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VATIS Update Food Processing . Jan-Feb 2003

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Food Processing Jan-Feb 2003

ISSN: 0971-5649

VATIS Update Food Processing is published 4 times a year to keep the readers up to date of most of the relevant and latest technological developments and events in the field of Food Processing. The Update is tailored to policy-makers, industries and technology transfer intermediaries.

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Contents

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IN THE NEWS

Coconut fibre-based packaging

The Asia-Pacific Coconut Community, representing coconut producers in the region, has formed a strategic alliance to develop the coir industry. This move is a result of a decline in the share of coir materials used in packaging. According to statistics available with the organization, about 10 per cent of coconut husk is utilized for fibre extraction in the world, amounting to an estimated 0.5 million tonnes of coir. Currently India and Sri Lanka together contribute 90 per cent of the global coir production. 


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com 

Lab hub in Thailand

PSB Corp., a testing body based in Singapore, is striving to make Thailand its South-East Asian industrial testing laboratory centre. Located at the Thailand Science Park, with 700 m2 of space, laboratory facilities are part of the corporations strategy to expand the testing and certification market into more promising food export-oriented countries. This is the first expansion of PSBs network outside Singapore.


Thailand was selected since many of its leading companies were involved in producing several food commodities. Moreover, the Thai governments campaign to encourage the development of safety standards for specific foods and food manufacturing industries also offered huge potential for food testing services, apart from cheaper infrastructure costs. Thailand is the fourth largest exporter of frozen chicken, capturing a 6 per cent market share and enjoying 25 per cent annual growth. It is also the worlds top exporter of frozen shrimps with a 25 per cent share in the global market. 


Website: www.foodingredientsonline.com 

Energizing drinks hard to sell

A study on the market availability and affordability of fortified beverages in the Philippines has shown that energizing beverages are not as saleable as soft drinks. This survey was undertaken by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in select provinces and cities. Fortified foods or drinks are supplemented with vitamins and/or minerals during processing to increase the intake of micronutrients in the diet, without changing food habits. Vitamin A, iron and iodine are the normal micronutrients added since the Filipino diet is deficient in these. Results of the study indicate the need for more intensified projects disseminating the benefits of fortified food to create a consumer-driven demand for such products. 


Contact: The Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, Gen. Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila, the Philippines. Tel: +63 (2) 8372 934; Fax: +63 (2) 8373 164

E-mail: cbcb@fnri.dost.gov.ph 


Website: www.dost.gov.ph 

Japan tightens food processing regulations

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC), Japan, plans to extend its guidelines on retailers beef labelling to also cover wholesalers. This decision was taken following several beef labelling scandals. FTC has called on the Japan Ham and Sausage Processors Cooperative Association, a group of meat wholesalers, to follow the guidelines currently adopted by retailers as part of self-regulation measures. 


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com 

Dairy export record

Australian dairy exports hit a record high in 2001-02, reflecting increased export volumes that more than offset deteriorating global prices prevailing since late 2001. Exports account for over 50 per cent of the nations milk production, a trend that is expected to continue. According to Mr. Sandy Murdoch, Managing Director of Australian Dairy Corp., Our commitment to developing long-term export markets and relationships in addition to maintaining a very strong image as a clean green producer is holding the industry in good stead in the more difficult market environment. Japan continues to be Australias largest export customer, followed by the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. 


Food and Pack, September 2002

New food park in India

Chordia Food Products, India, is to set up a new 100 acre food park in Pune. The first two years would see a total investment of around US$2.6 million, with five boutique companies, five small-scale manufacturers and 1-2 medium-sized firms leasing the first few units. The Ministry of Food Processing has already sanctioned food park status to the project and provided about US$0.9 million for developing various facilities. The central government has also sanctioned about 25 per cent capital subsidy with an upper limit of US$108,000 for setting up a venture. Negotiations are underway with local authorities for various concessions and with banks for reduced interest rates. The park will offer companies a complete range of facilities from processing and packaging to transportation and finance, and would even help them market the products. 


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com 

China looks to plastics for packaging

New plans focusing on Chinas plastics industry would see an inflow of funds for R&D in four main application areas, one of which is packaging. In this sector, R&D would centre on improved protection for food, beverage and drug products while widening the guarantee period of goods. High-barrier packaging, hot filling packaging, keep-fresh substances, and mould-proof and insect prevention materials for grain storage will take precedence.


In agriculture, the emphasis will be on developing films for commercial crop growing, plastic components for water-efficient irrigation and selected geotechnical materials. A range of priorities in plastics development for the construction industry include innovation in tubes, pipes as well as sheet materials. In engineering and industry, the focus would be on increasing the use of plastics across the range of manufacturing. 


Website: www.packaging-technology.com 

Grants for antibiotics testing kit

India will extend a subsidy of US$217,000 to nearly 200 seafood processing units in the country for mandatory installation of quick testing kits to detect antibiotics. This step is intended to offset the ban on exports the European Union imposed on five major Indian seafood units. According to the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, the government would purchase three liquid chromatograph with mass spectrophotometer at a cost of US$913,000 to improve the quality of detection and prevent contamination. 


Processed Food Industry, November 2002

Improved packaging for fruits

The Philippine government has introduced modified atmospheric packaging (MAP), in combination with zeolite-coated plastic films. The Industrial Technology Development Institute of the Department of Science and Technology, and Centre for International Trade, Expositions and Mission assisted the government in this task. The performance of the packaging films, using carabao mangoes as test samples, was tested at the Food Development Centre of the National Food Authority.
Oxygen and carbon dioxide are key components contributing to the respiratory metabolism of fresh fruit. As such their combined levels should be carefully adjusted to effect suppression of respiration, as well as growth of spoilage micro-organisms. MAP technology involves modifying the atmosphere around the food product, thereby facilitating control of chemical and enzymatic reactions to retard the main processes of deterioration. The packaging material, on the other hand, is a special type of film in which sodium-type zeolite has been incorporated owing to its capability to prolong the shelf-life of tropical fruits. Fruits stored in MAP in the test packaging film at 10C remained fresh for 22 days. 


