Many food companies have expressed an interest in the concept, Darsch says, although he notes that the material is not in wide use yet (Erickson, at (http://www.mercola.com/artcile/irradiated/irradiated_research.htm).
When Operation Desert Shield and the subsequent Desert Storm erupted, Darsch says, Natick was able to accelerate research on high heat stable chocolate bars. The resulting product, which can withstand temperatures as high as 120°F without compromising quality, arrived in the Persian Gulf prior to the end of the conflict, and Hershey Foods introduced the Desert Bar to consumers Memorial Day weekend 1991 (Erickson, at (http://www.mercola.com/artcile/irradiated/irradiated_research.htm).This product's future has many applications in warmer climates, and in areas where air conditioning might not be prevalent.
Another food product developed initially for the military is shelf stable bread. Research indicates that the main ingredients in this product are no different from those found in Wonder Bread. The only difference is an emulsifier that has been added which helps maintain a sufficient moisture content for a considerable period of time. When left in its original packaging and kept no warmer than 80°F, shelf-stable bread maintains its freshness for three years. The NutriSystem diet program uses the product in some of its prepackaged meals.
Other studies indicate that food fortification with vitamins and minerals is one of the most effective methods to improve health and prevent nutritional deficiencies. It is greatly responsible for the virtual eradication of disease such as goiter, rickets, beriberi, and pellagra in the United States. New research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that developing nations could implement successful food fortification programs by requiring fortified foods for their military personnel. The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reports that food fortification in the U.S. was accomplished with a great deal of cooperation between the food industry and public forces. Many of the industrial and market forces in the U.S. do not apply to developing nations, but research shows that governments can take steps to encourage manufacturers to fortify food for the public. One way may be to have military purchasers demand only fortified products. This is because governments are often large food purchasers and can influence industry.
Studies that show that military food research impacts the general food industry date as far back as 1942. In 1942, the U.S. Army decided it would purchase only enriched flour. This move encouraged many more manufacturers to produce enriched flour, but 100% compliance was not reached until 1943 when the War Foods Administration temporarily required enriched bread (Bishai & Nalubola, at John Hopkins Public Health Magazine). Today, the Food and Drug Administration does not restrict the sale of unenriched products as long they are properly labeled, but most flour remains enriched with B. vitamins, iron, and folate because of consumer demand. The flour enrichment efforts during World War II can be an important model for developing nations attempting to build successful food fortification programs.
Thus, research indicates that a great majority of food studies which began in the military environment have eventually led to widespread consumer acceptance and new food products which would not normally have been introduced to the public food industry. The military research on food products has had a substantial and thorough impact on the general food industry. New food products and ingredients will no doubt emerge as the military continues to conduct its' food research.
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