VATIS Update Food Processing . Jul-Aug 2007

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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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India to become hot spot for processing spices

In India, the Spices Board and some companies are working to position the country as a choice location for processing spices. At stake is a larger share of the US$2 billion global spices and flavours industry of which India already accounts for 37.5 per cent by value (the country also accounts for 43.75 per cent of the 800,000 tonnes-per-year global market). India has a processing (sterilize, extract and grind) capacity of 6,000 tonnes/day.

India has what it takes to become a processing hub. Considering the technological expertise and processing infrastructure in the organized sector, India can emerge as the hub for spice and flavour processing, said Mr. George Paul, Director of Synthite Industrial Chemicals, a leader in Indias Rs 5 billion spice oil extraction exports. Synthite recently tied up with Austrian food ingredients processing enterprise Omega Flavours Technology to set up a unit at Kochi for manufacturing food ingredients. The company is also working on an alliance with Aromco, the United Kingdom, for the manufacture of sweet flavours.

According to Mr. S. Kannan, Director of Spices Board, the huge capacity for cleaning, grinding, sterilization and extraction in India can be utilized by companies from other countries. Though India still is a major supplier of bulk spices, the trend is changing and it has now moved to exporting value-added and processed spices, said Mr. Nawas Meeran of Eastern Condiments, a leading player in the spices business. Eastern recently tied up with Germanys Biomeric to conduct microbiological tests of spices.


Indonesia expecting record palm oil yield

Indonesia is on course to become the worlds leading palm oil producer with output for the year expected to reach a record 17.4 million tonnes, according to local news reports. The head of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association, Mr. Derom Bangun, predicted that increased acreage and production was allowing suppliers in the country to offset the effects of drought. Palm oil is currently enjoying strong appeal as an ingredient because it is free of trans fats.

The global palm oil consumption in 2006 rose by 6.6 per cent to 35.3 million tonnes, according to figures from the United States Department of Agriculture. This trend is expected to continue in 2007 with an estimated 5.5 per cent rise in consumption rise. As the demand for palm oil is rising, the increased Indonesian yield will be more pertinent for processors, since rival producer Malaysia has seen difficulties in keeping up with demand. In April, Malaysian palm oil futures hit an eight-year high as rampant demand by food and biofuels processors further depleted its stocks.


Sri Lanka plans to push value-added tea exports

Sri Lanka Tea Board is planning a new initiative based on performance incentives to boost flagging valued-added tea exports, according to the Boards Chairman Mr. Lalith Hettiarachchi. The incentive is to be based on exporters performance in increasing the volume and value of such teas.

Sri Lanka earned a record US$883 million from tea export in 2006, up from US$814 million in 2005. However, value-added tea exports account for less than half the islands total tea exports. Ceylon tea export rose to a record 327,000 tonnes in 2006, but exports of value-added teas fell from 43 to 40 per cent of total exports. Exports of tea in packets fell to 25 per cent or 79,000 tonnes in 2006 from 29 per cent in 2005, as shipments to the Middle East fell sharply. While the volume of tea bag shipments increased to 19,000 tonnes from 17,900 tonnes in 2005, their share of total exports remained at six per cent.

We are trying to give an incentive to improve value-added tea exports to 55 per cent, said Mr. Hettiarachchi. Exporters were finding it difficult to raise funds to buy equipment like tea bagging machines to make value-added products. Some companies have got orders but their production capacity is too low. Some companies with excess capacity have leased out their machines to others who have orders, Mr. Hettiarachchi added. The industry is keen to increase value-added tea exports as they fetch much higher prices than bulk shipments.


Philippines export of non-traditional coco products

Global demand for products made with natural ingredients including those used in making medicine, soap and shampoo drove the Philippines exports of non-traditional coconut-based products up to about US$34.7 million in 2006, according to data from the United Coconut Associations of the Philippines, an umbrella group for coconut oil mills. Last year, ten products earned at least US$ 1 million each, the data showed.

Glycerine was exported to 22 countries. Exports of coconut-based toilet and bath soaps earned US$ 8.01 million, with exports reaching 2,815 tonnes, up 4.5 per cent from 2005. Coconut milk powder earned US$6 million with 2,717 tonnes shipped out, up 146.6 per cent in volume. Exports of virgin coconut oil continued to grow, reaching 504 tonnes worth about US$1.5 million. The United States remained the top buyer, with Canada and Republic of Korea following.


Thailand budgets for foods tracing system

The Agriculture Ministry of Thailand has allocated about US$670,000 to support its pilot project on a traceability system for white and black-tiger shrimp, baby corn and chicken, to ensure export quality as well as food safety. Deputy permanent secretary Mr. Yukol Limlamthong recently said nine companies had applied to participate in the project. He said the system was expected be completely in place by June 2007. It will not only ensure confidence among foreign buyers, but also create an export guarantee for Thai food products.


Viet Nams seafood exports soar

Viet Nams seafood industry earned US$300 million from seafood exports this April, raising the seafood export turnover in the first four months of this year to over US$1 billion, a year-on-year increase of 21 per cent. With the introduction of new processing facilities in the Mekong Delta, Aprils fishing catch failed to meet demand and some firms were forced to import raw materials for processing. The Minister of Fisheries Mr. Ta Quang Ngoc said a continued shortage of seafood would be a barrier to the sectors export growth. The Ministry said it would take specific measures to maintain production targets for catfish varieties that have seen massive growth in the Russian and European Union markets.


China firm on food safety

China has pledged to clean up its food and drug industry after a series of safety scares that have aroused global concern. Chinas State Council said the nationwide crackdown on corrupt practices in the countrys drug and food industries would compel companies to adopt standards used in food-importing countries. Two company managers were recently detained, accused of adding melamine to food additives. Melamine has no nutritional value, but its rich nitrogen content makes the food appear to have more protein. The contaminated ingredient used in pet food led to the death of several cats and dogs, inspectors in the United States allege.


