Long-term food storage research underway


    By Joli Williams

    The food science and nutrition graduate programs have brought new meaning to the scripture, “if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”

    The Department of Food Science and Nutrition at BYU has recently changed its primary focus toward food storage research.

    Currently the department is working on a new project-The BYU Center for Long-term Food Preservation and Storage, said Dr. Oscar Pike, professor of food science.

    “Out of everyone in the food science field, BYU should be the expert in food storage,” said Dr. Lynn Ogden, food science department chair.

    BYU is unique because of its ability to combine religion and academics, Ogden said. “We should be applying our technologies in a way that benefits and blesses BYU, as well as the church.”

    During the October 2001 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley motivated members of the Church to reevaluate their food storage.

    “Let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need,” President Hinckley said.

    Although the Church has not adopted a set program on what food to store, the FSN department is currently doing its part by researching the quality of food after long-term storage, said Michelle Lloyd, supervisor of the BYU Food Quality Assurance Laboratory.

    Since everyone contributes various aspects of expertise, the goal of the project is to get the entire department involved, Lloyd said.

    Thus far, the food storage research conducted has helped to form a skeletal framework for future studies, Pike said.

    Eventually the department hopes its research will make a serious contribution in food storage understanding.

    “Our research is not just for church members,” said Dr. Merrill Christensen, professor of nutritional science. “It”s for people all around the world.”

    The food storage project, although important and exciting, is not the only project graduate students are involved with this semester.

    Other projects include mineral nutrition studies and diet and cancer research, as well as the carbonation of fluid foods, Ogden said.

    Still, many graduate students are only interested in the exciting world of food storage and preservation.

    “I”ve always been interested with food storage,” Lloyd said. “It is one of the reasons I decided to stay at BYU for my graduate degree.”

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