VATIS Update Food Processing . Jan-Feb 2006

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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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Organic consumption higher than average in Asia-Pacific

Consumers in Asia-Pacific markets are among the biggest purchasers of organic products thanks to their image as healthier foods, found an online survey by AC Nielson. The study asked more than 21,000 Internet users across North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and South Africa whether and why they bought organic food and beverages. The percentage of shoppers in 13 Asia-Pacific markets surveyed by the firm who said they bought organic products surpassed the global average, especially in the dairy, fruit juice, packaged food and tea sectors. The Chinese emerged as the leading regular consumers of organic fruit, vegetables, fresh meat and dairy products across all countries in the survey. Thai respondents were the largest consumers of organic fruit juices and packaged food.

Almost two-thirds of the organic shopper thought these foods were healthier for them. Shoppers in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines were most aware of the personal health benefits, with 66 per cent of them buying organic foods for this reason. Unlike European consumers, those in the Asia-Pacific region do not appear to be driven by environmental issues. However, Asian consumers are put off by the expense of organic foods as well as the lack of availability and a lack of confidence in the way that the products are produced.

Organic food and beverage producers also need to tackle a lack of confidence or outright distrust in labelling and the concept of organic food itself, especially in countries such as Taiwan, Republic of Korea, China and Thailand, where large proportions of those who do not buy organic believe that the food labelled is not really produced the way it says it is.


Imported milk products rule Vietnamese market

Imported powdered milk products dominated the Viet Nam market despite price differences and tax policies in favour of local producers, said industry insiders who attributed the situation to the belief among domestic customers that imported products are of higher quality than local ones. In particular, citizens from cities such as Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City prefer to purchase imported powdered milk. The prices of imported trademark products such as XO, Mead Johnson and Abbott averaged between VND140,000 (US$8.7) and VND200,000 (US$12) double the prices of local products.

Local producers include Viet Nam Joint-stock Dairy Products Company (Vinamilk), Ha Noi Milk and Nutrifood. Mr. Mai Kieu Lien, the director general of Vinamilk, said most imports are well-recognized trademarks that are known for their high quality. A representative from the Ha Noi Milk Company added that promotional campaigns organized by foreign companies are professional and are successful in attracting customers attention.

To compete with foreign enterprises, industrial analysts say, Vietnamese companies have to continue improving product quality and building up trademarks to lure customers. The ability of local companies to compete with foreign ones not only depends on tax policies, but also on the business strategy of the firm and most notably, customers habits, said Mr. Quach Duc Phap, director of the Ministry of Finances Tax Policy Department.


Korea to set up new food hygiene task force

The Republic of Korea is setting up a task force to conduct parasite tests on cabbages and radishes before they are delivered to customers as part of efforts to improve the countrys food safety system. The move comes in response to growing concerns over food safety following the discovery of parasite eggs in some kimchi, a staple side dish made of fermented cabbages and radishes that accompanies most meals in Korea.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said the task force will also conduct tests on soil and water surrounding farming areas to guarantee a clean environment for growing vegetables. Officials from related ministries, representatives from consumer groups and industry experts attended the meeting called by the Ministry to discuss how to improve the safety level of kimchi products.

The Korea Food and Drug Administration, the food safety watchdog, found 16 out of 502 Korean products as having roundworm eggs. Some of them had reportedly been exported to Japan. Japan has suspended the customs clearance of those Korean products immediately, launching its own quarantine investigation. It consumed 93 per cent of Korean kimchi exports amounting to 230,300 tonnes during the first eight months of this year. To minimize export disruptions and assuage concerns over domestic kimchi, the Ministry said it will provide more detailed information on ingredients to foreign buyers.


Chinese market sees biscuit boom

Biscuit consumption in China has soared in recent years on the back of changing consumer lifestyles and a general growth in disposable incomes, says a report published by Leatherhead Food International (LFI). Chinas biscuit sales have increased by 20.1 per cent in the past five years, making it the third largest market for the product after the United States and India.

According to LFI, the Chinese munched their way through a total of RMB 18.8 billion (1.9 billion) worth of biscuits in 2004, or the equivalent of 1.1 kg per head. The product was most appealing to women, with 70 per cent of biscuit buyers being female. Consumers preferred sandwich biscuits, chocolate-coated biscuits and specially crafted biscuits, with small pack sizes of 100-200 g proving most popular. Sweet biscuits accounted for 60 per cent of the market, with savoury biscuits coming in at 39 per cent. Cereal bars lagged behind, just managing to touch 1 per cent of sales.

Functional biscuits, such as those enriched with calcium, iron or digestion-aiding ingredients, were particularly popular with children and the elderly. The market for these products is still relatively small, but is showing a 20 per cent year-on-year growth. Speciality biscuits aimed at diabetics are also singled out as a growing sector, with 30 million people suffering from the illness in China. Around 85-90 per cent of food and drink consumed in the country is currently produced locally, says the report, although this figure is rapidly declining along with an increase in international trade.


Food equity fund planned in India

Rabobank International is set to launch Indias first food and agriculture private equity fund with an initial corpus of US$50 million. The bank is planning to float another subsidiary to enter the countrys booming consumer finance business. The proprietary private equity fund will invest in companies in the sector, including those dealing with food processing, cold storage and logistics.

We will look at a significant minority stake in companies for investment and within one year, we expect to increase the fund size to US$100 million, said Mr. Fergus J. Murphy, Rabobank Internationals head of Asia region. The bank is also in talks with the central and state governments for providing advisory support and expertise to state co-operative banks for their revival. Mr. Murphy said that Rabobank, being a co-operative bank with global expertise, was well placed to use opportunities in the co-operative sector.

We may look at acquiring stakes in a few state co-operative banks that we will be providing advisory services to, he added elaborating the banks strategy. Rabo India Finance, the 100 per cent subsidiary through which Rabobank operates in India, has its focus on food, agriculture, telecom and entertainment.


