VATIS Update Food Processing . Jul-Aug 2005

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Food Processing Jul-Aug 2007

ISSN: 0971-5649

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

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WHO backs GM foods but calls for risk assessments

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that genetically modified foods could contribute to enhancing human health and development. In a new report issued, WHO also stresses the need for continued safety assessments on GM before they are marketed, to prevent risks to both human health and the environment. The report, investigating potential benefits and risks associated with GM foods, confirms that GM foods can increase crop yield, food quality and the diversity of foods that can be grown in a given area. This in turn can lead to better health and nutrition, which can then help to raise health and living standards, says the report.

On the flip side, the WHO warns that some of the genes used to manufacture GM foods have not been in the food chain before, highlighting their introduction could cause changes in the existing genetic make-up of the crop. Therefore, the potential human health effects of new GM foods should always be assessed before they are grown and marketed, and long-term monitoring must be carried out to catch any possible adverse effects early, states the report.

To date, the consumption of GM foods has not caused any known negative health effects, asserts the report. WHO recommends that future evaluations of GM foods should be widened to include social, cultural and ethical considerations, to ensure there is no genetic divide between groups of countries which do and do not allow the growth, cultivation and marketing of GM products. WHO is currently working with partners such as the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to help nations examine the introduction of a given GM food from all angles.


Nanotechnology sales increase to US$860 million

Worldwide sales of nanotechnology products to the food and beverage packaging sector jumped to US$860 million in 2004 from US$150 million in 2002, according to a new study by consultant Mr. Helmut Kaiser. The rocketing market growth comes mainly from the rapid increase in the applications employing nanotechnology. There were less than 40 nanopackaging products in the market three years ago. There are about 250 applications on the market at present. It is predicted that nanotechnology will change 25 per cent of the food packaging business in the next decade. That means a yearly market of over US$30 billion, Mr. Kaiser said.

The major market trends in the food and beverage sector include improving the performance of packaging materials, prolonging shelf life, antimicrobial packaging and interactive packaging. Simple traditional packing is being replaced with multi-functional intelligent packaging methods to improve food quality, thanks to the application of nanotechnology in this field, the consultant said.

Nanotechnology allows molecular-scale structural alterations of packaging materials. With different nanostructure, plastics can gain various gas and water vapour permeabilities to fit the requirements of preserving fruit, vegetable, beverage, wine and other foods. By adding nanoparticles, people can also produce bottles and packages with more light- and fire-resistance, stronger mechanical and thermal performance and less gas absorption. Such nano-tweaking can increase the shelf life of foods and preserve flavour and colour. Nanostructured film can prevent the microbial invasion and ensure food safety. With embedded nanosensors in the packaging, consumers will be able to determine whether food has gone bad or find out its nutrition content. The nanofood market is expected to rise from the current US$2.6 billion to US$7 billion next year and to 20.4 billion in 2010.


Asian chilli exports surge, despite Sudan Red scare

Exports of chilli and chilli products from the Asia-Pacific have not been affected by the discovery of banned red colours in European processed foods, according to the most recent export data. A statement from Indias Ministry of Commerce and Industry revealed that total Indian exports of chilli reached 138,000 tonnes in 2004-05, up 60 per cent from 86,575 tonnes for the previous year. This, despite the biggest product recall earlier this year in the United Kingdoms history, sparked off by the discovery of the banned red colour Sudan 1 in a batch of spices of Indian origin.

Anxious to sustain the rise in exports and to avoid a repetition of the damaging events of February, the countrys Spice Board has started conducting compulsory sampling of all chilli and chilli products deemed for export. The Board said it is now testing for Sudan I, II, III and IV, as well as the harmful aflatoxin caused by certain moulds on food crops. With effect from 10 March 2005, no consignment of chilli, chilli products or other food products containing chilli can be exported unless accompanied by a certificate issued from the Spice Board that certifies the consignment is free of Sudan I to IV and aflatoxin.


Massive opportunities for the Chinese food sector

Underlining the massive potential that exists for food makers and ingredients players in China, new data reveal only about 30 per cent of food in China is processed, compared with 80 per cent in western nations. China, with its 1.3 billion population, is one of the worlds largest consumers of food, accounting for 51 per cent of the worlds pork, 33 per cent of rice and 19 per cent of ice cream. While most consumers still prefer to purchase fresh foods, there is a clear shift towards processed foods, throwing up massive opportunities for western food firms faced with saturated sales in home markets.

Official statistics report that the Chinese food processing industry grew a considerable 16 per cent during 2001-2002 and 23 per cent for 2002-2003. The president of the China Food Industry Association was recently quoted as expecting 10-12 per cent annual growth for the food processing sector. Some estimates believe the output of the food industry by the year 2010 may double from that of the year 2000, when it was valued at about US$99 billion. Packaged foods, especially baked goods, dairy products, oils and fats, baby food and ice cream have all demonstrated exceptional growth in recent years, claims a report from the United States Department of Agriculture. In the coming years the industry will focus on the development of corn and wheat goods, dairy products, food additives as well as seasoning essentials.


Indian food-processing sector to grow at 10 per cent

The Indian food-processing sector is expected to grow at 10 per cent per year by 2010, attracting a minimum investment of about Rs 20 billion (US$ 460 million), reports a study by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Assocham). The study titled Food Processing Industry - WTO Perspectives states that markets in developed countries will provide additional export opportunities for agricultural and agro-based processed products for countries such as India because of reduction in import duties, removal of non-tariff barriers and reduction in subsidies to domestic agriculture.
Assochams projections are based on the assumption that the Integrated Food Law will be effectively put in place and that the National Food Processing Policy as well as the Processed Food Development Act, will create conducive climate for the industry. The chamber said that an investment of about Rs 4,000 billion (US$92 billion) has been made in the sector during the Ninth Plan period and the government is expected to invest an additional Rs 950 billion (US$21.8 billion) towards the end of Tenth Plan period.


