VATIS Update Food Processing . Mar-Apr 2004

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Food Processing Mar-Apr 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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VATIS Update Ozone Layer Protection Sep-Oct 2016
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Call for poultry vaccination

According to international animal and human health experts gathered for emergency talks at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a targetted vaccination campaign for poultry at risk of being infected by the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus may be required in heavily affected nations to control the epidemic from spreading. Issuing a series of recommendations after two days of discussions, the group of experts, which included representatives from the World Animal Health Organization and the World Health Organization (WHO), expressed that vaccinating animals is one method, along with culling and other priority measures, to contain the spread of the virus.

Delegates to the meeting agreed that targetted vaccination would help prevent animals falling ill and reduce the amount of virus present in the environment. Minimizing the so-called viral load would lower the potential of avian influenza spreading to humans, along with strict control measures like surveillance, elimination of infected birds, animal movement control and observation of basic hygiene in animal production. Experts voiced that the vaccination plan, using a vaccine that fulfils international quality standards, should be accompanied by clear monitoring and surveillance of the rapidly changing scenario. Recommendations issued by experts include the necessity for substantial international financial support to fund the intensified control measures required, including personal protective equipment and the creation of country-specific guidelines and regional coordination programmes. 


Seafood exports from India

India is one of the leading exporters of marine products and occupied the 16th place among the top exporting countries during 2001, as per statistics published by the Food and Agriculture Organization. The Indian government has initiated several steps to raise exports, including:
  • Imparting training to aquaculture farmers to adopt sound management practices to prevent outbreak of diseases;
  • Schemes for extending financial assistance to the seafood processing industry;
  • Expansion of aquaculture;
  • Steps for upgrading processing facilities to fulfil international standards of hygiene and quality;
  • Assistance to produce value-added products for exports;
  • Participation by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) in international fairs; and
  • Conducting overseas market surveys.

The government has also issued guidelines for operation of Indian-owned deep sea fishing vessels in the Indian Executive Economic Zone (EEZ). These guidelines allow import of deep sea fishing vessels by Indian firms for operation in the Indian EEZ to promote production mainly directed at exports. 


Upgrading meat sector in Korea

In the Republic of Korea, the government has presented the first draft of its plan for the livestock industry, as part of the countrys agreement to comply with the World Trade Organizations Doha development agenda. The key focus of this plan is increased commercialization of the industry, upgrading hygiene and safety standards, improved effectiveness of animal epidemic prevention steps and the development of eco-friendly products. It is planned that by 2013, 20,000 specialist livestock producers will produce 85 per cent of livestock.

The new draft measures foresee the government placing emphasis on competitiveness, environment, safety, branding and product differentiation. A focal point is the nurturing of specialized brands, and strengthening product grading and quality management. Apart from production aspects, the government will also attempt to increase consumption and demand for local products. 


Transatlantic database on pathogens launched

The worlds largest on-line database of information on how pathogenic bacteria respond to different environmental conditions in food has been set up. Scientists with the United States Department of Agricultures Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the United Kingdoms Institute of Food Research (IFR) have jointly established ComBase. The database is designed to help facilitate easier risk assessments and model development. It combines two software packages ARS Pathogen Modelling Programme software, a research and instructional tool to estimate the effects of multiple variables on growth, inactivation or survival of foodborne pathogens, and the Food MicroModel jointly produced by IFR and the Foods Standards Agency, which is used to describe bacterial responses to food environments. At present, the new database contains about 25,000 growth and survival data records.Microbiologists in academia, government and industry can submit data to ComBase, thereby eliminating unnecessary repetition of experiments among laboratories, improving models and standardizing data sources. 


Indian food exports to comply with new legislations

Exporters of food and animal feed will henceforth have to comply with a new legislation in the United States. The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act, 2002 came into effect from 12 December 2003. Making a presentation of the new law, the United States Agricultural Attache for India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka said that this was not a protectionist measure. He assured that the law would be applied equally to both domestic and imported products. The new set of regulation will include registration of food facilities, prior notice of imports by importers, maintenance of records of imports and administrative detention. 


China allows GM products

Chinas Ministry of Agriculture has awarded its first batch of safety certificates for genetically modified (GM) crops used for processing purposes in the country. This development is the result of a series of environment and food safety tests on seven GM crop strains from Monsanto Co., the United States. This first-ever approval for biotech products has broken down a key trade barrier between China and the United States. During the first five months of the current marketing year, soya bean sales to China reached 8.3 million tonnes, over a third of the total soya bean sales to all of the United States export destinations.

According to the Ministry, of the seven applications, five were granted safety certificates Roundup Ready soya beans, a version of Roundup Ready corn, YieldGard Corn Borer, Bollgard cotton and Roundup Ready cotton. The certificates are valid for 3-5 years. The other two, NK603 maize and Mon863 maize, were rejected. Processing is underway for another 11 applications from the United States-based DuPont and Dow AgroSciences, Bayer of Germany and Syngenta, Switzerland for GM rapeseed and maize. Seen by some as a strategy to control its import trade, China previously required traders to get temporary safety certificates, usually valid for a few months, if they had to import biotech grains. 