Pakistan to boost FDI in retail and food sectors

The Pakistani government is all set to enhance the limit of maximum initial royalty of US$100,000 payable to the franchiser by the franchisee to US$1 million a year. The maximum of 5 per cent of net sales allowed as franchise fee is to be increased to 7 per cent, according to a senior government official. The decision will enable the country to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail and food sectors, the major sectors that are attracting investments from worlds renowned food and retail chains.

The Ministry of Investment and Privatization stated that In the wake of rapid growth of the economy and to keep Pakistan competitive in international markets, there is a need to further liberalize the food and retail components for the services sector. The official said the Ministry in this regard had submitted a summary to the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet for review and approval. The share of services sector in GDP was now more than 50 per cent and FDI in the services sector in the past three years amounted to US$1,789 million.

Given the success of the services sector, the limit of maximum initial fee payable to the franchiser had become unrealistic, hindering growth in line with the expansion of the economy as a whole. Similarly, the maximum of 5 per cent of net sales allowed as franchise fee had also become inadequate, particularly in case the of major global franchisers.


Shrimp tracked from farm to table

Thailand is set to ensure the total safety of shrimps from its farms, no matter where in the world the consumers dining table happens to be. Through the food traceability project set up with collaboration of government ministries, two major shrimp manufacturers have been working on a pilot project to make it possible for consumers to check the origin of shrimp products using a traceability software together with radio frequency identification (RFID).

The two pioneers are the agro-industrial and food conglomerates Chanthaburi Frozen Food Co Ltd and Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited. The traceability project has been formed by the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and the Science and Technology Ministry with support from related organizations such as the Fishery Department and the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre. Thailand currently exports about 350,000 tonnes of shrimp a year, making the industry one of the countrys major food products. The use of these technologies ensures a safe line for the industry when it comes to exporting the marine creatures to countries where food safety standards are set very high by law.

While the traceability software is recording every detail of the shrimps, RFID will be implemented all the way along the process line, from fresh products arriving at manufacturing plants through to the finished products. Processes include receiving, cleaning, beheading, sizing, peeling, cooking, freezing, packaging and storage. As the shrimps arrive from farms each day, they would be placed in trays at the factory and embedded with an RFID tag. The details appearing on movement documents issued by the Fishery Department will be recorded in the factorys database as well as in the RFID tag. Once the shrimp in the trays are mixed, readers scan information from one tray before copying it to the next tray, and so on until the last tray is done.

In the initial phase, Chanthaburi Frozen Food has invested about Baht 2.5 million (US$63,650) in hardware, software and RFID tags and readers for all stages of its manufacturing processes. Charoen Pokphand Foods has initially divided the implementation into two phases: the first is to use RFID in processes related to fresh shrimp and the next is to use the technology in processes that produce finished products. Since its manufacturing operation is large, the company has spent about Baht 4 million (US$101,800) in the preliminary phase on RFID, traceability software, hardware and network systems.


Palm oil reasonable replacement for trans-fats

An independent group of nutrition, medical and manufacturing experts who examined palm oils functionality in food products and possible impacts on consumer health has stated that the oil is a reasonable alternative to trans-fatty acids. The findings, which are to be used as a base for industry discussions, may serve to calm concerns about the negative health effects of palm oil.

The Malaysian-owned palm oil supplier Loders Croklaan funded a roundtable of experts to examine the issue, as the company believed the science on palm oil was more positive than it was historically represented to be. The company was blocked from the roundtable. After examining the scientific evidence, the experts panel concluded that palm oil and coconut oil might be reasonable natural replacements for trans-fats, which have been linked to raised blood cholesterol levels and heart disease. The panel also said alternatives to natural fats may include fats and oils modified by an inter-esterification process. Owing to a lack of long-term data, the group concluded that the long-term risks or benefits of using naturally occurring saturated fats versus interesterified fats in the food supply is not known.



Cold plasma devices to kill food pathogens

Two devices that harness the power of cold plasma could be used to wipe out food-borne pathogens in processing plants. Cold plasma is a state of matter similar to a chemically and electrically reactive gas. Researchers involved in a University of Wisconsin project used a cold plasma technique to develop the pathogen killing devices, which could help processors meet stepped-up regulatory standards on food safety. Although cold plasma technology has been used for various manufacturing processes, the cold plasma reactors developed by Mr. Frank Denes, an associate professor of biological systems engineering at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the United States, are the first to work at atmospheric pressure.

One device looks like a sandwich-sized block of white ceramic. One side features over 200 circles, arranged in a grid. Each circle houses an electrode and when the reactor is on, they work together to produce a constant and uniform flow of plasma. The reactor can be suspended, with electrodes pointing downwards, above any surface in need of disinfection, such as a moving conveyor belt.

The second device decontaminates water and other fluids. The device looks like a large glass jug that holds about 1 litre, fitted with specialized caps that house the electrical gadgetry needed to produce plasma. As liquids swirl inside the reactor, cold plasma inactivates the contaminants. Mr. Denes and Ms Amy Wong, a microbiologist at the Food Research Institute, found that the reactor inactivated within 20 seconds up to 100,000 colony-forming units per millilitre of liquid.


Rapid measurement of egg quality

A set of laboratory instruments can measure egg quality within minutes, allowing plant managers to save time on the processing line. Sanovo Engineering, Italy, says its range of four automatic egg quality instruments provides accurate measurements without human error. These instruments analyse the Haugh unit, yolk colour, eggshell thickness and eggshell strength in a matter of minutes.

The Haugh unit is a measure of the internal quality of an egg. This is done by determining the height of the albumen in relation to the eggs weight. The higher the number, the better the quality of the egg since fresher, higher quality eggs have thicker whites.

