VATIS Update Food Processing . Jan-Feb 2008

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Food Processing Jan-Feb 2008

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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Food safety effort goes global

Delegates from 45 countries and regions recently issued a joint declaration to boost information exchange on food contamination and disease outbreaks. They also agreed that developed countries should help developing nations build food safety capacities to ensure safer food for all. The Beijing Declaration on Food Safety came at the end of a two-day international forum in Beijing that brought together experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and 600 national delegates.
The document urges all countries to:

• Establish procedures, including tracking and recall systems, to rapidly identify, investigate and deal with food safety incidents.
• Inform WHO of emergencies such as the outbreaks of mad cow disease.
• Set up food and total diet monitoring programmes with linkages to human and food-animal disease surveillance systems to obtain rapid and reliable information on food-borne diseases and hazards in food supply.

Realizing that food safety standards could be used as a trade barrier, the declaration stipulates that food safety measures should be based on sound scientific evidence and risk analysis principles and must not create trade barriers. Urging cooperation between developing and developed countries, it says equal application of food safety measures can improve global food safety.


Foreign investment in Indian food processing sector trebles

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Indian food processing sector has almost trebled in the past two years, from Rs 1.74 billion (US$44 million) in 2005 to Rs 4.41 billion (US$113 million) in 2007, and a three-fold increase is expected over the next couple of years too. “With the growing interest of international retailers in India, this momentum will further increase,” said Mr. Subodh Kant Sahay, the Minister for Food Processing Industries.

If the government’s estimates come true, the FDI inflow into the sector would be Rs 13 billion (US$ 334 million) in 2009. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries is demanding more incentives for the sector in the 2008 budget to attract more FDI. It plans to start a nationwide entrepreneurship development programme. The government will also undertake programmes to provide farmers with linkages to the retail market or industrial users. This will lead to elimination of middlemen and result in substantially higher economic gains to the farmers. Mr. Sahay said that India’s attraction to foreign companies is not only as a market, but also as the sourcing hub. “Most international companies point out at supply chain infrastructure as the biggest hurdle, and we are working on various ways to address it,” he added.

Source: www.economic

China shuts down illegal food factories

More than 2,800 food factories in China’s rural areas were demolished in the first 10 months of 2007 after being found to produce fake and sub-standard products, according the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC). The move was part of a nationwide crackdown to clean up the rural food industry. From January to October, SAIC inspected more than 14,500 food markets and more than three million food business operators in rural areas.

More than 20,000 tonnes of sub-standard food products were taken off the shelves in rural stores and markets, SAIC said. Altogether, about 47,800 food factories without operating licences were closed and 3,800 producers had their licenses revoked for not meeting hygiene or safety standards. “The campaign has helped impress upon local food producers the need for certain qualifications and production standards, improved the market order in the countryside and protected the rights and interests of rural consumers,” said Mr. Liu Fan, deputy head of SAIC.

China has intensified quality control checks over urban manufacturers after poisonous chemicals were found in export goods like pet food, toys and seafood. But exerting control over the vast rural markets, many of which produce food with no quality guarantees often in cramped workshops scattered all over the countryside, has been more difficult. “We hope to spend one to two years clearing the rural food markets to solve the main problems and greatly increase food quality,” Mr. Liu said.


Viet Nam allows import of seafood material

The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Hoang Trung Hai, agreed to the proposal by the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) on importing seafood material for local processing. Together with the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will work out the tariff for seafood material import products and submit it to the Prime Minister for consideration.

VASEP’s Chairman Mr. Tran Thien Hai had earlier expressed his concern to the government about the imbalance in the development of material areas and processing workshops. Most seafood processing factories are running at below their designed capacity, some at 30-50 per cent of the capacity. The mushrooming of processing units has led serious shortage of materials. VASEP had proposed the government allow importing seafood material in large quantities for domestic processing in order to remedy this. MARD has estimated that to meet the demand for processing seafood, Vietnam will have to import US$190 million worth of seafood material a year, seeing the annual growth rate of 8-10 per cent. Current annual seafood imports from 40 countries and territories are worth about US$90 million, equivalent to just 4 per cent of seafood export turnover.


Bangladesh pushes processed food exports

Bangladeshi manufacturers, according to a recent newspaper report, have been making strides in strengthening and expanding their position in the multi-billion dollar global market of processed food items with their export proceeds posting a 119 per cent rise. The annual earning from export of more than US$60 million in the current fiscal year may cross US$100 million mark in the next fiscal year.