Russia lifts import duties on soya beans and corn

According to the American Soybean Association, the Russian government is not imposing import duties on soya beans, corn and fishmeal for nine months, starting 26 January 2004. The United States Department of Agriculture has reported that as feedstuff demand grows along with the livestock sector, this action will open up export opportunities for the nations agricultural products. The government of Russia has revoked the 5 per cent import duty on soya beans, corn and fishmeal in order to boost imports of feedstuffs crucial for the development of Russias poultry and livestock industries. 


China to combat insecticide residues on food

In China, the Deputy Director of the Market Circulation and Adjustment Department, Ministry of Commerce (MOC), has stated that though overall food safety in the country is good, problems such as insecticide residues on fruit and vegetables, and fake products persist in a few areas. In this regard, MOC is working with other ministries to establish a monitoring system. A network would collect and analyse data on food safety in slaughter houses, wholesale and retail markets.

China has promulgated over 200 laws, regulations or standards on food safety at national or regional levels, including two sets of new criteria on the wholesale and retail market for agricultural and related products. The government has expressed that a further 500 measures on food processing and distribution would be passed over the next five years. The latest initiative aims to highlight companies that maintain good records on food safety and hygiene, and to publicize on the Internet the companies that do not meet the criteria. 


Indian processed food exports

Indian food exports stand at about US$6 billion as against the worlds total of US$700 billion. Total food production in India is expected to double in the next ten years. According to latest official statistics, India exported processed fruits and vegetables worth around US$100 million in recent years. Horticulture production is about 120 million tonnes. There is an increasing demand, especially in the Middle East countries, for products such as pickles, chutneys, fruit pulps, canned vegetables and fruits, concentrated pulps and juices, dehydrated vegetables, and frozen fruits and vegetables.

Meat and poultry products are the other processed food products with great export potential. India ranks first in the world in cattle production, with 50 per cent of buffalo population and one-sixth of total goat population of the world. Compared with livestock, the poultry industry has registered significant growth. India ranks fifth in the world with an annual egg production of 1.61 million tonnes. India exports egg powder, frozen egg yolk and albumin powder to Europe, Japan and other countries. Poultry exports are mostly to the Maldives and Oman. Indian poultry meat products have good markets in Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Milk and milk products are rated as one of the most promising sectors suitable for foreign investment. 

Beverage and Food World, February 2004

New system to ensure food safety in Beijing

Health supervisory authorities in Beijing, China, will introduce a selective investigation system among catering companies in a bid to cut down on the increasing number of poisoning scares in the industry. Forty-two cases of food poisoning were reported in Beijing during 2003, involving 751 people. More than 85 per cent of these cases were caused by unhygienic practices in food processing.

The new system will classify catering companies into four grades based on their cleanliness and hygienic practices. This would first be applicable to hotels and restaurants. Food companies with good hygiene conditions and at low risk of food contamination and poisoning would get A-grade certification, while those classified as D will have to suspend operation and clean up their facilities within a fixed period of time or face permanent closure. HACCP hygiene management system, which has been applied to 57 food suppliers, would be extended to some other sectors, including dairy producers, and meat and vinegar companies. 


Food park scheme in India

The Ministry of Food Processing in India recently announced a new Food Park scheme as one of several measures to avoid wastage in the food processing industry. Each of the proposed park, with a basic grant of about US$725,000, would have a minimum of 20 food and processing units. New small and medium enterprises, which find it difficult to make capital investment, can make use of the facilities in the food park. Even the food packaging industry can avail itself of the scheme or function independently, but use the 25 per cent subsidy. Well-built infrastructure for vegetables and fruits, cold storage for milk processing, fish and meat products, and warehousing for rice and flour mills are some features of the Food Park scheme. Twenty such parks have already been identified.



Rapid ID system

In Australia, CSIRO Plant Industry has developed a simple high-throughput testing system which accurately identifies wheat and barley varieties. The new system tests leaf or grain samples using a panel of DNA markers. Each marker gives a yes or no result. The pattern of results generates an individual bar code for each strain. Designed to be simple and accurate, even for very closely related varieties, the system can easily process hundred of samples in a day, outperforming previous tests in accuracy and throughput. The wheat variety ID test is licensed by Agrifood Technology. 

Contact: Dr. Kevin Gale, CSIRO Plant Industry, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 6246 5317; E-mail: kevin.gale@; Or Ms. Sophie Clayton, Communication Officer, CSIRO Plant Industry, GPO Box 1600, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 6246 5139; Fax: +61 (2) 6246 5299



Advanced technology for colour control

John Morris Scientific Pty. Ltd., Australia, offers Lovibond range of colour measuring instruments, which includes two new reflectance colorimeters that provide spectral data for quality control of surface colour. Lovibond RT100 consists of a compact, hand-held spectrometer unit with an integrated measuring head for precision colour measurement and control of regular surfaces. Lovibond RT200 also incorporates a similar spectrometer unit, supplied with a flexible fibre-optic measuring head for colour measurement of small areas, challenging shapes, relatively inaccessible places, etc.

Both RT100 and RT200 combine advanced micro-spectrometer technology with the computing power of a PC. Results can be expressed in a choice of colour values and colour difference measurements. Key features of the Lovibond RT Colour Measurement System software, which works under MS Windows 95/98/NT, include:

  • Displays a choice of colour spaces or reflectance curves;
  • Allows input and selection of reference values;
  • Includes a verbal indication of colour differences; and
  • Averages multiple measurements.