Sanovos SHCI 110/220 is a three-in-one-tester able to automatically calculate the Haugh unit and to measure both albumen height, yolk colour and egg quality according to standard consumer grades within 20 seconds. The model SSSI 110/220 is an instrument for measuring eggshell strength with a much greater accuracy than that achieved by traditional instruments available on the market today, the company claims. While measuring the eggshell strength, the egg is not broken but only cracked. The SSTI 110/220 uses ultrasonic technology to measure eggshell thickness ensuring an accuracy within 0.01 mm.


Spectrometer helps processors to the right blend

A portable shortwave infrared spectrometer from AstraNet, the United Kingdom, can help food processors get the right mix. The SWIR spectrometer can be used for food applications, such as measuring the moisture content in seeds, or for monitoring an ingredient to determine when it has been mixed thoroughly in a batch.

The instrument features an integrated microprocessor, memory and custom-designed holographic grating, and has no moving parts. Very little sample preparation is required and the analytical technique is non-destructive, involving simply measuring a reflectance spectrum, the company stated. The spectrometer is a very sensitive moisture detector, making it ideal for use in many drying applications. The instrument can also monitor the reflectance spectrum of an active ingredient within a blending machine in real time to show when the constituents are thoroughly mixed. 

Rather than utilizing an off-the-shelf holographic grating, AstraNets spectrometer incorporates one specially designed to match the wavelength range and give a flat-field image of optimal size at the array detector. This results in high linearity, low noise and low stray light. The instrument provides wavelength scans over the 1.1 to 2.2 micron range, allowing real-time monitoring of reactions in analytical laboratories and process control in the food industry.


Test for avian flu virus in foods

Eurofins Scientific, the Netherlands, has launched the first test available for determining whether food has been infected with the avian flu virus. The test detects the presence of the bird flu virus strain H5N1, known as avian influenza. It is based on using the reverse transcriptase method combined with a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) where sequences specific to the virus are detected. The assay has been validated in several laboratories worldwide, Eurofins stated. Mr. Bert Popping, director of the companys molecular biology and immunology unit, said that while zero risk is not achievable in preventing the virus contamination, the test would help provide a certain level of confidence. Such test is as close as one can get, he added.


Analysis of fat and dry matter in cheese

Thermo Electron Corporation, the United States, has announced a new application for at-line quantitative analysis of fat and dry matter in cheese using its Nicolet Antaris FT-NIR analyser. The advantages of FT-NIR analysis over traditional testing method are of particular interest to QA/QC personnel in the food and beverage industry, who currently rely on wet chemistry methods to test their production processes. Traditional cheese analysis methods require a skilled operator running multiple samples to get an average number for each component under analysis. In addition, as the sample material is destroyed, the methodology cannot be truly representative of the whole.

FT-NIR is an excellent non-destructive alternative to existing protocols used in the prediction of components like fat and dry matter in cheese, greatly reducing the amount of time, materials and labour involved in the process. It is an accurate, fast and easy method, able to obtain data rapidly enough for the control of the process of raw materials and additives blending in melting pots, resulting in raw materials saving and consistent product quality.

The multivariate analysis technique allows the analyst to predict multiple components of cheese from the single spectrum. The analyser allows for the collection of a single spectrum in less than 60 seconds. FT-NIR testing can be extended to analyse other components such as moisture or protein. Contact: Thermo Electron (Molecular Spectroscopy), #5225 Verona Avenue, Madison 53711, United States of America. Tel: +1 (800) 532 4752.


New system sets standard for bread quality control

In the United Kingdom, Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association (CCFRA) and Calibre Control International have jointly launched a new version of an image analysis system for baked products. The updated version of the C-Cell image analysis software, designed to make quality control and ingredient testing an easier and faster process for the bakery industry, can be used to assess bakery products such as bread, bagels, cake and doughnuts.

A digital camera is used to take images of product slices, which are then analysed by some of the systems 48 different parameters to provide quantitative information on the products technical aspects, including cell structure, slice dimensions and colour. C-Cell measures the cell structure, size and orientation, as well as the thickness of the walls between the cells. The system also measures all aspects of the dimensions of a bread slice, including how concave the sides are, as well as the products diameter in order to determine whether it would fit into a certain sized bag.

The updates to the system were created based on feedback from users, and have been designed to make the system easier, faster and more convenient to use. The new version of C-Cell comes in three different editions: standard, special and advanced. The standard edition can be used in bakeries for product quality control, the special edition offers greater detail in technical analysis and is suitable for ingredients manufacturers, while the advanced edition is for research institutions.



New emulsifier promises viscosity and better yield

Soy lecithin is the most frequently used ingredient to lower the viscosity of liquid chocolate masses during processing. This, however, presents manufacturers with a number of challenges. For a start, obtaining non-genetically modified (GM) soy lecithin with a full Identity Preserved (IP) status is a growing problem due to limited supplies on the world market. A newly developed citric acid ester of mono- and di-glycerides promises to replace lecithin in chocolate applications where the main functionality is to lower the viscosity and yield value.

Palsgaard, Denmark, claims that its 4201 product is non-GM, enabling manufacturers to tap current consumer concerns. Another advantage of the 4201 ester is that it is free of hydrogenated fats. Palsgaard also claims that its product has functional advantages. Dosages of lecithin higher than 0.4 per cent increase the yield value of chocolate mass, making it necessary either to add extra cocoa butter or PGPR to the chocolate. Another interesting feature of Palsgaard 4201 is its ability to function as a wetting agent in instant chocolate drink powder. According to the company, trials show that the new citric acid ester has an equivalent effect to soy lecithin when tested in a milk system.


Water-resistant edible film from milk

A new process developed by the United States Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists enables the continuous manufacture of casein film as an edible and water-resistant milk protein to coat several dairy products. The process developed at the ARS Eastern Regional Research Centre (ERRC) in Wyndmoor uses the unique characteristics of casein, a milk protein which is the chief nutritional ingredient in cheese.

