Food Safety Lessons Learned from COVID‐19
The COVID‐19 pandemic has ushered in a new era of food safety. To date, there is no evidence to suggest that consuming food is associated with contracting COVID‐19. Nevertheless, the virus’s impact on food safety and security has been grave. The world is currently experiencing several supply chain issues as a direct result of extensive lockdowns and impacts on essential worker safety. However, disruption in the food supply, while catastrophic in nature, has created opportunities for the advancement of medical science, data processing, security monitoring, foodborne pathogen detection, and food safety technology. This article discusses the key components for food safety during the COVID‐19 pandemic. The discussion draws from lessons learned early in the outbreak and analyzes the etiology of the disease from a food safety perspective. From there, we discuss personal protective equipment, detection of SARS‐CoV‐2, useful surrogates to study SARS‐CoV‐2, and the expanding field of data science, from the food safety point of view. In the future, scientists can apply this knowledge to the containment of COVID‐19 and, eventually, to future pandemics. Journal of Food Safety. Published December 18, 2020. DOI: 10.1111/jfs.12878.
Rapid Point‐of‐Care Testing Methods for Meat Species Identification
The authentication of animal species is an important issue due to an increasing trend of adulteration and mislabeling of animal species in processed meat products. Polymerase chain reaction is the most sensitive and specific technique for nucleic acid‐based animal species detection; however, it is a time‐consuming technique that requires costly thermocyclers and sophisticated labs. Recently, there has been a need for on‐site detection by point‐of‐care (POC) testing methods and devices under low‐resource settings. These devices must be affordable, sensitive, specific, user‐friendly, rapid and robust, equipment free, and delivered to the end users. POC devices should also confirm the concept of micro total analysis system. This review discusses POC testing methods and devices that have been developed for meat species identification. Recent developments in lateral flow assay‐based devices for the identification of animal species in meat products are also reviewed. Advancements in increasing the efficiency of lateral flow detection are also discussed. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. Vol. 20(1):900–923.
Fatty Acids and Volatile Flavor Compounds in Plant‐Based Burgers
In recent years, interest in plant‐based meat alternatives (PBMAs) has been rapidly growing in both the food research community and the food industry due to higher consumer demands; however, scientific data regarding the health and aroma aspects of PBMA are rare. In this study, the fatty acids (FAs) and volatile flavor compounds (VFCs) were profiled in four types of plant‐based burgers (PBs) and compared with beef burgers (BBs). More than 40 FAs and 64 VFCs were detected and quantified in the samples. Nonsignificant differences were observed in the percentages of most FAs between uncooked and cooked PBs. PBs contained lower percentages of saturated FAs and trans‐FAs, higher percentages of unsaturated FAs, and a lower ratio of n‐6 to n‐3 FAs compared to the BBs. The FA profiles in PBs are mainly determined by their ingredients. The VFC profile of cooked PBs was different from that of the uncooked ones. The ingredients, thermally induced Maillard reaction, and lipid oxidation had contributed to the formation of the flavor. For uncooked samples, the VFC profiles of PB 3 and PB 4 were similar to that of BBs. For cooked samples, PB 1 had a similar VFC profile as BBs. This illustrated the importance of the cooking process for aroma formation; however, ingredients such as spices remain an important source of VFCs in these burger samples. Ingredient optimization could be an effective strategy to enhance the flavor of PBs so that they resemble BBs. Journal of Food Science. Published January 20, 2021. DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.15594.