Contact: Mr. David Proudlock, John Morris Scientific Pty. Ltd., Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 9417 8877




New MAP analyser

Niche Gas Products, Australia, offers a cordless single-handed oxygen analyser to check modified atmospheres in food packages. Oxybaby V is an ideal instrument for portable, fast and accurate sample testing of packed foods like meats, fish, sausages, dairy and bakery products, pasta, pizza and salads. Oxygen levels can be checked at any time by simply picking out a pack off the line and inserting a needle. Oxybaby V now has a needle protection device for improved OH&S. To record measurements, the device can be linked with the exclusive WITT-Logger software. Other features include full LCD display, improved ergonomic design, analysis via needle, integrated micro pump, easy-to-clean plastic case, automatic calibration and chemical measuring cell with a lifespan of about two years.

Oxybaby V oxygen analyser comes complete in a plastic carrying case, mains adapter, rechargeable batteries, two needles, two filters, 100 rubber seals, CD-ROM with WITT-Logger (demo version) and manual. It is made in Germany to BS EN ISO 9001. 

Contact: Niche Gas Products, Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 9484 1490. 


X-ray system to detect contamination

Applied Sorting Technologies, Australia, has designed and developed XR3000J X-ray contaminant detection system for inspecting products in glass jars. Based on the companys successful X-ray contaminant detection system, the new system can also be used to inspect block cheese and a variety of packaged foods. XR3000J can be installed immediately after the jar capping machine and directly on to the main jar conveyor line. It detects and removes any jars suspected of containing foreign bodies. Contaminants that can be detected include non-metallic fragments such as pieces of glass or stone below 3 mm in size, pieces of metal too small to be detected by conventional metal detectors and a variety of plastics and special purpose rubbers. In addition, this system can detect, at production sites, jars with improperly fitting lids and underfilled jars.

XR3000J is controlled by an embedded Pentium 4 processor running on Windows 98/2000/NT and operates unattended. Each filled and capped jar is imaged using low-intensity X-ray as it passes through the machine. The resulting images are analysed by the processor using a range of detection algorithms. An operator can call up the stored X-ray images of the rejected jars at any time and examine them visually. This can be done while the machine is still on-line, without disrupting its normal operation. The system complies with all relevant health and safety standards. Different inspection parameters can be set up for the various products to be inspected, ensuring the machine is always set up to optimum detection standards. 

Contact: Applied Sorting Technologies, Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 9850 7622. 

Food and Pack, November 2003

On-line detection method

Food Radar Systems AB, Sweden, has developed technology to detect most kinds of foreign bodies in foods. This breakthrough in on-line quality control of food products can detect contaminants such as glass, wood, plastic, bone, shells, cartilage, rubber, seed and metal. Foreign substances are detected in embedding material by transmitting low-power microwaves through the material. The transmitted microwaves are detected in such a way that the damping and run-time of the microwaves are available as measurement data. The near-field microwave radar can detect objects measuring 2-3 mm. 

Contact: Food Radar Systems AB, Stena Centre 1D, 412, 92 Goteborg, Sweden. 


UV disinfection

Haslington Cheese, the United Kingdom, has installed two ultraviolet (UV) disinfection tunnels to ensure all packaging surrounding cheese entering a high-care area is free of microbial contamination. The UV tunnels disinfect packed blocks of cheese before they pass into the high-care production area of the plant. According to Dr. Aidan Wilson, Technical Director, UV was chosen to keep the high-care area dry, thus ruling out the usage of chemical sprays or dips. Satisfactory experience with a duct-mounted UV unit set up in the air-conditioning system was another reason.
UV rays cause permanent deactivation of micro-organisms by destroying their DNA. This low-maintenance technology does not leave behind any residues on the disinfected material. 

Contact: Hanovia, 145, Farnham Road, Slough, Berkshire SLY 4XB, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1753) 515 300; Fax: +44 (1753) 534 277. 


Metal detector for mushrooms

The worlds largest fully integrated, single-site mushroom farm is located in the United States. Creekside Mushrooms site includes a 241 km labyrinth of abandoned limestone tunnels nestled 300 feet underneath the hills of southern Pennsylvania where 11.3 million kilogrammes of fresh mushrooms, including speciality mushrooms such as portabellas, shiitakes, oysters and enoki are grown every year and 2,036 acres above ground. The company developed a comprehensive food safety and HACCP programme soon after opening in 1994. The programme is designed to prevent any chemical, microbiological or physical contamination from occurring while growing, harvesting, packaging or shipping the products.

Creekside has also installed metal detectors to further ensure safety. Though mushrooms are harvested by hand and there is minimal exposure to metals, contamination could potentially occur when the mushrooms are sliced. Two Eriez E-Z Tec metal detectors were installed for the fresh cut mushroom packaging lines. These units are designed to detect even the most minute ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel metals. Creekside has added three more E-Z Tec metal detectors for its retail packaging lines. To ensure accuracy, each detector and rejection device is checked and its operation verified prior to start-up of the lines. 

