VATIS Update Food Processing . Jul-Aug 2003

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Food Processing Jul-Aug 2003

ISSN: 0971-5649

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

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WHO launches global food fortification programme

The World Health Organization (WHO) has started Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), an initiative to bring the benefits of fortified foods to the developing world, which it says will end micronutrient deficiency for the poor and save millions of lives. GAIN, a coalition of public and private sector organizations, will assist recipient countries in putting iron, iodine, vitamin A, folic acid and other vitamins and minerals into everyday foods like salt, flour, oil, sugar and soy sauce, depending on each nations food habits. 

Research has demonstrated that foetal deaths, blindness, anaemia, mental retardation and many common infections that kill the young and the weak are prevalent in the developing world because individuals lack adequate essential vitamins and minerals in their diets.

China, Morocco, South Africa and Viet Nam will be the first four countries to receive the GAIN fortification grants. All four selected countries have presented proposals to GAIN. South Africas proposal is for a three-year US$2.8 million grant for delivering fortified maize and wheat flour to 45 million people. A five-year programme in China will see 360 million people benefit from soy sauce fortified with iron and 49 million people in the western region of the country receiving fortified flour. GAIN has granted US$2.8 million to Morocco to fortify wheat flour, edible oil and milk to reach some 23 million low-income consumers in the country. Vietnam will receive a grant for iron-fortified fish sauce.


Emerging food markets

The developed markets of Europe and the United States account for almost 60 per cent of worldwide food sales, estimated at US$2,850 billion in 2002. However, with many markets reaching maturity, several major manufacturers are now seeking opportunities elsewhere across the globe. In a new report on Emerging Food Markets, Leatherhead Food International reviews key growth areas within the food and drink industry in 27 developing countries located in Central and eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, India, the Far East and the Middle East. 

The last decade has witnessed high levels of growth in the food and drink markets of less well-developed regions, particularly in countries such as China, India and Russia. With a food retail market approaching US$275 billion, China now accounts for almost 10 per cent of worldwide sales, and value sales are expected to reach US$460 billion by 2010. Other countries such as India and Russia are also starting to experience significant growth, and have been highlighted by many of the worlds largest food groups as important markets for the future. As a result, the developing world is likely to increase its share of the global food and drink market. The report mentions a number of different product markets, such as bakery products, confectionery, beer, convenience foods, dairy products, snack foods and soft drinks. 


Food industry adopts new packaging technologies

The food industry knows the value of offering optimum quality to the consumers of packaged food and is responsive to any improvement that will help keep contents fresh, attractive and for long. Recent innovations in packaging technology, particularly where the improvements relate to barrier characteristics, have been enthusiastically adopted by food packaging companies.

Packaging products made from renewable resources and fully biodegradable packaging have both made a mark in the last few months. Equally recently, food companies have seen the benefit of applying new aseptic technology packaging systems because their products gain extended shelf life. A huge raft of food products now comes in controlled atmosphere packaging when there were none in the market place only a very short time ago. Low-oxygen food packaging has rapidly become the norm. Packaging systems for meat, cheese, fruit, etc. using this technology are under study and some of these would hit the market soon.

One major growth area that does warrant the quality of food in the end-users kitchen is that involving edible coating and film technology. The challenge is to make it cost-effective. Consumer acceptance of natural products that are fully edible as an alternative to chemical preservatives is a key issue. Very pure soy protein films, milk-based edible films and cellulose surface coatings are all promising developments. Pectin, starch, processed proteins and many special materials are under development for food coating and packaging. 

Non-destructive inspection systems, which employ ultrasound to locate packaging faults, are already available. A little ahead in the future are computer-based systems for modelling the life cycle of foods that will be able to determine the shelf life, respiration rate and product properties of goods in whatever packaging materials they are stored.

There is already much talk about intelligent packaging systems. If such sophisticated packaging can be developed cost-effectively, more examples would be coming into the market place. Active packaging is a precursor to full-scale intelligent packaging. In the final analysis, any new food packaging technology that adds value and minimizes product-package interactions will gain a market. 


Opportunities in China for food and beverages sector

China offers potentially massive opportunities for food and beverages companies, according to a report entitled EU-China Business Cooperation Opportunities for the Beverage and Food Industries. The report, co-funded by European Union and Asia-Invest, outlines areas where businesses, particularly European businesses, can set up shop or cooperate in joint ventures. It assesses the prospects for diverse business sectors, and the possibilities in the provinces of Sichuan and Shanxi and the municipality of Chongquing.

The report identifies the tremendous effects of the economic changes shaping China over the last decade. A national market for banded food products has already emerged. Markets for baby food, processed cheese, canned soup, branded butter, UHT milk, pasta and instant noodles are all dominated by international products. Local brands hold their own in relatively few markets, which include beer, Chinese noodles, frozen foods and soya milk powder.

There are strong prospects at either end of the distribution chain: processing and retailing. The constraints are on the intermediary links in the chain: lack of cold storage, weak transport links and limited refrigerated carriers. There is scope for introducing efficient methods of food preservation, packaging, storage and distribution. Foreign investment in food processing is encouraged, as China currently processes only 20 per cent of its food compared with about 80 per cent for a typical developed country. There is a strong appetite for fizzy drinks and spirits, and a diverse market for confectionery and canned vegetables. 

Global Business Opportunities, Vol. 6, Issue 2, 2003

Russian poultry imports to grow

Russia has recently adopted policy changes to facilitate poultry imports. The government has eased rules for issuing import licenses for poultry meat to meet the import quota for the year. It has already granted licences to import 535,000 tonnes of poultry meat out of the 2003 quota of 744,000 tonnes. The government has also extended by three months the deadline for issuing licences.

