VATIS Update Food Processing . Jul-Aug 2004

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Food Processing Jul-Aug 2004

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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FAO/WHO report on food safety standards in Asia

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO), food safety standards in the Asia-Pacific region need to be comprehensively overhauled. Recent food and livestock-related disease outbreaks are symptomatic of food safety systems not working properly and of the lack of integrated mechanisms in the region, often within individual nations, to predict potential outbreaks and organize rapid responses to prevent them. FAO and WHO, together with another international agency, have launched a comprehensive database on animal health issues worldwide.


Global leaders in food

Reuters Business Insight has released a strategic management report, which analyses how global food leaders are increasingly leveraging the power of their brands in their existing, often saturated, markets and when entering new markets. The 250 page report comprises comprehensive evaluation of financial performance figures and analysis for 2003, quantitative comparisons of strategies, e.g. competitive repositioning, geographical strategies with a strong focus on emerging markets and innovation techniques. After delving into the market dynamics and emerging market analysis, the report examines firms such as Cadbury-Schweppes, Danone, General Mills, Heinz, Hershey, Kellogg, Kraft, Masterfoods, Nestle and Unilever Bestfoods, followed by an Industry Opinion Survey.

The analysis of each company includes a profile and history as well as recent market and financial performance. A SWOT analysis and strategies for growth are also provided. In discussing market dynamics, the report looks at a range of topics, including trends in global food markets, consumer lifestyle drivers, disposal of non-core assets and growth by acquisition. It also looks at company positioning, market positioning and market share versus growth for the global market in chilled food, confectionery, dairy and savoury snacks.


2004 profitable year for food manufacturers

A report by the Australian National University (ANU) foresees that food and beverage companies in the Asia-Pacific region will continue to benefit from strong economic growth in 2004. The predicted average growth of 4.7 per cent is expected to ease back to 4.4 per cent in 2005, indicating that the rate of investment in the food and beverage industry will also start to fall back. In the global scenario, growth in the regions economy is being driven by the continued growth of the United States, Japanese and Chinese economies, which in turn is leading to an increasing amount of trade both on a regional and international basis.

In the Asia-Pacific region, growth will still be led by the Chinese market. Elsewhere in the region, both Thailand and Viet Nam are expected to show strong growth this year. Estimates suggest that both these economies will record growth surpassing seven per cent during this year. Other above average performances will include Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. The export market in the region is also expected to provide beverage and food manufacturers with an increasing number of opportunities throughout 2004.


Brewing potential in China

Chinas beverage market, which has been growing at an average rate of 15 per cent per annum since the early 1990s, has attracted a great deal of interest from foreign manufacturers. Japanese brewing giant Asahi is the latest foreign company to forage into this growing market. The company has teamed up with Itochu, Japan, and a leading Chinese packaged food and beverage producer, Tingyi, in an effort to strengthen its position. A-I China Breweries, an entity 80 per cent owned by Asahi and 20 per cent by Itochu will pay cash to acquire a 50 per cent interest in Tingyi-Asahi-Itochu Beverages, a newly incorporated holding company with 100 per cent interest in 13 beverage subsidiaries previously owned by Tingyi. Completion of the transaction is subject to the successful reorganization of Tingyis beverage subsidiaries and shareholders approval. On the product front, the Chinese market has shown a vibrant growth in a broad range of beverage products, like tea and juices, where Tingyi, respectively, ranks No. 1 (45 per cent) and No. 2 (20 per cent) in terms of market share.


European ingredients industry faces stiff competition

According to a report prepared by the investment bank Goldman Sachs, the increase in exports from China are cutting into the profits of European firms in many product areas, notably ingredients. The report states that major global ingredients companies like Danisco and Tate & Lyle have commented on increased competition from China as having a negative impact on their ingredient operations. In 2003, a raft of ingredients firms announced moves to lay down roots in China. However, the need to accelerate developments in this burgeoning economy must be a top priority for leaders in the ingredients industry keen to hold on to their market share both at home and overseas.


Philippines to reduce tariff on chicken imports

In the Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) plans to recommend a 50 per cent reduction in the tariff on imported chicken to encourage importation and address the expected rise in demand during the Yuletide. DTIs planned proposal to the cabinet-level Trade and Related Matters Committee is to lower the present tariff of 40 per cent to 20 per cent. However, this reduction will be in effect only during the month of December and applicable specifically to importers licensed by the Bureau of Animal Industries. The move to import more chicken is another step to stabilize poultry prices.


Breakthrough in the fight against food pathogens

Researchers in the United States are focusing on a previously unidentified protein on the surface of intestinal cells to prevent diseases. The team believes that their results could eventually lead the way in preventing foodborne Listeria monocytogenes infection, which has a 20 per cent fatality rate. Bacteria have proteins, called ligands, which bind with a protein molecule, or receptor, on cells in the body. This interaction opens the door that leads to a complicated series of biochemical reactions, which allow the pathogen to enter cells.

The team placed a Listeria protein known to bind with human host cells in a laboratory dish with human intestinal cells. It was observed that the bacterias ligand binds with an intestinal cell surface protein, identified as heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60). Found in most cells, heat shock proteins are called chaperone proteins since they help other proteins stay organized when cells face any type of stress. Scientists used an anti-Hsp60 antibody, a built-in disease-fighting antibody, that reduced Listerias ability to bind with intestinal cells by 74 per cent.


Essential oils fight pathogens

A study undertaken by researchers at the University of Southampton, the United Kingdom, reveals that candles and ion wind delivery systems containing certain essential oils can easily reduce a range of commonly found bacteria in foods. This discovery, by Dr. Lindsey Gaunt and Ms. Sabrina Higgins, may offer a cheap and effective technique for food manufacturers to reduce bacterial risk. Researchers found that by adding certain essential oils to candles, bacteria like Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus are eliminated on surfaces.