Agro-processed foods including biscuits, candies, jam-jellies and fruit juice had grown by 119 per cent in 2006-07 to US$23 million. At present, the Agricultural Marketing Company, which markets its products under “Pran” brand, accounts for more than 50 per cent of the country’s total export proceeds from agro-processed foods. Only 15 of the country’s 200 modern agro-processing units have seriously explored the export markets.

Lack of advanced and attractive packaging and high freight costs are the factors that affect the competitiveness of Bangladeshi exporters and force them to lag behind their Asian counterparts. The agro-processed foods that Export Promotion Bureau promotes does not include frozen beef, mutton, chicken and mustard oil and excludes agricultural produces like fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, betel nut, refined and edible oil, although the country earned US$88 million by exporting these items in the current financial year.


Guidelines for poultry financing developed in Pakistan

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has developed guidelines for poultry financing to facilitate banks in developing internal expertise and products to provide needed working capital and term finance to the poultry sector in view of its importance. The main objectives of these guidelines are to encourage farmers to adopt modern and efficient poultry farming techniques, to encourage increased poultry meat/poultry food production, and to promote export of poultry meat/poultry food and related processed products.

The SBP said that individuals and all types of legal entities engaged in or intending to engage in poultry-related activities, and having sufficient knowledge and relevant experience, are eligible to draw loans under poultry farming. The limit of amount may be assessed by bank on the basis of financing request, appraisal or feasibility report. Banks are to undertake due diligence and market survey to assess the prices of equipment, vehicles and all those goods, which a bank can finance for poultry farmers. The guidelines also cover other aspects such as hypothecation, insurance, monitoring mechanisms, recovery process and litigation.


Sri Lanka to import copra for coconut oil industry

Sri Lanka will import copra for coconut oil production to relieve the coconut oil manufacturers who are facing a shortage of raw material. The escalation of price of coconuts has resulted in the vast majority of the production going for nut sales. The Cabinet recently approved a Memorandum submitted by Plantation Industries Minister Mr. D.M. Jayaratne to import 30,000 tonnes of copra to produce coconut oil. The Coconut Research Institute (CRI) has shown that a considerable drop in the coconut yield may be seen from November 2007 to February 2008. The domestic consumption is 1,910 million nuts, and around 1,186 million nuts are needed for desiccated coconut and coconut oil production.


Thailand opens Asia’s largest chicken plant

Japan has doubled its chicken processing capacity in Thailand with the largest plant in Asia. Ajinomoto Betagro Frozen Foods is a joint venture of Tokyo-based Ajinomoto Frozen Food and Betagro Group of Thailand. The new plant’s production capacity will reach 24,000 tonnes a year, increasing from 9,600 tonnes in its first phase. It could have a full capacity of 30,000 tonnes in its second phase. The US$40 million plant has been installed with state-of-the art technology to produce grilled and fried chicken for export to Japan.

Mr. Daiji Shindo, president and CEO of Ajinomoto Frozen Foods, said his company had decided to raise its production capacity in Thailand because of high-quality production and a rich supply of raw materials for the industry. Besides, under the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement, the tariff for exporting Thai chicken to Japan has been reduced to 3 per cent from 6 per cent. Mr. Vanus Taepaisitphongse, CEO of Betragro Group, said revenue of the joint-venture company was expected to increase by 50 per cent, from US$ 38.7 million this year to US$58.1 million next year. Sales are projected to reach US$110.5 million in 2010. The firm is considering exporting its chicken also to other markets including the United States, the European Union and other Asian countries.


Malaysia wants to be a major food exporter

Malaysia aims to become a major food exporter in the region after 2010, said Datuk Seri Mohamad Shariff Omar, Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister. He said the country, while trying to be self-sufficient in food production by growing from the current 70 per cent to 90 per cent, was importing some US$4.36 billion worth of food, especially rice, meat and vegetables. Fruits would be the country’s main food export, as demand overseas was very high. The country is preparing to produce papaya, star fruit, watermelon and mango in large scale to meet demand overseas. Datuk Mohamad Shariff said his ministry has embarked on high-impact projects to make Malaysia self-sufficient in food production. The projects include the setting up of permanent food production parks and aquaculture industrial zones in all states. The ministry would also create 10,000 new entrepreneurs in the sector within the next three years.


Philippine food firms support sustainable agriculture

In the Philippines, leading food and beverage companies continue to push for Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI), which is now being adapted by more firms in their production processes, according to a press release from Nestlé Philippines Inc. SAI is a groundbreaking platform created by food industry giants Nestlé, Danone and Unilever to actively support and promote sustainable agriculture. It aims to improve the quality, safety and nutritional value of agricultural products through increasing the produce’s nutritional content and safe farming, including cutting the risks of harmful residues. It also addresses other related issues.