Website: www.webpublisher.lexisnexis.com 

Radiation technology for food/healthcare sectors

In India, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is to give a fillip to the use of radiation technology in processed foods and healthcare units in the private sector. DAE owns three plants, one for sterilization of medical products/equipment, another for sanitizing spices and other items, and the third one for sprout inhibition in onions. Henceforth, DAE will not set up any new radiation plants on its own for sterilizing medical products and to process food products. Private entrepreneurs would be encouraged to set up such facilities. At present, three plants are under various stages of construction and would be commissioned within the next two years. A typical industrial-scale radiation plant costs about US$1.52 million. 


Website: www.pib.nic.in 

Thai food exports need infrastructure support

Analysis of the Potential of Developing Thai Food for the World Market, a report from the Thailand Research Council, propounds that by rationalizing the manufacture and packaging of food products for the world market Thailand could benefit from the Thai food boom. The study suggests that when Thai goods are refused entry to the United States, it is often because of lack of proper documentation procedures. Although some exporters are sending packaged Thai food abroad, the quality needs to be certified by laboratory testing. While Thai labs take at least a month to conduct the tests, exporters have to ship their goods within 15 days of receiving an order. As such, new infrastructure to guarantee quality speedily is required.


Website: www.packaging-technology.com 

New trend in speciality packaging

A growing trend in the food and beverage market is for packaging that offers differentiation through a combination of improved safety, functionality and convenience. Packaging that alerts consumers to the condition of the food products is expected in the near future. Seafood, dairy products and meat may soon come in protective wrappers that change colour if temperature limits have been breached, thus adversely affecting the condition of the contents. Researchers in the United States have developed antimicrobial plastic films that slow the growth of micro-organisms. A film that binds the proteins lysozyme and nisin inhibits bacterial growth. Another film releases controlled amounts of chlorine dioxide over time to restrict the growth of mould and bacteria. Other developments include the testing of fully edible coatings.


In the United Kingdom, Nestle has launched Hot When You Want Nescafe coffee. Packaged in a self-heating can, the coffee is heated to 60C in three minutes. This is achieved by a chemical reaction between water and quicklime contained in separate compartments in the can base. Insulation built into the can protects the consumers fingers and lips from burns. Pyramid Flexible Packaging, the United States, plans to introduce its ZipnStore pouches for liquid and semi-liquid foodstuffs. The pouches, featuring handles and pouring spouts, can be heated in boiling water, making them ideal for soup and sauces. Part-used portions can be stored under refrigeration since the pouch can be zipped-up after first use. On the ease-of-use front, Heinz has launched its new upside-down ketchup bottle with a patented silicone valve and stay-clean cap. Fridge Pack, from Coke, is a long, thin 12-pack box that fits more easily on a domestic refrigerator shelf. A perforated corner section pulls off for easy dispensing and users prefer this shape to the traditional 12-pack.


Website: www.packaging-technology.com 

Cheaper banana packaging

The Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India, has initiated a joint study with the Indian Institute of Packaging to design cost-effective packaging, especially for the banana farming industry. Acting in tandem with the Central Food Technological Research Institute, APEDA developed an improved post-harvest and transportation protocol for banana exports. Trial shipment of bananas in refrigerated containers have also been carried out.


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com

INVENTIONS/NEW PRODUCTS

High-fibre fat replacer

A new high-fibre fat replacer available in the United States imparts many of fats desired characteristics to food. These include pleasing texture, mouthfeel, body and moisture retention. Z-trim is a natural fat replacer made from crop commodities like oats, soya bean or rice hulls. It does not add calories to food, only insoluble fibre that aids digestion.


Circle Group Internet has acquired Fiber-Gels Technologies Inc. that had previously licensed exclusive rights to the fat replacer from the Agricultural Research Service. Circle Group plans to submit Z-trim to the Food and Drug Administration for classification as a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) ingredient. Potential application areas of Z-trim include dairy products, baked goods, ground meats, pasta, snack foods and nutritional drinks.


Website: www.ars.usda.gov 

Stabilizer for ice creams

National Starch and Chemical Information Centre, the United States, offers N-SURANCE ice cream stabilizer, a blend of food starch and maltodextrin. Tests have shown that surface crystallinity reduced from 2.0 in the control ice cream to 1.0 in the blend with N-SURANCE stabilizer, added at 1.5 per cent of weight. First compression semisolid firmness rose from 6.2 in the control to 7.5. Grittiness between the teeth fell from 2.0 for the control to 0.0 for the blend while creaminess rose from 6.5 in the control to 7.8. 


Contact: National Starch and Chemical Information Centre, 1 Matrix Drive, Monroe, NJ 08831, the United States. Tel: +1 (800) 7974 992; Fax: +1 (609) 4095 699; 


E-mail: nscinquiry@salessupport.com 


Indian Dairyman, August 2002

New process to produce vinegar

The Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), the Philippines, has developed a faster and better way to produce vinegar within a shorter time frame. The new technique employs an acetator, designed and fabricated by ITDI. 


Contact: Ms. Nila Zalameda/Ms. Cely Alconera, Rural Technology and Information Division, Industrial Technology Development Institute, DOST Compound., Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila, the Philippines. Tel: +63 (2) 8372 071-90; Fax: +63 (2) 8376 156.


Website: www.dost.gov.ph 

Non-dairy alternative to milk and soya drinks

Oatly Organic from Ceba Foods, Sweden, is a non-dairy alternative to milk and soya-based beverages. The patented product is more wholesome with breakfast cereals, in coffee or with other foods. Oatly Organic is made from oats, water and rapeseed oil, all grown organically and certified by KRAV, the Swedish organization for organic production. It does not contain any additives or raw materials that have been genetically modified. The heat stable product has a neutral taste, long shelf-life when unopened and can be kept at room temperature. The liquid oat product was developed by a team at the University of Lund.