Working closely with Prof. John Hughes at the Bioelectrostatics Research Centre, the team has been testing different essential oils such as thyme, orange and eucalyptus, which when dispersed into the air and on combining with ions produced in the flame of candles have a powerful bactericidal effect. In places where the use of candles is not appropriate, the same effect can be achieved by using plug-in devices along with suitable essential oils and ions generated by an electrical discharge. According to Dr. Gaunt, candles and electrical devices can be as effective as liquid disinfectants, together with the added benefit of being able to penetrate porous surfaces and fabrics in a room with very little personal effort. This unique combination of essential oils and electrical ions has demonstrated a remarkably powerful bactericidal action, with up to nearly 100 per cent bacteria kill.



New heating process for food

Researchers in the European Union are developing a safer process to heat food products without affecting their nutritional quality. Foodpro is being billed as a possible alternative to conventional heating. This new concept utilizes ohmic heating, a process that heats food material internally by passing an electric current through it. Investigations are underway to determine the role of this process in helping improve microbial safety, reduce the need for chemical additives and raise the market value of products. This project is being coordinated by C-Tech Innovation, the United Kingdom. Other partners include Slovakia, Sweden, Portugal, Ireland and Spain.


New probe to measure texture

Multiple Puncture Probe developed by Stable Micro Systems is reported to accurately determine the firmness and texture of a number of foods. The new analyser works by penetrating food in several places to give an average reading. It quantifies accurately the firmness of foods with variable textures, from fruits and vegetables to thick-cut marmalade and chocolate chip ice cream. Several testing pins attached to the TA.XTplus texture analyser enable manufacturers to test non-uniform products containing particulates of different size, shape, structure and levels of hardness, yielding consistent results. According to the company, the analyser also offers greater flexibility. When forces are created above the capacity of the load cell being used in the TA.XTplus texture analyser, the operator can adapt the test by removing pins and reducing the contact area, if necessary. However, the more probes that are used in the test, the more reproducible the results.

Other innovations launched by the company include a new constant strain inflation rate facility that allows manufacturers to alter the inflation rate of the dough bubble as its volume changes. Evaluation of the dough bubbles large deformation extensional properties provides vital information on the stability of gas cells and gas retention during proving and baking, key factors in the structure and volume of the final product. Dough stickiness testing allows producers to quantify the effects of over-mixing, addition of excess water, overactivity of proteolytic enzymes, differences in wheat varieties and composition. The Miller-Hoseney toughness rig helps determine the toughness and firmness of breads and other sliceable products.


Anti-bacterial treatment for milk

Invensys has developed a new process to destroy bacterial spores in milk concentrates and formula milk. Gold System (Type SII) uses advanced technology to hold products for a fraction of a second at high temperatures before flash cooling. This effective sterilization strategy preserves the vitamin and nutritional contents and product quality, and is being touted as an alternative for ultra high temperature (UHT) treatment of heat-sensitive products. Benefits offered by SII over other technologies include uniform bacterial kill rate for low- and high-viscosity products, consistent product quality, less fouling and long operating times. SII can handle product capacities from 100-8,000 l/h, a maximum viscosity at sterilization temperature of 500 cp and maximum 60 per cent total solids.

At the heart of the SII is an infusion chamber. Using plate, tubular or scraped heat exchangers, a product is preheated to between 55C and 75C before entering the top of the infusion chamber. Less than 0.2 seconds later, the product reaches the required UHT of 140C. Several techniques developed by Invensys ensure that the product does not suffer from chemical damage or burn on to the infusion chamber. For example, the lamination nozzle arrangement ensures that the product is dispersed in a circular pattern to avoid atomization. The chamber itself is thoroughly deaerated using vacuum to ensure maximum heat transfer. Steam enters the chamber from its side, moving towards the centre via laminar flow, and condenses into the product without cavitation. This, in turn, prevents uncontrolled homogenization. Eventually the product comes into contact with the wall at the lower part of the infusion chamber, which is equipped with a cooling jacket. The thin film of condensate this generates on the inside of the chamber eliminates product fouling.

A temperature sensor mounted in the product discharge pump housing is used to monitor actual sterilization temperature and will ramp the steam pressure controller if required. This prevents partial overheating of product constituents that can be an issue with injection and SSHE technologies. Next is the rotary holding cell where an APV-patented design ensures that the product is held for under 0.5 seconds. This extremely short period is achieved by having a thin piece of gold wrapped around the temperature transmitter in the pump house. The last step in the treatment is the vacuum chamber, from which steam is removed to a condenser. The product is pumped directly from condenser to a spray drier or plate/tubular/scraped surface heat exchanger section for final cooling.



Detection system for protective gas atmosphere packaging

Witt-Gasetechnik Gmbh and Co. KG, Germany, offers a highly flexible measuring device capable of detecting the tiniest leaks of carbon dioxide (CO2) from protective gas atmosphere packaging. Leak-Master requires just a small space and mains power connection to monitor on-site an entire packaging line. Products are monitored in an entirely non-destructive manner, regardless of whether they are in flexible or rigid packaging. Parameters like vacuum level, leak limits and test time can be pre-defined and saved in the memory. The system can memorize up to 100 products and 20 users, more than enough for occasional random samples in a small operation or constant use in a large company.

The measuring chamber and operating unit form a single robust unit, the housing of which is produced using mostly stainless steel. In addition to an LCD screen, Leak-Master has push-buttons which are grouped into logical units and can be operated intuitively. These can be used to call up the respective most recent measurements. Leak-Master can even be integrated to export data via Ethernet into a companys network. As such, results of the measurements can be directly fed into a quality management system or printed.

Contact: Witt-Gasetechnik GmbH and Co. KG, Salinger Feld 4-8, D 58454 Witten, Germany. Tel: +49 (02302) 8901-0; Fax: +49 (02302) 8901-3



Viral enzyme used to ensure food safety

In the United Kingdom, Prof. Mike Gasson at the Institute of Food Research is investigating into the use of lysins, a bacteria-bursting enzyme produced by viruses, to raise food safety levels. Different lysins attach to specific bacteria and as such can be used as a diagnostic tool as well as an antimicrobial therapy in people and animals. Bacteriophage lysins covered in the licence obtained by Prof. Gasson can be used to detect or selectively kill Listeria and Clostridium. They may even provide an alternative to antibiotics in some applications.

