VATIS Update Food Processing . Jan-Feb 2005

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Food Processing Jan-Feb 2007

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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Codex ratification on schedule

The Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Use (CCNFSDU) has concluded that the guidelines on vitamin and mineral supplements could be taken to their final stage (step 8) after resolving the controversial question of how maximum levels of vitamins and minerals (section 3.2.2) should be agreed. The guidelines propose that maximum amounts of vitamins and minerals will henceforth be established by scientific risk assessment, rather than based on recommended daily amounts (RDAs), as determined by a minority of countries in Europe and a significant number in other regions. This result was welcomed by industry bodies who have been waiting for the guidelines.


China builds up green tea supplies

A report prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) unveils that at 3.15 million tonnes, world tea production in 2003 beat 2002 supplies. Composite price averaged US$1.48/kg from January to June 2003, rising to an average of US$1.55/kg from July to December 2003 as a result of seasonal variation. India accounted for 27.4 per cent of world output, closely followed by China with 24.6 per cent, then Sri Lanka with 9.75 per cent and Kenya with 9.4 per cent.

Growth in green tea use by food and beverage manufacturers, spurred by growing evidence of its potential health benefits, gave output a boost in China, that saw overall tea production rising on the year before by 3 per cent to an estimated 791,000 t in 2003. Green tea accounted for a 73 per cent slice of the output. However, tough food and drink rules in the European Union and Japan saw a lower uptake from the European Union and Japan for Chinas tea products, allegedly because of non-compliance with MRLs criteria. Beverages remain the biggest application area for green tea extracts. In Europe, tea makers have witnessed a shift in sales in recent years as consumers increasingly opt for flavoursome or healthy alternatives, like fruit and herbal teas, consumption of which increased by almost 50 per cent between 1997 and 2002, according to market analysts Datamonitor. Green tea consumption in 2002 was nearly 20 times that of 1997 figures.


Chinese products popular in EU

Latest statistics available between China and the European Union (EU) reveal that the balance of food and beverage exports is continuing to swing in Chinas favour. Compared with the data for 1999, exports to the EU from China increased by 40.1 per cent in 2003 while exports from EU, for the same period, rose by 44.2 per cent. Overall trade during the four-year period has more than doubled. These statistics represent both the rapid growth of the food industry in China, as well as the burgeoning demand for cheaper foodstuffs in the EU markets.

Breaking the EU figures down by country, Germany was by far the largest exporter to China, accounting for 44 per cent of the total, followed by France with a 11 per cent share and Italy (9 per cent). Likewise, Germany is also the biggest importer of Chinese goods (21 per cent), trailed by the United Kingdom (16.3 per cent) and the Netherlands (14 per cent).


Nanotechnology in the food industry

A study commissioned by the United Kingdom government and undertaken by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering has identified a range of potential benefits to be gained from nanoscience and nanotechnologies, which include new materials, more powerful computers and revolutionary medical techniques. This claim is supported by another recent study from Helmut Kaiser Consultancy, entitled Nanofood, which looked into nanotechnology in the food industry. It is estimated that the nanofood market will surge from the present US$2.6 billion market to US$20.4 billion in 2010. Furthermore, nanoscale biotech and nano-bioinformatics are predicted to have a strong influence on the food and food processing industries. However, the Royal Society report highlights uncertainties about the potential effects of nanoparticles and nanotubes on human health and the environment. Safety assessments and regulations must be put in place to minimize the risks.


Value addition project

Indonesia is setting up a new centre to serve as the focal point for transferring cutting-edge technology. The Southeast Asian Food and Agriculture Science and Technology (SEAFAST) Centre is being established at Bogor with assistance from Texas A&M Universitys Institute of Food Science and Engineering, the United States. This project has four goals:
  • Establish a distance education link between Texas A&M and the host university, the Institute Pertanian Bogor;
  • Hire and train four faculty members and a co-director in food science and technology. They would in turn teach others, particularly students enrolled in food science courses at the university;
  • Set up a manufacturing component to produce food ingredients that are presently imported. This will help earn revenue for the centre and enable it to be self-sustaining; and
  • Begin a feeding programme for 200 pregnant women and an exclusive batch of underprivileged students in Bogor.

The SEAFAST centre will be headed by a nine member executive council of international business professionals and food scientists. The eventual objective is to expand the programme to other Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including Thailand, Viet Nam, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Contact: Dr. Cliff Hoelscher.



China brings in new milk identification system

According to a report from the Dairy Association of China, a new fresh milk identification system is scheduled to be introduced in major Chinese cities. The new system would benefit companies close to large affluent markets in the south of China to produce milk, pasteurize it and make it available to customers within a day or so. However, the certification system could potentially penalize some companies in the north where liquid milk is produced from milk powder or UHT milk constitute a significant part of sales. Industry observers are of the opinion that the new system could reshuffle Chinas burgeoning dairy industry.


Immense potential for packaging companies in China

Rapid economic development in China has led to an increase in demand for packaging machinery. Though China is now the second largest importer of packaging machinery in the world, the nations food processing and packaging machinery still lags behind. The total domestic demand for food machinery and packaging equipment is predicted to touch about US$7.9 billion, with an annual growth rate exceeding 12 per cent. China is industrializing at an amazing rate, with manufacturing accounting for 60 per cent of the nations GDP growth in the last decade. Low cost of production, coupled with favourable economic policies and preferential tax rates, are among the major drivers behind this growth.


Mitigating post-harvest loss

The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in India is awaiting approval for a technology that could potentially lower post-harvest losses of fruits, vegetables and food grains. Poor handling facilities and infections cause 15-50 per cent of agricultural produce ending up as waste. BARCs irradiation technology is environment and health-friendly.