Indian government to set up 30 food parks

The Government of India has announced it will set up 30 food parks involving the private sector in investments. Each of the parks, eligible for a government subsidy of about US$12 million, will be set up by a special purpose vehicle with private sector participation. The food park concept was approved at a recent meeting between Mr. Kamal Nath, Minister for Commerce and Industry, and Mr. Subodh Kant Sahai, Minister of State for Food Processing, along with senior officials of the two Ministries and the industry representatives. The new food parks would benefit from the schemes of the two ministries. These include Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development for Exports, Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme of the Commerce and Industry Ministry and the Mega Food Park Scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing.



China to set up food recall system

China will release the countrys first regulation on food recall by the end of this year as part of efforts to improve food safety, stated Mr. Wu Jianping, Director General of Food Production and Supervision Department of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. The move comes in response to a recent spate of food safety scandals. The system would mainly target potentially dangerous and unapproved food products.

The regulation the final draft of which will be ready by the end of the year will be in line with international practices and stipulate that food production and sales companies should take back their products that are confirmed to endanger peoples health, Mr. Wu said. Currently, only one section in a 2002 regulation on product inspection touches upon food recall and the need for such a system. Implementing the recall system for all food products will be a gradual process, Mr. Wu said. The State Food and Drug Administration plans to blacklist food producers which break rules; and serious violators could be barred from the market.


Malaysia gives tax holiday for halal product companies

Companies involved in the business of halal products will be given 100 per cent tax holiday for five years as incentive for entry into the international market. Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of International Trade and Industry Dr. Tan Yee Kew informed the Senate that the government will also allow full deduction of the allowance from the companies statutory earnings.

The government also allowed double deductions on all expenditure incurred by these companies during the halal accreditation and certification process, Dr. Tan said. It has also set aside grants for raising productivity and quality and certification for the small- and medium-sized enterprises. Special grants have been also allocated for the Small and Medium Industries Development Corporation totalling about US$2.88 million for the development and promotion of halal products.

The companies, however, must meet two conditions for gaining the halal standard certification for any of the products the standard specified by Jakim or the department of Islamic development, and the international standard. Among the Jakim requirements are the specified standard for the slaughtering of animals for meat and the use of products certified as halal and safe in the processing of food products. On the international side, the food products must pass the HACCP and the Good Manufacturing Practices.


Iran sets limits for aflatoxin in food export

Irans proposed permitted limit for aflatoxin levels in pistachios has been approved by the 39th session of Codex Alimentarius Commission in China. Mr. Farid Jalali, who is in charge of Irans Agriculture Ministrys international affairs revealed that Codex has agreed to set 15 parts per billion (ppb) as acceptable aflatoxin level for exported pistachios till March 2009. Mr. Jalali added, It is quite probable that Codex will accept the permitted level permanently. While the European Union was insisting on 4 ppb, Iran managed to convince the committee by putting forth statistics and evidence that 15 ppb is acceptable, he said. Codex has also assigned Iran to determine the quality standards for pomegranates and yoghurt drink, as well as regulations for packaging and transport of fresh fish.


Indonesia to bring standards for agricultural products

The Indonesian government will issue a regulation requiring agricultural commodities to meet a national standard (SNI) for agricultural commodities to prevent entry of low-quality imported products into the country, an Agriculture Ministry official said recently. Many low-quality imported agricultural products had so far been sold in the country at a low price thus damaging the price of domestic produce, said the director general of agricultural product marketing and processing, Mr. Djoko Said Damardjati. He cited the lack of rules that require compliance with standards for the products as the reason for the situation.

Mr. Djoko said the SNI was already being applied to imported industrial products. The application of the standards to imported agricultural products would be implemented in stages, starting with garlic, the import of which reached 90 per cent. SNI regulation will apply next year to cocoa and apples. With the application of SNI, the quality of imported products sold in the country will be good while its price will also be higher, he said.


Hong Kong to begin food additive labelling

Hong Kongs Centre for Food Safety (CFS) says that the new food additive labelling requirements under the Food and Drugs Regulation 2004 would take effect on 10 July 2007. Speaking at a press conference, CFS Consultant Dr. Ho Yuk-yin said the regulation was amended in July 2004, as part of the governments efforts to enhance food safety and consumer interests.

One of the new requirements under the regulation is that both names (such as benzoic acid, sulphur dioxide, Sunset Yellow FCF and sodium saccharin) and functional classes (such as preservative, antioxidant, colour and sweetener) of the additives used in a pre-packaged food must be listed on the food label. The CFS follows the international trend and requires a more detailed labelling of the food additives used in pre-packaged food. The trade can list the names of the food additives used or their identification numbers under the International Numbering System for Food Additives.

To assess the current situation of labelling food additives, CSF had surveyed a number of supermarkets and stores. Some 1,000 pre-packaged foods were included in the survey. Results of the survey showed that more than 80 per cent of the food additive labels already meet the new labelling requirements. Those labels that do not meet the new requirements mainly fail to provide the functional classes or names of the food additives used.



New bacterial test might mean better juice

Food scientists in the United States have used DNA sequencing and infrared spectroscopy to develop a technique to detect bacteria in fruit and vegetable juices. University of Missouri-Columbia Assistant Professor Mengshi Lin and colleagues developed the technique that accurately and rapidly identifies Alicyclobacillus, a common bacterium found in apple, carrot, tomato, orange and pear juices, tropical fruit juices and juice blends. The bacterium does not cause human sickness, but it does affect flavour and results in spoilage.

Dr. Lin said identification is a challenge because spoilage can be difficult to distinguish until test results confirm it or consumers open and taste the juice product. The new technique can identify the organism in a matter of hours, unlike traditional culturing methods that require five to seven days to process.