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com  

Innovative cooling systems

Linde Gas, Germany, is offering LIX-shooter and Droplet cooling systems that have been designed to help cool foods quickly and efficiently without changing their quality. LIX-shooter is a cryogenic ground level system that uses liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon for use in mixing, kneading and cooking equipment. The valve-based systems were developed in line with the strict hygiene requirements of the European Hygiene Equipment Design Group. Unlike conventional cryogenic processes which apply coolants to a product surface from above, leading to unnecessary vaporization and a drop in cooling efficiency, LIX-shooter injects directly into the product to achieve immediate heat transfer and reducing gas consumption. LIX-shooter is ideal for use with low viscosity and combined-ingredient products. It can be used for speeding up the cooling process in mechanical liquid coolers, for freezing and emergency cooling during potentially explosive processes. LIX-shooter ensures careful treatment of a broad range of products, from simple ingredients like vegetables, poultry and other meats to combined foods such as sauces, soups, pasta, baby foods, etc.


The Droplet system is employed for cooling liquid foodstuffs to form pellets that flow in a thin stream. The process begins with an automatically monitored pump transporting the product to a dosing system, which is linked to the Cryoline CM immersion freezer. The dosing equipment generates droplets that fall directly into a liquid nitrogen bath in the immersion freezer and solidify on contact with nitrogen. The pellets have a diameter of 3-7 mm depending on temperature, viscosity and shearing qualities of the liquid and are moved on with the stream of nitrogen and subsequently transported on a conveyor belt. Each pellet is a separate entity, but they combine to form a trickling mass, provided the freezing point is not exceeded. The Droplet system is suitable for materials such as sauces (not containing large solids), creams, egg (liquid contents), dairy products and chocolate.


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com 

New flavour system

Quest Food recently launched Meat Designer Wheel, the second in a range of new flavour development systems. Similar to the Chicken Designer Wheel, its predecessor, Meat Designer Wheel uses a culinary system based on the chefs approach to recipes utilizing traditional cooking techniques as a benchmark and starting point. The Wheel operates as a visual spectrum of flavour profiles, all named in language related to well-known cooking styles. It draws flavours from six different home-style cooking methods, resulting in 10 character-specific profiles like roast or stewed and seven species-specific profiles four varieties of beef plus port, veal and lamb. From the Wheel, the flavour application technologist figures out the optimum combination and balance of flavour profiles to replicate the culinary taste desired by the customer. 


Website: www.foodnavigator.com 

Best of juice, dairy

NutriJoy, the United States, has launched a new drink that combines dairy, fruit juice and an extra dose of the essential nutrient calcium. Packaged in 600 ml bottles, Cal-C will be available in the following flavours: orange-tangerine, strawberry-kiwi, peach-mango and cranberry-raspberry. This beverage combines the flavour and vitamins of juice with the nutrients of milk. Cal-C is called a functional food and incorporates a special calcium CCM, licensed by Procter and Gamble. Clinical studies reveal that Cal-Cs calcium source could build stronger bones in children and teens, and sustains bone mass in adult women. NutriJoy is a company started by Mid-America Commercialization Corp. and Kansas State University Research Foundation. 


Website: www.mediarelations.ksu.edu 

System to determine the required amount of packaging

Ranpak Corp., the United States, offers proprietary AccuFill voidfill measurement unit that represents a breakthrough in protective packaging technology. The AccuFill system automatically determines the quantity of packaging material needed to fill a void in the top of a box and then generates the exact amount of material. The operator helps insert the material but does not determine the quantity.


AccuFill uses a sensor array that mounts over a conveyor system. As boxes containing products are conveyed down the line, AccuFill sensors scan the inside of each box to determine its size, measure the volume of the objects inside the box and compute the amount of material required to fill the void in the top of the box. AccuFill can be integrated into any existing conveyor line and can be used with either of Ranpaks patented converter system AutoPad or the new FillPak high-speed voidfill system. It can also be used to track voidfill material costs and productivity. 


Contact: Mr. Mark Dawson, Ranpak Corp., the United States. Tel: +1 (440) 3508 068. 


Website: www.webpublisher.lexisnexis.com  

Refining fish oil

New technology developed in the United States has enabled extraction of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) are important nutrients that the body needs. The innovative process has enabled addition of these nutrients in baby formulas marketed in the country. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and they are found in high concentrations in nerve cell membranes, retina and human breast milk. 


Website: www.ars.usda.gov 

Good fat in milk

Researchers at the University of Alberta, the United States, are striving to develop milk that contains higher levels of good fat which helps fight cancer and heart disease. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a kind of fat present in dairy products and beef that appears to offer major health benefits. Studies indicate that CLA may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, reduce the risk of heart disease and boost the immune system. CLA occurs naturally in the milk of ruminant animals cows, goats and sheep. The team has succeeded in raising the amount of CLA in cow milk ten-fold by adding oils such as canola or safflower to the animal feed. 


Website: www.dairynetwork.com 

Selective oxidation yields polysaccharide products

TNO Nutrition and Food Research, the Netherlands, has developed new and improved oxidation strategies that have resulted in several patented products and processes. One such product has been created within the TEMPO project, named after the catalyst for the selective oxidation process tetramethylpiperidine-N-oxyl. Selective introduction of carboxyl groups in polysaccharides greatly enhances their capacity to absorb and retain water. This raises the possibility of new products such as an efficient thickening agent for foods or a superabsorbent material for disposable nappies and other sanitary products.


Modified polysaccharides could replace petroleum-based polyacrylates used in cosmetics. In the beer industry, the filter membranes get clogged with insoluble carbohydrate compounds when beer is filtered. TEMPO can be applied to help oxidize these compounds quickly and effectively, causing them to dissolve. 


Chemical Weekly, 30 July 2002

Bioconversion yields oil-based compounds

Researchers at the National Centre for Agricultural Utilization Research in the United States have derived new oil-based compounds through bioconversion, a method to convert fatty acids in vegetable oil into entirely new chemical compounds with antimicrobial, industrial or biomedical properties. The key is to create favourable conditions in which the technologys microbial workhorses, mainly yeast and bacteria, can feed on and catalyse fatty acids inside fermentation tanks. This green technology generates less waste by-products than chemically-driven processes.