Casein is extracted from milk with high-pressure carbon dioxide (CO2), a method developed by Ms Peggy Tomasula, the research leader at ERRCs Dairy Processing and Products Research Unit. Mr. Michael Kozempel, a retired ERRC chemical engineer, has developed a continuous pilot plant to produce the film.

The casein film could serve as stand-alone sheet or as thin coating that forms a barrier to outside substances while protecting a product from damage or contamination. As the edible film also locks in moisture, it can coat dairy food products (such as cheese) or function as part of a laminate in packaging for cottage cheese or yogurt. Flavourings, vitamins or minerals could be added for taste and nutrition.


Making dark chocolate and ice cream compatible

The ingredients manufacturer ASM Foods in Mjlby, Sweden, has developed Magic Chocolate, a new dark quality chocolate with the same melting point as the ice cream, yet keeping it free from foreign fats. Traditional chocolate in ice cream is crispy for about 5 seconds, then turns tallow-like in texture, and melts after 16-17 seconds when the chocolate flavour is released. These few seconds makes a huge difference in enjoyment for most people. The ice cream industry has until now solved this problem by adding softer fats to the chocolate, with quality loss as a result. This is not necessary anymore, as Magic Chocolate has the characteristic crispiness from the first bite, and it thereafter quickly melts to release the high-quality chocolate flavour, aroma and creaminess.

Contact: Mr. Leif Larsson, Technical Director, ASM Foods, Mjlby, Sweden.



New ingredient could support grain claim to protein bars

Creative Research Management (CRM), the United States, is marketing its new product, RiceLife, as an ingredient that retains all the protein, bran oils, vitamins, fibre and carbohydrates found in whole grain unpolished brown rice. It claims that RiceLife can be used as an additional ingredient in protein bars, allowing each bar to contain the nutritional properties of one portion of brown wholegrain rice.

Mr. Rick Ray, the companys vice president of sales and marketing, said that the product can be used in soy protein bars to include some of the amino acids missing from soy. Some manufacturers who have tested the product have found that it can produce a light, fluffy product similar to a candy bar, Mr. Ray added.

If RiceLife, which can also be used as a dairy alternative in ice cream and yoghurt products, has the properties claimed, it could mark a significant step in the development of health enhancing product alternatives. Until now, food manufacturers have focused on the use of soy as a dairy replacer in yoghurts, but this tends to have a distinct taste and mouthfeel that does not appeal to many consumers.


New fruit ingredient for texture retention

Verifruit, an innovation from the Dutch firm SVZ, is a new fruit ingredient claimed to have all the attributes of fresh fruit, besides the added benefit of retaining its texture in both dried and frozen form. The company claims that the product has virtually all the characteristics of fresh fruit, such as its colour, juiciness, fruit aroma and softness. The difference, however, is that it keeps better in the finished product and retains a firm, soft texture in both dried and deep frozen form. The product has potential in a number of applications such as ice cream, breakfast cereals, pastries and cakes.

Verifruit is available in three varieties with syrup, without syrup and dried and a range of twelve fruit types. The technology behind Verifruit is relatively straightforward. The product is basically fruit in which the water has largely been replaced by sugars. By developing this cold infusion technology in house, SVZ has complete control and understanding over every aspect of the process. The strategy behind this is to achieve complete flexibility. For example, if customer demand stimulates the development of new varieties, including different fruit sorts and forms, then SVZ would have the needed know-how.


Taste-neutral flavour enhancing yeast extract

The Dutch ingredients firm DSM has launched a neutral-tasting yeast extract that could improve taste and flavour impact in a wide variety of food applications. Maxarome Select could be of interest to manufacturers looking to replace MSG or reduce salt in their products.

Maxarome Select is a completely natural taste enhancer. Manufacturers can label it as yeast extract, said Mr. Iwan Brandsma, DSM Food Specialties product manager. This goes against the grain of what properties yeast extracts are expected to possess. Yeast is widely used in the food industry because of its taste contribution it can impart a meaty bouillon taste to a wide variety of products derived from its amino acid and peptide complex. The new technology means that it is possible to develop speciality yeasts that are rich in glutamates and nucleotides. The synergistic effect of these two compounds makes it possible to use extracts exclusively to improve unami taste and enhance flavour.

Contact: DSM, Het Overloon 1, 6411 TE Heerlen, the Netherlands. Tel: +31 (45) 578 8111; Fax: +31 (45) 571 9753.


Salty salt replacer

Selako, Finland, claims that its Flavomare product can achieve salt reduction of between 25 and 50 per cent without sacrificing any good salty taste. This allows firms to advertise their products as being tasty in addition to being salt reduced. The problem for food makers has been developing salt substitutes that actually taste good. So far, the most effective means of reducing sodium by more than 25 per cent is to substitute sodium chloride with potassium chloride (KCl). While KCl helps maintain salty taste, it also contributes off-notes that many consumers find unpleasant. The company claims that its ability to successfully blend KCl salt into the Flavomare mix guarantees that a salty taste remains, and that there are no shelf-life issues in Flavomare-based food products.

The company says that Flavomare has a number of advantages over other salt replacers that are usually based only on KCl salts, including low oxidation in food during preparation and storing, besides some health benefits. A recent study from the University of Helsinki suggested that the forming of acrylamide was reduced by 50 per cent in potato chips through using the Flavomare spice blend.



Indian food law under Parliament Committees scrutiny

In India, the Food Safety and Standards Bill 2005 is under consideration of the Parliamentary Standing Committee. The Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha (Lower House) in its budget session, is intended to give a fillip to the countrys food processing sector. The government had initiated measures in 2005 to evolve a uniform food law by inviting suggestions on an updated food processing policy. This was in tune with agricultural diversification following rising incomes of the people and globalization. A key focus of the draft food policy is on the processing sector, which is linked with the food value chain. Another focus is value addition to the raw produce, as India is the worlds second largest food producer. The Committee has considered the constraints faced by the processed food sector in India, such as the absence of a uniform regulatory machinery. Once the legislation is firmed up, the Parliament would pass it to usher in the requisite standards of food management and safety systems.