Fast test for rapid Salmonella detection

Alaska Food Diagnostics, the United Kingdom, has launched Fastrak Salmonella, a groundbreaking ultra-rapid testing system that provides results in 18 hours from sample receipt. The availability of results six hours earlier than with other comparable methods effectively creates a days advantage that can lead to cost savings on product storage and supply chain logistics.

Alaskas team of scientists exploited patented adenylate kinase (AK) phage technology to develop the highly sensitive and specific Fastrak rapid assay system for Salmonella detection. Fastrak system shares the proven core technology of the clinical microbial detection platform just acquired by a high profile blue chip multinational. It combines novel technology with established culture and immuno-magnetic methods, and has been thoroughly tested and validated by leading reference centres.

Sample pre-enrichment for 16 h can be initiated throughout the day, ready for testing the following morning. After just two hours, products with known QC results can be shipped in time to meet the rigorous shelf-life requirements of the processed, ready-to-eat poultry market.

Contact: Alaska Food Diagnostics, Building 227, Dstl., Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JQ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1980) 590 030.


Real-time oxygen monitoring

The ability to track and document processing conditions of batches has become increasingly important due to recent food contamination crises. OxySense Inc., the United States-based leader in non-invasive oxygen measurement, has introduced the OxySenseTM MAP 1000 system, which enables real-time oxygen monitoring for modified atmosphere processing in both batch process and form, fill and seal MAP machines. MAP 1000 systems offer the valuable ability to monitor processing and documenting conditions 100 per cent of the time.

Requiring no sample atmosphere extraction and therefore no extraction pumps, MAP 1000 can take and log measurements as frequently as every second; or, with batch systems, timing can be aligned to coincide with each and every flush cycle. Based on the laboratory-proven OxySense 4000, MAP 1000 uses standard, proven components in order to provide a custom installation. The system includes a factory floor-hardy master process control unit, separate industrial touch screen display and the OxySensor sensing unit, which is customized to requirements of each installation.

OxySense MAP 1000 interfaces seamlessly with line controllers and PLCs, and may be connected directly to the plant network for data logging, processing documentation and tracking. It may also be configured as a direct controller to sound an alarm or shut down the machine if a reading is recorded outside the acceptable range.

Contact: OxySense Inc., 13111 N. Central Express way, Suite 440, Dallas, Texas, TX 75243, United States of America. Tel: +1 (214) 575 7600; Fax: +1 (214) 575 7936



Tester determines oxygen permeability

A new machine, from PBI-Dansensor in Denmark, can help processors test the barrier properties of packaging to ensure food products maintain their stated shelf life. PermMate tests the oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of packaging at different temperature and humidity conditions. The machine can be used to test the permeability of flexible and rigid packages and bottles. It can measure a whole sealed package for OTR and for volume, thus reducing wastage due to destructive testing.

The permeability and the barrier qualities of a foil often change when it is shaped into a finished package. As a result, the product shelf life is often not what was predicted. A reduction in shelf life can lead to mould being formed before the expiry date. PermMate can be used together with its spot test gas analyser CheckMate II, which measures oxygen levels in modified atmosphere packaging. It can also test numerous packages at one time, higher than the 1 to 8 package rate of competing products. Both the PermMate and CheckMate II are controlled via a computer software program, which makes it easy to perform various tests.

A key feature of PermMate is its ability to determine the volume of the packages to be tested, which is a way of directly determining the OTR of the package. Knowing the volume of the finished packages can be a valuable tool in monitoring the total gas consumption during production and can provide documentation of volume for transportation requirements, the company claims. PermMate is capable of keeping track of packages through an optional bar code scanner and a bar code printer, which are handled from the product software.


Testing tools help keep beverages pathogen-free

Two new testing tools from Dhler, Germany, are designed to keep pathogens and impurities from contaminating beverage filling lines. While Dhler already has testing kits and systems for the alcoholic beverage market, the new tools are aimed at the growing non-alcoholic drinks segment. One product is an aseptic validation medium (AVM), and the other is a risk management system for reducing Alicyclobacillus, which can shorten a products shelf life.

AVM allows factory workers to identify a range of beverage contaminants in the aseptic filling process under standard production parameters. It uses a visual confirmation that needs no additional technical equipment. Test results are available within five to seven days. Dhler claims the standardized medium helps processors save money by identifying contaminants in the system early on in the production process. Not only are a small number of samples examined, but a complete filling operation is considered, thus increasing statistical certainty several times over, the company claims.

The risk management system for Alicyclobacillus can help in sensory quality assurance on the beverage line. Alicyclobacillus spores can survive normal pasteurization conditions, and germinate after a period of several weeks. In favourable conditions, such as warm temperatures and an acidic medium, these can grow with a resulting increase in heat resistance. The Guaiacol detection kit can be used for acid-tolerant and heat-resistant bacteria with significant beverage-harming potential. It can be combined with BAT agar and BAT broth for analysing Alicyclobacilli even in complex beverages. Other detection kits include molecular biological differentiation and identification systems for a variety of contaminants, and a PCR-based detection method for heat-resistant moulds.



New moisture-resistant sugar

In the United Kingdom, British Sugar has developed a new line of moisture-resistant sugar, which it claims can prolong shelf life and improve product quality. The MR Sugar has been formulated to provide bakers with a healthier product that contains non-hydrogenated vegetable oil, free from trans fats. MR Sugar can extend product shelf-life as it does not dissolve at the same rate as standard decorative sugars. Suitable for use on cakes, pastries and desserts and with a particle size similar to caster sugar, the product can be dusted onto both warm and cold cakes to give a freshly baked appearance over long periods of time. The product has the clean taste of sugar with none of the aftertastes often associated with alternatives, such as dusting powders. At the same time, it retains sugars texture and visual impact on the surface, British Sugar claims.


