Michael Doyle, emeritus professor of food microbiology in food science and technology, was quoted in Food Processing about “clean” foods.
The “clean label” movement has fostered health- and sustainability-conscious consumption, corporate transparency and considerable product innovation. But the fear of chemical-sounding ingredients and additives that are unfamiliar to consumers but understood by food scientists are effecting the movement. The food processing industry is rushing to reformulate products to appease consumers, while scientists worry that removing or replacing time-tested preservatives could compromise food safety.
Doyle, a former director of UGA’s Center for Food Safety, acknowledged that not all additives traditionally used by the food industry are absolutely necessary, but they do serve a purpose.
“Some are for functionality. Some are for stability. Some are for color,” he said. “Sorbate and benzoate have been used for years as antimicrobial preservatives, not just for preventing mold and yeast growth. Sorbate is added, for example, to certain foods like processed cheese that’s vacuum-packaged because it helps prevent Clostridium botulinum from growing and producing toxins.”