Malaysia tells palm oil players to convert to new licence

In Malaysia, Mr. Adzmi Hassan, Director, Licensing and Enforcement, has urged the palm oil industry players to convert their existing licences to the new ones issued by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB). Mr. Adzmi termed the exercise as urgent and necessary to ensure that the Malaysian palm oil industry is geared towards good quality products as well as safe for human consumption. He said that the players could do so by applying for the new licence before their current licence expires. Palm oil is huge business in Malaysia, contributing about M$30 billion (US$8 billion) per year to the economy with Sabah, the largest palm oil producer in the country, contributing 30 per cent.

Pointing out that the main thrust of the MPOBs new subsidiary regulations is on quality control, Mr. Adzmi said the new regulations came about following the worlds demands for stricter control of palm oil products. Previously, licensing on palm oil was not given classification and there was only one category of licence. The definition of palm oil has now been classified into five categories crude palm oil (CPO), processed palm oil, crude palm kernel oil, processed palm kernel oil and slush palm oil. Now we are building credibility elements into our regulations because the world now wants credibility, he said.

According to Mr. Adzmi, there are four subsidiary regulations that have been drafted to replace the existing regulations: Malaysian Palm Oil Board Regulations (Licensing) 2005, Malaysian Palm Oil Board Regulations (Quality) 2005, Malaysian Palm Oil Board Regulations (Contract Registration) 2005, and Malaysian Palm Oil Board Regulations (Offence Compounding) 2005. The objective, he said, was to bring a more effective and comprehensive impact to be in line with the development of the palm oil industry at international level, particularly where food safety and food security are concerned.


Philippines strengthens implementation of Food Fortification Act

In its effort to eradicate micronutrient malnutrition in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) has strengthened its implementation of the Food Fortification Act of 2000. The food fortification programme aims to increase the dietary intake of vitamin A, iron and iodine requirement to 50 per cent of Required Daily Allowance contributed by fortified foods. Ms. Emily Grande, Regional Nutritionist of DOH Regional Office No. 8, stressed that non-compliance of the food fortification law means denial of registration of the processed food products by the DOH through the Bureau of Food and Drug Administration (BFAD).

Micronutrient malnutrition or the hidden hunger refers to the lack of Vitamin A, iron and iodine among pre-school children and others of reproductive age. Hardest hit groups of hidden hunger are children below 6 years old and mothers of reproductive ages. The Food Fortification Act covers the addition of micronutrients to processed foods and other food products widely consumed by specific at-risk groups.



Nestle develops foaming coffee beer system

The multinational food company Nestle has filed patents for a new, foamy coffee drink that is made and looks like beer but contains no alcohol. The companys technical innovation arm, Nestec, developed the new fermented coffee system, which could be used to produce a soft drink with a strong caffeine kick and an attractive fruity aroma that also has the appearance of certain types of beers. The drink can even have a foamy head after it has been poured into a glass if gassed or carbonated during production.

Nestec said it had made the beverage by roasting normal coffee beans, adding in a special coffee aroma via a condenser and then fermenting the mixture with a micro-organism (like yeast) at a temperature of 8-22C. The mixture is fermented for 4-6 hours to prevent the formation of alcohol. Normal fermentation times are much longer. The yeast used must be one capable of producing a fruity aroma, although Nestec admitted that the fruity aroma has been a pleasant surprise in early tests. Sugar is added before fermentation to enhance the coffee aroma, preferably at around 0.5 per cent of the mixtures weight, though this could rise to 20 per cent. Sucrose equivalent to five per cent of the mixtures weight was added in its prototype drink.


The first authentic aromatherapy drink

In the United States, Purifique Naturally LLC has introduced a new beverage category with two aromatic all-natural flavours, featuring cinnamon rose essences in its Purifique HarmonyTM and a ginger mint bouquet in Purifique SpiritTM. The beverage also represents a breakthrough botanical tonic.

Pushing the aromatherapy beyond steam-distilled essential oils and their hydrosol by-products, the company has developed a low-temperature process that is similar to that of producing a fine wine. Purifique claims many sensory and physiological benefits for its oxygen-rich drink, including promotion of energy, uplifted mood, skin health, diet-aid qualities and metabolic regulation.


Capsulized protein beverage

Protica Inc., the United States, has introduced Profect, the worlds first capsulized protein beverage. Patients with special medical needs besides dieters, health enthusiasts and even snack food addicts can benefit from the hypoallergenic protein that Profect delivers in its compact, ready-to-drink vial-shaped container.

Profect is a beverage containing 25 g of protein, zero carbohydrates, zero fat and the complete spectrum of water-soluble vitamins. It weighs only 2.9 fluid ounces, and is packaged in a virtually unbreakable, vial-shaped container. Actinase, the patent-pending protein complex in Profect, is a natural, hypoallergenic, enzymatically hydrolysed formula. It contains all the essential amino acids and 100 per cent heat-stable, short-chain peptide proteins (average molecular weight: 1,400 daltons). For patients with special medical needs, it means they can meet their protein requirements when high-density nutrition, low allergen content, low glycemic index, high bioavailability, said Mr. Jim Duffy, President of Protica.


Low-GI beverage solution

The Germany-based natural flavours firm Wild has developed a new soft drink aimed specifically at the growing low glycaemic index (GI) market. Wild said scientific tests on its new drink had revealed a GI of 40, giving it a low positioning on the scale. The drink, called Low GI Near Water, was made using its Fruit Up natural fruit sweetener and natural fruit carbohydrates to provide a low GI energy source. Another ingredient is clear and tasteless water-soluble fibre, to help consumers fend off hunger for longer.

