Chemical analysis of foods: an introduction

Chemical analysis of foods: an introduction
Leighton Jones
Chipping Campden, UK: Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association | 2005 | 144pp | ?30.00 (SB) | ISBN 0905942728
Reviewed by Rachel Burch

This book is part of the Key topics in food science and technology series, industry-relevant introductory guides, and as such it will fulfil its purpose. Few of the topics are covered in any depth but references are given to guide the reader to further study and little or no chemistry is assumed or required.

The main chapters of the book cover the reasons for analysing food, including the uses to which results are put, the importance of validation and quality controls, and analytical methods. There is also a chapter that discusses the complications of analyses such as dietary fibre, where the method used will depend on the choice of definition of the analyte. 

Relevant and topical examples are used throughout, for example the issue of Sudan dye adulteration is discussed. There are also several references to the requirement for salt declaration and the factors to consider when choosing between sodium or chloride analysis to provide an accurate result. 

While in general the book provides a good overview of chemical analysis, some subjects are covered in detail while others are omitted completely. A whole page is devoted to describing the number of samples that should be taken for analysis but the subsequent description of the main stages in analysis makes no mention of subsampling or the need for sample homogeneity.

The book will be of most use to those in the food industry charged with commissioning analysis, as the book emphasises the importance of such factors as extent of validation when selecting a laboratory, the need to understand the purpose of the analysis and the bearing this has on the choice of method. However, the lack of detail in the book, coupled with the lack of an index, means it will be of little use to students or anyone involved in practical chemical analysis.