Basic Background Information

Sir Humphry Davy

The history of food chemistry dates back to the late 1700s, when many famous chemists were involved in discovering chemicals important in foods.
In 1813, Sir Humphry Davy published the first book on agricultural and food chemistry, in the United Kingdom. This book served as a foundation for the profession worldwide and went into a fifth edition. In 1874, the Society of Public Analysts was formed, with the aim of applying analytical methods to benefit the public. Its early experiments were based on bread, milk, and wine.

The development of colleges and universities worldwide, most notably in the United States, would expand food chemistry with research of the dietary substances, most notably the Single-grain experiment during 1907-1911. Additional research by Harvey W. Wiley at the United States Department of Agriculture during the late 19th century would play a key factor in the creation of the United States Food and Drug Administration in 1906. The American Chemical Society would establish their Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division in 1908 while the Institute of Food Technologists would establish their Food Chemistry Division in 1995.