Wild said it developed the product in answer to growing consumer demand for low-GI products. The GI measures how fast certain foods release carbohydrates into the body, which then raise consumers blood glucose levels. High GI foods cause blood sugar levels to rise more rapidly. The new drink, contains 24 calories per 100 ml.



Fighting fresh fruit decay

In the United States, FMC FoodTechs research and development department has been studying and developing methods to preserve fruit quality. Fruit becomes susceptible to decay organisms from the moment it is harvested from the tree. Preventing the spread of decay is essential to preserving the quality of the fruit. FMC FoodTech has the technical knowledge to advise producers on decay prevention and control methods, and the innovative technologies and expert service to help them implement these practices.

An important first step in decay prevention is to apply a fungicide on the fruit within 18- 24 hours after picking. This step minimizes the decay that can occur following injuries to fruit during harvesting. FMC FoodTechs patented truck-drenching technology allows producers to treat the fruit with fungicide directly after harvest, when there is a delay between picking and processing.
The fruit is then sprayed with chlorine as it enters the packing line, at which point a high-pressure washer washes the fruit. Thereafter, the decay control process continues with one or more water-based fungicide applications that include sprays that are brushed into the fruit, large heated or unheated submersion tanks, or flooders that use pans or high-volume nozzles to drench the fruit.

A food-grade coating containing fungicide further controls decay and protect the fruit. FMC FoodTech wax flow controllers can optimize the waxing process. It works with customers to routinely check fungicide levels on the fruit to determine whether effective decay control is achieved within international stipulations on maximum limits.


Meats shelf-life stretched to months

Russian scientists claim they have devised a method of keeping meat fresh for up to three months using additives found naturally in living cells. Researchers from the Cell Biophysics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences say that replacing the nitrates and nitrites added to sausage meat can keep the meat fresh for two-three months, instead of the normal two-three days. They added nicotinamide-dinucleotide and adenosinetriphosphoric acid, dicarbon acids and myoglobin to the sausage meat. These are substances that can be found naturally in any living cell.


New technology for cold pasteurization

Saligus, a Swedish research-based company, is developing a new method named Optitaste for cold pasteurization of pumpable foods. The method relies on a recently patented technology called etorization. Etorization is a treatment using pulsed electric fields during very short time in a closed chamber, a substantially more cost-effective alternative than conventional heat treatment.

Etorization avoids the detrimental changes of the sensory and physical properties of foods and preserves the nutritional components of the food. The idea is that the closed chamber produces an even electric field during a defined time. This provides total control over the treatment of the product. The company has a small-scale production facility where the new technique is being tested. The method can be applied in all pumpable foods such as fruit juices.


Fresh idea aids shelf-life of fruit

Clarke Refrigeration, New Zealand, has developed an innovative technology that increases the shelf-life of fresh-cut produce. The company is working with Auckland-based Fresh Appeal to further prove the technology, which was designed to keep fresh sliced apples stay flavoursome and fresh for up to three weeks.

The technology uses ultraviolet light disinfection to kill pathogens that could otherwise discolour and spoil the fruit. This is followed by hot-and-cold treatment to extend life. No chemicals or preservatives are used in the process and the company says existing vitamins and minerals are enhanced. The technology has huge potential, considering the growing demand from health-conscious, convenience food-driven consumers.



Desiccant additive extends packaging shelf-life

Ampacet, the United States, has introdued a desiccant additive masterbatch for polyethylene film designed to protect packaging from moisture penetration. Ampacet Product 101499, which reacts with and binds water vapour as it enters a film, can significantly extend the shelf-life of foods, pharmaceuticals and other products that need protection from moisture.

The new product is a stable compound intended for use in translucent and opaque films made of low density and linear low density polyethylene. It can be used in blown and cast films, whether monolayer or multilayer and complies with current United States federal guidelines for food contact packaging. Ampacet Product 101499 is recommended for use at a let-down ratio of 1 to 3 per cent, depending on the level of moisture protection desired.

Contact: Mr. Brian McKinley, Ampacet, 660 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591, United States of America. Tel: +1 (914) 631 6600; Fax: +1 (914) 631 6608



High-speed packaging machine

TNA, Australia, has introduced new models of the worlds fastest and most widely used snack food packaging equipment, developed two decades ago. A major point of difference on the patented Robag machine is the stripper tube closer assembly, which ensures that product is dragged away from the seal part of the bag while heat sealing takes place.

The unique double shaft, double jaw design enables jaws to close one bag and start another at the same time, enabling faster processing. The double jaw design on the standard size machine enables 120-200 bags per minute to be filled and closed. The smaller model developed recently can complete 200-230 bags per minute.

TNA guarantees less than 0.5-1 per cent rejects from its Robag machines, which according to TNA, far outperforms its competitors with tests shown to have a 1-3 per cent reject rate. A further advantage of the Robag is the ease and speed with which blade changes can be made. While competitors machines require up to four hours for a blade or element change, a blade change on the Robag takes just 10 minutes in a simple plug-and-play type arrangement and an element change just 30 minutes.


Multi-function horizontal packer

Wenzhou Ruida Machinery Co., China, offers a multi-function horizontal packing machine. The fully computerized, horizontal type packer features high-speed, precision operation and is deal for a wide range of packing applications.
Main specifications include:
  • Output capacity: 25-220 bags/min
  • Packing dimensions (L W H): 10-300 10-100 1-55 mm
  • Maximum film width: 300 mm
  • Maximum film roll diameter: 350 mm
  • Rated power: 3 kW
  • Overall dimensions (L W H): 1800-4100 1500 1450 mm
  • Gross weight: 800 kg

Auxiliary equipment offered include a date printer and auto gas charging, spraying agent.