While the use of irradiation is restricted in India to mango, onion, potato, rice, semolina, powdered wheat, spices, meat, poultry and sea food, the United States, China and some other countries allow irradiation of a range of products. BARC is awaiting a generic approval for fruits, vegetables and food grains. Its application has already been screened by the National Monitoring Agency and an expert group. The technology involves controlled application of ionizing radiation like gamma rays, X-rays and accelerated electrons. Gamma rays are highly penetrative and can be used on large quantities of products, even when they have been packed. Accelerated electron processing units handle only smaller quantities, but are faster and cheaper.


Assistance for training centres

In India, the Ministry for Food Processing Industries has aided 348 training centres involved in training rural entrepreneurs in food processing. In order to develop rural entrepreneurship and providing experienced hands, a grant of US$4,520, with US$2,260 as revolving seed capital, is provided for a single-product line centre. For multi-product line, the grant is US$16,950 with a revolving seed capital of US$4,520. The implementing agency is required to deploy qualified trainers, provide accommodation, infrastructure and utilize locally grown raw material.


Food park scheme in India

The Indian Ministry of Food Processing Industries intends to provide assistance to set up at least one food park or major processing facility in every parliamentary constituency of the country. Food parks will be established with the goal of aiding small and medium entrepreneurs who are unable to invest in capital-intensive activities such as cold storage, warehouses, quality control labs, effluent treatment plants, training and conference facilities. Common utilities available in food parks facilitate better market orientation and make the small-scale food processing units more cost-competitive. PSUs, private sector, NGOs and cooperatives are eligible for grants @ 25 per cent of project cost (maximum US$903,960) for setting up food parks.


Coffee exports from Viet Nam

Competitive pricing and high production volumes have enabled Viet Nam to export more coffee to nearly 59 countries and territories, with Germany and the United States being the largest importers. Last year, Viet Nam exported about 806,000 t of coffee, a year-to-year increase of 47 per cent in volume and a 41 per cent rise in value. According to the Viet Nam Coffee-Cacao Association, or VICOFA, Viet Nam has the highest coffee output in the world. The coffee sector has applied several measures to raise quality, thereby increasing its competitiveness, focusing on reallocating growing areas, changing seedling and farming techniques, managing produce collection and storage, and expanding outlets.

Viet Nams coffee acreage has also developed rapidly 13,000 ha and an output of 6,000 t in 1975 has increased to 500,000 ha and 700,000 t at present. Suitable areas for growing Robusta and Arabica coffee have been selected while growing other crops in ineffective areas. Also, many scientific techniques have been successfully embraced in selecting seedlings, nursery and post-harvest care, which have benefited both the economy and environment. The Vietnamese Trade Ministry plans to speed up dissemination of information and forecasts to assist exporters. The ministry also intends to support VICOFA and coffee exporters find new outlets, diversify sales channels and improve foreign trade expertise among exporters.


Breakthrough in food safety surveillance

Chinas investment in the programme of key technologies of food safety has borne fruit with an array of breakthroughs in R&D of monitoring, inspecting and surveillance systems and apparatus during the 10th five-year plan. This has enabled the country to lessen the gap with regard to international food safety criteria. Apart from adopting foreign testing practices, which have been altered for the local environment, China has developed fast sampling techniques that are urgently needed for efficient enforcement of the rules.

Studies on testing and fast sampling of residual pesticides, veterinary medicine, biotoxins and food additives have led to 18 important testing equipment and 25 testing reagents. The testing process for avian flu and NDV, which used to last 21 days, takes only 4 h now. In addition, an integrated testing system to identify 180 types of pesticide residues in tea, rice and fruit juice has been invented. An indigenous dioxin testing and analysing system complies with international criteria for analytical quality assurance. China has also established a food safety system for key chemical pollutants and microbes that cause diseases. There is a food pollutants monitoring network covering 13 provinces in the country. China has also placed its first system for food surveillance, pre-warning and risk analyses and control. Significant breakthroughs have also been achieved in HACCP system.



Detecting Campylobacter

Campylobacter is a foodborne pathogen found in several raw or mishandled foods, including poultry. Doses as low as 500 micro-organisms have been reported to cause illness. The present direct plating technique employed to detect the pathogen is inadequate as it can often be difficult to differentiate between Campylobacter and other microbes.

In the United States, food technologist Mr. J. Eric Line at the Agricultural Research Service found that exposing Campylobacter to low levels of the chemical triphenyltetrazolium chloride stains the colonies deep red to magenta. The use of new translucent agars, to grow Campylobacter, helps identify the pathogen. Though other contaminant colonies may also show up as red, most of them are easily distinguished from Campylobacter by inherent differences in shape and structure.


Automated X-ray inspection

Spectrolab, the United Kingdom, has introduced an ultra high-speed automated X-ray inspection system capable of detecting on-line practically any undesirable contaminant in almost any type of product. Sentinel can easily identify and inspect products moving at high speed on a conveyor line for contaminants or any unwanted object at a rate of 10,000 objects/h. The systems simple design is based on ultra-fast combined X-ray source and CCD camera, plus ready-to-use software that can be programmed to identify shapes or unwanted objects.

Sentinel is installed at the point of manufacture or packaging at site and on-line. This system is reported to be suitable for all on-line applications, even those with random spacing, although versions are available for manual operation. It can detect a 1 mm stone or metal particle in foods like jam within a tenth of a second. It can also screen most packaging material, including metal and plastics and can even indicate when the bottle fill levels are wrong.


New kit to identify drug residues in meat

Biacore International AB, Switzerland, has launched a new food safety kit to detect drug residues in meat products. The Qflex kit can identify 14 different -agonists, potentially toxic veterinary drugs used as growth promoters. The extremely sensitive assay features broad specificity, thereby providing an efficient test for rapid, routine detection.

Biacore Q and Qflex kits offer automated, label-free analysis with significant time savings and reduced risk of experimental errors than traditional assays like RIA and HPLC. The Qflex kits format provides the necessary flexibility for rapid method development with the reliability essential for routine assays.

Contact: Biacore International AB, Head Office, Biacore International SA, Puits-Godet 12, CH 2000 Neuchatel, Switzerland. Tel: +41 (32) 7209 000.