Contact: Mr. Jeff Kaveney, United States of America. Tel: +1 (814) 8356 000




New technology reduces need for toxicity test

Researchers at DSM Food Specialities have come up with the Markergene-free expression system, which effectively makes it possible to insert any desired gene in an expression cassette, making efficient production feasible. DSM worked on the food-grade micro-organism Aspergillus niger that is used as a basis in the production of several food enzymes, including glucose oxidase, pectinase and glucoamylase. According to Dr. Gert Groot, DSM, the Markergene-free expression system for A. niger strains and production processes means that new enzymes can be produced without having any genetic markers in the production process. As a result, food manufacturers and other enzyme users can test and develop new enzyme-based products without the need for additional costly and time-consuming toxicity tests. 


Healthier soya oil

Researchers at ARS Soya Bean and Nitrogen Fixation Research Laboratory, the United States, have developed new germplasm using traditional breeding methods. Oil from soya beans bred from this line of germplasm could one day compete with olive oils front-runner position as highest in heart-healthy levels of monounsaturated fats. Oil from the germplasm line has less than half the highly unstable polyunsaturated fatty acids present in commercial soya bean oils. The germplasm will be a useful resource for breeding soya bean varieties suitable for different growing regions.

Oil from the new soya variety contains increased levels of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat stable enough for use in salad dressings or frying oils without treatment by the hardening process known as hydrogenation. Such hardening is achieved by chemically adding hydrogen to a chain of oil molecules. Hydrogenation serves as a stabilizer to make oils suitable for use in solid products like margarines, breakfast bars and baked goods. However, it also creates less healthy trans-fatty acids. 


Technology helps realize innovative products

Astaris LLC, the United States, offers Nutrifos line of technologies that provide poultry, meat and seafood processors as well as spice blenders the flexibility to quickly implement cutting edge flavour systems. The new procedures improve processing efficiency, consistency, moisture retention and flavour of poultry, meat and seafood applications.

As a core ingredient in marinades and spice blends, Nutrifos BC and 088 enable flavour systems to penetrate deep into the food product and enhance the consumers taste experience. Nutrifos BC dissolves concurrently with salt, unlike traditional sodium tripolyphosphates that require dissolution prior to the addition of salt. This shortens preparation and processing time, and eliminates a significant challenge in formulating complex recipes. Whether used in solution for injection, tumbling or soaking, or as part of a spice blend, Nutrifos technologies increase absorption of marinades into the muscle tissue of poultry, meat and seafood. This enables even and complete flavour distribution for a tastier product with excellent moisture retention. 


New antioxidant powerhouse

An international team of scientists have developed a new family to antioxidants that are up to 100 times more effective than vitamin E. Antioxidants are molecules that counteract the damaging effects of oxygen in tissues and other materials. In vitro tests on cholesterol molecules demonstrated that the new antioxidants protected LDL molecules from oxidation, an indicator to its potential use in the fight against the onset of coronary artery disease.

The team describes the changes made to a-tocopherol, which is a phenol containing a ring made of six carbon atoms with a hydroxyl group (OH) attached. In addition to attaching a nitrogen atom to the ring, a nitrogen atom was substituted for one of the carbon atoms in the ring itself. With both substitutions, the resulting molecules, called pyridinols, are expected to be more stable in air. Initial tests showed that pyridinols did indeed act as effective antioxidants. By attaching a chemical group that makes pyridinols greasy, giving them a chemical affinity for fatty acids, chemists then combined their antioxidants with low-density lipoprotein and found that they appear to protect LDL molecules from oxidation.

Chemists are currently working to make pyridinols that appear as much like vitamin E as possible. Another project aims to make pyridinols that are water soluble, unlike vitamin E. Water soluble varieties should perform a role similar to that of vitamin C, trapping and destroying water soluble free radicals.


New yeast products

Overseals Yesto-Seal range has been developed to either replace or work synergistically with yeast extracts. Through careful selection of inactive dried yeast blended with natural flavours, Yesto-Seal offers cost-effective yeast blends that provide excellent flavour and also overcome many of the processing issues associated with yeast extracts. The new range is targetted for use to enhance savoury flavours in snacks, seasonings, soups and sauces.


Edible adhesives

In the United States, researchers at ARS National Centre for Agricultural Utilization have developed a sugar-based edible adhesive for a beverage packing company. The company needed a strong, flavourless, fast-curing, food-grade adhesive that could bond drinking straws to a special holder that is lowered into beverage cans, cartons and bottles before they are filled and sealed. At this point, the adhesive should dissolve or else the straws remain fixed to the holders instead of rising freely when the containers are opened.

The team opted for sugar because of its availability, familiarity to consumers and widespread use in beverages. Sugar is mixed with water and various organic acids and the mixture is boiled until the sugar and acids bond, or cross-link, forming a dark yellow adhesive. Tests were undertaken with 10 different sugars, including sucrose, lactose and maltose, and 12 organic acids such as citric acid, malic acid and tartaric acid. Results have shown that the adhesives bond to wood, metal, leather, cloth, glass, plastic, paper and other materials. Exposed to liquids, the adhesives lose their grip in about 20-60 min.



