESS Inc. ISBN 9788178330389.
Archived from the original on 2017-12-26.
^ McGee, 333–334.
^ McGee, 253.
^ McGee, Chapter 9.
^ "Are apple cores poisonous?". The Naked Scientists, University of
Cambridge. 26 Sep 2010. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014.
Retrieved 12 May 2014.
^ McGee, Chapter 7.
^ McGee, Chapter 6.
^ Davidson, 81–82.
^ a b Messer, 53–91.
^ "Popular Culture,
Food and". Archived from the original on 29 May
2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
^ Boelee, E. (Ed) Ecosystems for water and food security Archived
2013-05-23 at the Wayback Machine., 2011, IWMI, UNEP
Evolution of taste receptor may have shaped human sensitivity to
toxic compounds". Medical News Today. Archived from the original on 27
September 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
^ "Why does pure water have no taste or colour?". The Times Of India.
2004-04-03. Archived from the original on 2015-12-30.
^ a b New Oxford American Dictionary
^ The sweetness multiplier "300 times" comes from subjective
evaluations by a panel of test subjects Archived January 23, 2009, at
the Wayback Machine. tasting various dilutions compared to a standard
dilution of sucrose. Sources referenced in this article say
steviosides have up to 250 times the sweetness of sucrose, but others,
including stevioside brands such as SweetLeaf, claim 300 times. 1/3 to
1/2 teaspoon (1.6–2.5 ml) of stevioside powder is claimed to have
equivalent sweetening power to 1 cup (237 ml) of sugar.
^ States "having an acid taste like lemon or vinegar: she sampled the
wine and found it was sour. (of food, esp. milk) spoiled because of
fermentation." New Oxford American Dictionary
Food Preservatives". Archived from the original on 13 May 2015.
Retrieved 29 May 2015.
^ Farr, Sarah (2016). Healing Herbal Teas: Learn to Blend 101
Specially Formulated Teas for Stress Management, Common Ailments,
Seasonal Health, and Immune Support. Storey Publishing.
^ Feely, Caro (2015-11-12). Wine: The Essential Guide to Tasting,
History, Culture and More. Summersdale Publishers LTD.
^ Shugart, Helene A. (2008). "Sumptuous Texts: Consuming "Otherness"
Food Film Genre". Critical Studies in Media Communication. 25
(1): 68. doi:10.1080/15295030701849928.
^ "You first eat with your eyes". Archived from the original on 29 May
2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
Food Texture, Andrew J. Rosenthal
^ Rosenthal, Andrew J (1999-02-28). "
Food Texture: Measurement and
Perception". ISBN 978-0-8342-1238-1.
^ Mead, 11–19
^ McGee, 142–143.
^ McGee, 202–206
^ McGee Chapter 14.
^ a b c Mead, 11–19.
^ Campbell, 312.
^ McGee, 784.
^ Davidson, 782–783
^ McGee, 539,784.
^ McGee, 771–791
^ Davidson, 356.
^ Davidson, 786–787.
^ Robuchon, 224.
^ Davidson, 656
^ Davidson, 660–661.
United States Department of Agriculture
^ Aguilera, 1–3.
^ Miguel, 3.
^ a b c Jango-Cohen
^ The Economic Research Service of the USDA
^ CIA World Factbook
^ World Trade Organization, The Uruguay Round
^ Van den Bossche
^ Smith, 501–3.
^ Magdoff, Fred (Ed.) "[T]he farmer's share of the food dollar (after
paying for input costs) has steadily declined from about 40 percent in
1910 to less than 10 percent in 1990."
^ "Annual real food price indices". Archived from the original on 1
April 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
^ "FAO food prices index". FAO.org. Archived from the original on 25
Feb 2018. Retrieved 25 Feb 2018.
Food prices rising across the world", CNN. 24 March 2008
^ a b c d e f g h "The real hunger games: How banks gamble on food
prices – and the poor lose out". The Independent. Archived from the
original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
Food Prices Spur the Arab Spring?". PBS NewsHour. Archived from
the original on 29 April 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
^ "World food prices stabilize, no drop in sight: WFP". Reuters.
Retrieved 29 May 2015.
^ "Inflation slows in Feb. as food prices stabilize". GMA News Online.
Archived from the original on 25 September 2010. Retrieved 29 May
^ May 2008, Global Trends: –
Food Production and Consumption: The
China Effect Archived 2014-12-31 at the Wayback Machine., IBISWorld
^ Steve Wiggins and Sharada Keats, August 2013, The end of cheap rice:
a cause for celebration? ODI Briefings 82 Archived June 19, 2014, at
the Wayback Machine.
^ World Health Organization
^ Howe, 353–372
United Nations World
^ a b National Institute of Health, MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
^ Hippocrates, On Acute Diseases.
^ Magner, 243–498
^ "Check Your Steps". Archived from the original on 21 May 2015.
Retrieved 29 May 2015.
^ "Fact sheets - Poultry Preparation - Focus on Chicken". Archived
from the original on 2004-05-19.