Enzymes offer novel ginger ingredients

Scientists in Germany have proposed the use of enzymes to obtain ginger pastes with higher valuable ingredients retention, and offer the industry higher-value products at lower costs. The new research proposes the use of cellulolytic and pectinolytic enzymes to provide ginger ingredients for the food industry with lower concerns over the promotion of bacteria and moulds.

Researchers from the University of Hohenheim obtained ginger extracts up to the pilot scale and could offer industry with an alternative source of ingredients with enhanced properties, if continued scale-up also produces similar positive results. According to the lead author Mr. Ute Schweiggert, the paste contained large amounts of pungent principles, which enables its application as a flavouring agent. The researchers used cellulolytic and pectinolytic enzymes, followed by pasteurization and spray-drying of ginger digest using ginger starch as carrier material and gelling agent to obtain spray-dried ginger powder and paste-like ginger condiments.

Mr. Schweiggert and co-researchers report that this resulted in a high retention of valuable ingredients and should be extended to other spices. The research is on-going, with work looking at possible side reactions involving the enzymes, and stability of volatile oils and colours.


Alternative sources of edible oil

In India, scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur, have reported the potential of Bahera (Terminalia belerica) as a new source of edible oil to help the country make up its short-fall in supply. Bahera fruit appears very promising for commercial exploitation and can be considered as the olive of India, say the scientists.

The tropical Asian Bahera plant is reportedly able to produce about 500 kg of raw fruit every year, with the plant reaching maturity after only six to eight years. The fruit, researchers report, has a fatty acid composition of oleic acid (50.20 per cent), palmitic acid (18.25 per cent), stearic acid (8.20 per cent) and linoleic acid (10.8 per cent). An interesting point is that the oil has only about 10 per cent of the constituent (stearic) saturated fatty acid, noted the researchers.

The oil cake contains about 60 per cent protein, which could be turned into animal feed or a biofertilizer. The researchers also explained that the seed coat contains high amounts of the antioxidant gallic acid (3.2 mg/ml), which could be added to other vegetable oils to prolong their shelf life.


Potential new hydrocolloid from jute

Scientists in Japan have identified a new source of hydrocolloid from jute (Corchorus olitorius) that may open up innovative industrial applications. The scientists from the Mie Prefectural Science and Technology Promotion Centre and Kyoto University, report that the hydrocolloid from leaves of C. olitorius (HLC) exhibited strong synergistic effects with the established hydrocolloid kappa-carrageenan.

The synergistic effect on mixed gel made with kappa-carrageenan was different from mixed gels with locust bean gum (LBG); in the case of HLC addition, the maximum synergistic effect was seen at the sugar composition (kappa-carrageenan/HLC) of 90/10 while that of kappa-carrageenan/LBG was around 60/40 to 50/50, according to Dr. Eiji Yamazaki. The difference implies that HLC could not only be an alternative to LBG in many applications, but may introduce new functions to kappa-carrageenan and other hydrocolloids.

Hydrocolloids are used extensively by the food industry to texturize and stabilize food products from dressings to ice cream. The researchers extracted the polysaccharide from dried leaves of C. olitorius using a 50 per cent concentration ammonium sulphate solution, followed by precipitation in water and extraction to yield HLC. The scientists opine that the utilization of HLC to kappa-carrageenan for milk desserts would be of advantage against LBG.


New ingredient for performance and energy

Active ingredients manufacturer Berkem, France, uses grape in a new and innovative concept under the trade mark Powergrape. The product is proposed as a completely new ingredient in terms of mechanism of action. Indeed, thanks to its strong antioxidant power demonstrated in humans Powergrape is able to potentiate the energy production from the mitochondria.

The last clinical study (double blind, in cross-over, placebo controlled) conducted by Berkem in collaboration with Avantage Nutrition (French clinical research organization working on professional athletes) confirmed this activity. The first results have brought to light a significant improvement of recovery and performance in sportsmen during competition after a daily 400 mg supplementation with Powergrape.

Contact: Berkem SA, Marais Ouest, 24680 Gardonne, France. Tel: +33 (5) 5363 8100; Fax: +33 (5) 5327 0345



Pea protein as promising microencapsulator

Researchers at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil have identified pea protein as a possible encapsulator after results showed the protein capable of encapsulating vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) at high concentrations.

The new research investigated the potential of pea protein (PP), carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and mixtures of these materials with maltodextrin (PP-M and CMC-M) to microencapsulate alpha-tocopherol using the spray drying technique. The scientists led by Dr. Anna Pierucci reported that the retention of alpha-tocopherol within all the microparticles produced was above 77 per cent in all cases. The particles were also characterized as having spherical shapes with average particle sizes below seven micrometres. The smallest particles were found to be produced using exclusively pea protein, or the CMC-M mixture. The authors concluded that pea protein has showed the potential as a microencapsulation material in food systems.


Zero-sugar organic sweeteners

Ingredients giant Cargill recently demonstrated products containing its Zerose organic erythritol and its organic glucose syrup. Zerose, which is the new brand name for Cargills erythritol, is marketed as having zero sugar, zero calories, zero aftertaste and zero artificial ingredients. A sugar alcohol, erythritol is an odourless white crystalline powder that has a sweet taste similar to sucrose. It is approximately 70 per cent as sweet as sucrose and has a caloric value of 0.2 calories per gram. The organic version, made from organic sugars, can allow beverage manufacturers to achieve full-taste products without the calories. The ingredient is also suitable in products for diabetics, as it can be used in non-glycemic, non-insulinemic products. It is also suitable for a variety of applications, including bakery, dairy, beverage and confectionery, said Cargill.

Cargill also featured its organic glucose syrup sweetener in a cranberry almond granola bar. The ingredient is a versatile sweetener that provides an excellent balance between sweetness and other functional properties. The syrup, derived from organically grown wheat and hydrolysed with natural enzymes, is claimed to allow developers to manage viscosity, body, mouthfeel, freezing point, texture and sweetness.