Integrated food law

The Indian government is contemplating on an integrated food law to curtail and specify the residue limit for pesticides in food products. According to the Minister for Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry had prescribed MRLs for 71 pesticides, raising the total number of approved pesticides to 181. At present, new pesticides are not being registered and MRLs would have to be stringently calculated before approval. The government is also considering amending the Prevention of Food Administration Act (1954) and PFA Rule (1955) to make them more stringent. The government is advocating integrated pest management, including need-based and judicious use of pesticides, use of bio-pesticides and banning or phasing out of certain pesticides. 

Indian Dairyman, January 2004

India curbs import of vegetables and fruits

The Indian government has prohibited import of several seeds, fruits and vegetables from Africa, the Caribbean, South America and Sri Lanka, and forest plant trees from the United States because of the destructive pests and diseases carried by them. Plant material imports have been restricted to commercially significant crops like banana, potato, citrus fruits, cocoa, coffee, tobacco, cotton and coconut to official agencies only. Stringent new quarantine rules as well as sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) certification norms have been stipulated for flowers and products like rice, wheat, grapes, apples, pears, citrus fruits, peas, coffee, chick peas, cotton and tobacco leaves. In addition, governments in exporting counties have to certify that their shipments do not contain pests and weeds not present in India.

To ensure protection from destructive diseases and pests, India has banned imports of planting materials of bananas from Hawaii, Central and South America, the Philippines and Cameroon; cocoa from West Africa, Sri Lanka and Tropical America; coconut from Africa, the United States, Central America, Caribbean and Sri Lanka; coffee from Africa and South America; date palms from Algeria, the United States and Morocco; forest trees like chestnut from the United States and Canada, elm from the United States, Canada, the European Union and Russia, oak from the United States, pine from North America; potatoes from South America; sugar cane from Australia, the Philippines, West Indies and Indonesia; and sweet potato from Israel, the United States, South Africa, New Zealand and Nigeria. 

Beverage and Food World, February 2004

Russia plans import regulation

The Russian Deputy Prime Minister declared that, taking into account the situation on different markets for agricultural products, the work on improving the policy on customs tariffs will be continued to protect the nations agricultural producers from unfair competition. The proposed measures include regulating the import of sugar and meat, and increasing custom duty rates for meat imports outside quotas and to ban poultry imports outside quotas. A customs duty rate for sugar, which will automatically adjust depending on world sugar prices, is to be introduced for regulating the importation of raw sugar. In general, major plans of the Agriculture Ministry for 2004 include:

  • Introducing discounted tax rates for the agricultural sector on the basis of the new Tax Code;
  • Implementing a programme of financial reforms in the agricultural sector; and
  • Extending the programmes of loans, especially long-term loans, on the basis of interest rates subsidized by the government.


Nutrition claims law in Taiwan

A regulation on nutrition claims for conventional foods has been published in Taiwan, thus establishing criteria for certain nutrition claims. The types of claims are categorized into nutrition claims for appropriate need and supplementary intake need. Criteria are laid down for terms such as low, free, reduced, excellent source of, contains, rich in, etc. The regulations apply to conventional food only and not for foods in capsule and tablet form with limited daily intake labelling, health foods or special dietary foods.



Ozone system extends shelf-life of foods

BOC Industrial Gases has developed a range of controls using ozone and ultraviolet technologies, cryogenic gases and modified atmosphere packaging. One is a custom-built ozone wash system, which easy to install and operate, that integrates seamlessly with food processing operations. This system allows plants to incorporate a validated antimicrobial process. It pays for itself several times over in extended product shelf-life.

Fresh Mark, known in the United States for its Superiors brand and Sugardale wieners (frankfurters), hams, bacon, smoked sausage and deli meats, has set up two ozone systems as a centrepiece for the pathogen reduction programme at its meat processing facility in Ohio. The systems include an on-site generator to produce ozone from ambient air, dissolve the ozone in the plants process water and disperse it through a spray system directly on to unpeeled wieners and food processing equipment like slicing logs. The use of ozone improves pathogen control and extends the products shelf-life.



Measuring meat and fat composition in pork

A researcher at the United States Agricultural Research Service has developed technology to efficiently indicate how much lean meat or fat is present in a commercial cut. In lab-scale trials, dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) has accurately shown the composition of pork carcasses. This non-invasive and quick procedure utilizes X-rays of differing energy levels to scan for soft tissue of varying densities. The DXA instruments scanned carcass cross-sections at a speed of 0.0768 m/s, compared with the processing chain speed of 0.166 m/s.


Thawing meat and seafood

QuickThaw Technologies Pty. Ltd., Australia, offers an alternative to microwave and water tempering of meat and other foods. The Morep QuickThaw system is a specially designed wind tunnel using super high-speed turbine fans to move warm air over the surface of materials in a controlled pattern and at velocities not possible in a conventional cooler. The heat transfer process is monitored by a series of probes placed in and around the material. The probes feed back real-time temperatures to a PLC, which analyses the data, calculates the rate of heat rise in the material and changes the conditions in the sealed chamber adding more or less heat or cold, adjusting air speed, etc. to achieve the defined goal.