New metal detector

Loma Systems Inc. offers the first-ever variable frequency metal detector. Launched under the Cintex Sentry VF brand name, this detector offers packagers with multi-product requirements a higher degree of metal detection accuracy and flexibility than conceivable earlier. Sentry VF automatically analyses product affect (temperature, moisture, salt content, speed, packaging material, etc.), reviews a broad band of frequencies and allows for selection of the right one for each specific application. The detector depends on a digital frequency synthesis system that enables dozens of frequencies between 40 kHz and 900 kHz to simply be dialled in from the control panel. This technique can allow a sweet spot to be set, which maximizes metal sensitivity for the product, providing higher accuracy than previously feasible.


Mitigating E. coli levels in fermented sausages

Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 is one of the leading causes of foodborne diseases and can result in severe complications in humans, ranging from haemorrhagic colitis to death. New techniques to minimize the risk of this harmful pathogen in fermented dry sausages are on the horizon as scientists in Canada have discovered that acidic conditions encountered during the digestive process may not be sufficient to inactivate some of the harmful bacteria. The team studied fermented dry sausages inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 and exposed to synthetic saliva for 60 s, synthetic gastric juice for 2 h and synthetic pancreatic juice for 4 h 10 min. Results showed that the existing E. coli cells remained viable after exposure to both saliva and gastric juice, and began to grow at a significant rate when exposed to pancreatic juice.


Analysing heat stability of milk and milk-based products

Ultrasonic Scientific, Ireland, has announced the addition of a new application for its proprietary High-Resolution Ultrasonic Spectroscopy (HR-US) analysis of heat stability of milk samples. HR-US can be used to detect milk coagulation during real time monitoring of milk subjected to very high temperatures. Continuous monitoring of changes in the composition and structure of the milk is possible. This is extremely difficult with other analytical techniques owing to the opacity of milk and the high temperature and excessive pressure at which the experiment is carried out.

HR-US makes use of two parameters, velocity and attenuation of ultrasonic waves, to access new information about both the chemical dynamics and structure of the sample. High-resolution measurements can be recorded in a non-destructive and versatile technique that does not require any optical activity or transparency of the samples. Only a small sample is needed, typically 1 ml, and analysis of a broad variety of sample types, chemical reactions and processes is feasible. The analysis includes measurement of concentrations of components, transition temperatures, temperature intervals and kinetics of creaming and sedimentation, as well as the analysis of particle size in suspensions and emulsions.

Analyses of the complex coagulation process is useful for the dairy, food and beverage industries as well as labs.

Contact: Ultrasonic Scientific, Ireland. Tel: +353 (1) 2180 600;





Whole-grain oat bread

In Finland, VTT Technical Research Centre and its partners have developed whole-grain oat bread that contains more betaglucan fibres, known to lower cholesterol. In normal oat breads, the oat content is about 20 per cent of the total amount of flour. Any increase in the oat content affects bread quality. Sensory properties of the new bread is comparable with that available in the market. Additionally, preservability is now twice more than normal. The 51 per cent oat bread was produced using sour dough, which is fermented by lactic acid bacteria. In this process, sourness prevents betaglucan from breaking down.

Contact: Ms. Laura Flander, VTT Biotechnology, Finland. Tel: +358 (9) 4565 842



Sterol combination in cholesterol-lowering products

High cholesterol levels are known to raise the risk of heart diseases and associated problems. Plant sterols, which help lower blood cholesterol, do not dissolve well in water as they are fat-soluble. This confines their usage to high-fat foods like margarines, which people on a heart-healthy diet prefer to avoid.

In the United States, researchers at the University of Nebraska have combined stearic acid, a fatty acid present in beef tallow, and plant sterols to obtain an anti-cholesterol powder. The patented additive can be included in a variety of foods, from breakfast cereals and drinks to dairy products and even chocolate. Initial animal tests suggest that the new additive may be more effective than presently available similar ingredients.


Analysing sugars

Procognia, a subsidiary of Israel-based Solbar Industries Ltd., offers a patented, proprietary and innovative technology to analyse sugars, including glycoproteins (sugar-protein molecules) and glycolipids (sugar-fat molecules) in complex solutions. Developed by Dr. Ofer Markman, Procognia is using the new technology to therapeutic proteins. Potential applications for the glycoanalysis system include food safety and quality control, process control, competitor product analysis and reverse engineering, as well as for designing new products.

A majority of food products contain glycosylated ingredients. Glycosylation is often responsible for taste, texture, stability and nutritional value of the food. However, analysis of glycosylation is crucial for health and safety reasons as well. Food allergies often linked to glycosylation and bacterial adulteration of food products can be detected by the presence of carbohydrates produced by bacteria.


Soluble isoflavone extract

Solbar Industries Ltd., Israel, has introduced a new soluble soya isoflavone extract that can be included in functional foods (drinks and soya milk) and dairy products (milk and yoghurts). Solgen 3/S, which is more economical than the regular soya isoflavones, is highly soluble at a neutral pH and typically contains 3 per cent total isoflavones with high levels of genistein and daidzein.

Results of a study undertaken by researchers in the United Kingdom have shown that a combination of soya isoflavones and soya protein has a positive effect on insulin resistance, glycaemic control and cardiovascular risk markers in post-menopausal women with type 2 diabetes.

Contact: Solbar Industries, P.O. Box 2230, Ashdod 77121, Israel. Tel: +972 (8) 8632 111; Fax: +972 (8) 8561 455

E-mail: ;


New technology yields improved natural extracts

Agrotechnology and Food Innovations (A&F), the Netherlands, has developed a flavour isolation process that enables extraction at high concentrations and fresh authentic character. Pervaporation uses a silicon-based polymer in the membrane system and features high selectivity towards specific volatile compounds. Compared with competing technologies, the novel extraction method is less harsh on the natural foodstuff. Additionally, the use of high temperatures is eliminated.