At a recent follow-up meeting to last year’s First SAI Platform-Philippine Convention, officials of Delfi Foods Inc., Golden Arches Development Corp., Unilever Philippines and Universal Robina Corp. informed the group that they are already implementing SAI-related programmes. These include Nestlé’s Experimental and Demonstration Farm, Unilever’s Clean Water Campaign as well as Coca-Cola’s PET bottle programme.



Food inspection X-ray machine

Traditional metal detectors can only detect metal whereas Sentry XR X-ray machine, from Cintex Ltd. in the United Kingdom, can find metal, stone, glass, dense plastics, bone and also ceramics in food materials. Priced to be more in line with metal detectors than traditional X-ray machines, this system makes X-ray-based inspection a cost-effective alternative to other inspection methods.

The system uses computer-embedded processor design and features Cintex Sentry Common Processing Platform and associated software, which can carry out inspection of contamination, area, volume and size of product and contents. The X-ray unit is a set wide-angle, self-cooled unit with solid state cooling, with two inspection channels for contamination and missing product. An auto-tracking system continually updates and sets parameters to enhance detection. The system can accommodate a size up to 265 mm width and 100 mm height. Contact: Cintex Ltd., Featherstone Road, Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes MK12 5TH, England, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1908) 629200; Fax: +44 (1908) 629313; E-mail: sales


Handheld-device launched for contaminant detection

Food processors are constantly searching for faster and cheaper ways of spotting pathogens, as bringing down detection times can help managers prevent contaminated foods from reaching consumers. Hygiena, a microbiology company in the United States, has launched a new palm-sized rapid detection instrument, designed to help manufacturers spot contaminants in no more than 15 seconds.

The new SystemSure hygiene monitoring system has an easy-to-use, menu-driven keypad. The instrument features a photodiode sensor, which when run over either a production surface or a water sample, picks up even “extremely low levels of contamination,” says the company. Once the results are recorded, the system can be linked to a PC for their further examination. The device is particularly useful for checking the efficacy of cleaning systems in plants, the company said, as improper or faulty sanitisation can lead to a breach in food laws such as hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) controls.


Kit cuts pathogen detection time

Bringing down pathogen detection time to hours can help managers prevent contaminated foods from reaching consumers. Scientists from Scotland’s Macaulay Institute claim to have developed the fastest food detector that will cut detection times for food pathogens such as Campylobacter, Listeria and Salmonella to 5 hours from 6 days. Dr. Brajesh Singh, who leads the project at the Institute, said “Our proposed technology offers for the first time, at low cost, the simultaneous detection of multiple contaminants within 5-8 hours, and has the potential to revolutionize the food safety industry and save lives through prevention of food poisoning epidemics.” The device is said to be sensitive enough to accurately determine the level of contamination.

The test kit works by analysing a food sample for specific food pathogens, the Macaulay Institute stated. The kit can detect multiple microbial contaminants in food, water and environmental samples. The method allows dual detection of pathogens and determines if they are capable of producing toxins or whether they have antibiotic resistance, the Institute added. The scientists have received funding to mass produce the kit and plan to roll out technology by 2010 via a spin-out company.


Microbial ID systems

Micro Imaging Technology Inc., the United States, has successfully completed its rigorous micro-organism identification accuracy testing. It tested three Rapid Microbial ID Systems for identification accuracy on eight different strains of E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella. The MIT 1000 System produces results in under 10 minutes after completion of the culturing process without using chemicals, reagents or DNA processing.

The objectives of the test were to determine (1) the System’s ability to accurately identify specific bacterial species strains that were programmed into the System’s database, and (2) the MIT System’s robustness to accurately identify the species when presented with a strain of that species not programmed into the System’s database. Of the 151 tests performed, 40 per cent were with the actual species strain, for which the systems achieved 100 per cent identification accuracy for all species. The remaining tests checked accuracy performance of specific species strains not in the database and the results showed 91 per cent accuracy. Contact: Mr. Michael Brennan, Chairman, Micro Imaging Technology Inc., 970 Calle Amanecer Ste. F, San Clemente, CA 92673, United States of America. Tel: +1 (949) 485 6000; Fax: +1 (949) 485 6005; E-mail:


Bacteria can improve flavour

A study using two strains of Lactococcus bacteria showed that, depending on the strain and its surface properties, the compounds associated with cheese flavour could be better retained in a model emulsion system. “With the great diversity of bacterial surface properties, it is possible to select strains possessing adequate surface properties in addition to the right metabolic characteristics to reach the optimal behaviour in food matrix,” say researchers from Institute National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), France.