QuickThaw also enables the processor to define the limits of acceptable temperature rise. Once the defined core temperature is reached, QuickThaw automatically converts from an active thawing mode to passive storage mode, where the air speed and temperature are reduced to a point that heat transfer is suspended, enabling equilibration while holding the material at the proper process temperature indefinitely. Once the process ends, the entire thermal history of the product, from the time it was loaded into the chamber until it is removed, can be downloaded to a computer for HACCP or quality assurance documentation. 

Contact: Mr. Michael Sutton, QuickThaw Technologies Pty. Ltd., Australia. Tel/Fax: +61 (02) 9521 6416




Safer meat

Innovative technology developed in Australia has brought Traceable T-bones to the dinner tables of consumers in Japan. Following the Japanese governments announcement that meat trace-back systems must be set up in all abattoirs, Food Science Australia (FSA) facilitated an agreement whereby a meat industry IT specialist company, Thorsys Australia, supplied the required equipment to Japans Okinawa Meat Centre. Trace-back units use computer-based technology designed to record data about animals as they enter the abattoir. They produce documents and bar codes to track meat through processing to the consumer.

Contact: Mr. Terry Farrell, Thorsys Australia. Tel: +61 (07) 3371 2788; Or Ms. Rachel Jackson, Publications and Communications, Food Science Australia, P.O. Box 52, North Ryde, NSW 1670, Australia. Tel: +61 (02) 9490 8397; Fax: +61 (02) 9490 8499



Pork analysis made simpler

Agilent Technologies, the United States, offers a method that is particularly useful for high-throughput laboratories monitoring drug residues in food. Sulphonamides are broad-spectrum antimicrobials. Feed additives based on sulphonamide are the major cause of residue problems. The new method uses conventional equipment, requires minimal sample preparation and has a maximum injection cycle of 10 minutes.

Samples extracted using the new process, with acidified methanol, are centrifuged. A portion of the extract is diluted with water. Analysis of the dilution is conducted by high-performance liquid chromatography/atmospheric pressure chemical ionization/mass spectrometry (LC/APCI/MS) using an Agilent 1100 series LC/MS system. A statistically derived detection limit of 10-25 ppb is feasible for samples analysed by water dilution.



Automated conveyor for pasta

Industrial Conveyors Australia has installed an automated conveying system at Pasta Masters facility, in the chilling areas to cool the product core without freezing the outer pasta layers. The chiller/freezer spiral conveyor has raised the companys product handling operation by eliminating time consuming manual labour. A key benefit of the new system is the achievement of continuous product flow in controlled temperatures and conditions as well as reduction of manual handling. The spiral conveyors have been designed and fabricated in accordance with all current applicable codes, hygiene standards and Occupational Health and Safety requirements.

Conveyors run through a two-stage blast chilling process designed to maximize and circulate air around the product and to provide additional chiller dwell time. The conveyor speed is adjusted automatically with variable speed motors and specialized motor balancing systems. Conveyor speed ranges from 2-20 m/min. The system uses a 350 mm white acetal side flexing modular belt. A Clean-in-Place system that incorporates both water and air blower manifolds are provided to hygienically clean and dry the belt when necessary. 

Contact: Industrial Conveying, Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 5440 5100. 

Food and Pack, October 2003

Fruit pulp/juice processing line

Goma Engineering Pvt. Ltd., India, offers equipment suitable for processing juice and beverages. Fruits are inspected, sorted, washed and transferred to a roller conveyor so that unwanted fruits are removed manually. The sorted fruits are then discharged into a washing machine and subjected to peeling and cutting before being conveyed to the pulping section using slat or bucket elevator. Next, the fine pulp is pasteurized either through tubular/spiraflow type/scraped surface heat exchanger. The hot pulp is later fed to the filling section where it is filled into cans using a rotary pump filler. Other equipment used in this section include can seamer, body reformer, can lid sealing, hand flanging and data embossing machines. The filled cans are fed into retorts for sterilization of the product. Other range of products available include homogenizers, crate washers, sanitary pumps, high-pressure reciprocating pumps and plate heat exchangers. 

Contact: Goma Engineering Pvt. Ltd., L.B.Sastry Marg, Majiwada, Thane 400 601, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Tel: +91 (022) 2534 6436/0875; Fax: +91 (022) 2533 3634



Beverage and Food World, February 2004

Mini milk separator

MTC3 mini milk separator is Westfalias smallest production separator designed for use in the dairy industry. Ideal for farm installation, for milk and whey skimming, this system has a rated capacity of up to 600 l/h and can fit easily into any bench-top or its own foundation frame. All contact parts are made using stainless steel. It is easy to use, runs on 3-phase power and requires minimal maintenance. 

Contact: Mr. John Cook. Tel: +44 (1908) 576 512; Fax: +44 (1908) 311 384


Indian Dairyman, December 2003

Coating with breadcrumbs

Koppens BV, the Netherlands, offers equipment for coating foods with granular materials, such as breadcrumbs. This system comprises:

  • A rotating conveyor belt, which is permeable to the granular material and on which the food product can be held;
  • Guide plates beneath at least a section of the top part and bottom part of the conveyor belt;
  • A feed unit for the granular material;
  • Diverter means to guide granular material from the top part to the bottom of the conveyor and back;
  • Means for conveying granular material from the top of the conveyor to the feed unit; and
  • A divider plate to which granular material is fed from the top of the conveyor, situated between the top and bottom parts of the conveyor and through which selected granular material is fed to the bottom part of the conveyor.