Listeriosis, caused by Listeria, is often severe and life-threatening. Clostridium difficile causes diarrhoea in patients receiving antibiotic treatment. The bacterium seizes this opportunity, provided by the disruption to naturally occurring bacteria of the bowel, to infect.

Contact: Prof. Mike Gasson, Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich NR4 7UA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1603) 255 000; Fax: +44 (1603) 507 723.


Certified solutions

Sterilox Technologies, the United States, offers a compact line of generators to raise hygiene levels in the food industry. First in this series is the A-2000, which measures approximately 2 3 feet (width depth) and fits under most sinks. Based on patented electrolytic technology, the generator produces a safe, fast and effective non-toxic biocide solution on-site, which is effective against a range of bacterial and viral pathogens and organisms that present major safety and health challenges in food retail and service industries. The NSF certification mark assures that this product conforms with the relevant ANSI standard.
Sterilox also offers a range of liquids designed to reduce spoilage in fruits, vegetables and seafood by eliminating bacteria and viral pathogens. Hard surface sanitizers are also available for counter-tops, slicers, cutting boards and utensils. These can also be used in produce misting systems and ice machines to remove biofilms associated with different harmful bacteria.

Contact: E-mail: 



Flavour delivery for confectionery

ICI flavour subsidiary Quest International recently launched a new flavour encapsulation delivery system. Q.Pearl variants for broad food processing and specific confectionery applications are based on non-hygroscopic particulates that provide flavour stability and high process resistance, including humidity, high temperatures and physical sheer. Designed to withstand conditions of food processing, this tool imparts visual and flavour stability to the final product. Q.Pearl variants release the flavour for maximum taste impact, either instantly or over a prolonged period, as with chewing gum. Q.Pearl makes it possible to reduce flavour fading and oxidation as well as reduce formation of off-notes while preserving freshness.

Comparing the new Quest flavour system with other technologies on the market, Quest R&D Manager Mr. Fabio Campanile stated that many manufacturing technologies are applied to produce encapsulated flavours, such as melt extrusion, compaction, agglomeration, shell-core systems, flaking of natural foods and spray drying. However, all the resulting products suffer from one or more deficiencies. Agglomerates may pose a risk of dusting, consequently resulting in poor flavour barriers and not stable to typical blending operations. Melt extrudates, even if they show very good barrier properties in dry conditions, tend to be very hygroscopic and unstable in typical processing conditions. Shell-core systems, e.g. coacervates, are expensive and generally limited to lypophilic flavours.


Cilantro prevents Salmonella poisoning

Researchers in the United States and Mexico have uncovered that an ingredient used in making salsa and other spicy dishes contains a potent compound that kills bacteria most commonly responsible for food poisoning. It is predicted that the antibiotic found in cilantro could eventually become a protective food additive. Mr. Isao Kubo of the University of California-Berkeley and others at Berkeley and the Autonomous University of Guadalajara studied the components of cilantro. They found that one chemical, dodecanol, had the most potent activity against several Salmonella species. Mr. Kubo opines that dodecanol is the only naturally occurring substance that is more effective against Salmonella than gentamicin, an antibiotic.

Salsa contains at least 12 other less potent antibacterial compounds and their cumulative effect may be beneficial. Dodecanol is very promising as a food additive since its mechanism of action varies from that of prescription antibiotics and it can be added in substantially higher quantities than present in cilantro. Rather than interfering with metabolic activity, it disrupts the bacterias cellular membrane.


Flavour-saving process

Buhler, Germany, has developed a roasting system equipped with state-of-the-art debacterization to preserve the properties of cocoa better. This process allows for not only gentle and continuous roasting but also debacterization of beans while still in their shells, thereby enabling the full aroma contained in the beans to be preserved. The debacterization unit is capable of inactivating even heat-resistant vegetative germs and spores. In addition, roasting of the whole beans in their shells prevents fat from being lost to the roasting air along with moisture. As such, valuable cocoa fat is entirely preserved in the cocoa.

Buhler system works under pressure to increase the condensation temperature and substantially reduce the retention time. In the roasting process, cocoa beans pass gently through the roaster from top to bottom in a narrow vertical duct choke-filled with material. An automatic dust extraction system keeps the roasting and cooling zones clean. The rugged design and construction of the system allows for long life cycles to be achieved.


Ingredient for fluffy bread

Kimica Corp., Japan, has developed a thickening and stabilizing agent that can be added to wheat flour to make bread dough cook up fluffy. Bread dough loses moisture when heated, thus making cooking of light and airy bread difficult unless a high-performance oven is used. The new agent reacts with starch in the wheat flour, allowing the dough to maintain its water content and cook up fluffy even in an ordinary oven. The key ingredient in the powdered agent is a polysaccharide extracted from seaweed.


More shelf stability

National Starch, an ICI subsidiary, has introduced a new starch that delivers superior freeze/thaw and shelf-life stability. Novation Prima is derived from waxy maize and is reported to be ideal for use in frozen foods and in applications where storage stability is challenging, e.g. fruit preparations. In products requiring a long shelf-life and/or low-temperature storage, Novation Prima delays the onset of syneresis (separation of a liquid from a gel) and gelling, while preserving end product quality and premium texture.

Novation Prima complements Nationals comprehensive range of starches derived from natural sources. These include modified and functional native cold water swelling and cook-up starches, which add value for a broad spectrum of applications. The recently launched Novation Prima 300 and Novation Prima 600 are comparable with the existing Novation 2300 and Novation 2600 products in terms of their use in processing and application. However, the new products deliver superior end product stability.