According to the study, micro-organisms can alter the properties of an emulsion, which has knock-on effects on how flavour and aroma are released, and subsequently perceived. The researchers chose two Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biov. diacetylactis strains, designated LLD16 and LLD-18, and tested the retention of ethyl acetate and ethyl hexanoate in a model emulsion. The bacteria affected the release of the aroma compounds, with the effect dependent on the bacterial surfaces and the physico-chemical properties of the aroma. The researchers report that aromas were not retained at all in the presence of LLD18, while the presence of LLD16 significantly improved ethyl hexanoate retention and release from the emulsion. The order at which the ingredients was added – bacteria or ester first – also affected the flavour retention.



Confectionery flavour-prolonging technology

Israeli ingredients company LycoRed is launching a range of flavour enhancers for confectionery using a new encapsulation technology to allow slow release of the flavours, prolonging enjoyment of products. “Flavour is a key factor in candy and gum sales,” the company said. Flavours in chewing gum and chewy candy usually last only about five minutes; yet, consumers are attracted by confectionery that tastes good. Innovations that extend this time frame will help manufacturers cash in on consumer preferences.

LycoRed’s answer is the encapsulation of sweeteners and flavour enhancers in a combination of cellulose derivatives and hydrogenated vegetable oils. As the consumer chews, the capsules are gradually weakened and finally broken and a new burst of flavour is released into the mouth. The innovation has been seen in tests to extend the time that a product is flavoursome for more than 10-12 minutes, compared with the usual five.

The company is offering encapsulated sucralose called SucraCote, aspartame called AsparCote, acesulfam K called AcesuCote, and malic acid called CapsuDar. All three sweet ingredients are already used in confectionery and chewing gums. As well as being sweeteners, both aspartame and acesulfam K can enhance fruit flavours, and acesulfam K also has the same effect on mint flavours. Sucralose is particularly suitable for use in tooth-friendly products – a popular area for gum – since it does not support growth of oral bacteria. The malic acid ingredient is intended to impart a sour taste to confectionery products.


Virgin coconut oil and dietary fibre technology

In India, the Coconut Development Board (CDB) and Central Food Technology Research Institute have jointly developed a technology for production of virgin coconut oil and dietary fibre. The technology is offered to interested entrepreneurs.

Virgin coconut oil is made from fresh coconut meat by wet milling process (cold processing). Coconut milk is fermented and then by mechanical process, water is separated from oil. No heating or application of sunlight or dryer is done for the process. The virgin coconut oil is free from trans fatty acid, and high in medium chain fats (MCFA) known as lauric acid, which is identical to special group of fats found human breast milk and also rich in vitamin E. Interested entrepreneurs may apply to CDB in the prescribed application form which can be downloaded from http://coconutboard. Contact: Technology Development Centre, Coconut Development Board, Keenpuram, South Vazhakulam, Aluva 683 105, Kerala, India. E-mail:

Source: www.coconutboard.

Bread rich in beta-glucan

Those visiting the lab of Dr. Abdellatif Mohamed, a chemist at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), might be surprised by the smell of fresh-baked bread, rather than chemicals. That is exactly what Dr. Mohamed is doing – baking soft white bread that resembles any store-bought loaf, except for a key difference, its beta-glucan content. When ingested, this soluble fibre helps the body regulate blood glucose and lower “bad” cholesterol, diminishing the risk of coronary heart disease. The bread owes its 0.75 g of beta-glucan per serving to C-TRIM, a powder based on barley and oat bran.

C-TRIM, developed at the ARS Cereal Products and Food Science Research Unit (CPFSRU) by Dr. George Inglett, also cuts calories in food by mimicking the properties of complex carbohydrates and fat. Together with Oklahoma State University professor Dr. Patricia Rayas-Duarte and CPFSRU physical scientist Dr. Jingyuan Xu, Dr. Mohamed experimented with two dough formulations containing flour from hard red spring wheat, gluten, 17 per cent or 17.5 per cent C-TRIM, and other bread-making ingredients.

C-TRIM didn’t significantly change the bread’s taste, texture or volume, although it did darken the bread slightly. Using such evaluations as baseline information, Dr. Mohamed’s team will conduct computer modelling studies to predict the likely changes when, for example, 9 g of beta-glucan is added. The starch-protein biochemical interplay, which can affect bread’s volume and shelf life is also of interest.



Additive helps cut salt content and maintain taste

SaltTrim®, new powder that allows food and beverage manufacturers to halve the amount of salt used in their products, making them healthier without impairing the taste, has been launched by Wild Flavours Inc., the United States. SaltTrim enables up to 50 per cent salt reduction and the use of potassium chloride, or other low-sodium products as a salt substitute without spoiling the taste and mouthfeel of the product.