Guarana extract shows promise as preservative additive

Extracts from the exotic fruit Guarana (Paullinia cupana) have shown excellent antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties, which could see the exotic berry making a move into food preservatives, new research at the University of Maribor in Slovenia suggests. Interest is growing in plant-derived food additives as replacements to synthetic to slow down the oxidative deterioration of food.

The scientists, led by Dr. Lucija Majhenic, tested different solvents including methanol, ethanol, water and acetone to extract the antioxidant polyphenol content, which was then measured using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay. The room temperature extraction produced an extract with highest total phenol content of 181 mg of gallic acid equivalents, containing 29.4 mg of proanthocyanidins. All tested Guarana seed extracts displayed strong antioxidant and radical-scavenging properties, according to the researchers.

Dr. Majhenic and colleagues then tested the Guarana seed extracts against three food-borne fungi Aspergillus niger, Trichoderma viride and Penicillium cyclopium and three health-damaging bacteria Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas fluorescens and Bacillus cereus. The extracts obtained using the alcoholic solvents were found to display stronger antimicrobial activity against the micro-organisms, compared with the extracts obtained using water. The scientists say that more studies are needed to ascertain the types of other bioactive compounds in seed extracts, the efficiencies of individual phenolic compounds and caffeine, as well as the synergistic effects responsible for the antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of the seed extract.


Magnet helps keep food fresher

Even with refrigeration, meat still spoils easily because of inconsistent temperatures and has to be thrown away. Esmo Technologies, Singapore, has developed a technology that would help cut the amount of spoiled raw meat by about a third, just by placing a specially modified magnet next to the meat or in the refrigerator. The magnet also helps preserve other foodstuff.

The palm-sized magnet, called EsmoSphere, is an invention by Dr. Richard Chua, who has delved into the little-known field of bio-magnetics, which looks at how magnetic fields influence biological processes. With EsmoSphere, refrigerated food is claimed to remain fresh because it emits a dome-shaped magnetic field that strengthens the bonds between the water molecules in the food. With stronger bonds, water loss is reduced, and the raw meat does not become dehydrated.

EsmoSphere is reported to also delay bacterial growth and slow down oxidation, which causes discolouration. It comes in different sizes and does not require an electrical source. Its magnetic field remains effective for three years. In a supermarket trial conducted over three months from the end of last year to early this year, EsmoSphere is reported to have helped meat remained fresh for three days, which is the recommended shelf life.


Soybean waste to offer cost-effective natural antioxidants

Antioxidant waste from the soy industry could offer a cheap and healthy alternative to synthetic antioxidants that prolong the shelf life of food, says a study from National Botanical Research Institute in Lucknow, India. Mr. Dhan Prakash, the lead author of the paper, said that the study could be of importance in varietal improvement, nutraceuticals, bio-pharmaceuticals and utilization of agri-wastes as possible cost-effective natural antioxidants.

The new study investigated the antioxidant potential of 30 soy variety seeds and agri-waste (twigs, leaves and pod pericarp). Total phenolic content (TPC), flavonoids and antioxidant activity (AOA) were used to measure the potential of the waste extracts as natural antioxidant food ingredients. The TPC ranged from 6.4 to 81.7 mg gallic acid equivalents (GAE) per gram, flavonoids from 3.5 to 44.6 mg quercetin equivalents (QE) per gram, and AOA from 7.5 to 74.7 per cent. The agri-wastes of the more promising varieties, like Kalitur, Alankar, NRC-37 and PK-472, had TPC ranging from 27 to 167 mg GAE/g, flavonoids from 10 to 64 mg QE/g and AOA from 13 to 85 per cent.

In general, the amounts of TPC (98.6-167 mg GAE/g), flavonoids (39.7-63.8 mg QE/g) and AOA (69.8-84.7 per cent) were higher in the leaves, followed by pod pericarp and twigs, stated the researchers. Analysis using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry (MS/MS) showed that the seeds of Kalitur were higher in genistin, while the seeds and leaves of Alankar contained the most diadzin and gallic acid. The researchers opine that the high concentrations of flavonoids, phenolic acids and other anti-oxidants might be responsible for the efficient radical-scavenging activity displayed.


Edible coating options for fresh produce

Speciality edible coatings invisible to the naked eye, odourless and tasteless help suppress the inevitable decomposition stage of fresh produce. Agricoat Industries Ltd., a company here in the United Kingdom, is a pioneer of edible coating technology that maintain the shelf life for fruits and vegetables. Coatings called Semperfresh are based on sugar esters and other vegetable ingredients, and were developed to delay ripening and extend shelf life in whole fruits such as cherries, pears and plums. These coatings are differentially permeable to oxygen and carbon dioxide gas, and the modified atmosphere created inside the fruit slows the ripening processes.

A new development in the range of fresh produce coatings is NatureSeal. It is derived from vitamin and mineral blends that can maintain shelf life in fresh cut prepared fruits and vegetables. Its main function is to prevent the browning that occurs in cut fruit such as apples. NatureSeal family now includes formulations for a range of other fruits, from pears to kiwi fruit and limes, as well as exotic fruits and root crops.

Contact: Mr. Simon Matthews, General Manager, Agricoat Industries Ltd., 7B Northfield Farm, Great Shefford, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (14) 8864 8988



Plant extract combos boost shelf life of encapsulated oils

The shelf life of microencapsulated high oleic sunflower oil can be boosted by combining natural extracts of plants like broccoli, rosemary and citrus, according to scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Dr. Jang-Hyuk Ahn and colleagues noted that lipid oxidation was significantly reduced by simply mixing and adding natural plant extracts (NPEs) at proper combinations during the microencapsulating high oleic sunflower oil.