New ingredients for bakery and juices

AB Enzymes, Germany, has added two enzymes to its Veron range of products. The new Veron 292 and Veron 393 enzymes are designed to help bakers achieve higher volumes and improve dough properties. The highly concentrated fungal xylanases derived from Aspergillus niger are modified versions of Veron 191. Veron 292 helps achieve higher volumes and a finer homogenous pore structure than Veron 191 as well as improves dough and break-and-shred properties. Veron 393 also contributes to higher baking volumes while providing a dry and stable dough, even when using higher dosages, and an improved performance in retarded and frozen dough.

Another German company Alfred I Wolff Co. has developed a process to improve the safety of honey. The new technique can remove microbiological organisms and potential pathogens like botulinus without affecting the quality and taste of honey. CP Kelco, the United Kingdom, has launched a product designed to provide suspension and stabilization of pulp, minerals and beverage clouds in ready-to-drink fruit juices. Kelcogel PS, a proprietary blend of polymers based on Gellan gum, is acid stable, with low protein reactivity.


New tomato lycopene source

Various studies have substantiated the beneficial role of tomatoes and tomato products in preventing degenerative diseases. New research has shown that these health benefits, attributed to the carotenoid lycopene alone, are actually because of the synergy of lycopene with other tomato phytonutrients. LycoRed Natural Products Industries Ltd., Israel, offers a functional food ingredient that contains the aforementioned natural complex of tomato phytonutrients. Lyc-O-Mato 1 per cent powder is produced using a patented technology, which allows for mechanical separation and drying of fine tomato pulp containing high levels of lycopene and other tomato phytonutrients. Over 90 per cent of the soluble tomato solids are removed from tomato pulp by centrifugal separation, leaving behind a finished ingredient that mainly comprises insoluble portions of the tomato solids. The result is a powder with a mild neutral flavour that blends well with other food ingredients without affecting the flavour profile.

Lyc-O-Mato can be added to bread, yoghurt, meats, snacks and nutritional bars. It can be incorporated into food products both as a natural red colourant and as a source of tomato phytonutrients for food fortification. Lyc-O-Mato is also suitable for many low-carbohydrate applications where the reduction of carbohydrates in a formula decreases the products overall viscosity and mouthfeel. Natural tomato fibres present in the ingredient contributes to additional viscosity by absorbing up to 20 parts water, apart from providing improved mouthfeel.

Contact: Dr. Zohar Nir, LycoRed Natural Products Industries Ltd., Hebron Road, Industrial Zone, P.O. Box 320, Beer Sheva 84102, D. Hartal, Israel.



GM labelling in Russia

Stricter labelling controls for genetically modified (GM) foods were recently introduced in Russia. Environmentalists, including Greenpeace-Russia, state that obesity problems in the United States is the result of GM foods. Under the new rules that came into effect on 1 June 2004 foods containing more than 0.9 per cent of GM material have to be labelled as such. The previous threshold of 5 per cent was said to be too high by GM opponents.


China to cancel food export licences

In China, approximately 6,000 companies failed in hygiene standards tests undertaken by the State Certification Accreditation Administration. Of the 11,000 food processing enterprises investigated, only 53 per cent received a passing grade. At about 2,400 enterprises, conditions were so appalling that officials immediately determined that their export licences had to be cancelled. More than 3,000 others have been asked to clean up their act and their licences suspended temporarily.


High risk food items listed

In India, the Ministry of Commerce has categorized edible oils, food grains, mineral water, tea and coffee, and a variety of dairy products as being high risk food items. Imports of these listed products would be subjected to 100 per cent sampling under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. All consignments imported through ports, airports, inland container depots, customs freight stations or land customs stations would be referred to port health officers for testing and cleared only after receipt of the test report. The list of high risk edible/food products notified by the Ministry through a circular include edible oils and fats in any form, pulses and pulse products, cereals and cereal products, milk powders, condensed milks, infant milk powder, milk cereal base weaning foods, infant formulas, food colours and additives, natural mineral water, packaged drinking water, tea and coffee, and cocoa butter equivalents or substitutes.

In addition to tests conducted under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, the high risk items will be subjected to examination to ensure compliance of the requirements of other acts, regulations and orders such as Meat Food Products order (1973), Plants, Fruits and Seeds (Regulation of Import into India) Order (1989) and the Livestock Importation Act, before these are permitted clearance into the country. The 100 per cent sampling norms would also be applicable to fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and cheeses that are classified as perishable, the list of which will also be notified shortly.


Biotech label laws enter into force in EU

New rules that came into force in the European Union (EU) on 18 April 2004 stipulate that a wide range of food with small traces of genetically modified (GM) ingredients has to be specially labelled. This step is part of efforts by the European Commission to provide consumers with choice and reassurance as it seeks to end a ban on new biotech products imposed by a group of EU states five years ago. All food products and animal feed containing more than 0.9 per cent of GM material will have to be labelled. Earlier, the threshold limit for GM organisms was more than 1 per cent, but not if the food is so processed that it is impossible to detect them in the final product.

Indian Dairyman, May 2004

New board to certify halal meat

In the Philippines, a Halal Certification Board (HCB) is slated to be established in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). This effort is supported by ARMM Business Council (ABC), Darul Iftah and the regional Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Darul Iftah, the highest Islamic body in the nation comprising Islamic law experts, will determine whether a product is halal (lawful) or haram (forbidden). While the country has other halal certifying bodies, particularly the Office on Muslim Affairs and the Islamic Dawah Council of the Philippines, HCB is viewed as the most credible, considering the support of ABC and Darul Iftah. Moreover, HCB also enjoys the legal recognition of the ARMM government through the DTI-ARMM, empowered under Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 154 or the ARMM Special Economic Zone Act of 2003 (REZA), to grant legal recognition to a HCB in the region.


EU hurdle for basmati exporters

In yet another restriction, the European Union (EU) has demanded mandatory certification from Indian authorities for every imported basmati consignment, as belonging to specific strains of traditional varieties, to be eligible for customs duty concessions. Furthermore, the worlds largest trading block also wants the samples of imported basmati drawn from Indian consignments to be tested in India free-of-cost.


