The Food reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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Food from plant sources

Food is an object eaten or drunk by living things. The term food also includes liquid drinks. Food is the main source of energy and/or nutrition and is usually of animal or plant origin. In English, the term is sometimes used metaphorically, as in food for thought.

Table of contents
1 Legal definition of food
2 Human eating habits
3 Food production or acquisition
4 Food manufacture
5 Nutrients in food
6 Food safety
7 See also
8 External links

Legal definition of food

Western food law recognises four categories of object as food:

Human eating habits

Historical development

Humans are omnivorous creatures that can consume both plant and animal product. We changed from gatherers to hunter gatherers. After the experience of the Ice Age it is probable that humans wanted to create some feeling of security by controlling what plants were growing and which animals were available. This led to the development of agriculture.


Food is eaten as part of a meal or taken in smaller quantities between meals, which substances are referred to as snack foods. People often choose to eat meals together with other family members or friends and this is seen as an important social occasion. The number of meals in a day, their size, composition and when and how they are eaten are greatly dependent on cultural traditions. Meals play an important role in the celebration of many key cultural and religious festivals.

Contemporary changes to work, family and exercise patterns, together with concerns about the effect of nutrition and obesity on human health and mortality are having an effect on traditional eating habits.

Food handling and preparation

Food and religion

Food production or acquisition

Food for humans is mostly obtained through farming, ranching, and fishing, with hunting, foraging and other methods of subsistence locally important for some populations, but very minor for most. In the modern era, in developed nations, food supply is increasingly dependent upon factory farming techniques.

Food for livestock is known as fodder and traditionally comprises hay or grain.

Basic foods

Many people forgo food from animal sources to varying degrees; see vegetarianism, veganism, fructarianism , living foods diet, and raw foodism.

Food manufacture

Types of manufactured food

Nutrients in food

Knowledge about the nutritional components, and the interactions of these components in human metabolism for an ideal diet is an expanding area of knowledge.

Food safety

Foodborne illness or food poisoning, is caused by bacteria, toxins, viruses and prions. Food poisoning has been recognised as a disease of man since as early as Hippocrates. Murder by food poisoning was used during the Roman Empire. In the Middle Ages all Royal Courtss had food tasters.

The sale of contaminated or adulterated food was commonplace until introduction of hygiene controls in the 19th century. Discovery of techniques for killing bacteria using heat and other microbiological principles by scientists such as Louis Pasteur contributed to the modern standards that we enjoy today. This was further underpinned by the work of Justus von Liebig whose work led to the development of modern food preservation methods.

See also

External links