A pilot facility at A&F can handle raw materials in 1 m3 volumes, producing one to several litres of the concentrated extracts required for food application trials. A&F is offering potential users of the process a one-stop-shop techno-economic feasibility study, with actual implementation carried out by the system constructor/membrane producer Norit.

Contact: Agrotechnology and Food Innovations, Marketing and Communicatie, Postbus 17, 6700 AA Wageningen, Bornsesteeg 59, 6708 PD Wageningen, the Netherlands. Tel: +31 (317) 475 029; Fax: +31 (317) 475 347




Wet process for coconut oil production

Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), the Philippines, has developed a wet process for extracting coconut oil. The simple process does not subject coconut meat to any harsh treatment like high temperatures. Virgin coconut oil obtained from this process is used in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical preparations. The high lauric acid content helps prevent bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Also, the oils ability to preserve the bodys antioxidant reserves help keep skin soft and smooth.

Contact: The Director, Industrial Technology Development Institute, DOST Compound, Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig Metro Manila, Philippines 1631. Tel: +63 (2) 8372 071-82; Fax: +63 (2) 8373 167/8376 150/156.


Bacteria used for enriching vitamins

Investigations undertaken by researchers at the Netherlands-based food science institute NIZO reveal that lactic acid bacteria may hold the key for a natural process of vitamin enrichment that allows food companies a solution to consumer concerns over added ingredients. Bacteria studied under NutraCells project, funded by the European Union, manufacture vitamins for their health and growth. While the bacteria consume a part of the vitamins produced, substantial quantities of vitamins are excreted into their surroundings, often dairy-based food products.

Several manufacturers have evinced interest in the studys findings to radically alter fortification of dairy and fermented foods. The food firms are looking at new combinations, as starter cultures, based on their capacity for vitamin production. The NutraCells team also examined the prospect of genetically engineering bacteria to increase production levels of vitamins. Genes essential for folate biosynthesis in Lactococcus lactis were cloned and transferred to Lactobacillus gasseri, changing the latter from a folate consumer to a folate producer. Bioavailability of this folate was confirmed in an animal study. In addition, the team also studied multivitamin production in Lactococcus lactis using metabolic engineering to make the bacteria overproduce both folate and riboflavin.

Contact: NIZO Food Research B.V., P.O. Box 20, 6710 BA Ede, the Netherlands. Tel: +31 (0318) 659 511; Fax: +31 (0318) 650 400



Low-fat snack based on durum

PureSnack ApS, Denmark, offers technology to produce healthy, low-fat snacks without using additives. Two different kinds of crisps based on durum wheat are available in Denmark. Efforts are on to develop crisps suitable for the American market. Experiments with low water content and high temperatures have yielded a very light and voluminous product with a special crispy character. Ingredients include durum wheat, water and a small amount of oil. The low carb type features a dietary profile that fits the latest theories on healthy diets. The new type contains 2 per cent fat, 35 per cent protein and 50 per cent carbohydrates, without compromising taste and texture.

Contact: Mr. Ole Knudsen, PureSnack ApS, Byleddet 11, DK 8220 Brabrand, Denmark. Tel: +45 2644 7618/5159 2608; Fax: +45 8626 3614

E-mail: ;


Agglomeration advances functionality

Main Street Ingredients, the United States, offers an advanced-technology agglomeration system to obtain dry ingredients with improved functionalities. The companys product line includes whey protein concentrates and isolates, wheat protein isolate, soya proteins, caseinates, other dairy products and stabilizer systems. The highly automated, computer-run agglomeration procedure provides ingredients with enhanced dispersion, minimal dusting and improved overall functional traits.

Improved functionality of the agglomerated dry ingredients reflects a change in particle structure. Essentially, the process adheres small dusty particles with poor solubility together, forming larger, cavernous forms that are readily dispersible and non-dusting. Production involves wetting the dry ingredient with a water-based spray, followed by a holding duration for maximizing moisture absorption, and then drying. Including various ingredients in the water spray can assist with the formation and functionality of the agglomerated structure. Furthermore, particle size and density can be manipulated to suit end product requirements. Moisture content of an agglomerate is typically on par with the initial ingredient moisture level.

Contact: Main Street Ingredients, 2340, Enterprise Avenue, La Crosse, WI 54602, United States of America. Fax: +1 (608) 7813 932



Unique South African flavours

Under a South Africa-based programme focusing on bioprospecting and development of new flavours launched by Robertet Flavours, the United States, two new tea flavour extracts Honeybush and Rooibos and an assortment of exotic African fruit-type profiles have been uncovered. CosmAfrica programme explores and analyses the flora-rich South African bush and forest, aided by local phytochemists, botanists and ethnobotanists.

As a brewed beverage, Honeybush provides a honey-like, apricot-like, floral and sweet profile. The smooth-tasting beverage is naturally caffeine-free and does not contain tannin, a substance which imparts bitterness or astringency. Rooibos red tea obtains its red designation from the brewed drinks reddish-amber colour. Also naturally caffeine-free, this teas clean and aromatic taste mimics the flavour profile of black tea, except that it is less bitter.

Contact: Robertet Flavours, 10, Colonial Dr.,Piscataway, NJ 08854, United States of America. Tel: +1 (732) 9818 300; Fax: +1 (732) 9811 717




Pesticides in Pepsi and Coke

In India, the Supreme Court has decreed that soft drink bottles and cans sold by Coca-Cola and Pepsi should prominently display labels containing pesticide residue warnings. The nations highest court of appeal upheld an earlier ruling of northwestern Rajasthan states High Court that ordered the cola giants to clearly state all the ingredients, even inadvertent ones like pesticides. The Centre for Science and Environment, an NGO, had in August 2004 revealed that Pepsi and Coke soft drinks contained pesticide residues far higher than permissible international standards.