Codex backs safety approach to maximum levels

Codex Alimentarius Commission has endorsed draft guidelines on vitamin and mineral supplements that recommend basing maximum levels of nutrients on safety rather than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) criteria. The breakthrough, reached by the Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses last year, has now been ratified by the committee at step five of the eight-step Codex decision-making process. Maximum levels are important to the supplement industry as they determine the amount of nutrients allowed in supplements. The decision by Codex to also follow such an approach will send out a strong signal to governments still backing RDAs.



Salmonella-free eggs

Researchers at Purdue University, the United States, have developed a low-temperature, long time heating process to kill Salmonella in shell eggs without causing coagulation in egg proteins. The new pasteurization process can be used for producing safe shell eggs. The team is presently working to establish the process for three egg producers. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that 2-4 million cases of salmonellosis occur in the country annually.


New oxygen absorber

Multisorb Technologies Inc., the United States, is offering FreshMax oxygen absorber to enhance the freshness and quality of packaged foods as well as prolong product shelf-life. FreshMax extends product freshness while retaining the taste and colour without being an actual food ingredient. It is made entirely of solid food-grade ingredients that are resin bonded within the package structure and will not spill on to food, even if the packet is cut open. This specialized outgredient is a self-adhesive absorber that is individually die cut and then spooled to permit application with pressure-sensitive labellers. FreshMax labels can be applied to the interior surface of almost any package.

FreshMaxs oxygen scavenger technology prevents the growth of aerobic pathogens and organisms. It also controls oxidative chemical and biochemical spoilage reactions that occur in products within a sealed package. It reduces and maintains oxygen content within the packaging to below 0.01 per cent. The outgredient can be used either by itself or along with vacuum/gas flushed packaging to further decrease ambient oxygen present at the time of packaging to absorb virtually all residual oxygen within the packaging. By removing oxygen from packaging, food products retain their natural colour while preserving nutritive value.

Contact: Multisorb Technologies Inc., 325, Harlem Road, Buffalo, NY 14224 1893, United States of America. Tel: +1 (716) 8248 900; Fax: +1 (716) 8244 128



Cheese bacteria can survive pasteurization

Researchers from the University of Bari in Italy, University College-Cork, Ireland, and INRA, France, report that bacteria used to ripen cheeses could find their way into the final product by surviving the pasteurization process. Researchers studied strains of Lactobacillus plantarum, one of a group of bacteria called non-starter lactic acid bacteria believed to be essential to the ripening process and flavour development in a variety of cheeses, including cheddar, feta and pecorino. Results have shown that the heat resistance of L. plantarum is a complex process, which is also related to cold shock and general stress responses. Efforts were also made to identify the mechanisms of heat resistance. (Indian Dairyman, May 2004)

Non-thermal plasma asteurization of liquid foods

A group of researchers from around the globe are investigating into the possibility of using non-thermal plasma (NTP) to pasteurize liquid foods. NTP is electrically energized matter that generates highly reactive species, including gas molecules, charged particles in the form of positive ions, negative ions, free radicals and electrons, and quanta of electromagnetic radiation (photons) at near-room temperature. The team comprises researchers from the United States University of Minnesota, Kyungwon University in the Republic of Korea and Nanchang University in China.

The team has developed a dielectric barrier discharge NTP system. It contains an NTP reactor with two electrodes covered by dielectric material. A gas injection device induces gases in the form of bubbles into liquid. A high voltage power is applied to the mixture of liquid and gas bubbles. Water and apple cider inoculated with E. coli and Salmonella were used as testing samples. Working parameters like discharge voltage, frequency, gas flow rate and treatment time were investigated. Results have demonstrated that NTP can eliminate E. coli and Salmonella in liquid foods with minimal damage to the food ingredients.

Contact: Mr. S. Deng, Dept. of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1390, Eckles Ave., 310 Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Bldg., Saint Paul, MN 55108 6005, United States of America; Or Mr. C.K. Mok, Dept. of Food and Bioengineering, Kyungwon University, San 65 Bokjeong-dong, Sujeong-ku, Seongnam 461 701, the Republic of Korea; Or Mr. X. Lin, Lab. of Food Science of MOE, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jianxi Province 330057, China.


Preservation by solar drying

Researchers at Brigham Young University, the United States, are developing methods to preserve cassava, taro and breadfruit using solar energy. These critical food sources are indigenous to the Pacific Islands and serve as the main source of energy, while also providing essential vitamins and minerals. However, their physical and chemical properties are not conducive to storage.

Various methods of solar drying were tested, with measurements of water activity (Aw), temperature and relative humidity (RH) recorded. Upon drying, the fruit pieces were sealed in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Subsequent measurements of Aw and headspace oxygen content were taken periodically after storage. Promising results were achieved. Aw levels were generally the same as the initial measured levels (0.4-0.6) while headspace oxygen content was minimal in each sample (below 0.05 per cent), indicating the oxygen absorbers were effective. Contact: Mr. J.P. Rowe, Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science Brigham Young University, S221 ESC, Provo, UT 84062, the United States.


Preserving pork

Researchers at Hunan Agricultural University and Hunans Wanli Food Technology Group, China, have developed a new method to preserve pork, while retaining freshness, for up to 30 days. In this technique, lysozyme and other natural ingredients are used as preservatives. The colour, tenderness and freshness of chilled pork treated by this process can be retained for 26-30 days in vacuum packaging or 16-21 days in tray packaging. The team has also established a well-organized system and standards in which the quality of chilled pork can be controlled. Regulations for the new chilled pork production technique have also been set up.



New fillers

Rapak, New Zealand, has launched a new range of fillers that offer greater compatibility. Comprising Autokap, Steri-Kap and Intasept models, along with the optional Ultra Clean fill head configuration, this range provides a choice of aseptic, non-aseptic and extended shelf-life filling for products such as wine, milk, milk shakes, cream, liquid eggs, sauces and syrups. A choice of configurations and options for fill heads, cap/gland tooling and loading units allow for custom-designed systems. All models feature high levels of automation and touch screen controls. Servo drive systems allow fast, multi-position strokes and repeatable feeds with acceleration and deceleration set to bag size, plus automatic bag size and cap height changes.