DOD or 7(S), 10(S)-dihydroxy-8(E)-octadecenoic acid, the first compound, restricts the growth of Candida albicans, a yeast that sometimes causes thrush and other infections in humans. In addition to being antimicrobial, DOD is structurally similar to surfactants, like those in soap, and exhibits properties applicable for use in plastics and other industrial products. Another compound, called TOD, stopped the rice blast fungus, raising the prospects for a biological fungicide against this crop scourge. Both the compounds have been patented and are available for licensing. The teams bioconversion research has also given rise to three other new compounds, including THFA. This one is derived from linolenic acid in soya bean oil and resembles tetrahydrofuranyl compounds that exhibit cancer-fighting abilities. 


Website: www.ars.usda.gov 

Calcium-rich milk

Researchers at the University of Vermont, the United States, report that flavoured milk can be used to provide calcium to children, without adding extra fat and sugar to their diets. A study has shown that flavoured milk actually helps boost childrens overall calcium intake. By encouraging flavoured milk consumption, moms can help reverse the trend towards soft drink and fruit drink consumption. Children who included milk in their noontime meal were the only ones to achieve the recommended calcium intake for the day. In addition to calcium, milk provides eight essential nutrients, including vitamin D that helps the body absorb calcium. 


Website: www.hinduonnet.com 

Faster cooking brown rice

Researchers at the Southern Regional Research Centre, the United States, have devised a technique to cook brown rice faster. The new process involves air-blasting brown rice kernels with rice flour at the processing plant, creating microscopic holes that allow rice to more readily absorb water during cooking. Brown rice is a source of fibre, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc and several other nutrients. The new method does not alter the taste or texture of rice grains. 


Contact: Mr. Harmeet S. Guraya, Southern Regional Research Centre, New Orleans, LA, the United States. Tel: +1 (504) 2864 258. 


Website: www.ars.usda.gov 

Cheese in any flavour

Researchers in the United States have developed a new process to create cheese in almost any flavour imaginable coffee, wine, sour apple, etc. with an appropriate colour to match the flavour. Devised by Prof. Carl Brothersen at Utah State University, the cheese injection technology squirts a narrow, high-pressure stream of liquid into young, mild-flavoured cheese before the curds knit. As the cheese matures, the added colour or flavour spreads through the block creating a custom product. The system is adjustable depending on the intensity of the flavour or colour desired. A key feature of the process used to make cheese more appealing is the capability for the manufacturer to add extra vitamins along with flavour and colour. According to Dairy Management Inc., food manufacturers or cheese processors now have another extreme product option to attract a growing youth market. 


Beverage and Food World, August 2002

Extending food shelf-life

FreshTech is a new product designed to control bacterial growth and extend shelf-life in food service coolers. The efficacy of this powdered compound comprising a variety of minerals has been proved by researchers at the University of Georgia, the United States. Stored in pouches and deposited directly into storage coolers, FreshTech was tested at grocery retailers and a chain of stores.


FreshTech acts like hi-tech baking soda, but is more than a deodorizer. It is designed to ensure a balanced environment in which food is preserved longer with less chance of contamination. It maintains a humidity level just below the dew point, preventing water run-off from excess moisture. Apart from absorbing odours, FreshTech also neutralizes ethylene gas, a natural by-product of produce placed on shelves. FreshTech complies with food regulations and is currently available for personal and commercial use. 


Website: www.fresh-tech.com  or www.foodonline.com

SAFETY/QUALITY CONTROL

Hand-held sensor for E. coli

Researchers at Cornell University in the United States are developing a hand-held sensor to pinpoint the presence of Escherichia coli and other harmful germs in food and beverages. Current tests for E. coli use a dipstick method in which bacterial contamination is identified by changes in the colour of the monitor. The new device, which is about the size of a micro-cassette recorder, measures the amount of pathogen present on a strip. It can spot E. coli O157:H7 in 8 min, and detect very high levels of contamination quickly while smaller levels take up to 4 h since a larger sample has to be incubated. The device has been licensed to Innovative Biotechnologies International. 


Website: www.foodnavigator.com 

Imaging system to ensure meat safety

Researchers at Agricultural Research Service, the United States, have developed a method and an imaging system to discern contaminants on food surfaces. At a processing plant, the real-time imaging system detected faeces and recently ingested materials on animal carcasses. It scans the surface of poultry carcasses, locating hard-to-detect materials such as small particles or those in shadowed areas. Other collaborators in this project include Provision Technologies, the Institute of Technology Development and the University of Georgia. An on-line prototype is currently under development and operates at 140 birds per min. 


Website: www.ars.usda.gov 

Powder flow analyser

Stable Micro Systems, the United Kingdom, has introduced an instrument to help manufacturers avoid problems such as batch and source variation of ingredients, caking during storage, bridging in hoppers and sticking during production. The new powder flow analyser can be used to assess any product capable of flow. Samples are conditioned at the beginning to eliminate any variations in loading. Next, a patented blade rotates through the sample, causing controlled flow. Sophisticated mixing and testing cycles enable users to test their products in realistic conditions. Users can fully programme the instrument to carry out slicing, shearing, compressing, compacting, mixing and aerating cycles in any combination, and in any sequence.


Tests can be conducted using very small sample volumes. Samples are placed in a borosilicate glass sample vessel, allowing users to monitor what is happening to the powder as the sample is displaced. During the test, axial force, time and distance are measured by a sensitive transducer, and data is displayed and analysed in real time by 16- or 32-bit software. Manufacturers can test characteristics such as mixing kinetics, granule surface friction, resistance to compression and particle cohesion after compaction. Results from different samples can be ranked and compared to assess the impact of external conditions, including batch or source variation, humidity and moisture content, surface properties, electrostatic charge and particle or granule size/shape and distribution. 