Contact: Wenzhou Ruida Machinery Co. Ltd., 1108 Yumeng Road, Economic Development Zone, Ruian City, Zhejiang Province, China 325200. Tel: +86 (577) 6560 6665; Fax: +86 (577) 6560 6667


Robots help automate biscuits packaging

In the United Kingdom, Sewtec Automation has developed a multipack autofeed system, an element of which uses two ABB IRB 340 FlexPicker robots, for Foxs Biscuits of Kirkham, Lancashire. Following audits of the then manual operation, Foxs management opted to change the existing manual multipack stacking methods for higher efficiency and lower cost.

Foxs Biscuits needed a fully automated system that met a wide range of parameters, including:
  • Easy-to-use with a foolproof control system;
  • High reliability;
  • Capability to automatically balance the speed of the two independent product in-feeds with the existing rate of product out-feed; and
  • Capability to provide pay-back in under two years.

Sewtec designed a system comprising: two servo-driven, vertical racetrack collators; two slat band conveyors; a Siemens-based control system; and two ABB IRB 340 FlexPicker robots. The FlexPicker robots were chosen because their capability to move and orientate objects with speed and accuracy. Regardless of whether the objects are on moving belts, placed at random or guided, FlexPicker is both faster and more efficient than most conventional systems on todays market.

Contact: ABB Automation Technologies (Robotics), Auriga House, Precedent Drive, Rooksley, Milton Keynes MK13 8PQ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1908) 350300.


The worlds first clear aseptic package

Swedens Tetra Pak, global supplier of food and beverage processing and packaging systems, has introduced the Tetra Wedge Aseptic Clear, the worlds first high-barrier, totally clear aseptic package. Tetra Wedge Aseptic Clear provides consumers with benefits including 100 per cent transparency to see the product, a patented barrier technology to protect the product, and aseptic processing that seals in taste and nutrition.

The Tetra Wedge Aseptic Clear allows for both high- and low-acid applications, making pouch-style, shelf-stable packaging a new possibility for the dairy and soy industries. Aseptic processing opens up new formulation potential not currently possible through hot-fill processing. The Tetra Wedge Aseptic Clear was designed with smooth sides and edges and its slim 6.75 ounce design allows the small hands of a child to easily handle the product.

The technology also allows for distribution advantages and a long shelf-life without the need for refrigeration, all the while retaining the nutritional value and flavour profile of the product. The durability of the package provides several benefits to consumers. To facilitate easy straw insertion, the package is designed with a special straw hole pocket that guides the straw to the best position to puncture the straw-hole patch. The strength of the package material prevents the straw from puncturing the opposing side of the package, a common problem with existing pouches. The Tetra Pak package is 80 per cent more puncture resistant than other stand-up-pouches.


High-performance vacuum packaging systems

With vacuum packaging systems from Multivac Inc., the United States, chefs can reduce product waste and preserve the freshness and flavour of food. Each machine is designed with an easy-to-clean stainless steel chamber and equipped with a removable seal bar. From tabletop to freestanding units, these high-performance systems are manufactured in a variety of sizes to meet any restaurants space requirements.

Restaurants have the ability to portion control meats, vegetables and sauces ahead of the busy lunch or dinner rush by pre-portioning servings in a Multivac vacuum chamber machine. With a Multivac chamber machine, chefs have the ability to vacuum-pack product at the end of the day to keep all of their perishables fresh on a daily basis, says Mr. Bill Williams, Multivacs Product Manager for Compact Packaging Systems. Vacuum chamber systems can also be used for sous vide cooking and for the fast infusion of marinades into meats.


Gas packaging extends cheese shelf-life

Russian packager and food producer Nevskie Syry has launched a new line of cheese packaging using inert gases, which it says can extend the products shelf-life. The gases significantly add to the products shelf-life Nevskie says that the inert cheese has a shelf-life of 120 days, while the average for vacuum-packed products last about 20 days and cheese packed in stretch-film lasts only for one day. Inert gases also make the cheese look much more attractive.



Cold milk skimming system

Dairies looking to reduce energy costs now have an option to skim raw cold milk with the Procool system from Westfalia Separator, the United Kingdom. ideally suited to producers of cheeses using unpasteurized milk, dairies producing high quality cream or high volume milk powder producers, the machine saves the cost of heating the milk prior to separation. Procool separation system means skimming can be carried out at 4-7C instead of the normal 52-55C.

The maintenance of the milk at low temperatures also means that micro-organism growth is minimized, with a reduction in microbiological risks and potential degradation of the final product. This is particularly important for specialist milk products which do not go through a pasteurization process. As milk proteins are damaged by heat, the Procool system of cold milk skimming offers high quality, pristine end-products. It operates with a belt drive, offering lower service costs and energy consumption and the ability to handle high throughput capacities. The system can also operate with hot or cold milk offering the user both process options depending on the end product requirement, with a single machine.

Contact: Westfalia Separator, Old Wolverton Road, Westfalia House, Milton Keynes MK12 5PY, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (8708) 305500.


Modular ovens for large-scale production

The new convection ovens from DFE Meincke, Denmark, are designed in a modular form to meet the demand for bakery production on a larger scale. The new series also offers food makers the choice of using gas or fuel, or both, when making products, allowing plants the flexibility of using the cheapest and most efficient method at the time.

Meinckes new series of ovens have modules built in 2 m lengths. The ovens offer two types of heating modules ranging from 150 kW to 350 KW. The standard modules and the heating modules are built together to form independent heating zones. Meincke says it has improved air flow to the oven, making it more efficient and helping to cut the amount of fuel needed.

A new direct gas-fired oven is built out of the same 2 m modules as the convection oven. This version can be used as a full direct gas-fired oven or it can be combined with the convection oven to form a hybrid oven. All ovens are controlled through software and a colour screen with a graphic interface.


Peanut butter production control line

In the United Kingdom, Rospen Industries and its sister company Mass Measuring Systems have recently installed and commissioned a complete upgrade of a peanut butter production line control system for Premier Foods. Premier Foods existing Rospen feeding system was upgraded with a Siemens PLC and the existing blending and transfer PLC was substituted with a centralized control system.