Autokap models provide multi-purpose clean filling for a variety of products, including chemicals, milk, wine, edible oil, fruit fillings and post-mix syrup. For filling under commercially sterile conditions for extended shelf-life products like milk, milk shake mixes, juice and liquid eggs, the Steri-Kap steam chamber system aims to ensure product integrity with filling undertaken in a controlled atmosphere, while all product surfaces can be cleaned after every cycle. Sterility provided by Intasept aseptic fillers enable optimum filling for long-life dairy products and other shelf stable foods. The membrane system ensures a full hermetic seal, both before and after fill.

Contact: Rapak Asia-Pacific, P.O. Box 14031, Panmure, Auckland, New Zealand. Tel: +64 (9) 6362 660; Fax: +64 (9) 6360 572.


Twin-screw extruder

Wenger, the United States, offers C2TX conical co-rotating twin-screw extruder. The co-rotating conical screws have a special profile that kneads the ingredients as it is forced through the extruder, a process called profile kneading. Conical intermeshing, co-rotating screws provide natural compression from the low density of a pre-conditioned recipe at the extruder inlet to the dense dough mass at the screw discharge. Compression from decreasing screw volume at the inlet to discharge needs a shorter barrel length and reduced extruder barrel volume. C2TX cooking extruder is extremely responsive to changes in screw speed, recipe moisture, recipe temperature and cooking in the pre-conditioner. Changes in final product density, colour, cell structure and surface texture are present just seconds after making a change in a process variable. Key features of this system include:

  • An adjustable Back Pressure Valve permits the length of the plasticizing zone to be adjusted while the extruder is in operation;
  • Barrel length and volume are reduced compared with conventional twin-screw and single-screw extruders due to volumetric compression of the conical intermeshing screws;
  • The extruder shaft and screw are more rigid in the extruder barrel resulting in easier alignment of the screws;
  • Short, rigid shaft extends the lifetime of the wearing parts of the extruder; and
  • Cost of wear parts is lower than in a traditional twin-screw extruder.

C2TX screw speed may be adjusted from 500 to 1,200 rpm as required by the product and recipe being processed.

Contact: Wenger, International Corporate Sales Office, Suite 510, Northpointe Circle I, 7505 N.W. Tiffany Springs Pkwy., Kansas City, MO 64153, United States of America. Tel: +1 (816) 8919 272; Fax: +1 (816) 8918 969.


New equipment for fresh produce growers

Reiser, the United Kingdom, has launched a new range of equipment specifically targetted at the fresh produce market. At the core of Reisers extensive line-up is the Ross Inpack preformed tray sealing machine, which incorporates an optional MAP facility. It is ideal for packing salads, fresh fruits and vegetables into preformed trays. A notable feature is the strong hermetic seal it produces with or without vacuum and gas flushing. Other features of the Inpack range include quick tool changes, which can reduce downtime and increase production output. The system also allows the use of many different lidding materials, thus raising the machines versatility and makes it suitable for numerous applications.

The company also offers a range of Supervac machines that are suitable for high and low volume applications. These are ideal for packing perishable foods and more stable items like potatoes and onions. A gas flushing option on some Supervac models allows more delicate produce, e.g. broccoli and soft fruits, to be preserved longer. The compact Supervac 195, an automatic chamber machine fabricated using stainless steel, is suitable for use with laminate or shrink bags. For larger volumes, the GK800B series is available. Salient features include a patented expansion cushion and high-pressure sealing. Optional accessories include trim removal systems, shrink bag equipment, water-cooled sealing bars and cut-off perforation knives.


Total homogenization

APV, a subsidiary of Invensys, is offering a high-capacity homogenization solution primarily aimed at dairies. Rannie/Gaulin 185Q homogenizer, the latest addition to APVs range, can function at rates up to 50,000 l/h and pressures of 650 bar. Said to demonstrate exceptional operational efficiency, this advanced technology design combines low energy and water consumption with reliable operation.

APV 185Q is equipped with a Micro-Gap valve, which operates at reduced pressure while raising homogenization efficiency. Furthermore, a two-stage operation is an alternative for extra fine particle dispersion. Special attention has also been given to ease of maintenance and performance monitoring to ensure that the homogenizer runs at optimum efficiency. Equipped with a soundproof cabinet, APV 185Q incorporates a cooling system, which minimizes the use of water by engaging automatically only whenever the oil temperature moves outside the critical range of 40-50C.


Mini production plants

SN World Foundation plans to supply developing countries and regions with technology and support required for serial production of mini-plants. The mini-plant system incorporates all the production machinery on a platform in a 40-ft container (wiring, piping and installation parts) so that they are fully equipped and ready for production. These portable units, of which there are more than 700 different types, will provide the machine resources necessary to produce, in part, bakery items, purified water, dehydrated food, fruit juice preparations, injected polypropylene houseware, pressed melamine items (such as glasses, cups, plates and mugs), plastic bags and packaging, mobile units for medical assistance, and sanitary material. Furthermore, these plants will be connected to the International Trade System, with access to over 50 million raw materials, products and services, and automatic transactions for world trade.


Mobile-operated chocolate vending machines

In India, Cadbury has teamed up with BPL Mobile and E Cube India to launch 30 pilot chocolate vending machines that are operated by mobile handsets. BPL mobile customers stand near a machine and dial 2233. The machines display shows their telephone number, asks for their choice of chocolate and dispenses it. Customers then receive a message confirming the sale, debited either from a pre-paid card balance or added to a monthly bill.


Improving productivity

Hydrovoima Oy, Finland, is offering a system to efficiently produce better bread. By mechanizing the sheeting process, in which dough is shaped to form the final product before being transferred to the oven, bakeries can significantly raise their degree of automation and introduce continuous production. Hydrovoimas Junior Sheeter improves productivity as well as facilitates mechanization of the sheeting of difficult doughs, based on rye or oat flour. Rollers form the dough into a uniform sheet, which is then fed on to a conveyor, where the bread or pastry shapes are produced ready for the oven. The automatic, continuously operating machine handles dough gently to maintain high quality, producing bread that has high volume and stays fresh longer.