The Russian Ministry of Agriculture has sent a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture, together with a list of processing plants in the United States approved for exportation of poultry products to Russia. One of the largest importers of chicken from the United States, Russia had earlier suspended imports citing unacceptable sanitary conditions in the plants in the United States. Now the Russian officials have approved 54 processing plants and 118 cold storage facilities and conditionally approved another 65 processing plants and 28 cold storage facilities. The approval will come into effect after 31 July 2003. 


Japan closer to bringing cloned meat to market

Japans Ministry of Health has stated that that meat and milk products from cloned cattle are safe for human consumption, thus bringing the nation one step closer to becoming the worlds first country to allow such goods on the market. The Ministry said in a report that no abnormalities had been found in the meat or milk derived from cloned animals, and that special considerationswere necessary since the technology was new. The report, however, called for the creation of a system to deal with any problems that might arise in future. It echoes similar findings made in June 2000 and August 2002, and refers to cows produced using the cloning technique that cloned Dolly the sheep in the United Kingdom. 


Thailands poultry exports grow

Thailand and Brazil have started challenging the traditional meat exporting nations. While Brazil is competing in the beef, pork and poultry markets, Thailand is focusing on the poultry market. Thailand is beginning to see fresh prospects in the cooked chicken trade. While fresh and frozen broiler parts form the bulk of the countrys poultry exports, processed poultry exports are rising sharply.

Last year Thailand exported 352,480 tonnes of fresh and frozen poultry, with Japan taking 55 per cent. This figure marked a seven per cent increase over the 2001 exports. For processed poultry, the rise was even sharper at ten per cent, reaching 137,500 tonnes, as per the figures released by the Thai Customs Department. Overall, along with Brazil and Mexico, Thailand has seen the steepest rise in production over the last two years. Thai poultry exporters are now targeting the European Union, while the government is addressing the concerns of the EU by establishing a special laboratory to test for contaminants and residues. The country has invested nearly US$5 million to tackle residue problems, which attracted a ban by European countries on Thai poultry products last year. Thailand is also increasing the production of halal products to target the Middle East markets. 


Stiff competition in Chinas ice-cream market

Chinas ice-cream market, estimated by the China Association of the Bakery and Confectionery Industry to be worth US$2.78 billion in 2002, is now dominated by two foreign companies the Anglo-Dutch firm Unilever and the Swiss group Nestle SA. As the competition from a host of new and existing domestic companies is getting hot, both these companies are increasing their investments to enhance their share in the countrys ice-cream market, according to China Daily. Unilever, which has ten per cent share of the ice-cream market, is reportedly investing more than US$18 million to promote its popular Walls brand. In Nestles case, the report quoted Mr. Ken Donaldson, head of Nestles ice-cream business in China, as saying that the companys investment this year would be higher than that in last year.


Australian breakthrough in food waste processing

A team of scientists from the University of Western Sydney (UWS) and Food Science Australia has invented a way to separate and purify the nutrients contained in manufacturing waste. According to Prof. Jim Hourigan, the Director of UWS Centre for Advanced Food Research, the innovation would help Australian businesses become world leaders in environmentally sustainable food manufacturing, and potentially generate millions of dollars from what they currently throw away. 

The research, which took 10 years and A$2.5 million worth of funding from Dairy Research Development Corporation, developed methods that recover and purify a wide range of components. The process works by fractionation of the waste in four stages using ion exchange, nanofiltration, chromatography and crystallization to isolate the useful fractions or products. The technique was perfected by separating minerals and nutrients from whey, which is traditionally converted into low-value lactose or whey powder, or discarded as waste. According to Prof. Hourigan, this sort of platform technology has the potential to be used to extract valuable substances from waste of sugar, wine, fruit and vegetable processing. 


Russian meat production goes up

After a decade-long slide, Russias total meat production started to rise in 2001 and is continuing the trend. Poultry (broiler chicken and turkey) production, the smallest meat sector, has shown annual double-digit growth. Pork production is growing at an annual rate of four per cent, though beef production is continuing to decline. For 2003, the countrys total meat production (beef, pork and poultry) is forecast to increase five per cent to 4.1 billion tonnes, although still less than half the level seen in the Soviet era. At the same time, Russias total meat imports reached US$2.1 billion in 2002, according to trade statistics. Largest increase was in pork imports, which more than doubled the 2001 level to reach US$690 million. Beef exports grew at 15 per cent to US$591 million, while poultry imports increased eight per cent to US$819 million. 


Fruit processing in India low

The level in fruit processing in India is below two per cent, despite the country being a leading producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. A substantial portion of the fruits and vegetables is wasted during pre-harvest, post-harvest and distribution stages. The situation in the North-East of the country is even worse because lack of infrastructure and marketing network has forced production cut-backs. The 73 licensed units in the region together produce about 700 tonnes of fruit and vegetable products, which is less than 20 per cent of the installed capacity. 

Beverage & Food World, June 2003

Viet Nam attempts to control GM foods

Viet Nam has initiated actions to develop a policy regarding genetically modified (GM) organisms and products. Since May 2002, the Biochemical Analysis and Experiment Centre of Ho Chi Minh City University of Agriculture and Forestry has surveyed more than 200 samples of corn and soya bean imported from Argentina, China, India and the United States. The Centre found that a portion of corn imported from these countries contains invertase (nutrition stimulant). In addition, corn from Argentina showed signs of having an insect-resistant gene. The soya bean imported from Argentina, China and the United States may contain EPSPS (disease-resistant) and lectin (herbicide-resistant) genes, besides other modified genes. In 1999, a draft statute on the safety of GM organisms and products had been drafted by the government and sent to state agencies and scientific organizations for their comments. 

Vietnam INFOTERRA Newsletter, No. 2, 2003


Microwave system for dairy snacks

Classica Group Technologies Italia (CGTI), which belongs to the Classica Group based in the United States, has begun marketing its new microwave heat processing system, which is said to offer the ability to deliver new and improved food products with significant cost savings. The novelty food manufacturer Savio Corporation of Italy, which bought CGTIs first microwave system, uses it to process a mixture of grated cheeses for a snack line. This product requires a process capable of uniformly and rapidly heating and drying a mixture of sensitive dairy ingredients without damaging them during processing. CGTI says that its technology was selected because of its capability to optimize the products texture and flavour, while reducing its moisture to the desired level. 