The company claims that while other products aim to block the bitter, metallic taste of potassium chloride, SaltTrim adds back much of the taste and texture of salt, while masking the unpalatable tastes. The formula comes in a water-soluble powder form that can be further processed by manufacturers. It is temperature-stable and free of allergens, and comes in ‘flavoured’ and ‘natural’ versions. The ingedient can be used in frozen dishes, tinned food, soups, sauces, salad dressings and tomato juice, as well as for reducing the high salt content in salty snacks, popcorn, bread and cereals.



High-intensity natural sweetener

A new plant-derived high-intensity sweetener is set to hit the market worldwide as the first natural sweetener that could rival artificial counterparts such as aspartame and sucralose. Brazzein is a sweet protein extracted from the berries of a West African plant called Pentadiplandra brazzeana. It will be marketed globally under the brand name Cweet. It is said to be 1,000 times sweeter than cane sugar on a weight basis.

Natur Research Ingredients, the United States, has gained exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute the sweetener. Scientists and the sweetener community have long known the potential of brazzein, but attempts to commercialize it as a sweetener had failed because of the lack of a practical manufacturing process. A production breakthrough achieved by Dr. Fariba Assadi-Porter, a scientist at the University of Wisconsin who has developed an expression and purification system suited to mass production, overcame that obstacle.

The ingredient will not be available commercially for another 12-18 months, pending approval of a “generally recognized as safe” status that the company is currently preparing to submit to the United States Food and Drug Administration. Cweet claims to have a similar taste profile to sugar, to be heat-stable and water-soluble, and to have no undesirable aftertaste. It also carries a no-calorie claim.


Functional ingredients from brown marine algae

Polysaccharides from brown marine algae could provide the ingredients for a new wave of beverages with health benefits, according to a recent study. Dr. Franck Hennequart, a scientist with the biochemistry department at the National University of Ireland in Galway, said he and his colleagues have developed a process to extract alginates, laminaran and fucoidans from brown algae. The scientists began developing a way to commercially extract the laminarans and fucoidans from the algae after exhibited potential uses as immunostimulant, anti-viral and anti-cancer agents. The scientists showed that some of the polysaccharides have distinct anti-microbial effects, testing the extracts against nine pathogens, including E. coli, Listeria, Staphylococcus and Salmonella.

Sodium alginate, the compound bound itself to E. coli, making it a potential food safety tool. The ingredient also stopped Staphylococcus from growing. “Sodium alginate seems to demonstrate a strong anti-bacterial element,” Dr. Hennequart said. “It not only binds but kills.” Crude fucoidans showed a “good” pre-biotic effect. The scientists have produced and identified four different extracts from the seaweeds, standardized their composition and tested them on a range of drinks, including mineral water, orange juice and cold tea. The raw extract failed in most sensory tests. The scientists then tested the resulting beverages for their effects on the same bacteria. Toxicological tests of the extracts and the test beverages conducted on rats have not revealed any toxicity, while some of the extracts seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect.



Codex debates Listeria standards for ready-to-eat foods

The national representatives to Codex Alimentarius committee discussed various issues at a six-day meeting in November in New Delhi, India. The proposed standards for pasteurized liquid whole eggs, hygienic practice for processing powdered formulae for infants and children, pathogen controls for Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods, and guidelines for evaluating manufacturing control measures were among the issues discussed. They meeting also decided to start work on drafting safety guidelines setting standards to control Campylobacter and Salmonella in broiler chicken meat.

The proposed standard that sets what pathogen controls for L. monocytogenes ready-to-eat food processors must put in place is based mainly on the United States’ risk assessments, according to Codex documents. Based on these assessments, a working group led by Germany concluded that a zero tolerance standard for L. monocytogenes has a proportional reduction in the rates of illness from foods contaminated with the pathogen.

A study commissioned by the food hygiene committee said that the application of microbiological criteria at a given point of the production chain is only one of the measures that need to be applied, to bring down contamination rates. The foods must also be processed and handled under systems adhering to good hygienic practice, a separate international standard. The committee proposes to exclude foods that are processed in such a way that eliminates L. monocytogenes and for which recontamination is not possible. Such foods include dehydrated products such as powdered milk and soup mixes, herbs and spices, fresh, uncut and unprocessed vegetables and fruits, soft drinks, beer and spirits.

At the meeting, the European Union delegation proposed that the standard should specifically include ready-to-eat foods for infants and those with medical conditions. The European Union supports a 100 colony forming units per gram (cfu/g) limit on the pathogen for ready-to-eat foods, if the food manufacturer is able to demonstrate the maximum would not be exceeded throughout self-life.