Contact: Hydrovoima Oy, Kuormakatu 2, Turku 20380, Finland. Tel: +358 (2) 2382 900; Fax: +358 (2) 2382 570



Corner labelling system

ID Technology (IDT) offers a standard labelling system to print and apply variable information labels to the trailing corner of cases and cartons. This unit includes off-the-shelf IDT components to construct a custom system. The IDT integrated conveyor is fabricated using stainless steel and includes a variable speed DC drive Baldor motor. Its integrated base has locking feet and casters allowing easy relocation of the entire system. An IDT Vertical Post and IDT Slide Base Assembly can be mounted to the conveyor beam, enabling X- and Y-axis movement of the applicator.

A model 250 Label Printer Applicator prints and applies variable information labels. A standard IDT secondary tamp is used to tamp the label on to the side of the carton and wipe it around the trailing edge corner. An IDT System Scanner Interface verifies the bar-code and either lets the case continue down the line or rejects it through the IDT reject station.


Roller mill for micromilling

Buhler, Germany, has developed a special roller mill for grinding bean, grains, seeds and cocoa into an ultra-fine consistency. Soya beans, beans, cereal grains or high-fibre grain fractions like oat, barley or wheat bran can presently be milled only by expensive processes, with low throughputs. Operation of Buhlers Micromill is based on the mortar principle. It grinds the material utilizing three smooth roll pairs, with one roll in each pair rotating faster than the other. In the narrow roll gaps, the tough kernels are sheared apart by high forces. Superficially viewed, the micro-flakes have a thickness between 10 to 50 m. They still comprise coherent cell material which will readily dissolve when subsequently used in foods.

The company also offers a process to produce instant soya powder, which can be used directly in beverages and other foods without requiring any aqueous phase. Soya beans are cleaned, hulled and pre-ground. The next step involves thermal treatment by steam and drying. Finally, the material is micromilled, producing ultra-fine nutritious soya powder. A patented process is used to extract aleuron cells the valuable part of bran.



DNA test for basmati rice

Researchers at Reading Scientific Services Ltd., the United Kingdom, have developed a reliable DNA screening process to determine the purity of basmati rice. This method detects the presence of other rice varieties mixed with basmati and even distinguish between different basmati strains. It has been validated on all available commercial varieties of basmati rice and will give suppliers and consumers confidence in the accuracy of product labelling.


Cider maturation

An essential stage in the production of cider is the process of maturation, which turns a highly acidic raw material into a palatable and flavoursome drink through the action of microbes. However, since conventional methods require up to three months, membrane bioreactors are employed to speed up the process. The primary agents are lactic acid bacteria, which act as catalysts for a series of reactions that not only reduce the high acidity of the cider mixture but also trigger subtle changes in flavour, which are associated with the metabolism of substances themselves derived from the tannin in cider. Unfortunately, the high degree of acidity and high alcoholic content of the mixture create between them an extremely hostile environment.

Researchers at the University of Wales Swansea are working on a faster maturation process by managing and intensifying the growth and metabolism of the essential lactic acid bacteria by growing them in a more favourable environment before adding them to the cider mixture.

Contact: Dr. Robert Lovitt, Senior Lecturer in Biochemical Engineering and Associate Director, Centre for Complex Fluids Processing, Dept. of Chemical and Biological Process Engineering, University of Wales Swansea, Swansea SA2 8PP, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1792) 295 709; Fax: +44 (1792) 295 701



Advances Wales, Issue 42, 2004


Speed packaging system

Tetra Pak, Sweden, has added a new product to its line of speed packaging systems. Film Wrapper 68 - Speed is designed for Tetra Pak aseptic carton high-speed packaging lines and film wraps. Presently available in clear film, the film wrapper can be ordered in either stretch or shrink versions. The system operates at normal capacity but makes use of an innovative communication system called Genius, which allows the machine to communicate with the rest of the packaging line in order to better manage the whole process. This allows manufacturers to run at high capacity without dramatically increasing energy consumption. Key features include:
  • A measuring ruler simplifies any adjustments that the operator needs to make when changing packing patterns;
  • Changeover times are much quicker;
  • Simple to access than conventional wrapping machines; and
  • An operator panel facilitates easy operation.

Film Wrapper 68 - Speed can handle all packaging patterns with a single machine installation, except for packing patterns 3 1, 4 1 and 5 1, where two machines are required.


Over-wrapping machine

Jet Pack Machines, India, is offering a multiple cartons over-wrapping machine to pack 10/12 cartons with suitable packaging material. It can be used off-line as well as on-line with carton filling and sealing machines. This system can handle BOPP/HMHDPE heat-sealable type films.

The company manufacturers systems to pack multiple tube cartons directly connecting to carton machines, and collate and over-wrap it with BOPP/ HMHDPE film and single premix cartons. Also available are powder filling machines for dry condiments, spices, etc., capping and cap pressing machines, automatic ready mix carton/tea bag cartons over-wrapping machine, automatic flow wrapping machine (pillow pack) for cakes, cake slices, biscuits, solid food products, trays, etc., complete automatic filling, sealing and capping line and automatic labelling machines.

Contact: Jet Pack Machines, C-18, Nand-Jyot Industrial Estate, Safed Pool, Andheri Kurla Road, Saki-Naka, Mumbai 400 072, Maharashtra, India. Tel: +91 (22) 2851 6489/5561



Beverage and Food World, February 2004

Package testing technology

Guelph Food Technology Centre, Canada, has obtained a patent for its innovative Oxygen Sensitive Indicator (OSI) technology. This proprietary technology is intended to assist the food industry and related sectors in evaluating various packaging options available to them and extend their products shelf-life by choosing the best barriers for their needs. The OSI system provides colour change to indicate how much oxygen is getting in and where.