Technology for wheat moisture regulation

In the grain milling industry, the importance of wheat conditioning is well known. Wheat conditioning involves bringing the grain into the condition most favourable for grinding, and wheat moisture has a crucial role to play. The global technology group Buhler has developed a new technology that regulates the all-important moisture level in wheat during primary processing. The automatic moisture controller, the liquids flow rate controller and the Turbolizer dampener ensure that the grist going to the first break rolls has the desired moisture content and that the moisture is uniformly distributed throughout the individual grain kernels.

The Buhler moisture controller is an automatic, continuous measurement and control unit, which uses an integrated flow rate meter besides microwave technology. The sophisticated system consists of two units. The moisture controller continuously determines the initial moisture of the wheat and the flow rate using a flow balancer. Based on these values, the controller calculates he precise amount of water needed to achieve the required finished product moisture. A liquids flow rate controller meters the calculated quantity of water to be added to the stream of wheat. The Turbolizer dampener, which has a capacity of 1-48 tonnes/hour, is used for intensive dampening of the wheat kernels. The capacity range of the moisture controller system is 2-60 tonnes/hour, while the water addition rate is 20-4,500 litres/hour. The Buhler system can easily be integrated into any existing wheat cleaning system. 


Genetic cheese making

In the cheese industry, speed is a critical issue. According to researchers in New Zealand, genetic modification could provide an answer. The team of researchers, led by Mr. Goetz Laible of Agrisearch, implanted genes to overproduce two varieties of casein, the milk protein, into cow embryos. The enhanced milk has properties that give it advantages in cheese making. One of the proteins, called kappa-casein, increases the heat stability of milk, while the other, beta-casein, reduces the clotting time of the milk proteins and increases the expulsion of whey. The cows produce milk with 8-20 per cent more beta-casein and twice as much kappa-casein as normal milk. Using enhanced milk could help cheese producers save considerable amounts of money by reducing production times. 


Milk enzyme measurement

Researchers at the Purdue University, the United States, have devised a new method to accurately measure quantities of a cheese-ripening enzyme in milk and thus reduce the time and cost of producing cheese. The researchers Dr. Lisa Mauer and Dr. Kirby Hayes from the Department of Food Science used infrared spectroscopy in combination with statistical analysis to determine the concentration of plasminogen, a form of the enzyme integral to cheese making.

To shorten the ripening time on a commercial scale, the researchers will have to learn to manipulate the enzyme system by changing specific factors such as the pH of milk during fermentation, Dr. Hayes said. The research team focused on plasminogen concentrations in solutions that also contained milk proteins, which can change the enzymes activity and interfere with current testing methods. In another part of the study, they added to the same type of solution both plasminogen and plasmin, an active form of the enzyme that gives aged cheeses a sharper flavour. They wanted to determine if Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy could differentiate between plasmin and plasminogen and whether the method could measure these enzymes in the solution.

By creating solutions with known concentrations of the enzymes, the researchers determined that FT-IR spectroscopy could accurately measure the amount of plasmin and plasminogen. With this information, they were able to create a model of the plasmin system function that can be used in future studies into the enzymes impact on milk products. The scientists will investigate different processing treatments and their effects on the plasmin system to make these methods commercially viable, Dr. Mauer said. 

Contact: Dr. Lisa Mauer, Asst. Professor, Dept. of Food Science, Purdue University, 745 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2009, United States of America. Tel: +1 (765) 494 9111



DNA tool for beef tenderness test

An Australian beef industry R&D prject has commercialized the worlds first DNA test to distinguish tender cattle from the others. A research effort led by the Cooperative Research Centre for Cattle and Beef Quality, University of New England, resulted in the development of the DNA test. Hair sample from an animal is fixed to a bar-coded card, which contains information on the animals vital statistics and is cross-referenced to an electronic identification system. The hair samples taken from different animals are then analysed in the laboratory, using DNA extracted from individual hair follicles. Calpastatin is a natural enzyme that inhibits the normal tenderness of meat. By determining which of the two variants of the calpastatin gene one promotes tenderness while the other promotes toughness is present on chromosome 7, the quality of the beef is ascertained. 

Contact: Prof. Bernie Bindon, CRC, University of New England, Armidale NSW 2351, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 6773 3501




Electromagnetic pasteurization of liquid foods

The Eastern Regional Research Centre of the Agricultural Research Services, the United States Department of Agriculture, has developed a 1.45 GHz microwave process to test the efficacy of the theory of non-thermal or low-temperature pasteurization of liquids, such as egg, with low-power microwave or radio frequency (RF) energy. The process removes microwave energy as soon as it passes through the flowing liquid, separating the effects of thermal energy from non-thermal energy. Microwave energy alone did not destroy micro-organisms at low temperatures. 

Experiments were conducted with a system that exposes low-conductivity liquids to RF energy at 20-100 kHz and electric field strength of 45 kV/cm. Preliminary results have indicated that the liquids can be pasteurized using non-thermal electromagnetic energy. The populations of some bacteria and yeasts in water at 45C were reduced by nearly 99 per cent. The scientists think that a system with more powerful RF supply would allow pasteurization of liquids with higher conductivities such as liquid egg and fruit juice. 