China orders bar codes for product safety monitoring

As part of efforts to improve product safety, China has ordered 69 categories of products to be bar-coded at factories starting 3 December 2007. The products range from food and agricultural production materials to cosmetics, electronics and electrical wires. The action, announced jointly by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the Ministry of Commerce, and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, is part of a programme by regulators to establish a quality monitoring and tracking system.

Factories technically have a transitional six-month period to use up old packaging but are actually being ordered to join the new system sooner. The monitoring system, created in 2005, allows consumers to check bar-code data by phone, text message, Internet and information terminals. The government introduced recall systems for unsafe food and toys on 31 August and launched a four-month safety inspection nationwide after several product-safety scares. The safety incidents included parasite-infested snails, ducks and hens that were fed cancer-causing Sudan Red dye to make their egg yolks.


Viet Nam and Korea to tighten fishery standards

Viet Nam and the Republic of Korea have signed an agreement on controlling the quality and safety of fisheries products. Signed between Viet Nam’s National Fisheries Quality Assurance and Veterinary Directorate (Nafiqaved) and Korea’s National Fisheries Products Quality Inspection Service (NFPQIS), the agreement aims to improve income from fisheries as well as enhance the shared prosperity of the two countries. In 2008, the two agencies will aim to control food safety condition and draw up regulations for inspection of fishing, and transporting and processing of fish.

NFPQIS’s director, Mr. Yang Tae Seon, said the consumption of fisheries products in the Republic of Korea has increased, as has the need for imported products. The country’s consumers have high requirements for food safety, and therefore the regulations on imported fisheries products would be very strict. The information exchanged in regards to regulations and new standards for food safety has helped stabilize fisheries products and reduced unqualified consignments of exports to the Republic of Korea, said Mr. Nguyen Tu Cuong director of Nafiqaved.

In 2007, the Republic of Korea granted export licences to an additional 34 Vietnamese enterprises, increasing the total number of enterprises that export to Korea to 342. There are currently 27 Korean enterprises exporting fisheries products to Viet Nam, including six enterprises that have been added to the list by Nafiqaved this year. According to Viet Nam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country’s fisheries exports to the Republic of Korea have reached 65,000 tonnes, valued at over US$180 million.


China to enhance food safety for children

China will launch a nationwide campaign on food safety in mid-December 2007 to better protect its children and teenagers, said Mr. Cheng Zhigang, a spokesperson with the campaign leading group. The campaign, initiated by China Soong Ching Ling Foundation last August, was jointly launched by 11 government departments including the National Development and Reform Commission, ministries of education, agriculture, health and commerce, and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

During the campaign, the organizer will adopt tangible measures including establishing a special fund for children’s food safety, formulating national standards for food quality catering for children and supervising food quality in groceries and supermarkets in rural areas. “Its goal is to spread food safety and nutrition knowledge to children and their parents, help youngsters have healthy dietary habits and regulate domestic food market,” according to Mr. Cheng.

Source: com


Herbal blend as sodium benzoate alternative

A blend of native Australian herbs with synergistic preservative qualities could prove a natural alternative to sodium benzoate in beverages, says its inventor, Mr. Vic Cherikoff. Sodium benzoate, a common preservative, has been called into question in a recent study, which had concluded that there is a link between certain cocktails of additives and hyperactivity in children. In view of this, Mr. Cherikoff came up with “Herbal-Active”, marketed as a preservative, flavouring or surface mould inhibitor, depending on concentrations. He found that certain herbs he selected for a final blend all have a preservative effect and theorized on the synergism that could take place between them. The combination yielded a preservative effect that is more than 30 times greater than the sum of the parts, he claims.

As Herbal-Active has little to no activity against lactic acid bacteria, it can help protect fermented dairy and meat products from spoilage, while not affecting lactic acid fermentation or probiotic bacteria. For microbial use against bacteria and yeast, it only needs to be 0.02-0.05 per cent of the final product, says Mr. Cherikoff. To inhibit moulds, however, 10 to 20 times greater concentration would be needed. Mr. Cherikoff has not revealed what plant extracts are included in the blend, but they are from Australian culinary herbs and are “preservative-free”. Herbal-Active is presently being trialled by certain companies for use in a range of products, such as juices, a low pH beverage, condiments and sauces, neutral pH preserved cheeses, a fruit juice concentrate and some skin care cosmetics.



Active package systems to extend food shelf life

An Italian research institute has developed a new packaging system particularly suitable for mozzarella and related products, ensuring a longer shelf life for the packed product. The packaging incorporates active compounds that inhibit the growth of the spoilage micro-organisms responsible for degradation during storage. The researchers are looking for companies available to finance and participate in the industrial development of the new packaging system.