India amends PFA rule

A notification amending the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Rules 1995, issued by the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, permits the use of artificial sweeteners in food items. Marketing of food products containing artificial sweeteners was hitherto regulated by standards prescribed in the PFA Rules, 1995. The present notification allows the use of four artificial sweeteners aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame and sucralose within prescribed limits, in traditional sweets, breads, biscuits, cakes and pastries, carbonated water, soft drink concentrate, sugar/sugar-free confectionery, etc. This change in food law opens up a vast untapped market for sugar-free food products, including sugar-free confectionery.

Indian Dairyman, August 2004

Select products exempted from pesticide regulations

In India, the government plans to keep milk-based beverages and pure fruit/vegetable juices out of the purview of the stringent pesticide residual norms. In its latest draft standards, seeking revision of the IS-2346 standard, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has adopted Maximum Residual Limit (MRL) criteria on pesticides as stipulated by the Ministry of Health for packaged drinking water and soft drinks. This amounts to 0.0005 mg/l in respect of total pesticide residues and not more than 0.0001 mg/l in case of individual pesticide residues. However, the draft specifically exempts medical beverages, pure fruit/vegetable juices, or those containing or derived from dairy products.

Indian Dairyman, August 2004

Ensuring safety of GM food

In the Republic of Korea, a new standardized test system will be introduced to ensure the safety of food made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) stated that this measure is being created to complete the management and tracing system for GM food products. Presently, the absence of a government-designated standardized analysis scheme has raised concerns regarding the veracity of tests conducted by food safety authorities to ensure compliance with labelling rules.


New food safety standards

China is striving to gauge its food standards to international practice. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Standardization Administration of China, Ministry of Agriculture and six other departments have announced their 2004-05 development programme for national food standards. In order to reduce trade barriers, China plans to raise the ratio of adopting international standards in the food industry to 55 per cent from the present 23 per cent. Under the guidelines, all banned additives will be recorded as inspections increase. Relevant departments have allocated funds to conduct risk evaluations on current food additives to fix their usage limits.


Bad cooking oil is an offence

According to a new regulation issued by Thailands Ministry of Health, restaurants and food vendors using sub-standard recycled cooking oil to prepare food for sale will be fined. Penalties will be imposed on sellers using cooking oil with polar compounds exceeding 25 per cent of its weight. Cooking oil with excessively high polar compounds can cause skin and white blood cell cancers, lung and liver tumours.


New global food standard

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published a new version of the globally recognized BRC Food Standard. Certification bodies in 23 nations across four continents use the BRC Global Food Standard to facilitate food suppliers achieve certification against a globally recognized standard. Changes to the standard reflect modifications in legislation, including traceability, product segregation and the process by which product integrity is managed through the supply chain. Interpretations of requirements are more concise and the protocol more extended and detailed. The revisions are based on extensive consultation between BRC and key stakeholders across the industry.

Contact: British Retail Consortium, 2nd Floor, 21, Dartmouth Street, London SW1H 9BP, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (207) 8548 921; Fax: +44 (207) 8548 901.


Russian laws in line with EU

A Russian food standard concerning consumer information on packaged food products, GOST P 51074-2003, has been developed with the needs of international standards in mind. The regulation is expected to remove various technical barriers within international business and provide for an objective evaluation of product quality and safety. The new GOST sets stricter rules for the type of information that should be available on food packagings. Manufacturers have to state the raw materials or biologically active flavours present in their products, and provide information about all the minerals and vitamins present in the food. Additionally, the packaging must contain approved recommended daily amounts, number of calories, amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Information about GM food products or products prepared with GM raw material or component must be stipulated. Data regarding diet or disease-prevention traits of certain foods can be printed, so long as the manufacturer can prove its claims. GOST P 51074-1997 sets concrete requirements for classifying certain food products, prohibits the use of ambiguous phrases like environmentally clean and allows producers not to list components of which there is less than 2 per cent in the product, in accordance with the EU Regulation 2003/89/EU.



Inhibiting food spoilage micro-organisms

At the Food Research and Development Centre, Canada, researchers have developed a biological control process based on a mixture of chitosan hydrolysate and organic acids to stabilize processed plant products, including juices. Chitosan formulations specifically inhibit the prolific growth of pathogenic or non-pathogenic micro-organisms causing food spoilage.

Contact: Mr. Steve Bittner, Senior Advisor, Commercialization and Business Development, Food Research and Development Centre, 3600 Casavant Blvd. West, St-Hyacinthe, Quebec J2S 8E3, Canada. Tel: +1 (450) 7731 105, ext. 280; Fax: +1 (450) 7732 888.


New antimicrobial agent

Selective Micro Technologies (SMT), the United States, has obtained FDA approval to market its chlorine dioxide antimicrobial agent for use in washing fruits and vegetables. Chlorine dioxide, the worlds most ideal biocide, is now widely available for commercial use as a result of scientific breakthroughs achieved by SMT. Earlier, production of chlorine dioxide required the use of complex chemical facilities and/or highly toxic chemical additives. As such, the biocide was not available for commercial use as a sanitizer. Chlorine dioxide is a powerful biocide that can kill fungus, bacteria and viruses at levels of 0.1-1 ppm in contact times of a few minutes.

SMTs patented micro-reactors are sachets packaged in metallic pouches, roughly the size and thickness of a standard letter-sized envelope. The pouches contain an integrated, tamper-evident pour spout. Addition of water into the pouch results in the production of chlorine dioxide from an inner sachet. All the reactants are contained within the proprietary membrane materials. Only chlorine dioxide gas is released in the water, resulting in 99+ per cent pure chlorine dioxide solution, at neutral pH, with no unwanted by-products. Tests have revealed that SMTs antimicrobial agent extends the shelf-life of fresh-cut produce by up to 50 per cent, compared with the most popular products. Reduction of bacteria, yeast and mould counts leads to better taste and presentation over a longer time period.


Banana in bottles

Scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), India, have patented a novel technology that would allow one to serve an all-time favourite fruit in a different way, in bottles. This breakthrough is the result of one of the spin-off technologies, developed while evolving a hybrid banana variety. The process facilitates marketing the juice of a perishable fruit like banana as well as mitigating waste and storage requirements.

