Food quality and food safety are gaining more and more importance in recent decades. In particular, applications have included domains such as the identification of foreign bodies in solid food streams, the quality screening of vegetables and fruits, the recognition of food products inducing a health risk and the monitoring of the quality and authentication of liquids. Solid food sensing methods are often insufficient in the sense that they are error-sensitive and time-consuming due to the manual or chemical, samplebased screening of the products. For most liquids a decent monitoring method is missing. In view of this, the authors of these papers started exploring the potential of photonics to answer the question if food screening methods could be photonics- based. This paper gives an overview of our research of the past eighteen years.