Contact: Mr. Michael Kozempel, Eastern Regional Research Centre, ARS-USDA, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, United States of America. Tel: +1 (215) 233 6588; Fax: +1 (215) 233 6795



Natural way to fight Listeria

In Denmark, scientists have achieved a breakthrough in the battle against the harmful Listeria bacterium, with the discovery of a common lactic acid bacterium that efficiently fights Listeria contamination in foods. The breakthrough resulted from a cooperative venture between the Danish Meat Research Institute, the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University and the ingredients manufacturer Chr. Hansen. While the scientists originally discovered the effectiveness of the lactic acid bacterium Leuconostoc carnosum, which is naturally present in meat, Chr. Hansen made large-scale production of the bacterium possible. The process developed using L. carnosum basically ensures more of good germs and less of the unwanted ones, according to Mr. Peter Olesen, Chief Science Officer at Chr. Hansen.


Food texture analyser

Lloyd Instruments, the United Kingdom, has unveiled the TAPlus, a low-priced, high-performance food texture analyser aimed primarily at the bakery and processed meat markets. TAPlus features a sizeable working area to accommodate large samples and a wide range of food texture probes, jigs and attachments. It has a capacity of 102 kgf and accepts a wide range of interchangeable, easy-to-connect load cells. Measurement accuracy is claimed to be 0.5 per cent of the reading. The standard system includes the base machine, a drip tray, food testing base and a half-inch probe for routine applications. Typical applications include: 

  • Gelatine bloom strength measurement (BS757)

  • Dough firmness

  • Softness, crumb strength and shelf life of baked items

  • Cutting forces of bread, meat and butter;
    Fracture properties of biscuits and confectionery and

  •  Tensile strength and compressibility of cooked spaghetti

TAPlus employs Lloyds Nexygen MT V4.5, a data analysis software that holds a vast library of international standard tests and specialist food test set-ups. The Windows-based software has OLE2 compatibility for data export. 

Contact: Lloyd Instruments, Forum House, 12 Barnes Wallis Road, Segensworth, East Fareham, Hants, PO15 5TT, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1489) 486 399; Fax: +44 (1489) 885 118. 


Speeding up E. coli testing

BioControl Systems of Washington, the United States, has introduced a rapid testing system for E. coli O157:H7. The EHEC8 system takes under 9 hours, a fraction of the time normally required, or testing raw beef and meets the new standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture regarding the contamination of beef by E. coli.

BioControl claims that the new medium is a significant advancement because it shortens the enrichment time from the 16-24 hours required by other methods to just 8 hours. The system includes proprietary EHEC8 enrichment medium and either of its E. coli tests: VIP for EHEC or Assurance EHEC EIA. It is approved by the United States authorities for the detection of E. coli O157: H7 in raw and cooked beef. EHEC8 is a cost-effective, complete system that does not require antibiotics or other additives. 

Contact: BioControl Systems Inc., 12822 SE 32nd Street, Bellevue, Washington, WA 98005, United States of America. Tel: +1 (425) 603 1123; Fax: +1 (425) 603 0070 



Dairy product test kits

MicroFoss coliform dairy product testing kits, produced by the Foss Group, have recently received AOAC Research Institutes validation. MicroFoss solution reportedly provides one of the most advanced and user-friendly tools for food producers wanting reliable, rapid and meaningful microbiological data based on micro-organisms growth, pH change and dye indication. The currently available applications are ready-to-use vials for enumeration of total viable count, enterobacteriaceae, coliform, generic E. coli and yeast.

AOAC-IR validation is based on intensive trials covering inclusivity, exclusivity, method comparison, lot-to-lot variation, shelf life and stability, ruggedness, and external testing of the MicroFoss coliform vials. MicroFoss coliform tests were found to be considerably shorter than BAM, and showed similar reproducibility and repeatability. The kit even showed the ability to detect counts as low as 0.5 cfu/ml in milk. 


Ultrasound for beef quality detection

Scientists from the United States Department of Agricultures Agricultural Research Service and the Iowa State University have found that scanning live cattle with ultrasound can determine their fat and marbling qualities just as well as measurements taken on the carcass. The equipment used is a small, non-invasive, handheld machine that emits ultrasound waves. The waves are turned into images and are displayed on a small monitor. The machine is placed on the animals back, where rib-eye steaks are located, to see how lean and muscular the animal is and to determine marbling the little pieces of flavour-adding fat in steaks. While the scanning of each animal may take only a few minutes, the technology will be used primarily by seedstock producers to find ideal cattle for breeding. 


New safe method for seafood processing

Global Food Technologies, a biotechnology company based in California, the United States, has announced a method for eliminating or significantly reducing harmful bacteria in seafood. SEABAC, a prototyped system thought to be the first of its kind, will provide seafood processors with a natural, environment-friendly solution to rid food of disease-causing bacteria.

The SEABAC system rids the seafood of not only the surface bacteria picked up as seafood moves through the processing facility but also the bacteria present within the seafood. It includes surface cleaning with pH-controlled water, and cellular matrix manipulation, cellular respiration and dormancy processes to rid food-borne bacteria. The systems smart-packing technology then covers the product with a protective wrap and creates a specifically modified environment, preventing further contamination and promoting longer shelf life. The only materials that make contact with seafood processed through the SEABAC system are water-based agents and an anti-microbial agent, which is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration as a no rinse food sanitizer. The colourless, tasteless and odourless sanitizer essentially breaks down into water and vinegar. 


Allergen detection in foods

Genetic ID of Fairfield, the United States, has applied its expertise in DNA-based analytical technology to develop a series of tests to detect allergens in food products. The new Quick-Check Allergen Test Series is capable of detecting the presence of as little as one or two allergen marker molecules within the DNA found in a food sample. The only way to prevent allergic reactions which can range from mild unpleasantness to deadly anaphylactic shock is to avoid foods containing allergens. However, while it is easy for individuals to shun peanuts or fish fillets, it is difficult to avoid allergens in complex multi-ingredient foods. Genetic IDs test kits are highly sensitive, capable of detecting even minute traces of all major listed allergens, even if highly complex food matrices are present. 