In the patented technique, sleceted enzymes are mixed with pulped bananas and stored for two days at a specific temperature and environment. Enzymes aid the release of liquid, which is then bottled as juice. Presently the shelf-life of the product is about 30 days, but efforts are being made to prolong the shelf-life. The leftover solid can be added as a substitute to wheat flour in making biscuits and confectionery items.

Contact: Head, Technology Transfer and Collaboration Division, BARC, Trombay, Mumbai 400 085,Maharashtra, India. Tel: +91 (22) 5505 337/5593 897; Fax: +91 (22) 5505 151



Natural antimicrobial ingredient

Decas Botanical Synergies (DBS), the United States, has launched a synergistic powder blend for inhibiting Listeria monocytogenes in beef and fish. Th proprietary NutriCran-AM is made up of cranberry powder of DBS and Origanox extract of RAD Natural Technologies Ltd, both known for their superior quality and high antioxidant activity. NutriCran-AM has demonstrated enhanced antimicrobial activity in inhibiting L. monocytogenes and the synergistic natural food-grade ingredient may provide additional protection beyond that of physical and other treatments.

Contact: Mr. Doug Klaiber, Decas Botanical Synergies, Wareham, Massachusetts, United States of America. Tel: +1 (508) 2950 147




New spray dryer

TasteTech Ltd., the United Kingdom, has designed an exclusive spray dryer that enables flavourings to be spray dried at a ratio of 40 per cent flavouring and 60 per cent carrier. A unique atomization system sets this unit apart from its counterparts. The spread nozzle ensures superior encapsulation and a more spherical particle, enabling better free flow. Also, spray drying occurs at relatively low temperatures that guarantee retention of volatile components, a feature crucial in flavourings. A three-stage scrubber helps comply with environmental rules.

Contact: TasteTech Ltd., Wilverley Industrial Estate, 813/815 Bath Road, Brislington, Bristol BS4 5NL, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (117) 9712 719; Fax: +44 (117) 9720 052



Oil-free compressed air

FS-Elliott, the United States, has introduced a compressor for food and beverage processors. PAP Plus Plant Air Package Centrifugal compressor provides 100 per cent oil-free, particulate filtered air. Mounted on a compact base-plate for easy installation, PAP Plus raises efficiency, operating time and overall plant capability. With a 100 per cent continuous steel design, the novel base-plate supports the entire compressor package, including the lubrication and control systems. The rugged steel base-plate construction also reduces the possibility of driver vibration or misalignment. PAP Plus also utilizes efficient stainless steel, backward leaning impellers. The backward leaning design provides optimal efficiency throughout operation with a steeper pressure rise to surge and greater throttle range. The impellers are less susceptible to surge due to changes in operating conditions, e.g. air temperature, water temperature or intercooling fouling.

Another important feature is the redundant oil pump that provides continuous, reliable oil pressure. The lubrication system includes two full capacity, full pressure pumps, a motor-driven auxiliary and a shaft-driven main. During regular operations, the shaft-driven pump is run. The motor-driven auxiliary pump is used for start-up, shutdown and as an emergency back-up, providing a reliable source of engineered air at all times. The intercoolers feature straight through, water-in-tube design for easy cleaning, maintenance and checking. The horizontally split PAP Plus design (gear case, bearings and seals) is also easier to inspect and maintain.

Contact: FS-Elliott, 951, North Fourth Street, Jeannette, PA 15644 1482, United States of America. Tel: +1 (724) 8613 800; Fax: +1 (724) 8613 870.


System to ensure proper labelling on bottles

Secomak, the United Kingdom, offers a system to ensure correct application of labels and date stamps. The Powerstrip V air knife drying system is installed on the bottling line to instantly dry bottles, thereby facilitating labelling and printing. Powerstrip V is easy to adjust, allows bottles of different sizes to be dried and the entire system is enclosed in a Perspex cabinet, which contains the spray produced by the air knives.

Modular in design, the Powerstrip air knife systems are custom built for each specific application and can be used on bottling lines with speeds ranging from 200 to 1,800 bottles/min. Configurations range from simple air knife kits to completely engineered systems incorporating stainless steel cabinets, drip trays, sound attenuation and adjustable guides. It is estimated that the air knives reduce drying costs by up to 90 per cent when compared with thermal drying.

Contact: Secomak Limited, 502, Honeypot Lane, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 1JR, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (20) 8952 5566; Fax: +44 (20) 8952 6983



Fluidized bed dryers

A key breakthrough in dryer technology has been the integration of the dryer into the total processing system. Ventilex, a manufacturer of fluid bed processors based in the United States, has built the largest ever fluid bed dryer, a 310 ft2 single fluid bed unit. Mr. Tom Schroeder, President of Ventilex, credits fast-acting resistive thermal devices, or RTDs, implemented in various sections of dryers for the improved ability to predict drying results. Advanced modelling software built into PLCs also enables processors to maximize dryer throughput.

AeroFlow fluidized bed dryer and toaster launched by Aeroglide Corp. is touted as ideal for cereal processing. An air impingement system, forcing air through a perforated bed at high velocity, lifts and separates the product, creating an air envelope that enables more efficient moisture removal. The patented technology introduces sequential pulses of air through a perforated bed. Controlled airflow and pulse frequency keep the product fluidized, reducing the time required for moisture removal. Aeroglide has also added sanitation upgrades to its conveyor dryers. The new designs feature smoothed surfaces that eliminate corners and pockets where food could collect and create a sanitation hazard. Design changes include more access points to simplify cleaning and sanitation.