Two parallel material feeding lines continuously blend peanuts fed using Teflon-coated tray feeders with sugar, salt and stabilizer fed through loss-in-weight screw feeders. The control system runs these feeders in closed loop control, constantly monitoring the weight loss and varying the speed of the feeders accordingly. The peanut feeders are automatically refilled from FIBC discharge stations and all other materials are topped up by hand-tipped sacks, with the system alerting operators when a hopper needs filling. If any feeder falls too short, the line automa-tically stops until it is topped up. Finally, peanut oil is proportionally added by variable speed pumps.

The new control system uses an S7-300 PLC system and two Windows CE-based MP-370 operator interface panels running identical software, allowing control and viewing of both lines simultaneously and giving online back-up should one screen fail. A colour graphic display also aids production by showing operators an overview of both lines and allows zooming-in to specific areas for closer inspection. Mix formulations are stored in an internal flash memory.

Contact: Rospen Industries, Mass Measuring Systems, Oldends Lane Industrial Estate, Stonehouse, Gloucester GL10 3RQ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1453) 825 212.


Bringing innovation to fresh fruit labelling

Label information on products such as fruits is becoming increasingly necessary for better monitoring and management. The label application system from FMC FoodTech, the United States, is capable of labelling up to 900 pieces per minute. With electronic controls, it offers greater motion control of the labelling head and better long-term reliability than the mechanical labellers on the market today. The systems motion control software was specifically designed to operate in unison with packinghouse equipment for smoother, more effective operation at high speeds and for a hit rate of 95 per cent or better, depending on conditions. This hit rate is enhanced by the use of micro-thin polyethylene labels that provide better adhesion and appearance on almost any produce surface, as compared with paper labels.

Unlike labellers that employ a mechanical arm, which can harm fruit during labelling, the FMC FoodTech labellers rubber bellows design gently but firmly applies the label onto the produce surface with a cushion of air, to label even the most delicate fruit without bruising or scarring. The machine can be configured to apply labels of different sizes and shapes, or even to apply two different types of labels during the same production run. Up to 12 labelling heads can be run simultaneously side-by-side to meet the needs of high-volume operations. The labeller features modular parts to allow for quick replacement, and a stepper motor for enhanced labelling reliability.


Steam filters for food processing

Parker Hannifin, the United Kingdom, has launched a new range of steam filters that have been specially developed to allow steam to come into direct contact with food, while removing liquid condensate and 100 per cent of all visible particles. The Balston Steam Filters can reduce maintenance requirements and extend the working life of valves, cookers, heat exchangers and other equipment. These filters are capable of providing flow rates of up to almost 1,400 kg/h, and of removing over 98 per cent of particles and liquid condensates down to 0.1 micron in size.

This is not only beneficial in food preparation but also serves to minimize contamination and prevent particulate matter from entering downstream process and preparation equipment. In addition, Balston Steam Filters can significantly reduce amounts of both the carry-over of boiler feedwater chemicals and the steam condensate that may blend with food ingredients when steam is used for agitating, mixing or cooking. As a result, the taste and aroma of the food prepared is unaffected, giving a far superior result to previous steam preparation methods. The new range of filters meets, and in some cases exceeds, a variety of requirements and regulations related to food product processing.

Contact: Parker Hannifin - Filtration Division, Shaw Cross Business Park, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire WF12 7RD, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1622) 723300.


Dosing machine for omega-3

Tetra Pak, the Sweden-based packaging giant, is marketing a dosing machine for enriching milk with fish oil-derived Omega-3 fatty acid, but without the fishy flavour. Previous attempts to add omega-3 to chilled milk have resulted in a fish-tasting product, due to the oxidation of the nutrient. Tetra Pak now claims that using its new dosing technology, Arom Pak, in conjunction with the omega-3 emulsion developed by Netherlands-based DSM Nutritional Products, eliminates the fishy taste.
The combination allows dairy customers to produce chilled milk with the added health benefits of omega-3. The Arom Pak uses dosing technology that fills and packages the product using chilled systems manufactured by Tetra Pak. DSMs omega-3 is UHT treated for aseptic delivery and specially formulated for dairy applications. The emulsion is protected by an aseptic bag system, designed to work with the Tetra Paks dosing unit.



Indian Food Processing Market

Research and Markets has announced the addition of Indian Food Processing Market to their offering. The report titled Indian Food Processing Market is an attempt to offer one-stop guide for all those investors who are lured by this highly dynamic sector and are willing to enter Indian food processing market. This report can prove to be one of the most comprehensive yet crisp and concise reports for investors, analysts and decision makers in food and retail companies who are interested in venturing into the highly lucrative Indian food processing market.

Contact: Ms. Laura Wood, Sr. Manager, Research and Markets, Guinness Centre, Taylors Lane, Dublin 8, Ireland. Fax: +353 (1) 4100 980


Aseptic Processing of Foods Containing Solid Particulates

The emerging technology of aseptic processing of particulate foods promises lower packaging costs and higher food quality and safety. The process, however, is yet to be regulated, and the majority of the innovative research performed in the past decade remains uncollected. Aseptic Processing of Foods Containing Solid Particulates fills this void, providing industry professionals and students with a reference on how the continuous sterilization of particulate foods may be achieved. Specific topics covered include: flow and residence time distributions of solid-liquid mixtures; engineering, microbiology and statistics of aseptic processing; fluid-solid convective heat transfer; statistical design and analysis and microbiological validation; and HACCP evaluation of a multiphase food product aseptic system.

Contact: Culinary and Hospitality Industry Publications Services, 10777 Mazoch Road, Weimar, Texas 78962, United States of America. Tel: +1 (979) 263 5683; Fax: +1 (979) 263 5685



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