Total fat analysis

The Foss Group has released a new system for acid hydrolysis of food and feed samples the Soxtec 2047 SoxCap System. Total fat analysis has until now been extremely time consuming, especially when solvent pre-extraction before hydrolysis is required. The patented technique is based on the SoxCap capsules filter ability to hold the fat present in the sample during hydrolysis and release it during solvent extraction in the Soxtec systems. According to the company, the filter design ensures filtration and washing of the samples within minutes and pre-extraction is not required.

The system performs hydrolysis, filtration and washing without any sample transfer in a closed vessel, ensuring no contact with hot hydrolysis solutions. During hydrolysis, the acid fumes are removed automatically. Batch handling guarantees minimum manual handling. The low-cost, high-speed, accurate system can process up to 36 samples per day in batches of six samples. Sample size ranges from 0.5 to 3 g and measuring range is from 0.1 to 100 per cent.



Long-life sunflower kernel

High oleic sunflower hybrid is unique to the sunflower market in that the high oleic acid content of the SL sunflower protects the roasted kernel against rapid oxidative degradation. SIGCO Sun Products of the United States developed this high oleic hybrid that, when roasted, has a shelf life 3-5 times longer than traditional sunflower kernel, which means that SL sunflower products have a shelf life equal to that of almonds. The high oleic sunflower kernel is used as an ingredient in honey-roasted, chocolate-coated or seasoned sunflower kernel confections, as well as in breads, snack bars ad cereals. 

Contact: Mr. Ken Hodnefield, SIGCO Sun Products, 90 N 8th Street, P.O. Box 331, Brechkenridge, MN 56520, United States of America. Tel: +1 (218) 643 8467; Fax: +1 (218) 643 4555



New range of speciality fats

Taste, texture and stability in confectionery fillings can be achieved with a new range of filling fats from Loders Croklaan, based in the Netherlands. Loders Croklaan is currently offering three different groups of filling fats. Creamelt, positioned as a premium filling fat group, gives confectionery very high quality eating characteristics. The Biscuitine fats offer manufacturers flexibility and economy in production, besides high quality eating characteristics. CLSP, the lauric acid-based filling fats group, provides cool and clean melt, while allowing easy processing, including fast and simple crystallization. 


Functional formulas

Kemin Foods, a manufacturer of natural oxidant ingredients, is launching FloraGLO lutein in a new water-soluble formula. Lutein is a carotenoid found in green leafy vegetables. In humans, lutein protects the sensitive retinal cells by its antioxidant and blue light filtering capacities. Studies have shown a positive relationship between consumption of lutein and a lower incidence of age-related macular degeneration and cataract.

The new formula uses patented ClearTec coating technology to make the lutein easily dispersible in water-based products. It contains crystalline lutein and sucrose monolaurate with 15 per cent active lutein in a dry free-flowing powder. It is BSE-free and non-GMO, and does not change the taste, colour, odour or texture of the finished products. Kemin Foods claims that there is no clouding, ringing or settling when adding the ingredient, and beverages retain their optical clarity and critical stability. The new formula can be used in beverages, syrups and ophthalmic solutions. 

Contact: Kemin Foods L.C., 600 E. Court Avenue, Suite A, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States of America. Tel: +1 (888) 248 5040. 


Low-fat cream spread

The National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) at Bangalore, India, has developed a diet cream spread having only 30 per cent fat as compared with the 70 per cent fat in regular cheese spread. Furthermore, the cream spread remains spreadable even at low temperatures, quite unlike butter that hardens when refrigerated. NDRI is ready to transfer the technology for making the low-fat cream spread. 

Beverage & Food World, June 2003

Cold gelation of proteins

Nizo Food Research, a Netherlands-based contract research organization, has taken the cold gelation method a step further, opening the way to control stability, gel strength and flavour conservation of heat-induced gels. Gelation of proteins is important to give ready-to-eat food products desirable textures. On an industrial scale, gelation is often induced by heating, which has some disadvantages. One is a sub-optimal use of protein ingredients, as 50-80 per cent proteins may not form aggregates that contribute to gel strength. Another is that the final texture is hard to predict and control. Further, heating may destroy delicate flavours.

According to Nizo, cold gelation solves all these problems. Aggregation is induced in a pre-heating step, which makes it possible to fully denature the protein ingredient before gelation sets in. This ensures that more than 95 per cent of the protein contributes to the gel. The second step is gradual acidification of the solution or aggregates to form a gel at ambient temperature. Nizos research revealed that the presence of thiol groups, which allow formation of disulphide bonds during acidification, is crucial for the final gel hardness. As the need for additional heating is eliminated, heat-sensitive flavour compounds can be added to the products and the final gel properties can be precisely controlled. Cold gelation method can be used for products such as yoghurt-based desserts and processed fish, and for the encapsulation of probiotics. 


Flavour process and software

In the United States, International Flavours & Fragrances has been awarded a patent for its light scattering process and software for measuring particle size during titration. The process can be used to determine the solubility of fragrance or flavour ingredients in a solvent, or to study micelle formation or dissipation. The process is automated and computer-controlled. For determining fragrance or flavour solubility, the titration is allowed to proceed to the detectable endpoint where a single aqueous phase converts to a two-phase particle/liquid phase system. The process can also follow micelle formation by titrating surfactant into water, or micelle dissipation by titrating water into a micellar solution. Each of these conditions, solubility and micelle formation/dissipation, plays a crucial role in the performance of flavour or fragrance. 


Low trans fat cocoa butter replacers

Karishamns, a Swedish producer of vegetable oils, has come up with cocoa butter replacers with a low trans fatty acid content. Trans fats are unsaturated fatty acids found in hydrogenated vegetable oils. Partially hydrogenated oils are used in processed foods because they help food products stay fresh longer and have a more desirable texture. However, increasing health concerns have seen a demand for reduction in the trans fat levels. Karishamns new cocoa butter replacers, Akopol LT15 S and Akopol LT15 E, have only 15 per cent trans fatty acids. They have improved sensory properties and the same functional advantages as the traditional cocoa butter replacers.