Website: www.foodnavigator.com 

Visual test for Salmonella

Biotech Australia Pty. Ltd. offers an innovative screening test to detect Salmonella and provides results in 24 h. Conceived and developed by a team consisting of microbiologists and biochemists, Immunocapture is the fastest visual Salmonella test in the world and captures over 300 strains on a specially treated dipstick, directly from environmental swabs or food samples. Once captured, the dipstick is placed in another tube where the microbes multiply. The sample is then heated to release Salmonella antigens from the dipstick and finally the Salmonella visual immunoassay process is used to reveal Salmonella antigens present in the sample. 


Website: www.apc-online.com 

Biolabs on a chip

Genolife, France, offers custom-designed biochip solutions for industrial applications. Biochips are effective tools in the field of molecular identification that combine biology with glass, plastic, silicon or even cellulose. Measuring a few square centimetres in area, biochips can transform into a lab-on-chip or even a bio-processor capable of performing multiple stages of preparation, treatment and analysis of biological samples in parallel. Application areas include identification of pathogens in the agro-food industries and medical diagnosis for genetic disease screening.


Genesystems, another company based in France, has started the groundwork for labs-on-a-chip and miniaturization. It is now developing an integrated analysis system, including a device for processing samples and labs-on-a-chip. These techniques have given Genesystems surveillance capability for bacteria including Salmonella, Listeria and other bacteria responsible for toxic infections and also for the detection of genetically modified organisms in the agro-food industry. 


Website: www.infotechfrance.com or www.foodengineering.org 

Cost-effective disinfection of sugar syrup

Hanovia Ltd., the United Kingdom, offers medium pressure ultraviolet (UV) disinfection systems to ensure sugar and fructose syrups remain free from yeast and mould contamination. The PMS150G4 system can treat 60 m3/h of sugar and fructose syrup. Microprocessor-driven photon control units allow remote operation and also ensure full traceability through their data-logging facility.


Medium pressure UV is highly effective in eliminating virtually all micro-organisms, including bacteria, yeasts and moulds. Each UV system comprises a stainless steel treatment chamber containing one or more UV-emitting arc tubes. Syrup passing through the chamber is freed of microbes. The small footprint Hanovia units can be connected to existing pipework, with minimal disruption or down time. Easy to operate, the only routine maintenance needed is replacement of the UV-emitting arc tube every 9-12 months.


Independent tests have shown that this process can easily destroy Cryptosporidium, an organism resistant to chlorine disinfection. It does not affect the pH or chemical composition of the product and does not alter the flavour.


Contact: Mr. Sean Appleton, Hanovia Ltd., 145, Farnham Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 4XB,The United Kingdom.Tel: +44 (1753) 515 300; Fax: +44 (1753) 534 277


E-mail: sean.appleton@hanovia.com 


Website: www.hanovia.com 

Predicting food spoilage

A computer-based predictive tool for food spoilage has been contrived at the University of Tasmania, Australia. Researchers employed mathematical modelling techniques in combination with more than 2,000 observations to develop a computer program that could predict the rate of food spoilage. In combination with a Tinytag temperature recorder, the Food Spoilage Predictor provides a worst-case scenario of spoilage progression caused by Pseudomonas bacteria. Potential uses of the new instrument include:

  •  Predicting how quickly spoilage will occur;

  •  Showing the effects of temperature history on product shelf-life;

  •  Calculating total shelf-life;

  •  Setting critical points;

  •  Educating staff on temperature control; and

  •  Predicting the effects of storage and distribution of product quality.

Contact: Hastings Data Loggers, Australia. Tel: +61 (1800) 243 282. 


Food and Pack, September 2002

INGREDIENTS

Natural sweetener

Stevia Rebaudiana, a perennial herb originating from Paraguay, is extensively used in Japan as a natural sweetener. The leaves of Stevia are 30 times sweeter than sugar cane, but without any calories. It can substitute sugar in various preparations and formulations and has been used to treat many ailments, including diabetes, high blood pressure, digestive disorders, addictions and even several skin defects. Stevia can be grown easily in pots, house gardens or as a commercial field crop.


Website: www.hinduonnet.com 

Chicory as a fibre source

DPO (Thailand) is promoting the use of chicory root as a source of dietary fibre in the country. Five years ago the company successfully introduced inulin, comprising fructose chains obtained from chicory roots. Soluble fructose or oligofructose extracted from chicory roots can be blended into food. It improves digestive health by raising the number of beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Inulin powder can be added to cheese, ice cream, dairy beverages, yoghurt, biscuits and meat products. 


Website: www.foodingredientsonline.com 

Ingredient portfolio

FMC Biopolymer European Research Centre, Belgium, offers innovative ingredients, to formulate various processed fruit applications, that include:

  •  Protanal GP 1155, an alginate, imparts a pulpy and rich-in-fruit appearance to fruit fillings. It provides excellent bake stability traits and allows partial or total pectin replacement.

  •  Avicel RC 591 microcrystalline cellulose enables outstanding bake stability properties. It exhibits superior bake stability, even at low solid levels. It controls moisture migration in bakery items, reduces boil-out and provides excellent freeze-thaw properties.

  •  Gelcarin DG 5264 is a tailor-made carrageenan that offers optimum functionality at a wide range of pH and sugar levels.

Middle East Food, September-October 2002

STANDARDS/REGULATIONS

New recall protocol

Food Safety Australia and New Zealand recently updated its Food Industry Recall Protocol in order to assist industry to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Standard 3.2.2. This guideline requires food businesses engaged in the wholesale supply, manufacture or importation of food to have a written recall procedure in place that ensures the effective recall of unsafe food. The new Protocol sets out, in a step-wise process, the fundamentals of developing a recall plan and conducting a recall. It also explains the roles and responsibilities of businesses and government when a recall is imperative. The protocol also provides a template with an example of a written recall plan that may be adapted by food business in preparing their own written plans. 


Website: www.meatnews.com 

New regulatory system heralds changes in food standards

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has gazetted changes incorporated in the Food Standards Code under new arrangements introduced to the food regulatory system on 1 July 2002. The gazetted changes include:

  •  Labelling statements on reduced fat milks (P 240): This revised code now requires the use of a mandatory advisory statement on such products to the effect that they are not suitable as a complete milk food for children under the age of two.