^ a b c d National Institute of Health
^ About Epipen, Epipen.com Archived January 6, 2010, at the Wayback
^ About Twinject, Twinject.com
^ Doll, R.; Peto, R. (1981). "The causes of cancer: Quantitative
estimates of avoidable risks of cancer in the
United States today".
Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 66 (6): 1191–1308.
doi:10.1093/jnci/66.6.1192. PMID 7017215.
^ a b Carcinogens and Anticarcinogens in the
Human Diet. National
Academy Press. 1996. ISBN 0-309-05391-9.
^ FAO FAOSTAT Archived 2013-12-02 at the Wayback Machine.
^ These are supplied energy, intake energy are about 60-80% of supply.
Food Security Archived 2013-10-31 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Merson, 245
^ Merson, 231.
^ Merson, 464.
^ Merson, 224.
^ Merson, 266–268.
^ Parekh, 187–206.
United Kingdom Office of Public Sector Information
Aguilera, Jose Miguel and David W. Stanley. Microstructural Principles
Food Processing and Engineering. Springer, 1999.
Asado Argentina. About
Asado Argentina. Retrieved from
http://www.asadoargentina.com/about-asado-argentina/ on 2007-05-28.
Campbell, Bernard Grant.
Human Evolution: An Introduction to Man's
Adaptations. Aldine Transaction: 1998. ISBN 0-202-02042-8.
Carpenter, Ruth Ann; Finley, Carrie E. Healthy
Eating Every Day. Human
Kinetics, 2005. ISBN 0-7360-5186-4.
Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food. 2nd ed. UK: Oxford
University Press, 2006.
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The State of
Food Insecurity in the World 2005. . Retrieved from
http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/a0200e/a0200e00.htm on 2006-09-29.
Hannaford, Steve. Oligopoly Watch: Top 20 world food companies.
Retrieved from http://www.oligopolywatch.com/2005/10/06.html on
Howe, P. and S. Devereux.
Famine Intensity and Magnitude Scales: A
Proposal for an Instrumental Definition of Famine. 2004.
Humphery, Kim. Shelf Life: Supermarkets and the Changing Cultures of
Consumption. Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Jango-Cohen, Judith. The History Of Food. Twenty-First Century Books,
2005. ISBN 0-8225-2484-8.
Jurgens, Marshall H.
Animal Feeding and Nutrition. Kendall Hunt, 2001.
Food aid or hidden dumping?. Oxfam International,
March 2005. Retrieved from
Lawrie, Stephen; R A Lawrie. Lawrie's
Meat Science. Woodhead
Publishing: 1998. ISBN 1-85573-395-1.
Magdoff, Fred; Foster, John Bellamy; and Buttel, Frederick H. Hungry
for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food, and the
Environment. September 2000. ISBN 1-58367-016-5.
Mason, John. Sustainable Agriculture. Landlinks Press: 2003.
Merson, Michael H.; Black, Robert E.; Mills, Anne J. International
Public Health: Disease, Programs, Systems, and Policies. Jones and
Bartlett Publishers, 2005.
McGee, Harold. On
Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the
Kitchen. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.
Mead, Margaret. The Changing Significance of Food. In Carole Counihan
and Penny Van Esterik (Ed.),
Food and Culture: A Reader. UK:
Routledge, 1997. ISBN 0-415-91710-7.
Messer, Ellen; Derose, Laurie Fields and Sara Millman. Who's Hungry?
and How Do We Know?:
Food Shortage, Poverty, and Deprivation. United
Nations University Press, 1998. ISBN 92-808-0985-7.
National Institute of Health.
Food poisoning. MedlinePlus Medical
Encyclopedia F. May 11, 2006. Retrieved from
Nicklas, Barbara J. Endurance Exercise and
Adipose Tissue. CRC Press,
2002. ISBN 0-8493-0460-1.
Parekh, Sarad R. The Gmo Handbook: Genetically Modified Animals,
Microbes, and Plants in Biotechnology. Humana Press,2004.
Regmi, Anita (editor).Changing Structure of Global
and Trade. Market and Trade Economics Division, Economic Research
Service, USDA, May 30, 2001. stock #ERSWRS01-1.
Schor, Juliet; Taylor, Betsy (editors). Sustainable Planet: Roadmaps
for the Twenty-First Century. Beacon Press, 2003.
Food Dumping (Aid) Maintains Poverty. Causes of Poverty.
Simoons, Frederick J. Eat Not This Flesh:
Food Avoidances from
Prehistory to the Present. ISBN 0-299-14250-7.
Smith, Andrew (Editor). “
Food Marketing,” in Oxford Encyclopedia
Food and Drink, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
The Economic Research Service of the USDA. Global
Briefing Rooms. Retrieved from
United Kingdom Office of Public Sector Information.
Food Safety Act
1990 (c. 16). Retrieved from
United States Department of Agriculture,
USDA Economic Research
Service: The Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources, and Rural
America. "Briefing Rooms,
Food CPI, Prices and Expenditures: Food
Expenditure Tables". Retrieved from
Van den Bossche, Peter. The Law and Policy of the bosanac Trade
Organization: Text, Cases and Materials. UK: Cambridge University
Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-82290-4.
