We are living in an era of severe mass extinction, due to air and water pollution which contaminates and reduces the worldwide biodiversity including both plants and animals, this results in global warming, oxygen deficiency, and loss of agricultural and forestry products. This causes a slow but steady increase in price throughout the years, and this problem with the addition that Indonesia is a developing country makes it worse as it increases the percentage of the population living in poverty to a significant extent. Worldwide access to secure food is the number one human right which is unfortunately yet to be achieved.
Food technology is a mixture of food science and nutrition. Food science focuses on the food components themselves, and nutrition focuses on how they interact inside the human body, and food technology focuses on how to safely and consistently produce those foods in large scales. Here are some subjects studied in Food technology that might provide useful solution for climate change and poverty problems:
- Nutrition is undoubtedly related to poverty as it is one of the primary purposes of this study program, focusing on which nutrients do humans need, especially on vulnerable people like infants, pregnant and lactating women and the elderly. A recent topic that is important to be covered is how to increase immunity during recent pandemic.
- Biology, including horticultural and animal science studies the main mechanisms of which food animals and plants work, an example of how this can positively affect climate change is by sustainable and ethical forestry and agriculture.
- Food biochemistry aids in genetic modification, to increase the yields/resilience of those animals and plants, while also enhancing their nutritional qualities
- Food microbiology identifies microbes are in food, which are beneficial, and which are dangerous. Beneficial microbes can be used for fermentation, this increases the shelf life of foods without the need for any energy consuming process, while inhibiting the growth of some harmful microbes that can cause spoilage to food/illness to consumers. This study program has been getting a high demand due to the low energy consumption, with an added value of developing products with healthy bacteria which can increase the nutrient absorption and reduce malnutrition
- Food processing technology and food engineering focuses on mechanical and thermal processes in food to preserve it by using heat to reduce moisture, and kill microbes. These processes inevitably burn fuels. However, some green processing techniques can be used like using solar cells instead of fossil fuels, selling solid wastes as fertilizer, and filtering gas wastes to reduce the emissions rather than direct disposal which is actually the third largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. It also includes functional packaging that can extend the shelf life of foods, and ones that are biodegradable/edible so that they don’t contribute to landfills
- Food chemistry is a very diverse subject focuses on the components inside a food material and reactions within it, what causes them to change? Are they dangerous? Do we need to add anything? How do they affect the shelf life?
- Food additives will extend the shelf life of foods, leading to less waste, cheaper price and easier access, and improving the sensory characteristics like the colors, textures and flavors.
- Sensory evaluation processes the feedback data of panelists so that food scientists know what ideal formulation and processing method is acceptable by the public in which the panelist can be trained or untrained. This subject also closely related to statistical analysis.
- Food standardization and legislation covers all of these topics like whether the dosage of the food additive is appropriate, or if the contents of the product reach the nutritional standards. Another example is halal implementation, which correlates to the cleanliness of the machinery, and whether the slaughtering of animals is ethical or not. Food standardization also covers waste management, which states how much contaminants are accepted for direct dumping, and what processes must be done to reduce the environmental pollutants, which may ruin the biodiversity or cause global warming.