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Researchers from Porto promote study to unravel food myths

The researchers from the School of Biotechnology of Porto are developing a study to unravel the food myths of the Portuguese and “evaluate if the preconceived ideas are based on scientific assumptions,” said one of the teachers responsible.

The study, involving about 10 researchers and professors from the School of Biotechnology (ESB) of the Portuguese Catholic University of Porto, runs until the end of the month and aims to collect information on the dietary habits of the Portuguese through an online survey.

For Paula Teixeira, one of the teachers responsible for the study, “some ideas leave no doubt that they are myths,” others still need to be “scientifically validated because there is no certainty.”

“One of the tasks for which I am responsible is to replicate in the laboratory the behaviors and practices we observe in consumers and draw the necessary conclusions,” he said.

Paula Teixeira said that preconceived ideas such as “cooks always having their hands washed because they are always stirring in water” or “a food falling to the ground and being eaten in less than five seconds” are “completely wrong.”

“There are also many people who say that if eggs are bad they will float. It is true that if the egg is too old it will float, but an egg may be contaminated with salmonella, which is what causes food safety problems, and does not float The egg goes to the bottom, “he said.

The ESB study is part of the European project ‘SafeconsumE’, an initiative involving 11 countries, which aims, within five years, to ‘change behavior and provide the consumer with tools to implement best food safety practices’. explained the person in charge.

According to Paula Teixeira, the study, which is also being carried out in Norway, Germany, France, Romania and Hungary, has allowed “to conclude that some myths are common to the five countries.”

“It’s very curious, because although they are countries with different realities, many of the practices and knowledge are transversal,” he revealed.

The teacher also revealed that “the final task” of the European project ‘SafeconsumE’ is to develop, within two or three years, an online platform that “reaches consumers more easily and informs them about food safety practices”.

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