Food Programme. Breaking out of the Poverty Trap: How We Use
Food Aid. Retrieved from
World Health Organization. WHO Global Database on Child Growth and
Malnutrition. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/nutgrowthdb/en/ on
World Trade Organization. The Uruguay Round. Retrieved from
Collingham, E. M. (2011). The
Taste of War: World War Two and the
Battle for Food
Katz, Solomon (2003). The Encyclopedia of
Food and Culture, Scribner
Nestle, Marion (2007).
Food Politics: How the
Food Industry Influences
Nutrition and Health, University Presses of California, revised and
expanded edition, ISBN 0-520-25403-1
Mobbs, Michael (2012). Sustainable
Food Sydney: NewSouth Publishing,
The Future of
Food (2015). A panel discussion at the 2015 Digital Life
Design (DLD) Annual Conference. "How can we grow and enjoy food,
closer to home, further into the future? MIT Media Lab’s Kevin
Slavin hosts a conversation with food artist, educator, and
entrepreneur Emilie Baltz, professor Caleb Harper from MIT Media Lab's
CityFarm project, the Barbarian Group's Benjamin Palmer, and Andras
Forgacs, the co-founder and CEO of Modern Meadow, who is growing
'victimless' meat in a lab. The discussion addresses issues of
sustainable urban farming, ecosystems, technology, food supply chains
and their broad environmental and humanitarian implications, and how
these changes in food production may change what people may find
delicious ... and the other way around." Posted on the official
YouTube Channel of DLD
Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Cookbook
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Food.
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The dictionary definition of food at Wiktionary
Media related to food at Wikimedia Commons
Food, BBC Radio 4 discussion with Rebecca Spang, Ivan Day and Felipe
Fernandez-Armesto (In Our Time, Dec. 27, 2001)
Links to related articles
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central African Republic
Ivorian (Côte d'Ivoire)
São Tomé and Príncipe
Trinidadian and Tobagonian
Early modern European
Historical South Asian
History of seafood
History of vegetarianism
Note by Note
List of cuisines
Lists of prepared foods
Components & courses
Apéritif and digestif
Conveyor belt sushi
Full course dinner
Service à la française
Service à la russe
Table manners /
Eating utensil etiquette
Banchan / Korean table d'hôte
Dim sum / Yum cha
Izakaya / Sakana
Meat and three
Pu pu platter
Menus and meal deals
À la carte
Tasting menu / Degustation
Meal delivery service
Essential fatty acids
"Minerals" (Chemical elements)
Adulterants, food contaminants
Mercury in fish
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
High-fructose corn syrup
Escherichia coli O104:H4
Escherichia coli O157:H7
Parasitic infections through food
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
Toxins, poisons, environment pollution
Arsenic contamination of groundwater
Benzene in soft drinks
Food contamination incidents
Swill milk scandal
1858 Bradford sweets poisoning
1900 English beer poisoning
Milk arsenic poisoning incident
1971 Iraq poison grain disaster
Toxic oil syndrome
1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak
1996 Odwalla E. coli outbreak
2006 North American E. coli outbreaks
ICA meat repackaging controversy
2008 Canada listeriosis outbreak
2008 Chinese milk scandal
2008 Irish pork crisis
United States salmonellosis outbreak
2011 Germany E. coli outbreak
2011 Taiwan food scandal
United States listeriosis outbreak
2013 Bihar school meal poisoning
2013 horse meat scandal
2013 Taiwan food scandal
2014 Taiwan food scandal
2017 Brazil weak meat scandal
2017–18 South African listeriosis outbreak
Food safety incidents in China
Regulation, standards, watchdogs
Acceptable daily intake
Food labeling regulations
Food libel laws
Food Safety Network
Quality Assurance International
Food Safety Authority
Food Safety and Health
Food Safety Network
Food and Drug Safety
Artificial fat substitutes
Artificial protein substitutes
Acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Artificial sugar substitutes
Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates
Natural food substitutes
International Association for
Food and Drug Administration
Food Research Organization
Food and Drug Authority
Lists of prepared foods
Central African Republic
Southern United States
São Tomé and Príncipe
French fry accompaniments
Desserts and sweets
Soups and stews
Snack foods by country
Foods with religious symbolism
Brand name snacks
Made from maple
Pies, tarts and flans
By cooking style
By preparation style
Breads, grains and seeds
Fried noodle dishes
Rice and beans
Fruits and vegetables
Fish and seafood
Sushi and sashimi
Soups and Stews
Fish and seafood
Pies, tarts and flans
Category: Lists of foods
Pollution / quality
Ambient standards (USA)
Clean Air Act (USA)
Fossil fuels (peak oil)
Non-timber forest products
Types / location
storage and recovery
Earth Overshoot Day
Renewable / Non-renewable
Agriculture and agronomy