Codex adopts 50 new food standards

At its 26th session, the global food standards body Codex Alimentarius Commission has adopted a landmark agreement on how to assess the risks to consumers from foods derived from biotechnology, and another 50 food safety and quality standards, including revisions of old standards.

The guidelines of food safety and genetically modified (GM) food lay out broad general principles to make the analysis and management of risks related to foods derived from biotechnology uniform across Codexs 169 member countries. Provisions include pre-market safety evaluations, product tracing for recall purposes and post-market monitoring. They cover scientific assessment of DNA-modified plants, as well as foods and beverages derived from DNA-modified micro-organisms. Provisions for assessing the products allergenicity are also included.

Another notable new standard is for irradiated foods. It allows the foods to be subjected to higher levels of gamma rays to kill bacteria and increase shelf life. Codex removed the maximum radiation dose of 10 kiloGray at which foods can be treated, mainly to ensure elimination of bacterial spores and the radiation-resistant pathogenic bacteria Clostridium botulinum.

Responding to consumer concerns about meat, the Commission adopted standards that will improve the safety of meat by establishing principles of meat hygiene. A Code of Practice on good animal feeding calls for stricter and more systematic controls over sources of contamination.

Codex adopted new quality standards for many food items. For example, the new standard sets a minimum 35 per cent of cocoa solids in products marketed as chocolate and a minimum 20 per cent in chocolate type products. The Commission also decided to extend food safety systems to cover small and medium-sized enterprises. 

Websites:  & 

Europe embraces tough GM regulations

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have passed strict new rules on genetically modified (GM) foods, paving the way for an end to the ban on GM foods in the European Union. The MEPs agreed on a common position for the GM threshold, setting the limit of 0.9 per cent, above which any food or animal feed containing GM organism (GMO) material will have to be clearly labelled This product is produced from GMOs. However, meat or diary products from animals fed with GM feed do not have to be labelled.

Another stipulation in the new rules is that any product such as cooking oil derived from GM ingredients but whose presence is undetectable should still be labelled as genetically modified. The food industry had voiced its concern over this, which it believes will not only encourage a paper trail but also lead to abuse of the system. The Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries (CIAA) remains concerned about the practical difficulties the implementation of this legislation will create for operators and enforcement authorities. 


Thailand, Singapore and Viet Nam to serve as pathfinders

Members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have agreed to pursue an agreement that would result in mutual recognition of each others food standards. Thailand, Singapore and Viet Nam will serve as pathfinders to work out an action plan for implementing the agreement, said Mr. Adisai Bodharamik, Thailands Minister of Commerce. The APEC Sectoral Food Mutual Recognition Agreement would be a voluntary mechanism to facilitate trade by minimizing food inspection controls at points of entry into importing economies. The eased procedures would be based on assurances provided through pre-export conformity assessments, using officially recognized inspection and certification systems, and by establishing a mechanism for resolving issues that may otherwise disrupt trade. The agreement would help reduce the cost of exports because products would be inspected only at the points of origin.



Fast chilling with in-line cryogenic system

The continuous rotary chilling system from Praxair, the United States, is designed to provide quick, uniform and thorough chilling of meat and poultry pieces for packaged products. The cryogenic system is specially designed for easy, in-line integration into existing continuous processing operations. The system rotates and gently tumbles food pieces, keeping them separate for maximum exposure to the carbon dioxide cryogen. This results in a quick and total chilling without any non-frozen spots. A patented injection system delivers the cryogen to all surfaces of the product, sealing in the flavour and texture. The compact system can also be used in combination with conveyors or tunnel freezers. Contact: Praxair Inc., 39 Old Ridgebury Road, Danbury, CT 06810, United States of America. Tel: +1 (716) 879 4077; Fax: +1 (716) 879 2040

Website: or 

Single-screw compressor

Vilter Manufacturing Corporation, the United States, has developed a new 16 inch model of its Cool Compression compressor. The single-screw compressor offers several advantages over twin-screw compressors. It has fewer components, which reduce overall maintenance costs. It uses the efficiency of direct contact heat transfer to cool the compressor oil right in the oil separator, which eliminates the need for oil cooler. In addition, Cool Compression reduces oil carryover and eliminates oil foaming because the liquid ammonia layer in the separator covers the heavier oil. The model is suitable for use in food processing, refrigeration and storage. 

Contact: Vilter Manufacturing Corporation, 5555 South Packard Avenue, Cudahy, Wisconsin 53110, United States of America. Tel: +1 (414) 744 0111



Enzymatic preservation system

The Belgian company Biopole S.A. has developed the Lactoperoxidase System (LPS), an enzymatic system to preserve food products. LPS is based on the utilization of the natural antibacterial activity of bovine milk. It combines bovine lactoperoxidase with its two substrates, hydrogen peroxide and thiocyanate. Activation of LPS results in the generation of the hypothiocyanite anion OSCN, which is a strong antimicrobial because of its ability to oxidize SH-groups of vital metabolic enzymes and deplete reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotides. LPS induces a change in the cell membrane of the bacteria, causing leakage of K+ and amino acids, inhibition of the uptake of carbohydrates and amino acids, and subsequently the inhibition of protein synthesis. This results in the death of the bacteria. LPS is effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria. 

Contact: Biopole S.A., Rue Herman Meganck 21, B-5032 Gembloux (Les Isnes), Belgium. Tel: +32 (81) 723467; Fax: +32 (81) 470675. 


Blocking E. coli

Nymox Pharmaceutical Corporation, a drug manufacturer with bases in Canada and the United States, has developed a novel antibacterial product for the meat industry. NXC-4720 was shown to not only prevent but also remove E. coli contamination in meat products. Bacterial contamination, particularly by E. coli O157, is a major public health problem throughout the world. In 2002 alone, over 50 million kilogrammes of meat was recalled in the United States because of suspected E. coli contamination. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the United States alone, 73,000 human cases occur every year because of foods, drinks and water contaminated with E. coli. NXC-4720 offers tremendous potential to address this major health problem, according to Dr. Michael Munzar, Medical Director of Nymox.