The researchers microencapsulated high oleic sunflower oils (MEHS) using a dextrin-coating method in the presence of natural plant extracts in varying concentrations. They report that the maximum antioxidant effect was observed using a mixture of rosemary extract (0.05 per cent), broccoli sprout extract (one per cent) and citrus extract (one per cent). They concluded that NPEs have a combined effect as an antioxidant on MEHS. From the viewpoint of chemical components, it is likely that the antioxidant effect of NPEs on the MEHS mainly resulted from the combined effect of polyphenols, carnosolic acid, flavonones and some minerals, said the researchers.


High-power ultrasound for food dehydration

Drying processes, frequently based on the use of thermal energy, may produce structural changes in the food products. Application of high-power ultrasound for food drying represents an emergent and promising technology. Researchers at the Instituto de Acstica in Madrid, Spain, have prototyped an ultrasonic dehydration process, based on the application of ultrasonic vibration in direct contact with the product. The prototype is being subjected to a detailed study at laboratory on the influence of the different parameters involved. The prototype is based on a high-power rectangular plate transducer, working at 20 kHz frequency and a power capacity of about 100 W. To study mechanical and thermal effects, the system is provided with a series of sensors which permit monitoring the parameters of the process. Specific software has also been developed to facilitate data collection and analysis. The system is being tested with vegetable samples.


New food preservation system and method

Unilever Bestfoods North America, a Division of Conopco Inc., has been assigned a United States patent for a preservative system and method for preserving a food composition. The food composition can be high in protein, contain meat and mayonnaise and shelf-stable for at least 30 days. The preservative system has one component that interferes with the permeability of the cell membrane of spoilage bacteria and pathogens and another component that penetrates the same in order to kill or inhibit growth of such organisms.

The invention involves the use, as first component, of an antibiotic, chelating agent, aromatic preservative, ester, enzyme and mixtures thereof. The second component, an acid or a mixture of acids, enters into the plasma of spoilage organisms, pathogens or both, and interferes with its activity by rendering them dormant or inactive, or by killing them.

When preparing the preservative composition of this invention as a premix or adding the first and second component to a food composition, the ratio of first component to second component is from about 1:4 to about 4:1, and preferably about 0.5:1.5 to about 1.5:0.5. The preservative system can be combined with ingredients to make a food composition or combined with a ready food composition. Examples of formulations include dips, sauces, dressings, spreads and toppings.



Flexible cold stamping for chocolatiers

Switzerland-based machinery manufacturer Bhler has developed a new cold stamping process to help chocolatiers increase production efficiency and flexibility without compromising on chocolate shell quality. The cold stamping technology forms chocolate shells by inserting a frozen stamp into the chocolate mass and displacing it to form a uniform rim between the chocolate and the newly created cavity.

Previously, the method was shunned by manufacturers due to concerns over the cost involved, long changeover times and the high maintenance of having to defrost, dry and then chill the stamping device before each new use. Now, Bhler offers a multiple stamping head, which arranges the plates on a shaft that can be quickly turned to suit the products form. Turning can occur automatically or manually, and each plate carries its own cooling mechanism, reducing energy use and related costs.


X-ray systems for contaminant detection

Thermo Fisher Scientific, the United States, has launched its high-performance Thermo Scientific PowerX series (16 models) of X-ray equipment, capable of inspecting a variety of products ranging from small glass vials to large, multi-pack cases. The robust and versatile Thermo Scientific PowerX models feature high-resolution detectors and sophisticated image analysis software to achieve the highest sensitivity and lowest false reject rates possible.

Unique Virtual Contaminant Testing software is available to simulate various types, sizes and positions of contaminants to quickly determine how to achieve the best performance in each application. In addition, to ensure quick resolution of problems and minimize downtime, the IP65 compliant PowerX range also features remote access to hardware and software for diagnostics and software upgrades. The PowerX models S and D are designed for the highest level of foreign body detection in upright containers including jars, cans, bottles and boxes. The sophisticated D models feature a patented double-beam X-ray architecture designed to detect glass slivers or chips in glass containers with 100 per cent probability. The economical S models utilize the same powerful software, but have a single beam for packages without hidden inspection areas. For packaged products, the C flat-bed conveyor system offers an inspection view up to 700 mm wide by 360 mm high.

The seventh-generation Thermo Scientific PROx is a state-of-the-art X-ray inspection system capable of detecting metal, glass, stone, bone, wire, plastics and other dense contaminants in virtually any packaged, bulk flow or piped product. It is a compact, flexible machine, which can be quickly integrated into production lines, and offers powerful and proven X-ray sensing capabilities as well as advanced image analysis software. Alternatively, the Thermo Scientific EZx X-ray machine offers the simplicity of a metal detector combined with the enhanced detection capability and sensitivity of X-ray solution.

Contact: Thermo Fisher Scientific, 5225 Verona Road, Madison, Wisconsin, WI 53711, United States of America. Tel: +1 (800) 532 4752.


Laser-based food sorter

Key Technology, the United States, has introduced FluoRaptorTM, a fluorescence-sensing laser sorter designed to maximize the detection and removal of defects, extraneous vegetable matter (EVM) and foreign material (FM) based on differing levels of chlorophyll as well as colour, size and shape. Using the most powerful laser in the food industry in combination with Keys proprietary colour cameras, FluoRaptor achieves superior product quality and speedy product changeover for processors of fresh cut products and a variety of fresh and frozen vegetables and potato products.

Keys new FluoRaptor detects the presence of chlorophyll in products, enabling an easy separation from those objects such as FM that do not contain chlorophyll. Further, the improvements in fluorescence detection technology enable differentiation of subtle differences of chlorophyll levels in objects to detect and remove EVM. Compared with competitive fluorescence-sensing sorters, FluoRaptor is claimed to dramatically speed up product changeovers. It eliminates mechanical change of parts, enabling the sorter to be changed over in seconds by simply recalling the appropriate product setting on the control panel.