The technology proposed is based on the use of active packaging, properly designed to inhibit a specific degradation process, such as microbiological spoilage. Contact: Tekes, P.O. Box 69 (Kyllikinportti 2), FIN 00101 Helsinki, Finland. Tel. +358 1060 55000; Fax: +358 (9) 694 9196; E-mail:


Natural protection for foods in storage

Researchers at Rutgers University in the United States have used natural antimicrobial agents developed from sources such as cloves, paprika, thyme and oregano to create biodegradable polymers designed to prevent the formation of bacterial biofilms on food surfaces and packaging. “We mated natural substances with controlled release, biodegradable polymers that could inhibit or prevent the formation of bacterial biofilms,” said graduate student Mr. Ashley Carbone, who constructed the polymer compounds.

One of the challenges was to make the biodegradable polymers effective against a wide range of bacteria. They chose natural substances with activity against different kinds of micro-organisms, thus giving the polymers into which these substances were incorporated the potential to affect a much broader spectrum of micro-organisms than organism-specific drugs. The researchers said these polymers could offer a natural alternative to chemicals used to protect food against contamination and spoilage. “As they degrade in the presence of water and/or enzymes, they slowly release their active antimicrobials,” Mr. Carbone said.


Food stays fresh for 21 weeks

France-based Rosas claims its patented technology can extend the shelf life of food from 21 days to 21 weeks while saving on packaging materials. The process, designed for thermoformer machines, extends shelf life by complete oxygen removal. The double chamber system developed by Rosas allows the tray sealing enclosure to be cleaned of oxygen before the introduction of the product. The product can be completely sterilized in a separate chamber before it is introduced, resulting in 100 per cent oxygen removal, says Rosas.

The company claims that the technology also allows for up to a 15 per cent saving on the plastic film, as the injection of the sterilizing gases occurs in the sealing enclosure and not through perforated holes in the plastic, therefore reducing the width of the film needed. Besides, if a product can be kept for up to 21 weeks, it can be transported long distances without the need for freezing. Both these advantages result in significant financial and ecological savings. The technology is not yet available to the industry, mainly due to difficulties with the plastic film itself. The company is calling for partners to help bring this technology to the industry.


Herbal extracts promise omega-3 preservation

Oregano and rosemary extracts could extend the shelf-life of omega-3-rich fish oil, say researchers from Louisiana State University, the United States. Fish oil is difficult to incorporate into formulations since it is highly susceptible to oxidation. The result is a fishy taste and smell, which can put off consumers. Therefore, formulators have sought to overcome the stability and sensory issues.

The researchers tested the efficacy of methanol extracts of oregano and rosemary to retard the oxidation of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in fish oil. Extracts were added at a concentration of 0, 1, 2.5 and 5 per cent, and the oil was subjected to an accelerated ageing study by heating at 150ºC for 30 minutes or incubating at 60ºC for five days. In the absence of the herb extracts, DHA/EPA retention was not significant. However, when oregano or rosemary extract was added, significant amounts of DHA/EPA were retained. Rosemary extract at 2.5 per cent produced the best results after incubation at 60ºC for five days – 88 per cent of both DHA and EPA. As the rosemary extract performed better at mild temperatures, the researchers concluded that rosemary extract may be more effective than oregano extract for food preservation purposes.




Extruder for tasty snacks

Researchers from the United States Agricultural Research Service (ARS) claim to have stabilized a process of using extrusion technology to make healthy and tasty snacks out of legumes. The research agency uses extrusion cooking, where a variety of processes such as mixing, compressing, kneading and expanding take place in one machine, to make the crunchy snacks.

“Extrusion technology isn’t new,” said researcher Mr. Jose Berrios. “But we are the first to determine the processing speeds, heating temperatures, amounts of moisture and formulations that create consistent, desirable textures and tastes from every batch of legume flour.” Several breakfast-cereal type foods and snacks are currently being developed, and the ARS is currently looking for industry partners to commercialize and market the snacks.


Gas oven designed to achieve flame-broiled flavour

A gas oven, from FMC FoodTech in the United States, is designed to give high-temperature processed red meats a flame-broiled flavour. High-temperature processing allows meats to be cooked rapidly, killing pathogens while helping to maintain flavour. FMC is currently testing its JSO III direct gas jet stream ovens with various products.

The open-flame oven has a low initial cost, a simple design and impingement airflow. The JSO III is a continuous-process, high-intensity oven that uses a vertical airflow to deliver fast cooking while browning the product. Dual burners and dual fans provide high heat intensity. The adjustable impingement nozzles are designed to cook products that are 2-6 inches high. Modular 40 inch and 48 inch wide belts are available in a variety of designs from standard flat-flex to chain-edged mesh, allowing processors to add cooking capacity as and when required.