Contact: Koppens BV, 5760 AA Bakel, the Netherlands.



Tamarind juice concentrate

Researchers at the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), India, has developed a process to manufacture a concentrate form of tamarind juice. Tamarind is used as a condiment in several culinary preparations. The new process involves extracting all the water solubles from the fruit pulp by boiling with water under optimum conditions, concentration of the clarified extract, under vacuum, to about 65-70 per cent solids and packing in suitable containers. The final product becomes quite viscous and sets to a jam-like consistency on cooling. Tamarind seeds available as a by-product could be converted into tamarind kernel powder, which is used for sizing in the textile industry. 

Contact: Mr. T.R. Prabhu, Head of Technology Transfer and Business Development, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore 570 013, Karnataka, India. Tel: +91 (821) 2514 534; Fax: +91 (821) 2515 453



Banana juice

An agro-food research assistant at the Pech-Rouge INRA Centre, France, has succeeded in manufacturing pure banana juice. Flash Detente technology comprises heating fruits to 90-95C and then subjecting them abruptly to extreme vacuum. This breaks down plant cells, thus facilitating juice recovery. The polyvalent process can also be applied to other fruits. Pure banana juice obtained (100 per cent banana without added water or sugar) presents all the characteristics of flavour and colour of fresh bananas, as well as their nutritional qualities.

Earlier to this breakthrough, it was possible to find only nectars, i.e. drinks comprising 25 per cent of banana pulp, water and sugar. A new company, Tropicaline, has been set up to exploit this recent innovation. Flash Detente technology is presently being employed for the pretreatment of grapes during the production of red wine. 

Contact: Ms. Nathalie Minatchy, France. Tel/Fax: +33 (4) 6875 0792




Automated labelling and tracking solution

Peacock Bros., Australia, has developed a solution for a customer who needed a processing and packaging system to identify individual palletized packaged products on a conveyor system and automatically apply two bar code shipping labels on opposite sides of each pallet. Each bar code contains EAN SSCC symbols with human-readable data. Before the pallet leaves the application area, all bar codes had to be scanned, verified and the data recorded into a SAP host database.

The solution devised by Peacock involves mounting two Weber 5200 printer/applicators on tripods with adjustable height settings and a variable reach arm that could travel up to 900 mm to adhere a printed label of 145 163 mm on the side of the shrink-wrapped pallet. Using Erwin Sick Rastor scanners, all bar codes were verified prior to moving the pallets into the dispatch loading area. An allowance was made within the application to apply a second label if the initial bar code label could not be read by the scanner. The end processing, packaging and labelling system solution proffered several benefits:

  • It removed double-handling of pallets to a single-step process;
  • Does away with the need for multiple manual paper work practices during the warehouse-to-prime mover processing packaging, verification and delivery steps;
  • Eliminated manual stock handling and sorting;
  • Enabled a quicker order to delivery time-frame, while reducing excess stock; and
  • It automated the accurate tracking and verification of products from warehouse to point of delivery.

Contact: Peacock Bros., Australia. Tel: +61 (1300) 723 282. (Food and Pack, October 2003)

Carton multipacker

KHS Maschinen-und Anlagenbau, Germany, offers an innovative packaging concept that provides top quality and maximum flexibility along with high savings potential. A decisive feature of the new Innopack CMP carton multipacker is that it eliminates the need for carton blanks to be delivered pre-glued. This initial processing step of forming multipack can be completed in the Innopack CMP. Another benefit is that buying the machine involves no obligation whatsoever to purchase cardboard packaging. Consumers can use variable cardboard packaging supplied by different manufacturers.

Innopack CMP processes all products that can be inserted into carton sleeves and can operate at speeds of up to 220 cycles/min. After pre-gluing and folding the cardboard blanks, the machine forms the carton sleeves by feeding the products through special allocation starwheels at a series of stations. Each of the allocation starwheels is equipped with its own independent drive, enabling the machine to react immediately and individually to any missing or faulty packaging. This ensures that the production flow is uninterrupted. 

Contact: KHS Maschinen-nd Anlagenbau, Aktiengesellschaft, Juchostae 20, D 44143 Dortmund, Postfach 105026, Germany. Tel: +49 (231) 5691 339; Fax: +49 (231) 5691 226


Beverage and Food World, November 2003

Can filling, seaming and sealing machines

Grabher Indosa Maschinenbau AG, Switzerland, is reputed for its reliable can filling, seaming, dosing and applying machines and production lines. Each production line is in tune with specific requirements of the consumer. Semi- and fully automatic seaming machines are offered by the company for round preserve cans, aluminium cans, tin cans and composite cans. The can seaming machine range includes systems for evacuating, gasifying and can seaming. The product feeding and filling systems offered include machines adapted for lumpy products, granulates, powders as well as low-flow products. They include:

  • Volumetric dosing machines (cup fillers);

  • Filling balances, vibrator channels;

  • Filling and compression device for tobacco in cans; and

  • Auger dosing machines with an integrated net weigher and check weigher.