Demand for edible oils shoots up in India

Indian food industrys oil imports continues to be strong following drop in domestic demand, says the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEAI). Fresh figures from SEAI reveal that edible oil imports increased by some 21 per cent for the first six months to April 2005. Imports jumped to 2.2 million tonnes in the first half of 2004-05, up from 1.82 million tonnes for the same period last year, because of a drop in domestic oilseeds production, said Mr. B.V. Mehta, executive director of SEIA. Purchases of edible oil by India are expected to reach around 5 million tonnes this year from 4.4 million tonnes in 2003-04, added Mr. Mehta.

Soybean oil in particular saw a strong growth. Imports of crude soybean oil leapt to 735,352 tonnes in the November 2004 to April 2005 period, up from 236,990 tonnes a year earlier. Crude palm oil purchases rose 10.8 per cent to 1.01 million tonnes from 911,520 tonnes, reports the American Soybean Association. Indias oilseed output for 2005 is estimated to be around 21.8 million tonnes, a 6.4 per cent fall from 23.3 million tonnes last year.


Global apple juice output rises as Chinese production grows

Prices for apple juice should remain steady, as world apple juice production hits record figures for the second year on growing Chinese production. New data from the United States government pitch expectations for 2004-05 at 1.3 million tonnes, up from 1.2 million tonnes in the previous year. Since 2002-03, global juice production has hit a new record each year, with China continuing to be the worlds top producer, followed by Poland.

The increase for 2004-05 season is largely due to a rise in Chinese production of 46,000 tonnes, a modest increase compared with last years 100,000 tonnes. In recent years, Chinas apple juice industry is responding to growing global demand, planting more high acid or high-sour apple varieties suitable for processing into juice. The United States Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) estimates that the expansion of Chinas apple juice production would continue, as more marketing opportunities develop, prompting increases in high-sour juicing apple plantings.

Production increases in Argentina, Germany, Hungary and Italy are also offsetting declines in Chile, Spain and the United States. Global apple juice trade is expected to have another record year in 2004-05. Global apple juice exports from select countries will be 1.137 million tonnes, with China expected to account for about 46 per cent of this global total. However, total apple juice imports from selected countries are estimated to drop slightly. The United States, one of the worlds largest importers, is expected to import less juice based on most recent trade data, while Germanys larger domestic production will reduce the countrys demand for imported product.


Vietnamese seafood looks to new markets

Viet Nam has announced that seafood exports have risen during the first four months of the year, despite ongoing trading difficulties with the United States. According to statistics from the Ministry of Fisheries, Viet Nam will have earned US$190 million from seafood exports in April an 8.9 per cent increase over the same period last year bringing this years overall turnover to US$684.4 million. This is still below the target set for 2005.

The Ministry said that fish accounted for nearly half, or 68,800 tonnes, of exports in April, while shrimp (34,900 t) and cuttlefish (14,400 t) remained the second and third largest export categories. Japan remained the largest export destination for Vietnamese seafood, raking in US$146 million during the first quarter, while the United States and the European Union with turnovers of US$ 121.5 million and US$69.4 million, respectively, ranked second and third.

Despite the United States remaining a major export destination, exports to the region have fallen by 14.4 per cent, compared with the previous year a substantial decline that Mr. Nguyen Viet Thang, Viet Nams Deputy Minister of Fisheries, said was the result of a change in the United States customs regulations. In order to gain entry into the United States market, Vietnamese exporters are required to pay bonds to United States insurance companies to guarantee payment of anti-dumping duties to the United States Customs Service. Viet Nams small and medium shrimp exporters can not afford to raise the hefty bond payment.

Mr. Ta Quang Ngoc, Viet Nams Fisheries Minister, said that the industry is seeking new markets in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. To achieve the 2005 target, the industry needs to earn US$250 million a month for the rest of the year. However, monthly export revenue has never exceeded the US$220 million mark and therefore, the target of US$2.6 billion may not be met, says the Vietnamese Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP). VASEP has been assisting exporters in developing markets in several countries, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Italy.

Websites:  &


New test method for Sudan Red food dyes

The National Food Laboratory (NFL) of the United States, working with its parent company Food Products Association, has developed a method to detect the presence of the banned Sudan Red dyes in both raw spice and blended material products. Sudan Red is an industrial dye normally used to colour shoe polish, plastics, oil and other synthetic products. Common thought is that the addition of Sudan Red augments and preserves the red colour over time. According to Ms. Julie Hill, Vice President of Chemistry at NFL, the new method can detect all four types of Sudan dyes at 0.01 ppm in a variety of sample matrices.


Colour-coded pathogens offer safer food formulation

New technology could soon make it cheap and easy to identify food pathogens by tagging them with colour-coded probes made out of synthetic DNA. These tiny nanobarcodes fluoresce under ultraviolet light in a combination of colours that can be read by a computer scanner or observed with a fluorescent light microscope. The research group from Cornell University, the United States, which is behind the project, likens the technology to a supermarket checkout computer, capable of identifying thousands of different items by scanning barcodes. It has already tested their system using samples containing various combinations of Escherichia coli and tularemia bacteria, and found the colour codes could clearly distinguish several different pathogens simultaneously.

The research by Cornell University scientists is described in a paper, DNA fluorescence nanobarcodes for multiplexed pathogen detections, published in the July 2005 issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology. The technology is similar to a new DNA-based test developed by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) that makes it possible for the first time to simultaneously identify all major head blight pathogens in corn and predict their toxin profiles. The ARS scientists devised a test to pinpoint nucleotide variations that genetically distinguish one head blight species from another. When a probe used matches the DNA in a head blight sample, the DNA is fluorescent-labelled and detected using a special camera and a high-power laser to provide unambiguous identification of the head blight pathogen and its toxin potential.