With one of the highest laser power density in the industry, FluoRaptor improves the signal-to-noise ratio to produce a more accurate product signature, which makes detection more accurate. With the highest resolution laser scanner in the food industry, it detects even the smallest defects. FluoRaptor combines laser technology with tri-chromatic cameras, which can be configured to sense a combination of visible colour and infrared (IR) light to analyse size and shape, and millions of subtle colour differences such as differing levels of chlorophyll. Easy to use, the laser image is displayed in full colour, allowing an operator to make quick selections of those objects to be kept, versus those objects to be rejected. Images and setups can be stored on the G6 computer hard drive, remotely, or on a USB key for quick retrieval and re-use.

FluoRaptor is available on narrow-belt Optyx 3000 and its wide-belt Optyx 6000 sorters. The 610 mm wide Optyx 3000 with up to three sensors can handle up to 6 tonnes of product per hour. The 1,220 mm Optyx 6000 achieves production rates of up to 12 tonnes per hour.

Contact: Ms. Anita Funk, Corporate Communications Manager, Key Technology Inc., 150 Avery Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362, United States of America. Tel: +1 (509) 529 2161; Fax: +1 (509) 527 1331



Ultrasonic spray dryers for laboratories

Sono-Tek Corporation, the United States, has released a new line of laboratory drying systems the SonoDry ultrasonic spray dryer. This new spray dryer is available in three sizes up to 750 ml/h, up to 1,000 ml/h and up to 1,500 ml/h. All come with a non-clogging ultrasonic atomizing nozzle, but have the ability to use a traditional twin fluid air atomizing nozzle system as well. The dryers can handle both aqueous and solvent based liquids, and include software that allows for recipe storage and complete data logging of all system functions.

A fully integrated magnetic stirrer and hot plate are standard on both the SonoDry 1000 and SonoDry 1500. SonoDry systems use a high-yield twin cyclone capture system. Yields exceeding 95 per cent can be achieved for many applications. These systems can be operated with an optional congealing nozzle for freeze drying applications, with counter current nozzles to create larger particles, and with a Teflon membrane scrubber to capture particles from sub-micron to nano-particle sizes. The SonoDry system is claimed to achieve greater particle uniformity than traditional spray drying methods.

Contact: Dr. Christopher L. Coccio, President, Sono-Tek Corporation, 2012-A Route 9W, Bldg. 3, Milton, New York, NY 12547, United States of America. Tel: +1 (845) 795 2020; Fax: +1 (845) 795 2720


Automated food inspection system

Dipix Technologies Inc., Canada, manufactures automated inspection systems for the processed food industry. For example, Dipixs QualiVisionTM machine-vision inspection system automatically inspects, counts and packages breakfast biscuits for a major quick service restaurant chain. It fills an important role between the end of the manufacturing line and the beginning of the packaging line. Dipix is the world leader in the design and implementation of automated inspection solutions for processed foods, including baked goods, snacks, confections, tortillas, cookies and biscuits. It has over 150 automatic inspections systems that have been developed and successfully installed world wide in a variety of bakery facilities.

Dipix CS series 100 per cent inspection system has 2-D and 3-D measurement capability, and comes with an inspection area width of 7 inches, 18 inches, 24 inches or 36 inches. Its T60 model has an inspection width of 60 inches, besides 2-D colour measurement capability.

Contact: Mr. John Lawrence, Dipix Technologies Inc., 1051 Baxter Road, Ottawa, Ontario, K2C 3P2 Canada. Tel: +1 (613) 596 4942; Fax: +1 (613) 596 4914




Deaeration system improves beverage filling

A new system designed to reduce oxygen levels in beverages improves filling speeds and can extend the shelf life of products, claims GasTran, its manufacturer. The deaeration system can use either a vacuum or stripping gas to reduce oxygen in beverages before they proceed to filling lines. The system can reduce dissolved oxygen to below two parts per billion without the use of membranes or chemicals, GasTran claims.

The presence of dissolved oxygen in the feed water used in beverage production reduces the shelf life of products. Therefore, manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce the oxygen, while maintaining consistent carbon dioxide levels to limit foaming and improve quality. Some packagers have increased bottling speeds by 30 per cent since switching to the system, according to Gas-Tran. Beverage packagers have also achieved higher quality levels on net content weight and carbonation levels, because deaerated water can absorb more carbon dioxide without excessive foaming. Reducing foaming can also prevent spill during filling, which reduces the need for wash-downs and other hygiene procedures. GasTran can customize installations either as a central system or as point-of-use deaerators.


Bagger for frozen produce

The new FAS SPrint Bagging System, from Automated Packaging Systems in the United Kingdom, has been specifically developed to handle the packing of frozen produce including meat, poultry and fish. It brings new levels of speed and flexibility to established and seasonal food packaging operations that require different bag sizes and frequent product changeovers. The new system operates at speeds of up to 120 bags per minute in continuous mode, delivering best-in-class performance for both hand-load as well as totally automatic operations an important factor in the IQF sector where hand sorting and packing is also required.

Quick to set up and easy to operate, FAS SPrint is constructed from corrosion-resistant stainless steel, has a one-touch clean-out switch, and a 90-degree tilt action for ease in cleaning. The new system delivers a conveyor of pre-opened bags for immediate loading from a 152 cm wide load area, and can be integrated with a variety of automatic infeed systems for semi- to fully-automatic packaging of portion or bulk packs.

Innovative SidePouch bags are available that can be pre-printed, and include reclosable zippers, resealable flaps, reinforced headers and tamper-evident perforations. After filling, the bags pass through an automatic sealing operation and then dispensed to outfeed conveyors or for bulk packaging. Product changeovers are fast and easy with the operator-friendly AutoTouch Control Screen, which stores settings for up to 50 jobs.

Contact: Automated Packaging Systems, Enigma Business Park, Sandys Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 1JJ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1684) 891 400.


Whey proteins for biodegradable packaging

Researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) say they have found a way to create uses for the whey produced by milk processors. The development could provide a way for them to make a profit from unused whey and to benefit from another source of biodegradable packaging. Mr. Charles Onwulata, USDA food technologist, said he has used a process called reactive extrusion to supplement polyethylene, a common non-biodegradable plastic, with whey proteins. He uses reactive extrusion to force plastic material through a heating chamber, where it melts and combines with a chemical agent that strengthens it before moulding into a new shape.

Working with another researcher Mr. Onwulata has also created a bioplastic blend. They combined whey protein isolate, corn starch, glycerol, cellulose fibre, acetic acid and the milk protein casein, and moulded the material into cups. The dairy-based bioplastics proved to be more pliable than other bioplastics, which made them easier to mould, they claimed. The blends can replace about 20 per cent of the polyethylene in a product, so resulting materials would be only partially biodegradable. However, Mr. Onwulata and his colleagues are currently applying the process to polylactide, a biodegradable polymer. The research could some day result in fully biodegradable bioplastics.


Form-fill-sealer with improved cycle speeds

A new horizontal form-fill-seal (HFFS) from Ossid, a division of Pro Mach in the United States, uses servo motors to reduce the need for compressed air and improves cycle speeds. The machine, 8000MH, is suitable for a range of meat, fish and poultry packaging applications. It can handle flexible packaging as well as foil-foil, semi-rigid, rigid, ambient, vacuum, modified atmosphere and re-closable. Thermoforming and sealing presses are combined in the form, fill and seal solution.
The HFFS uses three servo motors to activate the forming and sealing presses, as well as to control the motion of the web feed conveying operations. The technology significantly lowers the consumption of compressed air, which reduces potential air contaminants, claims Ossid. Servo motors also claimed to allow for higher and more efficient cycle speeds more than 30 cycles per minute compared with competing products.

The Ossid 8000MH integrates Control Logix from Allen Bradley with PV 1250 colour screen operator interface. The software is designed for expert monitoring, control and reporting of all package process functions. The machine is made from stainless steel, which makes it easy to maintain and suitable for environments requiring the harsh wash-downs increasingly needed in food production and processing plants.

Contact: Mr. Fran Ventura, Ossid Corporation, 4000 College Road, P.O. Box 1968, Rocky Mount, NC 27802, United States of America. Tel: +1 (252) 446 6177; Fax: +1 (252) 442 7694



Bioactive paper packaging under development

A new bioactive packaging paper under development is aiming to detect and kill any pathogens that are present in a food product. The paper, being developed by researchers at 10 universities across Canada, contains ingredients that can detect and deactivate life-threatening food-, air- and water-borne bacteria and viruses such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella. To develop the paper the researchers, nine industry partners, and federal and provincial government agencies have formed a research consortium named the Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network. The consortium will develop low-cost and easy-to-use paper-based products incorporating biologically active chemicals.

Dr. Robert Pelton, Sentinels scientific director, says the consortium will develop food packaging that signals the presence of Salmonella and E. coli, among other products. They also plan to develop dip-sticks that can detect and purify unsafe drinking water, and strips that can check for banned pesticides on produce. What bioactive paper will offer is immediacy, portability and low cost in detecting and repelling or deactivating harmful pathogens, says Dr. Pelton. The researchers are investigating the development of a bioactive ink that would allow biologically active chemicals to be incorporated onto or into paper using current processes.


Automatic packaging machines

Arrow Systems, based in Malaysia, manufactures automatic packaging machines for solid, granular and powdered goods. The CA-15M is an automatic vertical packing machine, suited to the packing of a wide range of solid and granular products in pillow-type flexible packaging. Operating speeds of up to 100 packages per minute can be achieved with package sizes from 50 mm 40 mm to 150 mm 200 mm. The AW-6035-S3 is a similar unit but it uses three-side seal flexible packaging. Up to 140 packages per minute can be processed in sizes from 15 mm 40 mm to 120 mm 170 mm. Others include the AS-320H a high-speed (180 packs/minute) horizontal packaging machine and the AS-500, which is an intelligent vertical packaging machine.

Contact: Arrow Systems Sdn. Bhd., No. 36, Jalan Perindustrian Pengkalan 2A, Kawasan Perindustrian Pengkalan, 31500 Lahat, Ipoh, Malaysia. Tel: +60 (5) 321 7968; Fax: +60 (5) 322 8329





Food Toxicants Analysis

Food Toxicants Analysis covers different aspects from the field of analytical food toxicology including analytical techniques and applications to detect food allergens, genetically modified organisms, and novel ingredients (including those of functional foods). Focus is on natural toxins in food plants and animals, cancer modulating substances, microbial toxins in foods (algal, fungal and bacterial) and all groups of contaminants (i.e., pesticides), persistent organic pollutants, metals, packaging materials, hormones and animal drug residues. The first section describes the current status of the regulatory framework, including the key principles of the European Union food law, food safety, and the main mechanisms of enforcement. The second section addresses validation and quality assurance in food toxicants analysis and comprises a general discussion on the use of risk analysis in establishing priorities, the selection and quality control of available analytical techniques. The third section focuses on new issues in food toxicant analysis including food allergens and genetically modified organisms. The fourth section covers the analysis of organic food toxicants.

Flavour Science, 43

The flavour of a food is often the most desirable quality characteristic for the consumer, yet the understanding of flavour is a fascinatingly complicated subject, which calls for interdisciplinary research efforts. This latest volume presents the proceedings of the 11th Weurman Flavour Research Symposium and describes the most recent and original research advances related to the flavour of foods and beverages with contributions of experts from 25 countries world-wide.

For the above publications, contact: Customer Service Department, Elsevier B.V., 3 Killiney Road #08-01, Winsland House I, Singapore 239519. Tel: +65 6349 0222; Fax: +65 6733 1510



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