  •  Food derived from insect-protected and glufosinate ammonium tolerant corn (A380): Genetically modified (GM) corn has been added to the Food Standards Code as an approved GM food for sale. The labels will now have to state whether DNA or protein from GM corn is present in the final food.

  •  Oil derived from bromoxynil-tolerant canola (A388): GM canola is now an approved GM food. Oil from bromoxynil-tolerant canola does not contain DNA or protein from the GM canola and is therefore identical to oil from non-GM canola. As such, food containing this GM ingredient need not be labelled.

  •  Maximum residue limits (A455, A460 and P 261): The maximum residue limits (MRLs) for agricultural and veterinary chemicals in foods are amended from time to time, reflecting changes in agricultural and veterinary practices. Dietary exposure assessments indicate that residues associated with MRLs for a number of chemicals do not represent an unacceptable risk to public health and safety. MRLs for these chemicals have been amended.

Contact: Dr. Michael Dack, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 6271 2239


Website: www.foodstandards.gov.nz or www.foodstandards.gov.au 

Mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods

Food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Taiwan must compulsorily carry labelling to this effect as of 1 January 2003. The new rules are applicable for products containing 5 per cent or more GM ingredients. Mandatory labelling for corn and soya bean products in the raw agricultural form, including flour, will begin as of 1 January 2003. Processed corn and soya bean products will be added at two stages 1 January 2004 and 1 January 2005. Highly processed items such as soya sauce, soya oil, corn oil, corn syrup and corn starch are exempted from this rule. 


Website: www.just-food.com 

New food code

The new joint Food Standards Code for Australia and New Zealand is effective on all foods manufactured on or after 20 December 2002. As such, all manufactured food labels will show details of kilojoules, protein, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugar and sodium (salt). This nutrition information would help in the fight against diet related diseases like heart disease and type-2 diabetes. The labels also ensure that consumers have more information on all major allergens that must now be labelled, however negligible the amount. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has prepared a range of material to help consumers use the new labels, including the Shoppers Guide to Food Additives and Labels, which is available from most bookshops. The new labels also benefit the food industry.


Contact: FSANZ, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 6271 2621. 


Website: www.foodstandards.gov.au 

PRESERVATION

New cryogenic tunnel

Enko S.A., Poland, is offering TME type cryogenic tunnel that has been designed to chill food products using liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide as the refrigerant. Salient features of this system include readjustment facility to required technological parameters, readjustment ability to suit individual needs of the user and low readying time. This unit can freeze meat, poultry, fish, bakery products, cakes, vegetables, fruit, cooked products, etc.


Food products are cooled in the atmosphere of a refrigerating medium as they are transported on a belt conveyor. The refrigerant is counter-current fed to the system. The higher speed of this type of freezing ensures very small loss of humidity and weight of the products while preserving their taste, aroma and flavour. Such cyogenic freezing does not damage cells, reduces the process of ice crystals formation and stems the growth of micro-organisms. 


Contact: Enko S.A., 44-101, Gliwice, ul. Dojazdowa 10, Poland. 


E-mail: firma@enko.pl


Website: www.enko.gliwice.pl 

Spiral freezers

Frigoscandia Equipment, Sweden, has introduced a new line of spiral freezers. Models in the M series GYRoCOMPACT freezers incorporate more than 217 improvements than its predecessor. The latest series offers good uptime and freezing capacity since the fans are placed after the coil (dry side). With this fan placement, snow or ice build-up on fans is avoided, resulting in longer running time and higher operating reliability. A simplified belt take-up facilitates less winding and minimizes tension on the return rail, for longer belt life, easier access for cleaning and good operating reliability. 


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com 

World first in chilled food technology

Ice Solutions Ltd., New Zealand, has developed breakthrough technology to preserve quality and prolong the storage life of products using slurry ice made from freshwater. The Beluga range of slurry generators have a cooling capacity 4-6 times higher than can be achieved with conventional water cooling systems. An additional benefit is that freshwater slurry, which has a constant temperature of 0C, will not freeze products, thus eliminating problems with freezer burn and delays in the production process. This technology has potential applications in the meat, poultry, fresh chilled produce, dairy, marine and processed food sectors.


The modular stainless steel slurry ice generators can be connected to existing refrigeration systems. Depending on the size of the machine, 500 kg to 10 t of slurry ice can be produced every 24 h. The slurry can be pumped directly over the product to be cooled, or into a reservoir where the chilled water can be further circulated. In case ice is required, water can be drained from the slurry. The Beluga BT500 slurry unit has clocked 4,000 h of continuous operation, chilling edible lamb offal. 


Contact: Ice Solutions, New Zealand. Tel: +64 (6) 8689 075


E-mail: craig@icesolutions.co.nz

Website: www.belugatechnology.co.nz  Or GPSRD Technology, New Zealand. Tel: +64 (4) 9177 800


E-mail: john.gibson@frst.govt.nz 


Website: www.frst.govt.nz 

Extending the shelf-life of dairy products

Studies undertaken by a researcher at Texas A&M University, the United States, have shown that high-pressure homogenization extends the shelf-life of milk-based diet beverages and sports drinks without altering their quality and nutrient value. Homogenization involves subjecting dairy products to 2,000-3,000 psi of pressure, resulting in fat globules that remain disbursed throughout the product rather than separating and rising to the top the way cream does in non-homogenized milk. But, in ordinary homogenization the fat globules are not consistent in size. At a pressure of 14,000 psi, smaller and uniformly sized fat globules were created which extended the shelf-life of the product.


These findings could eventually impact the way many dairy products, including yoghurt, skim and whole milk, cheddar cheese, and whey proteins are processed. 


Contact: Mr. Alexander Lin, the United States.