OSI technology is colourless to begin with, but as more oxygen enters the package, the indicator turns blue, first pale and then darker. The speed with which the indicator turns blue depends on the rate at which oxygen enters the package. The OSI liquid system shows how much oxygen is getting into the whole package while OSI gelled systems indicates where the weaknesses are by first turning blue at those locations. Unlike other existing methods, this technology facilitates non-destructive validation of multiple samples under various environmental conditions.

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



New packaging concept

Tetra Top, a packaging system provider within the Tetra Pak group, recently launched a new packaging concept that is said to be neither a carton packaging nor a plastic bottle. Tetra Top Base Pacaya S38 Carton Bottle will initially be available in 500 and 1,000 ml volumes for milk and juice-based products. It is made from a carton material sleeve with an injection moulded plastic top. The first machines for manufacturing Carton Bottles will be delivered to European customers.


Horizontal pouch packaging unit

Volpak, Spain, offers SG horizontal pouch machine that incorporates recent advances in technology and precision to ensure a high level of efficiency and throughput. A key feature of the SG range is the rapid changeover procedure, owing to easy access and automatic adjustment of its mechanisms, such as film transport device, pouch stretching device, etc. Flexibility and versatility make it possible to make pouches with a capacity up to 9,000 cm3, along with medium size pouches up to 320/min. Easy to operate and maintain, these machines can handle a wide range of products like granules, powders, liquids, paste, towelettes in pouches with 3 or 4 sides, gusseted or stand-up pouches and specially designed pouches with easy reclosable systems like zippers, caps, straws and degassing valves, with throughputs up to 400/min.


Form, fill and seal machines

PFM Packaging Machinery SpA, Italy, offers vertical and horizontal form, fill and seal machines, multi-head weighers and automatic packaging lines. A complete range of horizontal wrapping machines are available for the dairy, bakery, meat, produce, fish, pharmaceutical, medical and confectionery markets. Scirocco, a top-of-the-range machine, is manufactured to guarantee easy cleaning. It includes the high-speed Long Dwell sealing system for airtight seals and the provision of gas-flush for MAP applications and features full servo wrapper with four servo motors and colour touch screen panel for MMI. Falcon is a horizontal pillow pack wrapper ideal for bakery products.
Highly flexible, this system features quick format changeover, cantilever construction for easy cleaning, film reel width up to 900 mm and crimper width up to 400 mm. Swift, an entry-level horizontal pillow pack wrapper, is ideal for bakery products. It is simple and easy to operate, and has a speed of up to 100 ppm and features quick format changeover, self-centering reel holder and adjustable forming box.

Highly specialized range of machines are available for dairy, confectionery, produce, meat, ingredients and frozen food markets. The top-of-the-range Vetta machine offers an unprecedented level of flexibility and is a full servo machine with servo motors controlled by an industrial PC and colour touch screen. It features rotatable crimpers to obtain numerous styles of packs pillow, block bottom, easy-bag, Steelo-pack with four sealed corners, transverse and longitudinal zip closure. Fabricated using stainless steel, it has a gas-flush system for MAP application and operates at speeds of up to 120 ppm. PV 260 is a high-speed VFFS wrapper with a mechanical speed of over 150 ppm. This servo wrapping machine includes servo motors, colour touch screen and modem for teleservice as well as airtight seals. Available in stainless steel, it incorporates patented high-speed Long Dwell sealing system. Zenith is an entry level, simple and reliable vertical wrapper that allows for quick product changeover. Virtually maintenance-free, it has a mechanical speed of up to 80 bpm and can produce standard pillow packs, block bottom bags and reclosable zip bags.

A complete range of weighers varying from 8 to 24 heads, with each weigh head separate and interchangeable, is also available. The weighers feature user-friendly colour touch screen, the possibility to download operating statistics, double feedback to optimize operating parameters and a vibrations dumping system. Available in stainless steel AISI 304 and 316, these systems have a central load cell to control product presence and flow, and stepper motor to operate the buckets.

Contact: PFM Packaging Machinery SpA, Via Pasubio, 49, 36036 Torrebelvicino, Italy. Tel: +39 (445) 570 110; Fax: +39 (445) 570 175




Heat-resistant resin

GE Advanced Materials, the United States, has developed a resin capable of extreme temperature resistance. Noryl PKN is ideal for packing food products that go directly to the microwave from deep freeze. The PPO/polystyrene alloy resin offers increased stiffness at higher temperatures compared with PP, thus reducing the risk of food spills when used in microwaveable food trays. The Noryl PKN resins presently includes six commercial grades, both transparent and opaque, covering a wide heat resistance range. Recently, GE also developed PPX 615 resin, an alloy of PPE and PP, which brings together two incompatible resins through a patent-pending alloying technology.



Natural Food: Antimicrobial Systems

This book focuses on advances in food safety technology. Numerous antimicrobial agents exist in animals and plants, where they evolved as defence mechanisms. Use of these components as multifunctional food additives, e.g. antioxidants and immuno-modulating agents, have been discussed. Topics covered in the six sections include lacto-, ovo-, phyto-, bacto-, acid- and mileu-antimicrobials. Each chapter provides background and historical information, molecular properties, antimicrobial activity, biological benefits, etc.

Contact: CRC Press, 2000, N.W. Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431 9868, United States of America. Tel: +1 (561) 3616 020; Fax: +1 (561) 3616 076



This concise and easy-to-use reference book contains all the information required to gain a working knowledge of HACCP. Divided into two sections, the book addresses issues such as HACCP What, Where, How and Why? HACCP in the context of other management systems, quality management systems, etc.

Contact: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., c/o Marston Book Services, P.O. Box 269, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX144YN, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1235) 465 500; Fax: +44 (1235) 465 555.

Beverage Quality and Safety

This guidebook offers information on the latest beverage industry trends related to products, processing and packaging technologies, including new generation nutraceutical beverages. Important regulatory issues have also been covered.

Contact: CTI Publications Inc., 2, Oakway Road, Timonium, Maryland 21093 4247, United States of America. Tel: +1 (410) 3082 080; Fax: +1 (410) 3082 079



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