Food is a substance that is consumed to nourish the human body . The term food (formerly also: Viktualien in southern German ) as a generic term includes both drinking water and food . Drinking water consists of water and the minerals dissolved in it . In contrast to drinking water, food essentially consists of macro nutrients - these are carbohydrates , lipids ( fats ) and proteins - and therefore provide humans with chemically bound energy . In addition, micronutrients as bulk and trace elements are essential components of food. Food is consumed by humans for the purpose of nutrition or enjoyment through the mouth, possibly after further preparation.
From a legal point of view, in addition to drinking water and food, the main groups also include luxury foods, with the exception of tobacco products.
“For the purposes of this ordinance, 'food' means all substances or products which are intended or which can reasonably be expected to be consumed by humans in a processed, partially processed or unprocessed state. [...] 'Food' also includes beverages, chewing gum and all substances, including water, that are intentionally added to the food during its production, treatment or processing. "
According to EU regulation 178/2002 / EG, foods "do not" belong to the food because of lack of processing or lack of nutritional value:
- Feed ,
- live animals, unless they have been prepared for human consumption to be placed on the market ,
- Plants before harvest,
- Medicines in the sense of the EC directives and ,
- cosmetic products within the meaning of ,
- Tobacco and tobacco products within the meaning of ,
- Narcotics and psychotropic substances as defined in the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961) and the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971)
- Residues and contaminants .
Food concept in whole foods
While German food law only knows the term “food”, a special distinction is made between food and food in the context of so-called wholefood nutrition . Only foods that have not been preserved and, in particular, have not been heated above 43 ° C are referred to as food . The reason is that heating can destroy important food components (such as vitamins ). The life smittel then no "lives" in the opinion of the whole diet more and is therefore classified as inferior with "food".
The nutritional value is the central benefits of food. It is a measure to qualify and quantify the physiological calorific value of a food. Usually, the term nutritional value only covers the calorific value, i.e. the energy made available to the body.
Nutritional ingredients that provide the body with energy and, after the body has been restructured, also building blocks for growth and body renewal. These basic nutrients include proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. These components of each food primarily provide the body with energy. They are therefore also referred to as fuels.
Non-energy supplying food components
- Fiber , with a high indigestible content, such as cellulose .
- Minerals are mainly needed for conduction , electrolytes and bone structure.
- Water (H 2 O) fulfills important transport and electrolyte functions in cells and blood vessels .
The active ingredients are also counted among the non-energy-supplying nutrients. They are mostly essential .
Vitamins and trace elements often act as coenzymes .
Other possible food ingredients
Enjoyment value of food
In addition to the nutritional value, the enjoyment value of the food plays an important role. In addition to sensory perceptions , cultural factors are also the basis for enjoyment .
Depending on the point of view and the purpose of the classification, foods can be broken down into ingredients, origin, processing methods, reasons for consumption, and cooling requirements. A common type of classification divides food according to the origin of the raw material into animal, vegetable and other products.
- Products of vegetable origin
- Vegetables , potatoes , legumes
- Bread and baked goods
- Dry cereal products: flour , nutrients ( rice , starch , semolina , pearl barley ), pasta
- Edible vegetable oils and fats such as margarine
- Confectionery ( jam , chocolate , syrup , sugar )
- Savory biscuits and snacks
- Products of animal origin
- Meat and sausages
- Dairy products such as butter , yoghurt , cheese , milk , quark , cream , ice cream
- Products of fungal origin
- Non-alcoholic drinks: mineral water , water , soft drinks, juices, hot drinks ( coffee , tea , cocoa )
- Alcoholic beverages: beer , wine and sparkling wine , spirits , mixed drinks
- Salt (mineral)
- Processed products in the form of canned food , ready meals , convenience products as well as soups , sauces , bouillons .
A person can be born with a number of foods or develop intolerances in the course of their lives. Gluten , fructose , lactose , milk protein, solanine , protein (egg) and many other substances can provoke a range of symptoms of acute allergic reactions to subacute autoimmune diseases. The harmfulness of the substances may increase through interaction (cross-reaction). Food contaminated with microorganisms can also cause infectious diseases such as gastroenteritis .