Rapid treatment of raw meat

Raw foods often harbour pathogenic bacteria and ready-to-eat foods can get cross-contaminated before packaging. Applying steam to the surface of solid foods can kill bacteria, but the process has to be rapid to prevent thermal damage. The main deterrent to rapid treatment is the presence of a thin layer of air and moisture on the surface. Researchers at the Eastern Regional Research Centre of the Agricultural Research Services, the United States Department of Agriculture, have developed a vacuum-steam-vacuum (VSV) process and plant for surface pasteurization. The concept is to remove the interfering layer of air and moisture by vacuum, apply saturated steam, and reapply vacuum to cool the surface to prevent thermal damage all within the span of a second. The novel effect depends on the lower activation energy of bacterial enzyme inactivation, contrasted to the higher activation energy of meat protein denaturation.

The VSV process is so rapid that even multiple cycles take less than 2 seconds of total process time. The pilot plant has successfully treated different foods, such as poultry, catfish, hotdogs, fruits and vegetables. Results vary from 90 to 99 per cent depending on the food, with chicken being the most difficult to treat. Easiest to treat are hotdogs, fruits and vegetables, with more than 99 per cent bacterial kill. 

Contact: Mr. Michael Kozempel, Eastern Regional Research Centre, NAA, ARS-USDA, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, PA 19038, United States of America. Tel: +1 (215) 233 6588; Fax: +1 (215) 233 6795



Vacuumized stuffing technology

Marlen Research Corporation has launched its Combovac Vacuumizing Stuffer for processed meats. The machine vacuumizes and pumps sectioned and formed ham, fresh sausage and emulsified meat products at stuffing rates up to 30,000 lb (approx. 66,000 kg) per hour. The system features an integrated hopper, located at the top of the unit, which eliminates the need for separate suction pipe and loading hopper. This results in easier clean-up and smaller footprint. The screw feed pump efficiently pushes the processed meats into a rotary vane pump, and from there to the next processing step. 


Vitamin D provides tender beef 

Moderately increasing vitamin D fed to cattle prior to slaughter is a safe way of ensuring tender beef, according to scientists from the United States Department of Agricultures ARS National Animal Disease Centre (NADC) and the Iowa State University. The research showed that raising cattles blood calcium 20-30 per cent by feeding them extra vitamin D3, beginning two to three days before slaughter, results in an increase in muscle calcium and more tender cuts of meat. Elevated calcium triggers the tenderizing process by activating post-mortem muscle enzymes that can help degrade structural proteins that toughen meat. 


Intelligent measurement of fat

The Denmark-based Foss group has launched MeatMaster, an intelligent in-line technology for accurately measuring fat content in meat. The combination of lean meat and fat is an important factor for meat trimming and processing plants. Conventional methods for fat measurement, which are based on samples handled in a laboratory, are time-consuming and often not representative. With MeatMaster integrated in the production line, the whole batch is analysed, which makes the process 100 per cent representative. In addition, the results are integrated into the operating system of the plant allowing automatic control of material according to a specified fat content.

MeatMaster features dual X-ray technology, which uses electromagnetic radiation of a high frequency. This makes it possible to accurately determine the fat content in meat owing to a small difference in the X-ray absorption of lean and fat tissue. The equipment is designed in such a way that neither the meat nor the surroundings are affected by the X-rays. MeastMaster can also detect metal. 

Web- site:


Rotary drum processors

Lyco Manufacturing Inc. of the United States offers a range of rotary drum equipment for food processing applications. Lycos cooker-cooler for cooking, blanching, rehydrating, pasteurizing and cooling operations features water-cushioned entry and gentle treatment. Clumping is eliminated and the product is suspended by air, water or both. The size varies from 4 ft to 6 ft in diameter and from 8 ft to 24 ft in length. It can be used to blanch grains and vegetables, cook food items ranging from rice to meat, rehydrate pasta and beans, pasteurize meat and egg products, and cool grains, meat, vegetables and other products.

Lycos Vapor-Flow blancher reduces vegetable blanching costs by substituting steam for hot water. Its rotary drum technology promotes even blanching, and the vegetables come out brighter, crisper and tastier. The machine can process products stacked 12, 15 and 18 inches deep compared with the 4 inches possible with belt blanchers. Its rotary drum design saves on space and maintenance requirements, while the use of steam cuts down energy costs by about 25 per cent.

Other machinery from Lyco includes vegetable peelers and double-drum screen. The Raging Bull peelers can peel/scrub up to 45,000 kg per hour. The balanced high-speed rolls in U-bed configuration run at 900-1,200 rpm for effective peeling/scrubbing and self-cleaning without a rotating cage. The peeler can dry scrub, wet scrub and polish potatoes, and peel carrots, beetroots, turnips and onions. The double-drum screen separates wastewater from solid wastes of food processing. The inner drum screens solids larger than 0.80 inch (20 mm) and the outer drum separates solids larger than 0.20 inch (5 mm). Lyco also offers a screw press to squeeze out the water that remains with screened solids. The 12 inches diameter model can handle a minimum of 10,000 pph. 

Contact: Lyco Manufacturing Inc., P.O. Box 31, 115 Commercial Drive, Columbus, WI 53925, United States of America. Tel: +1 (920) 623 4152; Fax: +1 (920) 623 3780.

Bone picking equipment

Researchers from the Fishery Research Institute in Norway have developed machines that can automatically remove all bones from fish fillets. The system works in conjunction with an X-ray device, which locates any remaining bone that the initial picking process might have missed. The system is said to cut the fillet wastage by 4-6 per cent. 