E-mail: calin@tamu.edu  Or Dr. Ronald Richter, the United States. Tel: +1 (979) 8454 425


E-mail: rlrichter@neo.tamu.edu


Website: www.globaltechnoscan.com 

MACHINERY/EQUIPMENT

Fruit drier

A fruit drier with a capacity to process 56 kg of sliced fruits has been designed by an engineer in Uganda. The Bunch Tray Fruit drier can be used to dry matooke, pawpaws and bananas. It has a drying chamber containing 20 mesh trays on which 2 mm slices of fresh fruits are loaded without overlapping the slices. The drying process, which needs about 4.5 h, is fuelled by sawdust or firewood burnt in a rectangular box. The heat generated is passed on to a heat exchanger through a metallic pipe. A fan blows air into the heat exchanger to separate heat and smoke. The smoke is let out through a chimney attached to the exchanger, while refined hot air is blown into the drying chamber. A thermostat attached to the chamber helps maintain specified heat standards for fruits. 


Website: www.foodonline.com 

Liquid filler

NJM/CLI, Canada, offers stainless steel FLX 1200 liquid filler. This modular unit facilitates production line flexibility and quick, simple changeover. Ideal for pharmaceutical and personal care products processors and contract packagers, FLX 1200 can handle a wide range of products with varying degrees of viscosity, temperatures (up to 50C) and pH (2 to 13). It has a mobile filling pump module on castor wheels that can be quickly disconnected to accommodate any change to piston pumps, gear pumps or peristaltic pumps. A single operator can perform the changeover within 15 minutes without any tools or mechanical alignments. FLX 1200 can fill up to 150 containers/min and handles filling volumes ranging from 5 ml to 5 l, depending on the pump selected. 


Contact: NJM/CLI, Canada. Tel: +1 (603) 4480 300; 


Website: www.njmcli.com or  www.packworld.com 

New slicing machine

Treif, Germany, has launched a new automatic tray-feeder line. The Divider 800 industrial cutting machine cuts in two, three and four rows, achieving up to 3,200 cuts/min. It can cut food products, even those at temperatures from -10C to 4C, into slices of 0.5-5 mm, intermittently or continuously. SAS technique incorporated in the unit ensures accurate stacking and shingling. As with the slicer range, slicing and stacking is carried out in one process, aided by the almost vertical loading chamber that stands at an angle of 80. Divider 800 can be fitted with a check weigher and sorting conveyor. 


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com 

Snack food assembly

In the United Kingdom, experts from the Robotics Group of the Centre for Intelligent Systems at the University of Wales Aberystwyth (UWA) are developing a new system to automate snack food assembly. The system is based on learning by example, a concept whereby sensing and control techniques allow a robot-based system to learn how to assemble various types of food products simply by way of examples demonstrated by an operator. Automation of food assembly will help overcome hurdles faced by food processors in recruiting and retaining workers who need to work in a chilled environment. 


Contact: Dr. Julie Finch, Technology Marketing Consultant, Research, Innovation and Business Service, University of Wales Aberystwyth, Penglais, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3DD, the United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1970) 622 385; Fax: +44 (1970) 622 959


E-mail: ribs@aber.ac.uk 


Adv@nces Wales, Issue 35, 2002

Food size tester

Key Technology, the United States, has introduced Farmco Precision Size Grader for high-efficiency and accurate sizing of food. In-plant testing on cut green beans exhibited 95 per cent efficiencies within 1/64-inch at capacities exceeding 4,535 kg/h. Designed with a small footprint, this unit helps processors conserve valuable floor space and gently conveys products, minimizing bruising. Featuring a highly sensitive indicator system that allows for precise, on-the-fly adjustability, the low-maintenance Farmco Grader delivers consistent and accurate sizing throughout the production season and minimizes the need for costly rebuilds of rotary drum graders. Typical season-end maintenance involves little more than changing bearings and cleaning. 


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com 

Process technology for gas-liquid mixing

Jongia, the United States, offers a new process for mixing and mass transfer of gas and liquids. This technology delivers major benefits over conventional technologies in that it uses 100 per cent of the gas supplied to the reactor. Additionally, batch times are reduced, excellent mass transfer is achieved and the need for expensive recirculation compressor is eliminated. The mixer can be sealed with simple shaft seals, and low agitator speeds are used so that the mixer operates below its critical speed and irregular loads on the shaft or bearings are avoided. The cost-effective process can be easily retrofitted into existing reactors. Typical applications and duties that have benefited from this process include oxidation, hydrogenation, carbonization on products such as fatty acids, food emulsions, terephthalic acid, water treatment, polymer emulsions and styrene butadiene rubber.


Contact: Mr. Alan Ferraro, Jongia, 6981, North Park Drive, East Building, Suite 201, Pennsauken, New Jersey 08109, the United States. Tel: +1 (856) 3179 960; Fax: +1 (856) 3179 963. 


Website: www.foodonline.com 

Modular conveyor system

Bosch Rexroth, Australia, offers high-performance and cost-effective conveyor systems for material handling links between machines. The modular VarioFlow is designed for horizontal and vertical handling of products of all types. It features a plastic chain with considerably higher tensile force and enhanced directional flexibility.


Rexroth also offers a wide range of additional conveyor chains, including cleated chains, ESD chains and steel-plated chains. Two other chain types especially suited for the packaging industry, friction-top chains and roller-top chains, will soon be available. Different drive stations are also provided to meet specific requirements. Apart from head and transmission drives, the range also includes two new drive units curve wheel drive and connecting drive for conveyor systems with single track chain. All motors can be supplied with plug-type connectors or integrated frequency converters for optimum adaptation to machine requirements and yields. 


Contact: Bosch Rexroth, Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 9580 3933.


Food and Pack, September 2002

PACKAGING

Award for innovative packaging

Sealed Air Corp., the United States, has won two of the packaging industrys prestigious national awards for its Cryovac OS film used as the lidding in the package design for Nestle Buitoni brand fresh pasta. The Sealed Air package for Nestle featured excellence in both form and function. Cryovac OS film can effectively remove residual oxygen and increase shelf-life, without altering the food products appearance or taste. Added shelf-life is achieved through the oxygen scavenging feature. The company also offers a wide range of food protective and speciality packaging materials and systems, including widely recognized brands like Bubble Wrap air cellular cushioning, Jiffy protective mailers and Cryovac food packaging products. 