Two new allergen-testing kits

Biotrace International, the United Kigdom, has launched two allergen-testing kits for detecting egg and groundnut (peanut) traces in food. The Tecra Egg Via and Tecra Peanut Via will help food manufacturers comply with mandatory declaration of major allergens on labels. Biotraces Tecra Egg Via kit is intended for the detection and measurement of egg in food and food-related samples. Calibrated according to the standards of the United States National Institute of Standards and Technologies, the kit detects the presence of egg white and egg yolk proteins in foods. The Terca Peanut Via, intended for the detection and measurement of groundnut proteins, is also calibrated for United States standards.

Both kits allow users to choose a protocol that suits their requirements, said Biotrace. The kits can output a simple visual signal indicating the presence or absence of eggs or groundnut traces in foods. Users can also obtain a measurement of egg or groundnut present with the accompanying calculator. The Tecra series also includes rapid food pathogen and toxin test kits. Other kits test for Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli O157, Campylobacter, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus aureus, and Staphylococcus and Bacillus enterotoxins.


New biosensor for the poultry industry

Georgia Research Tech Institute, the United States, is developing a new pathogen biosensor for the poultry industry as part of its work to extend the use of such devices to the food industry. The new Interferometric Biosensor tackles the poultry industrys pursuit of better methods for controlling food-borne pathogens in the plant. Laboratory tests indicate it can detect in less than 30 minutes the presence of Salmonella and Campylobacter. The sensor is inexpensive and portable, and can be used in a processing plant to provide feedback for operating performance control.

The Interferometric Biosensor comprises a laser diode, a waveguide and an image detector. As molecules or microbes bind to capture antibodies on the waveguide surface, they alter the propagation speed of light within the waveguide. Changes in that wave interference pattern allow the sensor to measure the amount of pathogens present in a sample.


Optical analysis for predicting fruit taste

In the United States, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have developed an innovative method that can accurately predict the taste of fruit and vegetables. The ARS team behind the project claim that the machine vision tool can predict the quality of fruit or vegetable flavour by tasting every single piece from right after harvest to when it passes by on the packing line.

The device could revolutionize production in the future by speeding up the inspection process and reducing the amount of waste. This is because batches of fruits and vegetables are usually judged by sample tasting mechanical testing, which cannot guarantee that all of the produce in the batch will be the same. There are machine vision tools that can check skin-deep traits such as size, colour and bruising, but these do not judge deep, internal qualities such as the taste and texture.

The new machine vision concept uses optical sensors to inspect objects instead. The detector focuses four laser beams, each a different light wavelength, into one sharp beam that shines into individual fruits. Laser light photons momentarily scatter all the way to the fruits core and back. The amount of light bounced back from the tissue reflects firmness. Scattered light also indicates the amount of light absorbed by the fruit. Since absorption is affected by sugar levels, this technology can predict flavours, such as the sweetness in apples. The machine should work with produce that is at least as large as an apple or peach.


Anti-pathogen technology for the food industry

Tasker Capital, the United States, will test its anti-pathogen pHarlo technology at a poultry processing facility following authorization from the United States Department of Agriculture. The technology is already approved for use during the processing of seafood and eggs. The pHarlo technology to be tested is intended for use during the scalding process at poultry factories.
Taskers pHarlo is a patented process that uses a highly charged, acidified solution, which allows copper sulphate to remain active under a wide range of conditions.

Copper sulphate is bacteriostatic: it inhibits the reproduction of bacteria. The technology creates an environment for hydrogen protons to attach to a single copper ion, suspending the copper ion indefinitely in a liquid state. In this state of suspension, copper interferes with the cellular growth of bacteria by interfering with their respiration. The solution uses only ingredients that are on the GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) list, such as soybean oil and purified water. According to Tasker, the technology can be used to treat animals, feed, waste and water for bacteria reduction.


Oxygen sniffer

Researchers at Strathclyde University, the United Kingdom, have developed a sensor that indicates how long the contents of packaged food have been exposed to air. The unique oxygen sniffer, which changes colour as soon as it is exposed to air, can be set to change colour after a predetermined period of time hours, days or weeks. The low-cost sensor can be cast onto paper, plastic or foil. As even a pinprick would make the sensor change colour, it can be used also to ensure tamperproof packaging.

Most of the sensors themselves deteriorate when exposed to air, but our sensor is novel because it is not activated until exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. This means it can be stored indefinitely. At packaging stage, a UV light is used to activate the sensor and oxygen exposure begins to be monitored, said Prof. Andrews Millis who developed the sensor with support from Mr. Soo-Keun Lee.



New flavour technology targets salt reduction

Food and beverage makers looking to slash salt levels condemned for contributing to the worsening health problems in the population in their product ranges could benefit from a new flavour system designed by Quest, a subsidiary of the multinational ICI. Quest claims that food makers using its new ImpaQ taste technology range could cut salt levels by as much as 50 per cent, without compromising on the taste.

Research on volatile flavours over the past decade has been the launch pad for the ImpaQ technology. We aimed to unravel the deliciousness of a flavour, said Mr. Harry Renes, Quests executive flavourist. Our breakthrough occurred when we identified the mechanism for cheese maturing, plus fundamental research on the holy grail of taste, bouillons, added Mr. Renes. The company has submitted patents for completely new molecules. Application trials in low environments and in broader applications such as increasing deliciousness and bitter masking are under way with customers in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.


Flavour tool may aid product development

Symrise GmbH of Germany has developed a tool that brings new opportunities in product development for food technologists through a stronger understanding of the complex nature of foodstuffs. The high-temperature liquid chromatography process known as LC Taste allows researchers to separate aroma chemicals and flavouring components from solutions, using a non-toxic blend of solvents.

The equipment is essentially a splitter device that links the mobile phase of the liquid chromatography to human taste buds. An online panel connected directly to the liquid chromatograph gives a comment about the taste bitter, sweet, pungent, etc. of food materials under mechanical analysis. By understanding the presence of undesirable notes, this new technology will give food developers the chance to search and screen compounds that they want to avoid in their final food product, said Dr. Gerhard Krammer, senior vice president of Symrise. Once food engineers know the compound, they can be quite flexible with the formulation. Immediate tasting of isolated components makes it possible to evaluate olfactory (aroma), retronasal (through the mouth to the nose) trigeminal (spicy, warming, cooling, etc.) and taste characteristics. The LC Taste user can recognize key flavouring substances such as vanilla and maltol, as well as substances such as bittering agents, amino acids, peptides, sucrose, flavour enhancers, sugar and capsaicinoids.


Green method for delivery of cheaper flavour enhancers

Chemical engineers at Rice University, the United States, have developed a new, cheaper approach to designing microcapsules, tiny hollow spheres, used to deliver flavour enhancers. Their fundamentally new method involves mixing a solution of polymer and salt, with tiny particles of silica that contain just a few hundred atoms apiece.

Microcapsules are typically made by depositing layers of a coating onto a template or core, which has to be removed to form the hollow centre of the structure. The core is burned out with high heat processes or dissolved with harsh chemicals. Both processes can damage the tiny containers and their cargo, from flavours to perfumes and drugs. The Rice University process takes place almost immediately, at room temperature, under normal pressure, in water, and at mild pH values. The spheres naturally become hollow during the self-assembly, which is claimed to be highly unusual and an advantage over existing methods. The technology could make micro-bioreactors for use in large-scale chemical production.

The Rice University reserachers claim that their approach has advantages over other microcapsule production methods that involve spraying techniques. While spraying techniques can be scaled up, it is difficult to adjust the material properties of the resulting microcapsules. In the new method, we can tailor the properties of the self-assembled microcapsules make them smaller, larger, thicker or thinner simply by changing the ingredients we start with or by adjusting the mixing procedure, said Dr. Wong, an assitant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. The underlying chemistry is so easy to perform that anyone who can pour, mix, and shake can make these microcapsules in less than a minute.

Because the process takes place in water, any chemical or drug that is suspended in the water gets trapped inside the hollow sphere when it forms. Besides encapsulating flavour compounds and other molecular cargo, Dr. Wong suggests that the microcapsules could also be used to encapsulate enzymes. Because enzymes are fragile and expensive, engineers would like to protect them during chemical reactions so they can be used many times over. Dr. Wongs team has shown it can do so by storing enzymes inside the microcapsules.


Nanotechnology boosts CoQ10 bioavailability

NutraLease, a start-up firm of the Hebrew University set up with funding from the government and private investors, has developed nanoparticles that can significantly increase the bioavailability of CoQ10 and other functional ingredients by improving their solubility. Two human clinical trials support the enhanced bioavailability of CoQ10 delivered into beverages using its novel technology. The findings will be of interest to manufacturers of CoQ10 products, facing very high prices for the ingredient. Increasing its bioavailability, or the bodys absorption of the ingredient, allows supplement and food makers to use lower dosages, therefore saving on costs.

We use modified, swollen micelles that can invert easily from being water in oil to oil in water, said Professor Nissim Garti, NutraLease CEO. The patented technology uses common food-grade emulsifiers and solvents to trap water droplets in oil. On delivery into a solution, such as a soup or beverage, the water and oil layers are inverted delivering the ingredient into the liquid. The new technology raises bioavailability by 70 per cent, claimed Prof. Garti. The technology is being used in phytosterol-enriched oils on the Israeli market and vitamin-fortified beverages in the United States.


Watermelon juice concentrate

Milne Fruit Products, the United States, has developed a proprietary process for the production of watermelon fruit juice concentrate. Perfecting the process marked the culmination of a four-year long project to overcome colour and flavour issues that had dogged attempts at watermelon juice processing. The watermelon rind contains enzymes that get into the juice and cannot be removed. Those enzymes impart undesirable characteristics to the juice such as off flavour and dark colour. Our process gives good colour and good flavour, as we have found a way to separate meat of the fruit from the rind, said Mr. Jack Schroeder, Milnes vice president. The concentrate could be used in a wide range of products such as sherbets, fruit bars, ice cream, yoghurts and melon lemonade.


New soy protein concentrate

Solbar, the Israeli soy protein supplier, will target meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian analogue applications with the new products in its portfolio Solcon S-220, S-117, S-118, S-121, S-300 and Solcon S. The products expand Solbars portfolio, which includes Solcon S-110 and Solcon S-200 launched last year. Soy protein concentrates, made by removing a portion of the carbohydrates (sugars) from dehulled and defatted soybeans, improve the functional properties of food, from nutritional beverages to processed meat. Adding the concentrates to products can improve texture and mouthfeel in foods. Besides these functionalities, soy protein concentrates, which absorb 3-4 times as much water as their weight, hold particular appeal to food manufacturers owing to their high protein content at least 70 per cent and bland flavour.



Codex adopts international guidelines for vitamins / minerals

Codex has adopted global standards for vitamin and mineral supplements. The guidelines, under discussion by Codex committee members for more than 10 years, recognize vitamin and mineral supplements as a food category, and are expected to expand markets for supplement makers. Around 85 of the 172 Codex Alimentarius members who attended the Commissions meeting were largely in favour of adoption of the guidelines, which also cover packaging, labelling and sources of vitamins and minerals. FAO is expected to produce a report in a few months on its risk assessment methodology but it will be many years before this will get adopted.

One element of the new Codex guidelines is set to be particularly influential for the supplement industry the basis for setting permitted levels of vitamins and minerals. Last year the committee working on the draft guidelines agreed that maximum levels should be based on risk assessment rather than recommended dietary intake, which is currently used by a number of countries but resulting in significantly lower levels than those based on risk assessment. However, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) campaigners fear that the method for setting maximum levels currently being examined by a FAO/WHO committee will be based on previously developed systems that it believes are scientifically flawed. These would set the levels much lower than those used currently by many consumers. ANH has commissioned independent risk assessment scientists at the Netherlands-based HAN Foundation to develop new methods for vitamins and minerals.


WHO tool assesses risk of unsafe chemicals in food

In an initiative for helping the food industry to manage the risk of unsafe chemicals in food, the World Health Organization (WHO) is focusing on pinpointing the presence of a wide range of contaminants in retail foods. It is promoting a tool called total diet studies (TDS) to measure consumer exposure to a range of chemical contaminants, from acrylamide to mercury. The TDS consists of buying common consumer retail foods, processing them as for consumption, often combining the foods into food composites or aggregates, homogenizing them, and analysing the compound for toxic chemicals and certain nutrients. Examples of priority contaminants for TDS are: pesticides (such as aldrin/dieldrin, DDT and dithiocarbamates), heavy metals (cadmium, mercury, lead), industrial chemicals (dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls), mycotoxins (aflatoxins, patulin and ochratoxin A) and acrylamide, the by-product of cooking process.

The studies are designed to measure the average amount of each chemical ingested by different age/sex groups living in a country. Once the data collection is complete, scientists assess whether or not specific chemicals pose a risk to health. The TDS can be used as a priority-setting tool to enable risk managers to focus their limited resources on chemicals that pose the greatest risks to public health. Although critics of TDS say the costs are prohibitive for developing countries, WHO has clarified that many countries, do not need to establish sensitive analytical capabilities for all chemicals of interest. The cost of conducting a baseline TDS costs about US$125,000, if a country already has basic information on food consumption.


China gets tough on health product advertising

From 1 July 2005, advertising of health food in China would need approval from provincial food and drug administration officials, according to the countrys food and drug authority. New interim rules for reviewing health food ads require that products are not disguised as news reports, and that they state the product cannot substitute any medicine in the text or on the screen during television commercials. Ads should not: carry expressions that might cause confusion with drugs; make use of the name or image of medical institutions, doctors, experts or consumers to testify to specific efficacy; or overstate its curative effects, reported Xinhua.



Vitamin-mineral coating for longer shelf life

Researchers at the United States Agriculture Research Services (ARS) laboratories have developed a mineral and vitamin mixture that cuts the browning and extends the shelf-life of sliced apples. The sulphite-free coating which comprises certain forms of calcium and ascorbate (vitamin C) can preserve apple slices for up to 28 days. The idea of using either or both of these natural compounds to retard browning is not new. But extending shelf life by using the specific forms prescribed by the scientists, at any of the ratios they recommended, is unique, said the scientists. Unlike lemon juice, the traditional tactic to thwart browning, the apple dip does not change the taste, colour or texture of the fruit. The coating was patented in 1999 following tests on sliced apples and pears, and marketed under the trade name NatureSeal.


New enzyme to double shelf life

The German firm AB Enzymes has launched a new enzyme preparation that is claimed to extend the shelf life of baked goods and significantly reduce manufacturers production costs. Veron Amylofresh is promoted as a unique amylase that offers extended freshness, reducing production costs through its lower usage cost and significant reduction in stale bread returns. The enzyme was developed mainly for use in wheat products but can also be added to sweet dough.

AB claims that Veron Amylofresh provides savings of up to 35 per cent in production costs, while greatly extending the shelf life of baked goods by preserving crumb softness and moistness. Stale bread losses, normally up to 20 per cent, could also be reversed by using Amylofresh in ABs Veron production line. On the consumer end, a study by AB found that freshness ranks second after taste in consumer buying decisions. Amylofresh has been devised to fit this trend by offering improved texture, longer lasting crumb softness and moistness and better crumb resilience.


Cryogenic bulk food coolers

Ajax cryogenic coolers, from Ajax Equipment, the United Kingdom, are screw-based units designed for the continuous freezing or chilling of bulk products using liquid nitrogen. Rapid and efficient cooling is achieved by direct spraying of liquid nitrogen over the product which is normally in a diced, shredded or natural particulate form as it is mixed and transported.

The stainless steel units are available in a range of sizes to suit process requirements. The inside of the cooler is similar to a conventional U-trough conveyor but the auger is designed to suit the material being processed. The residence time of material in the cooler is controlled by the length, design and rotational speed of the screw. These variations allow a wide range of materials to be processed and for the output rate and material condition to be optimized. The units may be used for cooling as well as flavour retention.

Contact: AJAX Equipment Ltd., Milton Works, Mule Street, Bolton BL2 2AR, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1204) 386723; Fax: +44 (1204) 363706



Premium dry ice

Praxair of the United States offers premium dry ice UltraIce and related know-how, which can increase productivity in every phase of food processing such as:
  • Commercial baking Controls dough temperature during mixing, freezes a variety of bakery goods and protects shipped frozen products;
  • Ice cream distribution Creates the proper temperature for shipping and handling ice cream, and other frozen dairy products;
  • Sausage manufacturing Keeps sausage cold during grinding and retards bacterial growth;
  • Cold grinding Improves the quality of products such as cocoa powder, chocolate powdered cake mix, spices and coffee beans; and
  • Meat processing Preserves freshness, colour and flavour of meat products.

Contact: Praxair Inc., Worldwide Headquarters, # 39 Old Ridgebury Road, Danbury, CT 06810, United States of America. Tel: +1 (716) 879 4077; Fax: +1 (716) 879 2040



Machines to speed up chicken deboning and cutting

Meyn Food Processing Technology in Holland has released two new poultry processing machines, one to debone breasts and the other to cut up bird parts. Rapid HQ is a semi-automatic filleting system for the deboning of breast caps and the front halves of chickens without wings, fresh or matured on one machine. The system is designed as a carousel, built to debone up to 6,000 breasts an hour. It can handle breast caps from 350 to 1,100 g and front halves from 450 to 1,350 g. The deboned fillets will be suitable for tray packing and can be produced as half fillets and butterflies, with or without the tenderloins. The machine can be operated manually or automatically to harvest fillets.

The second machine, Physic HS, can cut and process 3,000 to 7,000 birds per hour. It can be configured to match most requirements relating to product types, quantity, quality and flexibility. The machine is designed to allow the simultaneous processing of several types of poultry products.

Contact: Meyn Food Processing Technology B.V., Noordeinde 68, 1511 AE Ooostazaan, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 (75) 684 3355; Fax: +31 (75) 684 4150



Cheese grating machines

Jaymech Food Machines, the United Kingdom, is offering cheese grating machines. Model JFM 550 is a high-capacity machine that shreds 2 3.5 kg blocks in under 20 seconds. The versatile unit can handle most popular cheeses with a variable shred of 2 mm to 10 mm in sections. It can grate and blend two different types of cheeses in one operation. The construction is in stainless steel with panel thickness of 2-8 mm, fully welded with blast bead finish. Standard sizes available are 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 mm and 2 12 mm pasta cut. Cutting wheel is made of aluminium with stainless steel cutting disc.

Model JFM 750 is also a high-capacity machine that shreds a 20 kg block of cheese in under 30 seconds, with a variable cheese shred of 2 mm upwards and length variable from 25 mm. As the machine handles whole blocks, pre-cutting is not required and wastage is minimized. Other features are similar to JFM 550.

Contact: Jaymech Food Machines, Unit 6, Church Road Business Centre, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME103RS, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1795) 477 747; Fax: +44 (1795) 471 689



Biscuit making and bread baking equipment

Prima engineering Industries, Pune, India, offers a range of equipment for biscuit making and bread baking. Primas range of biscuit making equipment cover all stages in the biscuit manufacturing process. The following are some of the equipment.
  • Flour elevator and sifter has a 24-mesh vibratory flour sifter with horizontal and vertical screw conveyors with a capacity of approximately 1 tph.
  • The stainless-steel dough mixers have a common beater for all types of dough, a two-speed option and a capacity of 450 kg of dough.
  • Rotary moulders compatible with moulding rollers of 260 mm diameter.
  • Rotary cutters with feed conveyors, three pairs of gauge roll units, relaxation conveyors, rotary cutting units, cutting webs, scrap pick-ups and scrap cross conveyors, transfer conveyors to rotary moulder, scrap return conveyors and oscillation conveyors.
  • Oil- and gas-fired iscuit ovens have heavy-duty drums (102/112 mm diameter) with scraper and sliding mechanism at the feed and delivery ends, and separate stripper conveyors and rejected biscuit conveyors.
  • Spiral dough mixers in 25 kg, 50 kg, 100 kg and 160 kg sizes.
  • Tabletop and floor-standing dough sheeters and cutters with 1,200 mm side tables and 0-35 mm adjustable rollers.
  • Bread ovens in three capacities of 216, 350 or 600 loaves per hour. They are made of stainless steel, and can bake all varieties of products such as bread, buns, rolls, etc.

Contact: Prima Engineering Industries, T-113, Near M.I.D.C. Post Office, Bhosari, Pune 411 026, Maharashtra, India. Tel: +91 (20) 2712 0621; Fax: +91 (20) 2712 0294



Energy-saving milk processor

Tetra Pak, Sweden, is marketing its new Therm Lacta 10 as an energy-saving pasteurization unit designed for the automated processing of market milk, cheese milk, yoghurt milk, cream, ice cream mix and other low-acid liquid dairy products. The machine can be set in hibernation mode where the machine uses less power, steam and water to reduce energy consumption by up to 85 per cent.

Therm Lacta 10 is automated to safeguard the production cycle, and uses production recipes and processing parameters to control operational stability. It automatically does the pre-sterilization, filling, production circulation, intermediate cleaning, emptying and cleaning cycle. The standard units have fixed capacities from 5,000 lph to 35,000 lph for milk and from 1,000 lph to 10,000 lph for cream.


Improved turmeric boiler

In the traditional method of turmeric boiling the first post-harvest operation performed at the farm level in India, cow dung slurry is used in open vessels, which lowers the produce price. A steam boiler developed by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, overcomes this problem.

The steam boiler consists of a trough (outer drum), inner perforated drums and lid. The drum can be made to any size to suit the capacity requirement. The lid is provided with hooks for easy opening and has an inspection door. An outlet at the bottom of the drum makes draining and cleaning easy. The inner drums are raised 10 cm so that the rhizomes will not touch the water filled in the outer drum to about 6-8 cm depth. The outer drum is placed with more than half of its depth below the ground level by digging a pit, which serves as a furnace. The furnace has two openings for feeding the fuel and removing the ash.

The turmeric boiler is placed inside the furnace, and water is added to the outer drum. Washed rhizomes are put into the inner drums, and the drums placed inside the boiler and the lid closed. Turmeric leaves, removed while harvesting, are used as fuel. Through the inspection door, the rhizomes are pressed using a hard pin/needle to assess boiled stage.


Integrated wash-and-dry system

Freshline Machines, a division of Key Technology in the United States, has introduced the Freshline Direct StreamTM system, an integrated multi-stage wash and automatic drying system for fresh-cut processors. The innovative system has a high level of automation and process control to maximize efficiencies and produce a higher standard of product quality. The modular machine is ideal for processors of all types of fresh-cut products at volumes from 450 kg/h to over 9,000 kg/h. The product is metered through the wash/dry system in a totally regulated manner. Fast streaming ensures even layering of the product is throughout the system, providing consistent wash pressure and dryness levels. Fewer components and moving parts assure reduced floor space and maintenance costs.


Modular high-tech ovens

The new Multibake range of three different ovens plus a hybrid version from the Dutch equipment manufacturer Rademaker Den Boer could save bakers up to 40 per cent on the cost of a new oven. The modular design enables Rademaker to assemble the oven using around a quarter of the labour and a fraction of the time needed to build a conventional system. The state-of-the-art technology used in the ovens, including touch screen controls and modems to link the ovens to Rademakers Service Department, will improve both production and maintenance efficiency. Each of the three ovens uses a different heating system and consists of module compartments: type D uses direct heating from natural gas or propane; type R supplies so-called radiant heat all around the product rather like a domestic fan oven; and type I (also known as impingement) pumps hot air along the top and bottom of the oven at high speeds. The hybrid version, known as type H, allows customers to choose a combination of different heating systems to suit their product needs.



New mannitol production process

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture and the Chicago-based zuChem Inc. have jointly developed a new production method for mannitol, based on bacterial fermentation. The new production method involves feeding high-fructose corn syrup to Lactobacillus intermedius bacteria in a deep-tank fermentor. Within several hours, the bacteria convert 72 per cent of the syrup into mannitol. ARS has already obtained a United States patent on the process, while zuChem successfully got the Food and Drug Administration to approve mannitol produced by microbial fermentation.


Milk protein mutations for quality cheese

A research team led by Dr. Ng-Kwai-Hang, McGill University, Canada, has found that small changes or mutations in the DNA of certain genes lead to alterations in the protein, resulting in dramatic changes in the cheese. Dr. Ngs findings show that a mutation in the protein kappa-casein is associated with a higher yield and better quality of cheese. He believes the investigations will lead to more efficient production of better quality cheese.

According to Dr. Ng, in addition to the two genetic variants for kappa casein, there are about 50 known milk protein gene variants that can have diverse effects on dairy product production. Because the genetic variants are inherited according to simple Mendelian rules, it is possible to breed for specific variants, says Dr. Ng. The teams findings follow reports that scientists in New Zealand had created cows genetically modified to produce high-protein milk for the cheese industry. According to the New Scientist journal, this is the first time cows milk has been engineered to improve its quality. The cows possess additional copies of genes for two proteins, beta and kappa casein. As a result, their milk contains between up to 20 per cent more beta-casein and twice the amount of kappa-casein as milk from ordinary cows. The modification should allow cheese-makers to produce more cheese from the same volume of milk at lesser time owing to the faster clotting times associated with higher protein levels.


Work on citrus genome opens up new opportunities

In the United States, researchers have opened up potential opportunities held in the citrus genome, helping to detect specific genes related to pathogen resistance and to high flavonoid and nutrient levels. Scientists at the University of California-Riverside (UCR) have been gathering data on fruits, vegetative tissues and seeds showing the diversity of the citrus links. Recently, they set out to determine the connections among the hundreds of citrus accessions to see which ones were genetic duplicates and which were distinct.

Citrus fruits which includes grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes are abundant in limonoids, the phytochemicals that scientists are currently investigating for their anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial powers. Limonoids are also effective insecticides. In the food industry too, the appeal for citrus flavours appears to be growing from strength to strength.


Fermentation to rid allergens

A study led by Dr. Jian-mei Yu at North Carolina A&T State University, the United States, suggests that a fermentation process may be employed to potentially get rid of groundnut (peanut) allergens and make groundnut products safer to people with groundnut allergy. Microbial fermentation is a biological process that is widely used by the industries to make beer, wine and soy sauce. The microbes break down the starting material and produce useful metabolic products.

According to the study, the fermentation process can inactivate or get rid of the allergic groundnut proteins or allergens such as Ara h1 and Ara h2 by as much as 70 per cent, without affecting much of the product quality. The process may be fine tuned to completely inactivate the allergic proteins or allergens, suggests Dr. Yu.



Grape seed extraction process

A patented grape seed extraction process from Canandaigua Wine, the United States, is claimed to give the companys MegaNatural Gold Grape Seed Extract a lower average molecular weight than any other grape seed extract, a product that is claimed to offer consumers heart-health benefits. The lower molecular weight makes the extract easier for the body to absorb, improving its bioactivity and its ability to prevent LDL oxidation. It also makes the product extremely water-soluble, an ideal quality for the beverage industry.

Canandaigua Wines patented process isolates and concentrates the bioactive phenolic and flavonoid substances in the ruby red and white varietal grape seeds used in the process. This powdered extract contains phenols at a concentration several times that found in commercial grape juice. The process allows the use of an aqueous extraction of procyanidins from grape materials without the use of organic solvents.

Contact: Polyphenolics Division, Canandaigua Wine, 12667 Road 24, Medera, CA 93639, United States of America. Tel: +1 (559) 673 7071; Fax: +1 (559) 661 3430.


Ohmic heating for juice quality

According to Israeli scientists, ohmic heating of orange juice has proved to be a good way of improving the flavour quality of orange juice while extending its sensory shelf life. Early findings of the scientists, from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, indicate that the sensory shelf life of orange juice could be extended to more than 100 days, doubling expectancy compared with pasteurization methods.

Ohmic heating employs electricity to rapidly and uniformly heat food and drink, resulting in less thermal damage to the product. The scientists compared pasteurized orange juice, which had been heated at 90C for 50 seconds, with orange juice that was treated at 90, 120 and 150C for 1.13, 0.85 and 0.68 seconds in an ohmic heating system. They reported that the microbial counts showed complete inactivation of bacteria, yeast and mould for both pasteurization and ohmic heating. The experiment found that retention of both pectin and vitamin C was similar for all samples. Likewise, both treatments prevented the growth of micro-organisms for 105 days, compared with fresh orange juice.

However, the ohmic heated samples proved much stronger in the preservation of flavours and the general taste quality over a period of time. The scientists tested five representative flavour compounds decanal, octanol, limonene, pinene and mycrene in the orange juice. Results showed that levels of these compounds were significantly higher in the ohmic treated samples after storage than in the pasteurized samples.


Plant extracts for functional foods and beverages

Cognis Nutrition and Health, the German health ingredients firm, has introduced a new range of high-quality plant extracts for foods and beverages. The Plantalin range includes extracts of Aloe vera, ginseng, passionflower, guarana, lemon balm, green tea as well as a low-caffeine green tea. The whole range is standardized and extracted only with water. The Aloe vera product comes in the form of a water-dispersible gel while all the other extracts are supplied as water-soluble powders, which can be readily incorporated into aqueous media at ambient temperatures.


Instant coffee mixes

Fairsen Foods Industry Co. Ltd., Taiwan, is offering three-in-one instant coffee powder mixes available in latte and mochaccino flavours. The coffee mixes are reported as having full taste and aroma. The ingredients include fine-grade soluble latte and mochaccino coffee granules, sugar and non-dairy creamer. The creamer contains solid corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and stabilizer, emulsifier and flavouring. The coffee is packed in 20 g sachets. A polybag contains 25 or 40 sachets. Although the coffee is marketed under the in-house Beny brand, buyers labels are accepted. Fairsen Foods is Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Point (HACCP) certified.



Aseptic packaging system

Gold Peg International (GPI) of Australia has introduced RotaTherm (RT), an aseptic packaging system claimed to eliminate the need for expensive refrigeration of food products. RT gives manufacturers an edge over traditional aseptic systems, as there is no product burn-on and the system can handle highly viscous products and aseptically process particulates up to 25 mm. GPI claims that the process delivers improved taste and nutritional value because of the high-temperature-short-time (HTST) cooker heating profile.

RT is a totally enclosed sterile system, with the process commencing with total steam sterilization. Throughout the process steam barriers ensure there is no ingress of unsterilized air. The aseptically processed product is supplied to aseptic packaging in a sealed sterile chamber. Aseptic processing through heat sterilization destroys all micro-organisms and spores, giving food products a longer ambient shelf life. The multi-layer, high-performance aseptic package is designed to lock out light and air, seal in nutrients and flavour, and allow its contents to remain un-refrigerated for months.

Contact: Gold Peg International Pty Ltd., 13 Edgecoombe Court, Moorabbin, Melbourne, Victoria 3189, Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 8531 2999; Fax: +61 (3) 8531 2988



Time-saving bagger

LEMO Maschinenbau, Germany, has launched the CAPmat-Slider, a bag-maker with computerized, user-friendly interface and special conversion modules that allow packagers and converters to reduce changeover downtime by up to a quarter when changing between the production of standard side weld bags and other bag formats. The diversity of bag types that can be produced with CAPmat-Slider makes the new technology suitable for various bakery, frozen food, snack and pet food. The digital processing system simplifies production processes through simplified data storage for repeat orders. The machines built-in modem allows technicians to gain remote access to the machine. The new technology makes it easier for complex production lines to incorporate Zip-Paks QuickZip Slider zippers directly onto bags.


Dual ovenable baking vessel

The Food packaging group Menasha, the United States, has launched the first dual ovenable corrugated baking vessel, which the company claims is a cost-effective alternative to metal and foil containers. The dual ovenable packaging works in both conventional and microwave ovens and has been successfully tested for use in temperatures from -40 to 204C. Ingredients can be directly placed onto the non-stick coated surface. The insulating properties of the pan promotes even baking, eliminating crowning and the need for added frosting, while heat retention properties reduce the baking cycle time.


Packaging quality tester

Mocon Inc., the United States, has launched a new system that offers both pressure loss measurement and packaging seal strength. The Lippke 2500 SL test system consolidates the testing of both leak and seal integrity into one unit. Leak testing can be conducted on flexible, semi-rigid and rigid packages, while seal strength tests can be conducted on flexible and semi-rigid packages. The unit offers precisely defined and reproducible test conditions, maintains a test parameter database for an unlimited number of products and offers comprehensive test documentation (graphs, measurement database and statistics).

To test packages for leaks, a self-adhesive septum is used to ensure a perfect seal selected for air injection. After mounting the package onto the needle-head assembly, the pressure builds up in the package until it reaches a pre-selected level. It is then held at a constant level for the required settling time. During the final test, the unit will measure the pressure to detect even the smallest package leakage (down to 10 m) and display the resultant value. For strength test, the package is mounted similarly and subjected to increasing pressure until it bursts.

Contact: Mocon Inc., 7500 Boone Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55428, United States of America. Tel: +1 (763) 493 6370; Fax: +1 (763) 493 6358




Rapid Methods

Rapid and reliable detection of biological and chemical contaminants is important managing the safety of food and feed. Rapid Methods presents a firm and structured framework for this. The chapters concentrate on the state of the art in rapid methods related to: legislation, sampling, method validation, microbial pathogens, biological materials, toxins and chemicals.

Contact: Wageningen Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 (317) 476514; Fax: +31 (317) 453417


Technology of Bottled Water

This book provides an overview of the science and technology of the bottled waters industry. Coverage includes quality management, third party auditing, cleaning and disinfection, and microbial aspects. Technology of Bottled Water is intended for beverage technologists, packaging technologists, microbiologists, analytical chemists, as well as health and safety personnel.

Contact: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1865) 776 868; Fax: +44 (1865) 714 591

Brewing: Science and Practice

The success of brewing depends on blending a sound understanding of the science involved and knowledge of the practicalities of production. This publication provides substantial coverage in both these aspects based on the substantial experience of its four authors. It covers all stages of brewing from raw materials, including the chemistry of hops and the biology of yeasts, through individual processes such as mashing and wort separation to packaging, storage and distribution. Key quality issues such as flavour and properties of finished beers are also discussed.

Contact: Woodhead Publishing Ltd., Abington Hall, Abington, Cambridge CB1 6AH, United Kingdom. Fax: +44 (1223) 893 694



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