Contact: Fiskeriforskning, mininbakken 9-13, Breivika, N-9291, Tromse, Norway. Tel: +47 (77) 629000; Fax: +47 (77) 629100



Continuous popping machine

The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) has developed a large-scale continuous popping machine for producing popped cereals. The machine operates on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and other fuel gases. The unit consists of a stainless steel popping chamber into which hot air, mixed with combustion products from LPG, is let in. A thermostat controls the chamber temperature, while an electronic system controls the feed rate of raw material. Recirculation of hot air provides saving of fuel and increase in efficiency. The unit can pop 20-25 kg of maize per hour.

Food Digest, January-March 2003

Direct injection steam cooker

Kovan Engineering of the United States offers horizontal fusion cookers in low and high capacity formats. The lower cost, direct injection, continuous steam cookers can be configured to an inclined angle of up to 45 to suit the process. Standard features of the stainless steel cooker include:

  • Two standard nominal production capacities 2.5 tph and 5 tph

  • Cook temperatures up to UHT 145C

  • Self-cleaning and reliable steam injectors;
    Variable speed reversing agitators for maximum shear control

  • Touch screen graphic operator interface;

Options include choice of agaitator design, skid-mounted vacuum flash vessel for product cooling, integrated upstream blender controls, and a range of other product-dependent options to minimize build-up. 

Food & Pack, June 2003


Mango packaging innovation

In the Philippines, a joint effort by the Centre for International Trade Expositions and Missions and the Industrial Technology Development Institute has resulted in the development of a modified atmosphere packaging system for mangoes. The packaging material is a semi-permeable film coated with zeolite, which reduces oxygen and increases carbon dioxide levels in the head space, effectively creating a modified atmosphere inside the bag. This inhibits the expression of hydrolytic enzymes associated with fruit ripening. The system also maintains the cellular structure, thus reducing microbial viability and growth to inhibit spoilage. 

Contact: Materials Science Division, ITDI-DOST, Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila, The Philippines. Tel: +63 (2) 837 2071. 


Tetra Paks new aseptic filling technology

Tetra Pak, the global food processing and packaging equipment company based in Switzerland, has launched its new aseptic filling technology that uses HDPE bottles. The Tetra Plast LFA-20 solution enables food and beverage manufacturers to fill low-acid products such as flavoured milks, infant formulas, nutritional drinks and prepared foods into HDPE containers and distribute them without refrigeration. According to Tetra Pak, one of the biggest advantages of this type of technology is that it offers consumers a packaging that is convenient, safe and portable. Compared with metal and glass, HDPE bottles are lighter and have more flexibility in bottle shape, size and design for product differentiation, shelf impact and brand image. 


Packing that extends shelf life

Biopack, a research project taking place at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen, Denmark, has developed bio-polymer packaging materials that increase the shelf life of hard cheeses. The new approach is based on the use of oxygen scavengers and other preservatives as active protective agents in bio-based packaging material made from polylactate, which is based on lactic acid produced by bacteria. Extended shelf life up to 9 months from the current 2-3 months would improve the potential for exports. The incorporation of active preservation components in the packaging means a longer shelf life for the cheese even after opening the package. In addition, substituting plastic packaging material with renewable biopolymers is beneficial to the environment. 


Versatile wrapper for bakeries

Wrapid Packaging Systems of Bradford, the United Kingdom, is marketing a stainless steel sleeve wrapper for bakeries. The Compacta 5022, built by BVM of Germany, is claimed to be ideal for wrapping a variety of different size loaves and confectionery items at a speed of up to 60 packs/minute. The key feature of the machine is a quick auto size changeover that allows loaves, baguettes, rolls and other baked items of different sizes, up to a package height of 220 mm, to be accommodated. A maintenance-free sealing system minimizes operator involvement, while a PLC digital interface allows the wrapper to be linked with other systems. Other features include a continuous operation, constantly heated sealing system and separate cutting knives. The system can work with several types of printed and plain packaging films. 

Contact: Wrapid Packaging Systems, Bradford, the United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1274) 220220; Fax: +44 (1274) 736195



Faster tea bagging machine

Tecnomeccanica of Italy has launched the T2 Prima tea bagging machine, designed to produce string-and-tag filter bags for tea, coffee and other infusion products at the speed of 250 bags/minute. The T2 Prima teabag is sealed on three sides and is made from a strip of heat-seal filter paper in such a way that the string remains inside the bag. Pulling the tag upwards releases the string. One of the biggest bonuses of the system is that the bag does not contain any staple pins. It can be printed on both sides to make it more attractive. The machine has modular construction and continuous, automatic operation and minimum components.



Functional Dairy Products

Functional Dairy Foods is a major collection that reviews the health benefits of functional dairy products, their ingredients and key product development issues. After an introductory survey of functional dairy products, Part 1 discusses current research on the health benefits of functional dairy products. Part 2 reviews key dairy ingredients, and their benefits and uses. Part 3 covers product development issues ranging from enhancing the functionality of probiotics to safety evaluation, and consumer and market trends.

Contact: Woodhead Publishing Limited, Abington Hall, Abington, Cambridge, CB1 6AH, England, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1223) 891358; Fax: +44 (1223) 893694


Whole-Grain Foods in Health and Disease

This publication provides a broad-based understanding about whole grains, including the latest information on health benefits and disease prevention resulting from consumption of whole grains as well as information on consumer knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards whole-grain foods.

Contact: AACC Headquarters, 3340 Pilot Knob Road, St. Paul, MN 55121-2097, United States of America. Tel: +1 (651) 454 7250; Fax: +1 (651) 454 0766


Australian Seafood Handbook

Imported products now provide more than 60 per cent of sefood sold in Australia. Australian Seafood Handbook an identification guide to imported species is brought out by CSIRO in recognition of this and forms a companion volume to the earlier published handbook on domestic species.

Contact:CSIRO Publishing, PO Box 1139, Collingwood, Victoria 3066, Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 9622 7500; Fax: +61 (3) 9622 7555



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