Contact: Ms. Patricia Sharp, Aeroglide Corp., United States of America. Tel: +1 (919) 8512 000

E-mail: Mr. T. Schroeder, Ventilex, United States of America. Tel: +1 (513) 3663 950



Autoclave for sterilizing food

Lagarde, France, has developed a new forced steam circulation rotary autoclave. With a diameter approaching 70 inches and a load capacity of five cells of stacked trays, this system can sterilize 2,400 pouches (each pouch weighing 250 g) of various products, especially rice in plastic pouches. The new autoclave is indispensable for obtaining rice of an exceptional quality that does not have to be pre-cooked. It is only necessary to add the required amount of water and, if desired, various spices, aromatics and miscellaneous ingredients to produce each countrys traditional recipe or exotic blend. Among other benefits, the rotary autoclave enables major reductions in sterilization times. In addition, its large capacity significantly decreases the number of traditional autoclaves that would normally be required and thus lowers investment costs.

The company has also developed special stainless steel trays for the autoclave. These trays include imprints, which match the shape of the plastic pouches. Pouches are held precisely in place during rotation and no distortion is possible, thus enabling large sachets to be processed with complete rotation. The trays feature channels that optimize the passage of steam to ensure perfectly homogeneous distribution of steam over each pouch.

Contact: Lagarde, Z.I. Les Plaines, Malataverne 26780, France. Tel: +33 (4) 7590 5858; Fax: +33 (4) 7590 5848.


New confectionery depositor

APV Baker, the United States, offers a new range of ServoForm depositors for the production of hard and soft confectionery, toffees, gums, jellies and lollipops. Designed to give manufacturers complete control over the depositing process, the system ensures precision in shape and weight, negligible scrap rates as well as efficient wrapping. Servomotors installed to control machine movements provide greater flexibility and improved process control. The equipment can handle a range of different textures, enabling multi-component products with one or two centre-fills to be made.

Contact: APV Baker, 3223, Kraft Ave. S.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan, MI 49512 2027, United States of America. Tel: +1 (616) 7843 111; Fax: +1 (616) 7840 973



Turnkey solution for efficient food production

Macro Weighing Systems (MWS) of the United Kingdom offers turnkey process weighing and traceability systems. A system installed at Kanes Foods Ltd., a manufacturer of ready prepared foods, has enabled the company to efficiently handle fluctuations in demand and product traceability. MWS comprehensive system is at the heart of Kanes new dedicated production line for preparing pre-packed coleslaws, fresh pasta salad and sauces. The turnkey system has no fewer than 33 weighing points, including 15 Datamaster workstations, bulk and intermediate storage vessels and mixing vessels. Controlling the production of mayonnaise is a critical part of the overall process and over 20 t are mixed and used on a daily basis. There are three different blends and each batch is freshly mixed from the five main ingredients in two individual 1,000 kg capacity mixing vessels. The mixing vessels are mounted on load cells and use a combination of weight data and torque data from the mixer motor to produce the perfect mix.

Producing several million trays of speciality coleslaws a year requires not only a highly automated process but also clear real-time visibility of the process itself, together with availability and location data on the large number of ingredients. The novel solution at Kanes is based on MWS inspirational E4 TRAC-IT software suite. Working in tandem with the central Mitsubishi FX series PLC and E900 MMI, TRAC-IT provides a unique blend of control, visibility and traceability, which in turn guarantees optimum production flexibility and efficiency.

Contact: Macro Weighing Systems, The Old Barn, Wilderwick Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 3NT, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1342) 870 103; Fax: +44 (1342) 870 104.


Feeder for seasonal chocolate

In Switzerland, a new robotic system installed by Chocolats Halba has helped increase packaging automation, improve product quality and raise output. The chocolate manufacturer is renowned for the quality and taste of its seasonal products like Christmas decorations and treats. SIG Pack Systems integrated its Delta Robot and feeding system into Chocolats Halbas existing line.

The products are now fed into a hopper and a vibratory system is used to gently place them, one by one, on to a ribbed conveyor belt, which prevents the products from rolling away. Different vibratory systems and conveyor belt velocities ensure that the product is spaced along the belt. The accurately aligned chocolate products are recognised on the conveyor by a vision system, with LED lighting integrated into the conveyor body and a camera positioned over the belt. Image processing software transmits relevant information, such as product position and orientation, to the robots motion controller. The robot then picks up the products individually and places them into the wrapping machine at a rate of over 100 items per minute. All the different hollow chocolate products have very similar dimensions and shapes. For a change of product, the changes to both the product feed and robot can be kept to a minimum, with the robot simply being reprogrammed at the touch of a button.

Contact: SIG Pack Systems AG, P.O. Box Beringen CH 8222, Switzerland. Tel: +41 (52) 6747 419; Fax: +41 (52) 6746 524.


RF heating systems

Canada-based Guelph Food Technology Centre and HeatWave Technologies Inc. have developed a wide range of commercial applications for HeatWaves proprietary radio frequency (RF) heating systems. Some of the proven successes are:
  • Bulk powder - RF rapidly and evenly heats large volumes of bulk powder and exhibits functional modifications and bacterial load reduction;
  • Tempering - RF tempering of meat significantly lowers processing time while maintaining product quality, which decreases losses and increases product yield;
  • Proofing - Baked volumes and sensory appraisal of RF-proofed croissants are comparable with conventional proofing, and require only under five minutes, compared with the current conventional proofing of 20 minutes for the same product;
  • Post-package pasteurization - RF treatment of cooked egg product can significantly extend shelf-life and reduce microbial hazards; and
  • Blanching - RF blanching of vegetables is an alternative to traditional steam and water blanching, and panellists preferred RF-blanched broccolis appearance, flavour and texture.

Contact: Guelph Food Technology Centre, 88 McGilvray Street, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada. Tel: +1 (519) 8211 246; Fax: +1 (519) 8361 281


Website:  Mr. Ken MacAuley, General Manager, Food Products, HeatWave Technologies Inc., Canada. Tel: +1 (905) 6255 899;





New flavonoid formula

In the United States, a team of researchers have developed a breakthrough new dietary supplement formula. FRS Plus, a scientifically formulated free radical scavenging antioxidant health beverage, is a natural energy booster launched by New Sun Nutrition. Dr. Mitsunori Ono, one of the researchers, states that In our research to counteract the effects of free radical damage in the human body, we focused on intensifying and extending the duration of an increased quantity of quercetin in blood plasma, which is an important factor in enhancing quercetins overall effectiveness. Animal studies indicate that the ingredients in FRS Plus act synergistically to increase the level and duration of the antioxidant quercetin in the system.

