WHAT ARE ACIDS AND BASES? An acid is defined as a solution with more positive hydrogen ions than negative hydroxyl ions, which are made of one atom of oxygen and one of hydrogen. Acidity and basicity are measured on a scale called the pH scale. The value of freshly distilled water is seven, which indicates a neutral solution. A value of less than seven indicates an acid, and a value of more than seven indicates a base. Common acids include lemon juice and coffee, while common bases include ammonia and bleach.
WHY DOES FOOD SPOIL? Processing and improper storage practices can expose food items to heat or oxygen, which causes deterioration. In ancient times, salt was used to cure meats and fish to preserve them longer, while sugar was added to fruits to prevent spoilage. Certain herbs, spices and vinegar can also be used as preservatives, along with anti-oxidants, most notably Vitamins C and E. In processed foods, certain FDA-approved chemical additives also help extend shelf life.
This report has been produced thanks to a generous grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.