The seaming machines also perform gluing-in or sealing-in cardboard bottoms into composite cans, closing glass jars with screw caps, fixing snap-on lids on cans, and inserting round/non-round plastic closures for aluminium, plastic and paperboard cartridges. Indosas sorting and feeding systems for insert and snap-on lids, caps, shakers and cans include slope conveyors, feeding canals, sorting devices, destackers, air cushion transportation, transference stations and conveying systems. The feeding and accumulation systems for cans include conveyors, accumulation tables, turning stations, rotation devices, lane distributors, palletizing and depalletizing of cans and glasses. 


New packaging system

Edale, the United Kingdoms leading manufacturer of flexographic printing machinery, offers its new dedicated packaging press Sigma. Based on its predecessor, the E430/510i, Sigma is a shaftless machine equipped with servo technology. It incorporates an ultraviolet (UV) flexo shrink sleeve application developed for high-impact container decoration. To guarantee heat management of the substrate, the system can be equipped with a water-cooled UV drying system.

The company also offers a 4-colour UV flexo Alpha unit producing a cosmetic label on self-adhesive PP. The press runs in conjunction with a Matho waste management system that chops and compacts the matrix. This system is also available with up to five colours and a range of options, including cold foiling. 


Snack packaging solutions

Langnese-Iglo, belonging to the Unilever Group, has launched a new packaging system that showcases the latest trend in smart packaging, where technology and design go hand in hand. Micro-Baguette is an example of the growing trend where smaller snacks, weighing typically under 150 g, are taking over from hamburger products. Langnese-Iglos 115 g Micro-Baguette system was originally designed to meet the quality and speed requirements of the snack food market. This packaging concept was created to guarantee crispiness of the contents as well as to be distinctive and make the product stand out from other package designs.
The package was developed with cooperation from Langnese-Iglos packaging development department (Germany), CC Pack (Sweden), Stora Enso (Finland) and Henry and Leigh Slater (the United Kingdom). CC Pack implemented the packaging concept, using Stora Ensos Trayforma board as the material for the tray. Special coated Trayforma is suitable for demanding applications where good formability and durability are needed, at temperatures from -40 to 230C. The inside of the board tray is laminated with susceptor film manufactured by Henry and Leigh Slater. Susceptor heats the baguette or pizza quickly, keeping it crispy while ensuring safety. This product is a lightly metallized PET film that converts microwave energy into heat. 


New horizontal packaging unit

Ulma Packaging, Spain, offers a new high-speed horizontal packaging machine equipped with a host of features, making it suitable for a range of food packaging applications. Atlanta Hi-Tech is ideal for installing on an automated packaging line, as the machine is equipped with three independent servo motors controlling the jaws, film feed and infeed section. This system can pack up to 400 units/min and works with a large variety of films, including BOPP, PVC, polyester cellulose, complex laminates and cold sealing films. These films, together with the ability to create a packaging length of about 90-450 mm and 10-250 mm wide, provide users with an exceptional level of flexibility. A touch screen control console allows for the storage of up to 50 different product parameters and provides status information, including adjustments, along with diagnostics. Also available is a full Windows-based system.

Atlanta Hi-Tech is suitable for packaging numerous items including meat, poultry, fruit, vegetables, sweets as well as a variety of durable products. The ergonomically designed system is simple to maintain, including a removable plate for easy cleaning. Operating as either stand-alone or part of a packaging line, the system is available with a range of different feed applications, including semi- and fully automatic as well as the range of Dakota high-speed infeeds. Other functions include longitudinal trim, double roll film holders and a motorized carrier through the sealing jaws. 


New filling and sealing machine

Packaging Automation, the United Kingdom, is set to unveil its latest filling and sealing machine that provides three key packaging functions in one. An integrated automatic denesting system enables pots and trays to be removed from the stack. Pots are automatically filled and then sealed using either a pre-cut lid (foil or polyester) or reel fed film lid. A closed loop monitoring system linked to a check weigher provides feedback to the machines PLC and in the event of underweight or overweight packs, it adjusts the fill volume automatically. A highly flexible pot handling and changeover facility allows for a wide range of different size packs to be accommodated.

Manufactured using stainless steel, the machine has been designed for easy cleaning; traditional bug traps are said to have been eliminated and the new model is compatible with most customers existing cleaning-in-place facilities. According to the firm, the systems high level of flexibility is expected to please producers of sauces, soups and ready meals for whom frequent product changeovers can hamper productivity. An optional modified atmosphere packaging facility also allows shelf-life of the products to be extended, where needed.


Beverage and Food World, October 2003


Cargill Dow, the United States, offers the latest technological development in the green packaging revolution, bio-plastic. The new packaging material, made from polylactide (PLA), looks just like plastic but is biodegradable. PLA is produced by fermenting the sugar in corn syrup into lactic acid; the acid is refined into spin fibres. Wild Oats Market Inc., the first grocery chain in the country to introduce this new addition to green packing, is promoting the technology by packing salads, desserts and deli products in bio-plastic containers.

In addition to food containers, PLA technology has already found a range of applications. Cargill Dows joint venture with Dow Chemical has successfully marketed the bio-plastics applicability in a broad array of bedding products such as mattresses, pillows, comforters and rugs. