VATIS Update Food Processing . Jul-Aug 2006

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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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Global shortage leads to spurt in Viet Nam pepper exports

A report prepared by the International Pepper Community (IPC) reveals that Viet Nams pepper exports surged during the first quarter of this year, accounting for over 60 per cent of the global total. Viet Nam exported 26,574 t during the first three months, with almost 19,000 t in March alone, a year on year increase of 42 per cent. Other major producing countries like India also saw a rise in exports, excluding Brazil and Indonesia whose sales fell during the period. Moreover, Vietnamese pepper prices registered a significant increase, fetching US$1,205/t FOB in March 2006 compared with US$1,170/t a year earlier. This is still about US$200-US$250/t cheaper than Malaysian, Indian and Indonesian products of the same quality.


Thailand jumps on ASEAN standardization bandwagon

Thailand has joined a regional drive to set up a network and standard practices in testing food for genetically modified organisms (GMO). According to Mr. Kittisak Keeratiya-angkura, the expert on bacteriology at Thailands Agriculture department, experts from member nations of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) met for the third time recently to exchange information and build a regional network in testing for GMOs in food items. Participants discussed details of testing methods and practices, and also considered the search for a host country to take responsibility to move the project forward. Mr. Keeratiya-angkura further stated that samples of 327 food products were tested, mainly canned food products like sweet corn, and all of them were found to be GMO-free.


Boost for Malaysian halal sector

Tesco, the United Kingdoms biggest supermarket, plans to spend about US$400 million on Malaysian-made halal food over the next five years in a bid to cater to the rising demand for halal products in its home market. According to Tesco Malaysias Chief Executive, Mr. James McCaan, the halal products would be introduced in around 40 Tesco stores, mostly in London, by April 2007.

Malaysia is aiming to create a global halal hub that supplies halal meat to Muslim consumers around the world. As one of the most developed Muslim nations, Malaysia has an edge over other nations in logistics, banking and halal certification. Though the halal food market has never been measured, estimates range from US$150-US$500 billion. Tesco Malaysia is 70 per cent owned by the United Kingdom-based retailer and 30 per cent by Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby. It has 10 outlets in the country.


Malaysian grant for pioneering projects in the food industry

Malaysias Ministry of Finance has approved a grant for the implementation of pioneering projects in the food industry by entrepreneurs from the small and medium industries (SMI). According to Mr. Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, President of Persatuan Pengilang and Industri Perkhidmatan Bumiputra Malaysia (PPIPBM), the grant will be used to help PPIPBM members and SMI operators, who do not have facilities like packaging machines, as well as to lower production costs. Packaging machines would be set up at a one-stop centre in locations established jointly by the SME Bank and SME Packaging Centre Sdn Bhd. The latter plans to set up a packaging centre at Batu Caves, Selangor, once it obtains approval from the Ministry of Finance. Five other centres will be established in the Northern, Southern and East Coast regions, as well as in Sabah and Sarawak.


Philippine processors asked to raise quality standards

In the Philippines, soy sauce makers have been asked to overhaul poor manufacturing standards that have been responsible for lowering demand for the product in European markets. According to Mr. Gilbert Layese, Director of the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards, soy sauce imports from the country have been banned in the European Union markets as they contain 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD), a chemical that forms when soy sauce is made through acid hydrolysis. 3-MCPD is considered a health hazard by the European Food Safety Agency.

Mr. Layese stated that manufacturers have been advised to either utilize natural fermentation to produce the soy sauce or upgrade their facilities to enable impurities removal and stringent quality control. Exports of soy sauce are relatively minor when compared with domestic consumption but the Philippines is keen to boost all agricultural exports. Exports from the nation have been picking up in recent months, owing to strong demand from China and a more stable economy. Overall exports rose 13.8 per cent during the first quarter compared with last year and Marchs annual rise of 26 per cent was the biggest for a single month in 6.5 years.


Survey points at increase in R&D budget for Chinese dairies

According to a report from consultants McKinsey, Chinese dairies need to invest more in R&D to capitalize on future growth in added value products such as milk drinks, cheese and yoghurts. These products account for only a quarter of the local dairy consumption, compared with nearly 60 per cent of Japans. However, this ratio is predicted to change as Chinese incomes rise. Studies on consumption patterns and consumer preferences in over 150 Chinese cities and towns indicate that sales of milk beverages, cheese and desserts, and yoghurt will grow by 22, 38 and 31 per cent a year, respectively, over the next five years.

Added-value products can yield margins 2-3 times greater than regular liquid milk. For domestic dairies to be successful in this segment, however, they need to do more to differentiate their products than just simply offer new flavours or packaging variations, the report advises. The report authors, Mr. Richard Cheung and Mr. Andrew Grant, opine that milk beverages and yoghurt, for example, are innovation-driven products requiring strong R&D formulation and consumer segmentation skills, and many domestic dairy companies have little of either. The report further explains that top dairy companies elsewhere in Asia target particular consumer segments and usage occasions. For example, a Japanese dairy is marketing coffee-flavoured milk in a container that resembles a paper coffee cup, which is designed to attract white-collar workers taking a break from work. Domestic companies must build new capabilities in areas such as product development, branding, account management and marketing, say the consultants.


More foods slated for Chinese standard controls

China plans to bring in additional food products under the purview of an initiative launched in 2001 to enforce higher safety standards. At present, about 370 foods have been listed under this policy, which requires manufacturers to hold a production licence, conform with food safety procedures and assess the quality of the finished products before they are released to the market. According to Chinas Administration of Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), the remaining 155 out of a total of 525 kinds of food, will come under market access control by this year end.

According to an official with the food agencys market access branch, the new products include bakery products, soya products, honey products, puddings, noodles, chicken powder and sauces. China, which has been the source of some major food safety scandals, has issued over 63,000 licenses for food production. While authorities are stepping up quality and safety standards, some experts feel that there is laxity in enforcement.


Low-cost sweeteners in demand

According to a recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the use of sweeteners in Indonesia increased during the last year, as food and beverage makers seek cheaper alternatives to sugar.

Imports of lactose, glucose and fructose rose 120 per cent in 2005 to reach 67,000 t, up from 30,000 t in 2004. However, the demand for synthetic sweeteners recorded an even stronger boost. Data released by the National Consumer Protection Board have unveiled that saccharin imports increased by 1,700 per cent to 23.23 t in the first 11 months of 2005 from only 1.3 t in 2004. About 95 per cent of the saccharin was imported from China. USDA expects sugar consumption to increase to 3.85 million tonnes in 2005-06, from 3.6 million tonnes in 2004-05, owing to growth in the food and beverage industry.


Seafood export value sees 25 per cent growth

According to Viet Nams Ministry of Fisheries, the country gained US$1,095 million in total seafood export revenues during the first five months of this year, an increase of 25.48 per cent over the same period the previous year. The demand for seafood grew suddenly owing to bird flu concerns while supply of seafood stock did not increase correspondingly. As such, seafood exports gained good prices.

Export seafood processors have actively sought and developed sources of seafood supplies to meet increasing demand from European markets. However, these potential destinations for exports have strict food quality and hygiene requirement, states the report. Vietnamese exporters have expanded their exports of filleted fish to the Asian and European markets. Farmers have again turned to breeding catfish as the purchase price of these products have surged upwards.


Indian exports to touch US$4 billion by 2010

The Indian Minister of State for Commerce, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, expressed that marine product exports would reach US$4 billion by 2010 from the present US$1.6 billion. Mr. Ramesh added that there would be a substantial increase in the value addition of marine exports as the contribution of value-added products in the marine sector is just 5 per cent, with the potential to be enhanced to 75 per cent within the next 5-6 years. Of the total exports of US$1.6 billion, shrimps account for around 60 per cent. The minister expressed that the dependency on shrimp should be re-allocated as there is fierce competition in the marine products export front. The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) will draw plans to raise exports of tuna and scampi. Tuna, which has a good global market, has been neglected by the marine export sector. MPEDA has drawn up plans to start aquaculture in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Orissa, as this would lead to the production of more value-added products.

Seafood exports touched an all-time high of about US$1,536.65 million during 2005-06. The country exported 512,164 t of marine products during the year, up 11.02 per cent over the 461,329 t exported in 2004-05. According to estimates by MPEDA, the European Union continues to be the major market for Indian seafoods with a 29 per cent share followed by the United States with 23 per cent, Japan (16 per cent) and China (12 per cent). Among the major ports from where seafood were exported, Chennai retained the top spot with 19 per cent followed by Kochi (17 per cent) and Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Maharashtra (16 per cent).


Seafood exports exceed target

Pakistans seafood exports crossed the years target of US$160 million in 11 months of the current fiscal. The Vice-chairman of Pakistan Seafood Industries Association, Mr. Faisal Iftikhar, stated that the seafood export sector is well poised to be exporting between US$175-US$180 million by the end of this fiscal year, which is a significant achievement following years of stagnant exports.

Despite several problems confronting the industry, export figures rose on the back of huge catches of tuna fish through long-liner tuna vessels. Tuna fish remained the main contributor and helped seafood exports to rise by over 30 per cent in 11 months of this fiscal compared with last year, Mr. Iftikhar said. As far as the conventional sector scenario was concerned, its performance declined slightly due to problems faced by local fishermen. Over 20 long-liner vessels are operating in the deep sea.



Rapid detection of Salmonella

A new test, as yet preliminary, developed by the Agricultural Research Service, the United States, has demonstrated promising results in detecting Salmonella lurking in ready-to-eat meats. Based on polymerase chain reaction technology, the assay can be performed within an 8 h incubation period. This test can even detect the pathogen at very low levels and is less expensive than a commercial rapid detection test currently in use. As such, contamination could be detected before products such as bologna, turkey or ham slices, or a mixed salad, is shipped. This could, in turn, lower product recalls.

Contact: Mr. Jitu Patel, ARS, Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Centre, Beltsville, MD, the United States. Tel: +1 (301) 5047 003


Sample preparation for analysis of calcium in milk

Metrohm, the United Kingdom, offers a unique in-line sample preparation technique for the analysis of calcium in milk using ion chromatography. By employing dialysis with its novel and patented stopped flow technique, the sample preparation can be performed in-line automatically. As such, the extensive labour requirements traditionally entailed is lowered while expanding the sample throughput, minimizing the associated errors and enhancing the lifetime of the separation columns.

Contact: Metrohm UK, Unit 2, Top Angel, Buckingham Industrial Park, Buckingham, Bucks MK18 1TH, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1280) 824 824.


Integrated method to eliminate pathogens

In the United States, researchers at Kansas State University (KSU) have teamed up with EcoQuest International to find a way of using ionization and ozone to reduce pathogens, including E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes, in food processing plants. The team is working on transforming a method originally developed by NASA to decontaminate spacecraft during long missions.

The new food safety technology consists of an antimicrobial part that uses oxidized gases like peroxide and ozone, and the ionized component. According to Mr. James Marsden at KSUs food safety consortium research unit, the levels of ozone are very low in terms of standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Food and Drug Administration. The team used stainless steel surfaces to test the systems effectiveness in removing contaminating bacteria. It was shown that the ionization system could remove more microbial populations than feasible with ozone at shorter exposure times. Researchers intend to examine the methods effectiveness in inactivating avian influenza environmentally and also investigate how the system could control Listeria in ready-to-eat meat processing plants. Studies have shown that ionization is effective in lowering Staphylococcus auerus, leading scientists to deliberate on the implications for hospitals and nursing homes.


Particle size analyser

Malvern Instruments, the United Kingdom, offers Mastersizer 2000 particle analyser for measuring particle sizes over an extremely broad range 0.02 to 2,000 m. Based on laser-diffraction, the analyser offers a comprehensive range of sample dispersion accessories and an auto sampler, enabling analysis of a wide variety of both wet and dry samples. A patented dual-wavelength optical system allows the entire measurement range to be accessed without alterations to the instrument configuration. Hardware and software designs of the Mastersizer 2000 provide a high degree of flexibility and deliver the analysis options required in R&D.

Contact: Malvern Instruments, Enigma Business Park, Grovewood Rd., Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 1XZ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1684) 892 456.


Self-contained ultrasonic sensors aid measurement

Scientific Technologies, the United States, offers ultrasonic sensors for measuring the amount of fluids or solids present in containers. IRU-5110 series provides a sensing range of 76-2,000 mm and can take level, volume, proximity and distance measurements of fluids and solids. Microprocessor technology allows for environmental factors such as temperature change, waves on liquid, tank irregularities, agitators and humidity, among others. Workers can make adjustments to the sensor via a USB interface using a special module that is available separately. Measuring 113.10 76.20 mm, the sensor series is available with a variety of outputs with two programmable transistor trip points.


Nanotechnology based biosensor gets it right

Researchers in Spain, France and Italy are studying an electronic biosensor that uses nanotechnology to ape the way human and animal noses respond to various odours. The nose biosensor is said to be capable of detecting odours at concentrations that would be imperceptible to humans. This degree of accuracy was feasible owing to the use of proteins corresponding to olfactory receptors in animal noses. A layer of the proteins is placed on a microelectrode. Data are then measured by determining the reaction when the proteins come into contact with the different odours. Scientists working on the Spot-Nosed project report that such an electronic nose could be used to provide companies with a means of honing in on precise aromas, based on product and consumer needs.


Colour exposes Campylobacter

An in vitro diagnostics company based in France, bioMerieux, has devised a ready-to-use test that changes colour in the presence of Campylobacter. Campylobacter, primarily C. jejuni, is the third leading cause of death from foodborne infections in the world. CampyFood IDs composition turns colonies that form in culture medium of clear agar an orange-red colour, making it easier to identify them. The innovation behind CampyFood ID, rests in the products specific composition, a combination of a coloured indicator with antibiotics. According to bioMerieux, the charcoal or blood media normally used to test for Campylobacter pathogens are not easily readable.



Round salt to become a reality

Scientists at the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, India, have developed a method to obtain round, free-flowing table salt with the cooperation of a major food company. This breakthrough could revolutionize the use of salt in food production. The reason is that an inherent problem with the traditional cube shaped crystal salt, known as caking, is not encountered in the new product. Caking occurs because of the formation of solid intercrystalline bridges that bind crystals together. Salt crystals developed by the new process have been demonstrated to possess superior free-flow characteristics than normal salt.


Rapeseed proteins: Potential functional ingredient

Researchers from the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Japan, and Germanys Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging report that rapeseed proteins have the requisite traits needed for use as functional food ingredients. After oil is extracted from rapeseed, almost 60 per cent of the waste mass still has a protein content of about 65 per cent. This protein could be a source of new food ingredients with potential functional and health properties.

In their study, researchers used two rapeseed cultivars Lion (from Creol, France) and Express (from Cetion, France) to make sausages. Radical scavenging ability of rapeseed, before formulation into sausages, was measured using the DPPH radical scavenging activity.

Neither of the two cultivars of rapeseed studied had DPPH radical scavenging activity equal to that of the vitamin E derivative Trolox, but were superior to soya bean samples. Sensory aspects of the sausages were compared with sausages made from one of two commercial soya proteins (concentrate or isolate), as well as the control sausage made with casein. Functional properties like water binding capacity, oil-binding capacity, and emulsification capacity and stability were also measured using standard methods. Researchers concluded that sausages prepared with rapeseed protein had significantly superior taste and aroma attributes but poorer texture and colour than the control sausage sample.


Canada approves Omega-3 EPA/DHA ingredient

Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd. (ONC) reports that the Canadian regulatory authority has approved its MEG-3 brand Omega-3 ingredient for inclusion in a broad range of food products. Health Canada expanded the scope of its Novel Food Notification to include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) exclusively from MEG-3 brand food ingredients for most food products. The approval also increased the amount of EPA and DHA from 50 mg to 100 mg per food serving.

Additionally, MEG-3 brand DHA food ingredient has been approved for virtually all-Canadian food products. In light of this development, consumers can now benefit from EPA and DHA as value-added nutrition.

EPA and DHA are physiologically essential fatty acids important for good health and normal growth and development. Numerous studies have shown that DHA plays an essential role in the normal development of brain, eyes and nerves while EPA provides an anti-inflammatory benefit. Together, EPA and DHA aid in the maintenance of cardiovascular function.

Contact: Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., Canada.



Bouillon flavour launched

Exter Aroma, the Netherlands, has introduced a clean label bouillon flavour hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP) based on sunflower that offers food makers an allergen-free, non-GM, 100 per cent vegan flavouring option. The new range, called Exter CL, is also E-number free and can be used in soups, sauces, meat, snacks and ready meals.
HVPs are formed when proteins are split into smaller pieces, releasing flavour. The advantage of HVPs, according to Exter, is that this process gives very specific and intense tastes. By varying the processing procedure, chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon or tomato flavours can be produced easily. The clean label product is standard, available in a basic meaty bouillon taste. However, specific flavours such as chicken, beef, pork and vegetable, with variations like boiled, roasted and grilled, can be developed if necessary on request.


Deep freeze flavour technology

Quest, the Netherlands, has developed a unique freezing technology that captures the essence of true-to-fruit flavours. Freezeframe Biocaptive technology is intended to cater to the needs of dairy and confectionery manufacturers on the lookout for realistic tropical fruit flavours. The new process uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the fruit and by excluding oxygen, enzymatic degradation is prevented. Flavour is thus enhanced by capturing only the most authentic top notes, which recreate that first bite freshness of juicy fruits.

Furthermore, analytical research has allowed Quest to identify new molecules that are key to freshness in fruit flavours. Finally, bio-precursor technology has enabled the company to develop the ripe character components that consumers experience in tropical fruit. The company offers a range of flavours, collectively known as Tropicsense, including well-known fruits like banana, pineapple and mango as well as more unusual and exotic flavours such as bacuri, feijoa, pitahaya and cactus fruit.


Whey as a texture additive

A new machine from Invensys APV, the United Kingdom, allows dairy producers to process whey into an ingredient that can be used to improve the texture and taste of low-fat products. APV Shear Agglomerator is based on a microparticulation process that combines thermal and mechanical treatment to yield a product that has the same appearance, texture and viscosity as coffee cream.
The Shear Agglomerator enables precise control of the protein particle size within very narrow constraints, combined with a long operation time. This process facilitates manufacturers to obtain a microparticulated whey protein concentrate product comprising homogeneous protein particles of similar size as fat globules in milk. APV has applied for a patent for critical elements of the process.


Medium fat cream

DMV International, the Netherlands, has filed a patent application for use of its Textrion DELITE in a decoration cream. The patent, titled Medium fat cream, has been published. A key benefit of Textrion DELITE is that it helps lower ingredient costs by around 10 per cent while maintaining stability and structure of the (aerated) decoration cream. This is one of the innovative ingredients that DMV has launched under the Textrion brand. Ingredients within this product line provide innovative texture solutions for the ready-to-eat as well as instant dessert market. Mrs. Teroeska Boterkooper, DMVs Market Development Manager, Food Systems, expressed that Textrion DELITE delivers a stable product with delightful flavour and mouthfeel at a lower overall ingredient cost.


Functional custard

Custard, a popular and well-accepted dessert in many countries, is formulated by simply mixing milk, sugar and a thickening agent, with the different ingredients determining the structure and breakdown during digestion. Researchers based at the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands have reported that custard could be easily enriched with bioactive ingredients, e.g. soya isoflavones or antioxidants like tyrosine from olive oil, thereby transforming the custard into a functional food.

The researchers formulated tyrosol custards using four different thickening agents modified waxy maize and tapioca (both starch thickeners), and CMC and HPMC (cellulose derived thickeners). Soya isoflavones (from the soya germ extract SoyLife Extra, Acatris) custards were formulated using modified waxy maize or CMC thickeners. In vitro digestion conditions were simulated by creating conditions similar to the mouth, stomach and small intestine. Recovery of isoflavones from the custard after exposure to intestinal conditions was found to be highest in starch-based custards, compared with CMC thickened custard (17.5 mg vs. 11.0 mg). Presence of fat in the custard also lowered availability of the isoflavones, reducing the release from 17.5 to 15.4 mg for starch custard, and 11.0 to 8.6 mg for CMC custard.



Thailand redies draft standards for farm products and food

Thailand is upgrading its hygienic standards for agricultural produce and processed food items. Towards this end, a draft document on raising the hygienic standards of farm products and food has been approved by a government committee. Dr. Charal Trinvuthipong, advisor to the Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, expressed that the draft is aimed at increasing standards to protect the public well-being, as well as raising quality levels to maintain Thailands export competitiveness in the international market.

Dr. Trinvuthipong said that 13 issues pertaining to improving abattoirs, testing for mad cow disease and chemical residues, and employing innovative technology to ensure safety have been approved by the National Food and Agricultural Products Standard Committee. In addition to enhanced safety and accountability to consumers, the measure also strives to build international trade justice and quality controls, which would lead to setting a standard for certificates to be issued for products prior to export.


Exemption for processed food

Genetically modified (GM) food products imported into India have to obtain prior clearance from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC). This scenario is set to change as the central government has decided to exempt processed foods, including oil, from GEAC certification. However, till such time as an amendment to give effect to the decision is in place, GEAC is allowing refined soybean oil subject to certification from the country of export that it has been derived from roundup ready soybeans. The Ministry of Forest and Environment has taken a policy decision that GEAC would be involved only in the regulation of organisms or products where the end product is a living modified organism.
Accordingly, rule 11 of rules 1989 is to be amended through an inter-ministerial consultation.

In the case of crude degummed soybean oil, in addition to the aforementioned certification the importer is also required to submit an analytical report from either Shri Ram laboratories or NIN or CFTRI on the composition of crude degummed soybean oil, both pre- and post-processing stages, before a final view is taken. Test results should include pre- and post-refining levels of glyphosate in both oil and residue. GEAC clearance does not exempt importers from the requirements under EPA.


Drafts rules on GM food

Indias Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has notified draft rules to amend the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules (1955), which allow for regulation of sales and imports of genetically modified (GM) or engineered organisms obtained through modern biotechnology. Furthermore, these rules ensure mandatory labelling of such products so as to provide correct information to consumers about the nature of the food being purchased. Proposed alterations to the 1955 act include:
  • Labelling of GM food: Genetically engineered or modified foods means food and food ingredients composed of or containing genetically modified or engineered organisms, or food and ingredients produced from but not containing genetically modified or engineered organisms. In addition to the labelling provisions as prescribed under these rules, GM food shall also conform to the following labelling requirements:
    (a) A GM food, derived therefrom, whether it is primary or processed or any ingredient of food, food additives or any food product that may contain GM material shall be compulsorily labelled, without any exceptions;
    (b) The label of all package(s) of GM food(s) or foods containing ingredients derived from biotechnology or bioengineering or food additives or any food product that may contain GM material shall indicate that they have been subject to genetic modification. These provisions will be applicable to all such products either imported or domestically produced; and
    (c) The label of imported GM food or derived therefrom, whether it is primary or processed or any ingredient of food, food additives or any food product that may contain GM material shall also indicate that the product has been cleared for marketing and use in the country of origin so that verification, if needed, can be taken up with that country without having to resort to testing.
  • Restriction on sale of GM food: No person shall, except with the approval of and subject to the conditions that may be imposed by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee constituted under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, import, manufacture, transport, store, distribute or sell raw or processed food or any ingredients of food, food additives or any food product that may contain GM material in the country. In case of imported GM foods, the importer shall submit documents supporting the purported clearance at the time of import.


Hong Kong annuls partial tests

In Hong Kong, the Centre for Food Safety has declared that tests to determine pesticide residues on vegetables should be conducted on the whole vegetable and not just on a part of the vegetable. The Centre said that standards adopted in the country for monitoring pesticide residues in food commodities is based on those set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Application of these standards should follow testing methods recommended by Codex.


Shanghai, China, raises bar for food safety

Shanghai Food and Drug Administration, China, has made recalls of spoiled or potentially harmful food obligatory for food manufacturers. Entering into force from 1 August, this law requires food manufacturers and distributors to report faulty or poor quality food products to the government and consumers, and recall the product within a time frame dependant on the level of risk. For A-level products, or those that have already caused serious harm or even death, manufacturers must report the problem and issue a full recall within 72 h. In the case of B-level products that cause temporary harm or may lead to non-fatal illness, companies have to recall the products within seven days. For C-level products that do not pose an obvious health risk, the products must be taken back from retailers.



Mushroom shelf-life quadrupled

A biodegradable packaging material, fabricated using paper impregnated with wheat gluten, is reported to help raise the shelf-life of cultivated mushrooms. Developed by researchers at the Institute for Agronomy Research, France, cultivated mushrooms stored in the bioactive packaging remain fresh for four days at 20C.

Conventional synthetic films can easily prevent mushrooms from degrading for up to about 24 h. However, poor permeability of the films to water vapour causes condensation and the appearance of brown marks on the mushrooms. Packaging them in the new composite material corresponds to modified atmosphere packaging that induces an atmosphere containing low levels of both oxygen and carbon dioxide, and prevents condensation. The packaging is biodegradable, gas-selective and permeable.


Oxygen absorber

Tianhua Tech Co. Ltd., China, offers a general-purpose 504 diabsorber, the first of its kind in the world. Unlike oxygen-only absorbers, such as AGELESSTM, this product also sports the ability to scavenge carbon dioxide. As such, the patented absorber prevents fermenting effect by suppressing the growth of anaerobic micro-organisms in an oxygen-free environment during its application. Moreover, it can be applied over a much wider variety of foodstuff. The diabsorbers rate of oxygen scavenging is reported to be much faster than previous versions, both domestic and international.

Contact: Tianhua Tech Co. Ltd., Suite 208, Building 8, 1 Youyihe Rd., Nanjing 210007, China.



Dairy by-product as a natural preservative

Researchers at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland, report that whey permeate (WP), a by-product of cheese production, could be used as an alternative to chlorine for preserving fresh-cut vegetables. The need for a chlorine alternative has been prompted by concerns about the potential formation of carcinogens during usage.

The team studied the use of varying concentrations of WP solutions on the markers of preservation, like colour and textural changes, microbiological concentrations and nutritional content (vitamin C and carotenoid). Three concentrations of WP solutions were prepared 0.5 per cent (pH 3.84), 1.5 per cent (pH 3.53) and 3 per cent (pH 3.45) and compared with results yielded by a chlorine solution (120 ppm, pH 8). Trials revealed that microbial counts for 3 per cent WP were similar or better than the chlorine solution, but the less concentrated WP solutions were found to result in higher microbial counts. However, at the end of storage (10 days), microbial counts for the 0.5 and 1.5 per cent WP solutions was still lower than the recommended safety levels for fresh-cut vegetables.


Freeze drying equipment

Niro A/S, Denmark, offers a freeze drying system that ensures preservation of quality in a wide range of food products, including fish, meat, vegetables, temperate and tropical fruits, flavour essences and several other products. The original flavour, proteins and vitamins are preserved without any alterations in the original shape, colour and texture. No thawing of the product occurs, and rehydration is rapid and complete.

During freeze drying, deep frozen products are dried at temperatures below -18C in an Atlas freeze dryer. Incorporating advanced technology and an efficient design, Atlas plants allow for the production of high quality products while offering financial and operational benefits. Niro supplies pilot scale as well as large industrial (batch and continuous) plants.

Contact: Niro A/S, Gladsaxevej 305, P.O. Box 45, 2860 Soeborg, Denmark. Tel: + 45 (39) 545 454; Fax: + 45 (39) 545 800



Chilled, cut fruit keep fresh

According to researchers in Spain and the United States, minimal processing of fruits cutting, packaging and chilling has no adverse impact on the fruits nutritional content even after nine days. Researchers investigated strawberries, pineapples, mangoes, cantaloupes, watermelons and kiwi fruit. Half of each fruit was sliced, washed in chlorinated water, dried, packaged in clamshells (not gas-tight) and stored at 5C. The other half of each of the fruit was left whole and stored at 5C. After nine days, scientists measured the levels of antioxidants in each of the fruit samples, including vitamin C, carotenoids and phenolics.

Results have shown that minimal processing had almost no influence on the important antioxidant constituents. Losses of vitamin C after six days were less than 5 per cent for strawberry, mango and watermelon pieces, compared with the whole fruits. Pineapple lost about 10 per cent of its vitamin C content while the cut kiwi fruits lost 12 per cent and the cantaloupe 25 per cent. Carotenoid losses were highest in pineapples (25 per cent) while no losses were observed for kiwi fruit and watermelon slices. No variations were observed with regard to phenolics content in any of the fruits. However, further studies are required to look into the effects on nutritional content of post-cutting treatments.


Pilot machine for rapid shake sterilization process

Satori Stocktec, Germany, offers a pilot machine that companies can use to test a new process that allows for quick sterilization of canned foods. Rapid shake sterilization process developed by the United Kingdom-based Zinetec rapidly shakes tinned products during sterilization to yield fresher, better tasting food at lower costs. Consequently, sterilization times for many canned, flexible packed and bottled food products is dramatically lowered to just 10 minutes from 45 minutes. The process can even be used with other types of containers.

According to Satori, the system rapidly shakes containers along their longitudinal axis, causing turbulence and strong stirring effects. This shaking motion brings the entire volume of the filler material into contact with the inside walls of the container in rapid succession. Intense agitation of the product and container accelerates heat transfer during both heating and cooling, preventing the contents from scorching on to the insides of the container. As a result, higher process temperatures can be achieved while process times are lowered.



Unique cake processing line

Turbo Systems, the United Kingdom, has designed a new twin lane indexing line for manufacturing assorted cream cakes. Designed for filling and decorating a wide range of bakery items such as desserts, celebration cakes, patisserie products and puddings, the new system cuts and slits products and then injects sweet fillings like cream or chocolate sauce. Equipped with special nozzles and decorating heads, it deposits toppings such as fondant or sprinkles and creates bespoke pattern effects with jam, for example. Basically, any kind of depositing, filling or decorating requirement of cakes can be achieved.

The system also has a manual loading station where operators can place cakes into clear, plastic trays, ready for wrapping. Ideal for bakery and food manufacturers looking to automate production and reduce labour costs, this system works in-line with most lid closing machines and wrap labelling applicators.

Contact: Turbo Systems, 1 Gillett Street, Hull, HU3 4JA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1482) 325 651.


Fluid control for new bakery dough dosing system

Allied Bakeries, a leading global bakery organization, has specified fluid control equipment from Brkert as part of an automated dosing system designed to add minor fluid ingredients to the dough making process. The Brkert equipment, which measures and controls the flow of ingredients via a process PLC, was specified for its extreme accuracy and longevity. Brkerts single-supplier ability to deliver a complete turn-key fluid control system was also a key factor.

Brkert managed the installation of the fluid control system from concept to completion, which included supplying full documentation and manuals. The sensor and valve technologies were selected to meet the requirements of both hygienic and high viscosity duties. Each batching line was engineered to exactly match the characteristics of the individual fluid ingredient being processed. To ensure that accurate and repeatable batches are maintained, the IP66 cabinets are equipped with a combination of process and pneumatic valves, sensors and instrumentation, and were fully assembled, wired and tested prior to despatch.

Contact: Burkert Fluid Control Systems, 2 Welder Road Seven Hills NSW 2147, Australia. Tel/Fax: +61 (1300) 888 868/076.


Automated continuous frying

Heat and Control Pty. Ltd., Australia, is offering Mastermatic Snack Food Fryer that allows for effective and efficient automated continuous frying for a range of snack food products. Temperature and conveyor speed can be accurately controlled to produce uniform products. Precise frying control can be used in the frying of tortilla chips, cheese balls, pellet snacks, soya and wheat nuts, pasta snacks, vegetable snacks, corn chips, pork rinds and noodles. A low oil volume ensures fast oil turnover rates for fresh, crisp products with an extended shelf-life. Also, the unique Mastermatic cool zone extends oil life and makes the oil last longer. A variety of conveyor belts are available for different products. All models feature multiple heating zones for optimal temperature control.

Contact: Heat and Control Pty Ltd., 407 Creek Road Mount Gravatt QLD 4122, Australia. Tel: +61 (7) 3877 6333; Fax: +61 (7) 3343 8371.


New processing equipment

The latest releases from Alco Food Machines, Germany, include a spiral freezer, a flattening machine, paddle mixers and a breading machine. Alco spiral cooler and spiral freezer are suitable for rapid cooling and freezing of products. The freezer utilizes individual quick frozen (IQF). The cooler and freezer are available with an optional continuously adjustable air speed that facilitates products to be cooled or frozen uniformly over the entire width of the belt and along the racks.

The flattening machine, ASP-HDN, is used mainly for reducing the thickness of the product while at the same time enlarging the surface area. It can be used for meat products like poultry cuts (chicken breast), kebabs, primary salad products and turkey joints. Meat thickness can be reduced from 50 mm to 5 mm in a single operating cycle. The paddle mixers can be used for conventional mixing tasks in the food industry. They can also be used during cooking and frying processes, and even during cooling for processes involving cryogenic gases and vacuum condensation. Alco has developed a flexible building block system allowing plants to adapt the machine for specific needs. APT-UC, the breading machine, is a multi-purpose coating machine that can be used to coat products with different types of flours and spice mixtures. The products are guided through the machine over a conveyor belt and are coated with bread crumbs from all sides. Excess breadcrumbs are cleared away with the help of a blower and fed back into the production process.


Liquid mixing machine

ARDE Barinco, the United States, is offering an upgraded version of the D-6000 Dispershear. The redesigned model assures improved cleanability and reduced long-term maintenance expenses. It meters a controlled feed of solid powders into a measured flow rate of liquid to achieve a totally mixed dispersion with a residence time of 0.2 s. This dispersion is effective on carbomers, natural gum thickeners, cellulosic thickeners and powders that contribute significant viscosity in dispersed forms.

Contact: ARDE Barinco, United States of America.



Smoking chamber offers scaled down alternative

Czechoslovakia-based Mauting has designed a smoking chamber that small and medium meat processing firms can employ to produce smoked versions of their products. The smoking chamber can smoke cheeses and fish, as well as meat. It can also be used for cooking, reddening, baking and drying. Marketed in the United Kingdom by Union Food Machinery and Equipment, Mautings UKM Junior-02 smoking chamber can smoke foods up to a maximum temperature of 180C. A built-in control unit enables automatic regulation of chamber temperature, core temperature and timing of the process.



Cheaper fortified dairy products

Researchers from Argentina and the Netherlands report that adding riboflavin-producing bacteria to standard yoghurt could boost the nutritional value while lowering the cost of conventional fortification. In their study, researchers fed rats a riboflavin-deficient diet for 21 days and then fed the animals the same diet supplement along with one of three yoghurts for 28 days. The three batches of yoghurt were a conventional yoghurt (control), a yoghurt with Propionibacterium freudenreichii NIZO B374 (wild bacterial strain with low riboflavin production) and a yoghurt with P. freudenreichii NIZO B2336 (a mutant strain of B374 with increased riboflavin production). Results have shown that the riboflavin content of yoghurt was almost doubled using the B2336 strain, compared to B374. Physiological signs of riboflavin deficiency in the animals, such as stunted growth, were also improved in the B2336 yoghurt group.

This collaborative research involved the National Council of Scientific and Technical Investigations and National University of Tucuman in Argentina, and NIZO Food Research and Campina Innovation from the Netherlands. The project was funded through the European Union-funded NutraCells project that has also seen spontaneously folate-producing bacteria and their use in dairy products.


Antimicrobials protect against mastitis-causing bacteria

A team led by researchers at the United States-based Agricultural Research Service report to have designed an antimicrobial protein that provides protection from mastitis-causing bacteria. The B30-lysostaphin fusion protein is active against Staphylococcus aureus and three streptococcal mastitis pathogens. This fusion antimicrobial protein was obtained by combining specific DNA segments from two different sources. It degrades the cell walls of several bacterial pathogens in a solution of whey extracted from cows milk. Hence, the technology provides a key step for developing dairy cows that have a natural, built-in defence against mastitis.


Breakthrough in probiotic beverages

Probiotic orange juice drinks are expected to be available in the United Kingdom by the end of this year, following a technological breakthrough that allows for the addition of probiotic strains at the last minute. The aseptic Flex Dos dosing system from Chr. Hansen and Tetra Pak facilitates food producers to add controlled doses of bacteria in an enclosed environment, thereby reducing the risk of contamination while increasing shelf-life. According to Mr. Hans Christian Bejder, probiotics marketing manager at Chr. Hansen, Since the bacteria are added at the last minute, for example, after pasteurization, manufacturers can prepare safe probiotic beverages, ice creams or cheeses using existing equipment only.


License granted for new DHA micro-algae process

Advanced BioNutrition has obtained the license to a patented process for deriving higher yields of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from micro-algae. This exclusive global license permits the company to use the oil resulting from the process in whatever market it chooses. The novel fermentation process using the micro-algae Crypthecodinium cohnii was invented by scientists at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom and Wageningen Universitys Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Group (AFSG), the Netherlands. They were granted patents to the process in both the United States and the United Kingdom last year.

Dr. Lolke Sijtsma of AFSG, one of the scientists who collaborated on the project, explained that the higher yield is due to the use of acetic acid in place of glucose as the carbon source. According to published data, the yield could be increased by a factor of three. Fish oil has traditionally been the best source of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, that has been proved to enhance heart health, cognitive function and infant and maternal health.



Integrated vacuum chamber

Multivac Inc. is offering its versatile B400 and B500 (B500 with split belt also available) vacuum chamber systems together with SE130 steam shrink tunnels as a complete packaging solution. While all machines are sold individually, incentive pricing is available when the chamber systems are purchased together with shrink tunnels. Ideal for a wide range of large-volume vacuum pouch and shrink bag applications, Multivacs B400 and B500 belted chamber systems are equipped with adjustable height, biactive water cooled seal bars and are wash-down hygienic. A patent-pending technology built into the SE130 shrink tunnel allows users to save up to 65 per cent on power and water consumption by recirculating the heat and steam that would otherwise be vented as waste.


New generation of airtight packaging

Drawing on its packaging expertise and unique Stora Enso AT Master testing equipment based on the use of tracer gas to verify packaging integrity Finland-based Stora Enso is developing a range of new food packaging solutions around specially developed airtight paperboard. Airtight packaging based on the use of paperboard offers a number of benefits, from improved product safety and extended shelf-life to new branding opportunities, thanks to greater printing and converting capabilities, and valuable environmental goodwill.

Stora Enso has already launched an airtight paperboard packaging concept for dry foods such as snacks, cereals, confectionery, biscuits and tea. This innovation combines specially developed non-foil paperboard with optimized heat-sealing, raw-edge protection and innovative lid sealing. The design provides a highly effective water vapour barrier that protects the contents against caking, loss of crispiness, mould growth, softening, and changes in colour, taste and odour; while an oxygen barrier protects against rancidity, loss of vitamins, microbial growth, lipid oxidation, and changes in appearance, taste and smell.

Contact: Stora Enso Oyj Head Office, Kanavaranta 1, P.O. Box 309, FI 00101 Helsinki, Finland. Tel/Fax: +358 (20) 46131/21471.


Semi-automatic tray sealing machine

Packaging Automation, the United Kingdom, has provided a solution to ready meals producer Wok Express need for a machine that could cope with up to 600 portions/h. The PA182 system, one of Packaging Automations extensive range of tray sealing equipment, proved to be the ideal answer. PA182 is a well-proven, semi-automatic, twin station machine designed to be flexible by allowing tray size changeovers in just two minutes. It can seal and trim film from a reel on to trays made of various materials, including but not limited to CPET, polypropylene, PVC board and foil. Moreover, the machines compact design minimizes the space required allowing it to be easily moved to accommodate modifications in production, for example, from one production line to another. Additional features include operational efficiency, flexibility, ease of maintenance as well as the ability to handle both atmospheric and modified atmosphere packaging.


MAP film combined with steam cooking valve

Microwaveable packaging for steam cooking food has been combined with modified atmosphere techniques to increase the products shelf-life. With its new brand, Austria-based Mondi Packaging Flexibles integrated its existing line of NeoSteam pouches with its modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) film for refrigerated food products. Mondi is offering the packaging as form, fill and seal bags or as lidded trays.

Mondis NeoSteam format allows foods to be steam cooked in the microwave, thus retaining flavour, texture and vitamins. The NeoSteam format has an integrated valve closure designed for convenient foods such as vegetables, soups and ready-made meals. The valve allows the food to be steam cooked under pressure, which shortens preparation time and ensures that the product remains moist. The MAP film incorporates new sealing layers to provide a high barrier packaging, accompanied by a surface that allows printing for a striking appearance.


Research aims to combine automation with flexibility

In the United Kingdom, Bendicks, a master of mint chocolate, is part of a university-industry research project to develop flexible packaging machinery to automatically fold, erect and fill a wide range of different confectionery boxes. The Food Link project is expected to come up with an automatically reconfigurable confectionery handling and packaging system (ARCHAPS). Such a system would help confectionery manufacturers cater speedily to different packaging concepts that they might visualize and launch on different occasions like mothers day, friendship day, etc. The concept behind ARCHAPS is that the machine will use automatically changeable linkages or mechanisms to hold and crease pre-cut pre-printed cardboard blanks. Clever robotic fingers will then prod the cartons in the right places to push them into shape and close the lid once they have been filled.


Packaging machine lowers material requirement

Hassia Verpackungsmaschinen, Germany, offers Polyflex 8/48 for shaping polypropylene into sleeved cups and other containers. This machine allows polypropylene to be processed as a single-layer or multilayer film, depending on the end product. It uses a pre-heating and deep-drawing technique to mould the packaging in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Cups are led to the filling station at a rate of 25 per minute. Dosing assemblies fill the containers with liquid, paste-like, granulated or lumpy material. Sealing devices prevent uncontrolled overflows of liquid or granular material. In the next stage, a covering film is drawn from the roll and guided to the next cup in line. As such, the machine allows manufacturers to choose the quality of packaging material and coordinate sealing temperature, pressure and time to ensure a hermetic seal and easy opening of the cups. When identical packaging materials are used for cups, cover films and sleeves, Polyflex 8/48 can achieve savings of up to 35 per cent in material costs.


Liquid dairy packaging uses gas additive

Sweden-based Ecolean reports that its controlled Atmosphere Packaging System (CAPS) provides the liquid food industry with a new method to extend shelf-life as well as improve safety of the product. CAPS system is a new component of the existing Ecolean filling system for pasteurized products. Using hermetically, factory pre-sealed packages, CAPS system adds a protection gas into the package during the filling cycle. Ecolean packs are 40 per cent calcium carbonate (natural chalk), with polymers used only as the binding agent. They are used by manufacturers of fresh milk, yoghurt, cream and other fermented products, and liquid eggs.

Contact: Ecolean AB, Kielergatan 48, SE-252 32 Helsingborg, Sweden. Tel: +46 (42) 4504 500; Fax: +46 (42) 260 745



Single-serve creamers

Tetra Pak has designed an aseptic packaging machine to target the growing demand for single-serve coffee creamers. Tetra Pak A1/Mini, the new packaging line for Tetra Classic Aseptic 20 ml package, operates at about double the speed of an earlier version, increasing output to 21,600 packages/h for the 20 ml package from 9,000 packages/h for the 25 ml package.

The Tetra Pak A1/Mini is scheduled for release this year in select markets in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, with global availability slated for the first quarter in 2007. Aseptic packaging entails individual sterilization of the product, bottles or cartons and their closures. The sterilized product is then packaged in a sealed-off sterile environment and the container sealed under aseptic conditions.



Better Fat in Food

This compendium explores the influence of dietary fats on health and analyses practical strategies for improving the fat content in food. Topics dealt with include health and obesity problems associated with fat intake, fat replacers and their use in weight loss and control, fat reduction in meat products and consumer acceptance of low-fat foods.

Better Bread!

After a brief intro reviewing the basic principles of bread making, the book outlines the development and fundamental traits of the Chorleywood Bread Process.

The second part reviews key steps in the process, beginning with ingredient quality and quantities. Other topics discussed include dough mixing and processing. The final part reviews the range of bakery products that can be produced using the process, how best it can be applied in different bakeries and likely future developments.

For the above publications, contact: Woodhead Publishing Ltd., Abington Hall, Abington, Cambridge CB1 6AH, England, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1223) 891 358; Fax: +44 (1223) 893 694



Fermentation and Food Safety

This guidebook covers the issues and processes that influence and affect the safety of fermented foods. It also looks at the impact of currently used and novel fermentation processes and starters on hazards, with specific focus on biotechnology issues. This unique reference book is pertinent to the safe production of fermented foods at all scales and all major food groups. It is a valuable resource for all those involved in the research, processing, safety and quality of fermented foods.

Contact: Culinary and Hospitality Industry Publications Services, 10777 Mazoch Road, Weimar, Texas 78962, United States of America. Tel: +1 (979) 2635 683; Fax: +1 (979) 2635 685.


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