Food Science Terms - N

Natural toxins: Naturally occurring substance (e.g., produced in some cases by disease-causing microorganisms) which is poisonous to certain other living organisms. 

Net quantity: Actual weight of food contents of a package. 

Net weight: Amount of food filled into a container. 

Neutral: Substance with a pH of 7.0. Substances with a pH rating close to neutral include meats and milk products (pH 6.4). 

New Product Development NPD: is the process of bringing new food products into the market

Niacin: One of the B vitamins. 

Niacinamide (nicotinamide): One of the chemical forms of niacin. 

Nib: Center (meat) of the cocoa bean. When ground, the nib becomes chocolate liquor. 

Nicotine: Addictive substance found in tobacco. It is not related to nicotinic acid. 

Nicotinic acid: One of the chemical forms of niacin. 

Nisin: polypeptide (short protein) antibiotic and a naturally occurring food preservative to extent its shelf-life

Nitrite: Safe food additive that has been used for centuries to preserve meats, fish and poultry. It also contributes to the characteristic flavor, color and texture of processed meats such as hot dogs. Because nitrite safeguards cured meats against the most deadly foodborne bacterium of all, Clostridium (C.) botulinum, its use is supported by the public health community. The human body generates much greater nitrite levels than are added to food. Nitrates consumed in foods such as carrots and green vegetables are converted to nitrite during digestion. Nitrite in the body is instrumental in promoting blood clotting, healing wounds and burns, and boosting immune function to kill tumor cells. 

Nitrogen: Nonmetallic element that constitutes nearly four-fifths of the air by volume, occurring as a colorless, odorless, almost inert diatomic gas in various minerals and in all proteins. It is used in a wide variety of important manufacturers, including ammonia, nitric acid, TNT and fertilizers. 

Nitrosamines: Digestive reaction-product of nitrite, a food additive used to preserve meats, fish and poultry. 

Non-ionizing radiation: Rays of energy that move in long, slow wave patterns and do not penetrate cells. 

Non-reducing sugar: cannot act as a reducing agent, donate electrons to other molecules or participate in redox reactions eg sucrose

Non-thermal effects: Effects due to the exposure to a process that are not of thermal origin, i.e., cannot be explained by measured temperature changes. 

Norwalk virus: Virus that contaminates raw oysters/shellfish, water and ice, salads, frosting, person-to-person contact. 

Noxious: Term applied to a substance that is irritating or offensive and which may have a harmful effect on life. 

Nuisance: Condition that is dangerous to human life or detrimental to health. Public nuisances affect the public interest and include whatever building or part or cellar that is overcrowded with occupants, or is not provided with adequate ingress and egress, or is not sufficiently supported, ventilated, sewered, drained, cleaned or lighted. Also applies to any act or condition that renders the air or food unwholesome. A private nuisance violates only private rights and produces damages to one or a few people. 

Nutrient: Any substance (macro or micro) that gives nourishment; required for maintaining growth and good health in living things 

Nutrient density: Nutrient dense foods are those that provide substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals and relatively fewer calories. The opposite of nutrient dense is calorie dense which are foods that mainly supply calories and relatively few nutrients. 

Nutritional labeling: Labels that provide consumers with information about a products’ nutritional content



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