Contact: Mr. Philip H. Cook, Sealed Air Corp., the United States. Tel: +1 (201) 7917 600. 


Website: www.webpublisher.lexisnexis.com 

Turnkey packaging line

SIG Pack Systems, based in the United States, has introduced a turnkey packaging line with controls that integrate motion and logic into one system. SIG Systegra is a modular system with synchronized interfaces, standardized mechanical and electrical modules, and a common control platform. This user-friendly design allows greater control of the packaging process and enables the Systegra unit to be tailored to current production needs, thus lowering operating costs. Intelligent controls encompasses the operating console, with particular attention being paid to the human-machine interface. The control can be linked to a local server, or the Internet, which enables global support and opens the system up to remote maintenance. Systegra is suitable for various industries, in dry or wet operation, and is available in three versions for the highest hygiene requirements, for wash-down and for standard operating environments. 


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com 

New packer/bundler

In the United States, Schneider Packaging Equipment has unveiled its latest MP-20 Multi-Packer/Bundler. This system can take single products such as aseptic cartons and collate them into a bundle, insert a J or U card if required, and shrink wrap into a bundle using either PE, PVC or registered films. The single product is transferred on to the multipacker feed conveyor and segregated into balanced lanes. Suitable motions will automatically take place based on the J-card or registered film selection. If a J-card is required, a pick-and-place mechanism places the J-card in front of the collated product and simultaneously wraps it around the product as it enters the film plow station. The film is cut and sealed as the product travels through the shrink tunnel and on to the system discharge conveyor. The MP-20 features stainless steel construction, servo-operated primary motions for smooth, continuous operation and collation, as well as positive product handling. 


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com 

Corn starch packaging

Plantic, Australia, reports to have developed a dissolvable plastic packaging. The edible packaging is made using corn starch and has the consistency of plastic. Its secret ingredient is a selectively bred, high-amylose corn variety with a long molecular structure that is suited to creating plastic. Besides normal consumer applications, the packaging is also aimed at the agricultural sector. 


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com 

New packaging checks for food expiry

Researchers at the University of California, the United States, are striving to develop packaging that can detect the expiry of a food product. The novel packaging would rely on the use of transistors fabricated using organic materials. This implies that much lower temperatures can be used, allowing circuits to be printed on materials including plastic and paper. The team has designed a prototype printer for the circuits and is working on the infrastructure needed to support packaging sensors. 


Indian Dairyman, July 2002

New liquid packaging concept

Isurpak Asmalanak, Spain, has developed a liquid packaging system that is reported to be far more recyclable than any existing product on the market. The new packaging is essentially a cardboard box with a plastic pocket inside. It has folds and joints that constitute a pour spout, from which the liquid is poured. When the pour spout is opened, the plastic bag is opened as well. When it is closed, the bag is automatically shut without using any pins or similar elements, preventing the liquid from flowing out.


This novel system enables users to achieve strong isolation after the product is first opened, thereby ensuring the freshness of the contents. In addition, the user can easily separate the cardboard box from the plastic pocket, and therefore, unlike existing packaging systems on the market, it can be recycled. 


Contact: Mr. Garazi Andonegi, Spain. Tel: +34 (943) 363 040


E-mail: garazi@elhuyar.com 


Website: www.foodproductiondaily.com 

Packaging against Listeria

Louisiana State University, the United States, has developed a prototype composite film to protect packaged cooked meats from Listeria monocytes. The new film comprises two edible proteins, nisin and zein. In tests, the film kept bacterial levels in refrigerated cooked chicken breasts below detectable levels for 24 days. According to researchers, this solution works on any meat product that has been kept in a refrigerated condition, but is not effective on meats that have not been maintained within the recommended storage temperature limit of 4C.


Website: www.packaging-technology.com 

Compostable packaging

The United States Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) has certified two Eastman Kodak products following 180 days of tests. Eastar Bio GP for extrusion coating and cast film applications, and Ultra co-polyester designed for blown film use comply with ASTM D6400-99 standard. Both products have already been certified in Europe and Japan. Eastar Bio co-polyester biodegrades completely into water, biomass and carbon dioxide in 180 days. Products certified by BPI as compostable have to be a readily available food source for micro-organisms and must not leave behind plastic fragments. Applications for the material in food and other packaging are currently being marketed or developed worldwide.


Website: www.packaging-technology.com

PUBLICATIONS

Transport Phenomena in Food Process Engineering

This book covers processes related to the transport of energy in the form of heat, momentum and mass. Starting from basics, the author systematically develops complex equations without burdening the minds of the readers. Chapters on heat transport, particularly heat exchangers and numerical methods, are well written.


Contact: Himalaya Publishing House, Ramdoot, Dr. Bhalerao Marg, Girgaon, Mumbai 400 004, Maharashtra, India. Tel/Fax: +91 (22) 3860 170/3877 178


E-mail: himpub@vsnl.com 

Technology of Indian Milk Products

This handbook provides an update on a wide range of data and analysis on major trends in the Indian dairy industry. It represents the first ever effort to validate over 20 years of R&D experience in bringing about mechanization and large-scale production of Indias traditional milk products. The book also highlights opportunities for emerging markets and investment prospects in the dairy segment.


Contact: Dairy India Yearbook, A-25, Priyadarshini Vihar, New Delhi 110 092, India. Tel/Fax: +91 (11) 2224 3326/3039


E-mail: yearbook@vsnl.com 

Microbiological Risk Assessment in Food Processing

Microbiological risk assessment (MRA) provides a structured way of identifying and assessing microbiological risks in food. Part 1 of this publication introduces the key steps in MRA methodology while Part 2 delves into how MRA can be implemented in practice.


Contact: Woodhead Publishing Ltd., Abington Hall, Abington, Cambridge CB1 6AH, the United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1223) 891 358; Fax: +44 (1223) 893 694


E-mail: sales@woodhead-publishing.com


ASIAN AND PACIFIC CENTRE FOR TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY

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