Even for those who rarely think beyond their next meal, food is an inescapable part of the future. Here, a British biologist tries to foretell what's likely to end up on our table in years to come.Ford (Patterns of Sex, 1980) begins with the basics. Food, whatever its origin, must supply essential nutrients: fats, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. The importance of many of these nutrients has been known for over a century, and yet a large fraction of the world's population still suffers from basic dietary deficiencies. In industrial countries, cookery is a dying art; three-fourths of American meals are prepared outside the home. The economics of food production have key implications: a decline in meat-eating is likely to occur in the near future, for example, less on account of health issues than economic ones (the same amount of grain required to raise one pound of beef could make sixteen pounds of bread). On the other hand, changes in food processing leave us vulnerable to a wide range of food-borne disease, from mad cow disease to toxin-producing E. coli. The potential dangers of genetic engineering remain to be discovered, although genetically modified foods are already on the market. Ford calls for greater public consultation, clearer labeling, and more stringent testing and regulation. Meanwhile, some 800 million people, most of them women and children, go hungry. International cooperation, possibly in the form of some quasi-military Food Force, may be the only long-range way to distribute food equitably. In developing countries, Ford predicts a decrease in meat consumption and an increasing reliance on tasty but highly nutritious snack foods and meat substitutes. And while the meal in a pill beloved by sci-fi writers may well come to be, it will still need to be supplemented by traditional foodstuffs to insure a proper balance of nutrients. A provocative if somewhat unfocused look at a subject near and dear to everyone. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Our future depends on food: it controls our health, underpins social structures, and helps dictate the political agenda. Among the crucial issues discussed in this challenging study of food by the eminent biologist Brian J. Ford are new food-borne diseases and the dietary needs of the young, the elderly, and women. He examines the complex questions of genetically modified food and provides important insights into food intolerance and life-threatening allergies, the relationship between food and culture, organic farming, the impact of climate change, and how revolutionary new foods will change the world.
Examines the food-borne disease that have always been with us, such as Salmonella and E. coli, as well as those that have recently emerged, like Listeriosis, and new variant CJD. Reveals misconceptions in current popular thinking about food, including natural foods, and discusses the role of organic farming. Softcover.
About the Author
Brian J. Ford is author of the best-selling Microbiology and Food. He is a Fellow of Cardiff University, a member of the Advisory Board of the McCrone Research Institute in Chicago and of the New York Academy of Sciences, and he lectures regularly in the United States.