The patented FRS Plus, combining quercetin and green tea catechins, is uniquely formulated to enhance the performance of flavonoids through the integration of seven key vitamins and metabolic enhancers. FRS Plus is a delicious, easy to drink, orange tangerine flavoured supplement beverage available in both Original and Low-Carb versions.

Website: ; 


Protein-rich fruit juices

Glanbia Nutritionals, Ireland, offers a fruit juice beverage formulated with a proprietary whey protein isolate, Provon. The 330 ml drink provides 10 g of protein. Two other ingredients companies, DSM and Kerry Bioscience, have developed proteins that can be added to sports drinks. Proteins are difficult to add to beverages and tend to be included in thicker liquids like shakes. However, the latest protein technology has allowed the normally heavy, insoluble substance to be added to other drinks by using small protein compounds or peptides. Increasing use of whey protein isolate by sports nutrition companies and in-diet products are already driving strong growth in sales of the ingredient. According to Proteus Insight, a dairy research firm, the global market for whey protein isolate has increased from 8,500 t in 1998 to around 12,500 t in 2003.



New gas packaging

France-based Air Liquide, the worlds leading provider of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) technology, has launched an upgraded version of Aligal gases packaging aimed at the food and beverage industry. The new version was developed in response to concerns among food and beverage producers regarding food safety and security. It lowers the risk of tampering and provides food processors with an additional level of safety.

The redesign includes a residual pressure valve to prevent cylinder contamination by restricting back flow as well as a shrink sleeve over the valve for tamper-evidence. The sleeve is also printed with the companys logo to deter counterfeiting. In addition, the cylinder comes with a traceable batch analysis sticker, which includes filling information and a Certificate of analysis. Finally, it also contains the firms trademarked Scandia cap, to provide valve and regulator protection.


Vertical form-fill-seal machine

Emrich Industries, Australia, offers a vertical form-fill-seal machine capable of speeds up to 160 products/min. Comet system features a sealing area protected from product contamination. The long dwell rotary sealing system is accessible from the front part. Featuring an LCD colour touch screen, the system can handle pack lengths from 1 mm to 400 mm, or longer with double stroke. Potential applications include frozen foods, dairy, confectionery, liquids, powders and granules, etc. Feeding systems are available with multi-head weighers, servo-auger dosing unit, volumetric dosing unit and linear weigher.

Contact: Emrich Industries, Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 9540 0255; E-mail:


Eco-friendly packaging

Astrapak Ltd., South Africa, is offering a totally degradable garbage bag. Based on intelligent plastics which harmlessly self-destruct into water and carbon dioxide at the end of their useful life, the Garbie range is available as an interleaved or easy-pull roll. Biodegradability across a wide range of disposal conditions has been made feasible by the use of a revolutionary additive developed by Symphony Plastic Technologies PLC.


New aseptic packaging

Tetra Pak has released Tetra Brik Aseptic 1890 ml Slim and Tetra Brik Aseptic 2000 ml Slim packages, the largest packages to be launched in the Tetra Brik Aseptic range. These cartons feature the SlimCap, a resealable screw cap closure. According to the company, the sizes are suitable for producers packaging juice and still drinks, and soya and rice-based beverages. Furthermore, the packages have been specially designed to ensure optimal opening, pouring and re-closing.


End-of-line packaging solution

Schneider Packaging Equipment Co. Inc., the United States, has introduced its new robotic case packer-palletizer. This all-in-one concept combines a case packer and a palletizer, and is reported to provide manufacturers a cost-effective end-of-line solution. Featuring a 5-axis Motoman robot with XRC controller, the robotic packer-palletizer can move up to 80 kg. A compact footprint allows for pallet sizes of up to 48 48 inch and unit loads up to 72 inch high.

Capable of running single line applications, the robotic packer-palletizers product rates depend on various factors, including the product being packaged, number of products per case and pallet patterns. The custom-designed End of Arm Tooling (EOAT) is flexible enough to grab and pack objects of different sizes, including boxes, bags, bundles, bales, cans, bottles, etc. A programmable Allen Bradley Logix controller with a touch screen operator interface facilitates easy changeovers. The system features a product and case infeed conveying system, enabling simple integration with other equipment.

Contact: Schneider Packaging Equipment Co. Inc., 5370, Guy Young Road, P.O. Box 890, Brewerton NY 13029 0890, United States of America. Tel: +1 (315) 6763 035; Fax: +1 (315) 6762 875.



Mycotoxins in Food: Detection and Control

This book brings together the wealth of research in the area of food contamination, especially related to mycotoxins. It examines methods to detect specific mycotoxins and also how to control them at different stages of the supply chain. Part 1 addresses risk assessment and risk management techniques, sampling methods, modelling and detection methods used to measure contamination risks and current regulations governing mycotoxin limits in food. Part 2 includes chapters on the use of HACCP systems and mycotoxin control at different stages in the supply chain.

Improving the Thermal Processing of Foods

This guide concisely explores prevailing developments in thermal technologies, which are essential for preserving foods and developing texture, flavour and colour. While the first part of this book delves into issues like how best to optimize thermal processes, Part 2 focuses on developments in technologies for sterilization and pasteurization, with chapters on modelling retort temperature control and developments in packaging, sous vide, etc.

Structure, Function and Applications of Starch in Food

This book reviews the structure, functionality and the growing range of starch ingredients used to improve nutritional and sensory qualities of food. Topics covered include analysis and modification of starch, sources of starch, use of starch as an ingredient and how it is used in the food industry, starch as a functional food, detecting nutritional starch fractions, and analyzing starch digestion.
For the above publications,

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


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