Food law regulates the production, labeling and sale of food in Germany and Europe through numerous national and European laws and ordinances. The aim is to harmonize food law across the EU in order to eliminate national differences and to facilitate trade. The most important regulations are:
- Basic food regulation (VO EG 178/2002)
- Food and Feed Code (LFGB)
- Food Information Ordinance (LMIV)
- Regulations of the EU food hygiene package. Formerly: Food Hygiene Regulation (LMHV)
- Additive Approval Ordinance (ZZulV)
- Calibration law
- Rules for the protection and enhancement of special agricultural products and foodstuffs with designation of origin .
- Health Claims Regulation
- Enrichment Ordinance
- Regulation on vitaminized foods
The food industry deals with the production, processing and trading of food. This includes the so-called food chain from the field to the plate , i.e. agriculture , the food industry , food handicrafts , food wholesalers and retailers as well as the out-of-home market ( gastronomy ) and adjacent areas.
The amount of food waste that is generated annually in the 28 member states of the EU is estimated in a study published by the EU Commission at around 89 million tonnes, up to 50% along the food supply chain. This corresponds to 179 kg per head, with large differences between the individual EU countries and the various industries. This does not include wastage in agricultural production or the discarding of bycatch into the sea. For Germany, 81.6 kg / a of food waste per person in private households was determined. According to the March 2012 study by the University of Stuttgart , 45% of this would have been avoidable and 18% would have been partially avoidable.
According to a study from 2012, eleven million tons of food from consumers, trade, industry and gastronomy end up in the garbage in Germany. 550,000 tons of this come from the trade. Private households account for 6.7 million tons. At the beginning of 2016, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported that around 200,000 tons of food were being distributed over the boards . Half of the ten AEZ stores offer a food share box , in which food is given free of charge shortly before the best-before date is exceeded .
The WWF Germany estimates that of the 18 million tons of food are lost per year in Germany alone 1.4 million tonnes to losses of potatoes eliminated. These are only losses in trade and processing, in large kitchens and private households. Most of the losses are avoidable.
In 2015, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by more than 190 countries . See the goals u. a. propose that by 2030 per capita food losses at retail and consumer level will be halved and the resulting food losses along the production and supply chain reduced.
In 2012 France decided to cut food waste in half by 2025. Since 2016, supermarkets are no longer allowed to throw away food. Supermarkets with a sales area of 400 m² or more must also conclude an agreement with a charitable organization for food donations. Italy wants to join this regulation.
Biogas from food waste
However , the waste from the food retail trade is usually simply fermented together with its packaging in biogas plants . This disposal can contribute to the spread of microplastics in the environment if the digestate is applied to the fields as farmyard manure. The Conference of Environment Ministers has decided to ensure that in future only exception impurity-free food waste into in June 2018 for composting should go or fermentation.
- Government and related agencies
- Many paths - one goal: Safe food from the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety
- Food from the Federal Center for Nutrition
- Healthy nutrition for children from the Federal Center for Health Education
- Subject nutrition from the Federal Office for the Environment
- Food clarity from Lebensmittelklarheit.de of the consumer centers
- Food lexicon
- more links
- EU Food Regulation (PDF; 232 kB).
- Chapter 1, Article 2 - Definition of "food".
- BMEL - Hygiene - Legal basis for food hygiene. Retrieved February 16, 2018 .
- Report of November 30, 2011 on the subject of "Stop wasting food - strategies for a more efficient food supply chain in the EU" , Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, rapporteur: Salvatore Caronna.
- Institute for Sanitary Engineering , Water Quality and Waste Management at the University of Stuttgart and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, determination of the amount of food thrown away and suggestions for reducing the rate of food waste in Germany , March 2012, p. 121 f. (PDF file).
- Ban on throwing away food , taz, February 14, 2016.
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, April 17, 2016.
- Small Blemishes - Big Consequences , Ed .: WWF, 1/2017
- Food. In: bafu.admin.ch . Retrieved January 19, 2020 .
- France forbids throwing away food , Die Welt, May 22, 2015.
- French supermarkets are not allowed to throw away food , Die Zeit, May 22, 2015.
- Italy follows France with law against food waste, Fruchtportal.de, March 22, 2016.
- Eric Breitin: Fertilizing with microplastics. In: initiative-sauberes-trinkwasser.ch. saldo (magazine) , June 24, 2015, accessed January 8, 2019 .
- Environment Ministers' Conference calls for an end to the shredding of packaged food waste. In: schleswig-holstein.de , June 8, 2018, accessed on June 22, 2018.