Low-temperature drying

MCD Technologies Inc., the United States, has launched dryers and evaporators that utilize its patented Refractance Window® technology. The custom-designed equipment enables products to be dried at low temperatures (60º-71ºC or less), assuring superior retention of nutrients, colours, flavours and aromas of even heat-sensitive products. The innovative technology facilitates a broad range of scientifically validated applications for functional foods, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and chemicals.

The patented process allows infrared energy to pass at the speed of light directly into a liquid slurry of the product to be dried. Infrared and conducted heat energy evaporate moisture. Along with reduced energy and water use, Refractance Window drying also preserves air quality in and around the drying facility. The process does not generate exhaust dust, a significant pollution problem worldwide.


Food dehydration units

EnWave Corporation, Canada, has started marketing its batch nutraREV food dehydration units, which employ proprietary Radiant Energy Vacuum (REV) technology developed at the University of British Columbia to dehydrate fruits and vegetables. REV technology combines microwave energy transfer with pressure control to dehydrate and alter structures and drive chemical reactions, thereby creating unique product characteristics for both food products and medical applications that include dry vaccines.

The technology offers significant commercial benefits including more efficient processing, better quality food and higher nutritional content than processing techniques such as freeze-drying and air-drying. EnWave also has a continuous nutraREV food dehydration technology capable of large-scale production. It will begin testing to determine the commercial viability of this technology with a target production rate of 100 kg of dried berries per hour. Contact: Dr. Tim Durance, Chairman and Co-CEO, EnWave Corporation, Suite 2000 - 1066 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 3X2, Canada. Tel: +1 (604) 806 6110; Fax: +1 (604) 806 6112.




Nutritive beverage based on coconut water and fruit juices

Mr. Marc Kipfer, a Swiss inventor, has secured a United States patent for a natural, carbonated isotonic beverage based on coconut water, fruit juices and other nutritive components. Basically, the beverage is formulated with a balanced proportion of coconut water and clarified or non-clarified pineapple juice and lemon juice, adjusted for total sugar and acid contents, and the beverage carbonated by directly injecting carbon dioxide (CO2). The final product would contain 20-70 per cent coconut water, 2-30 per cent pineapple juice and 2-10 per cent lemon juice.

The coconut water is subjected to pasteurization before blending with other ingredients. The use of CO2, in addition to giving a “striking” flavour, also substantially reduces the activity of oxidizing enzymes in coconut water. Also included in the patent is the technology for developing the basic syrup concentrate of the beverage. The product thus obtained is claimed to have a shelf life of 6-12 months.


Dry mix for a cashew apple beverage

Researchers from the Central Food Technological Research Institute of the Council of Scientific Research, India, have developed and patented a technology for a cashew apple beverage dry mix, which does not have any synthetic flavour.

In the process, freshly harvested cashew apple fruits are immersed in a solution containing 0.5-1.0 per cent potassium metabisulphite for 2-4 hours, passed through a juice extractor and the extracted juice filtered. The required quantity of a clarifying agent is added to the juice to precipitate the tannins. The flocculant precipitate of tannins settles down rapidly and the supernatant is siphoned off. The clarified juice is subjected to spray drying using a suitable carrier to obtain a free-flowing powder. The powder is mixed with sweeteners and other additives to obtain cashew apple beverage dry mix. Typically, it comprises spray-dried cashew apple juice powder (50-75 per cent), cane sugar (25-50 per cent), anti-caking agent (0.5-2.0 per cent) and an acidulant (0.01-0.5 per cent). The mix has a shelf life of 6 months at ambient temperature.


Non-thermal sterilization of coconut water

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India, have developed a laboratory-scale technique for the non-thermal sterilization of green coconut water. The process developed at the Post-harvest Technology Centre, consists of two-stage filtration under constant pressure using different filter media – low-ash filter paper (Whatman 42) in the first stage and cellulose nitrate membrane (0.2 µm pore opening) in the second stage.

The coconut water after the second stage of filtration is sterile with no visible growth of microbes on culture plates. The taste of the processed coconut water did not change significantly; however, the flavour and overall acceptability reduced about 9 and 11 per cent, respectively. The water remained sterile after 1 month in aseptically packed condition, though overall acceptability further decreased by 6 per cent. Non-thermal sterilization by membrane filtration has been found to be a viable alternative to thermal sterilization as it maintained the sterility, nutritional quality and desirable organoleptic profile of the processed coconut water.



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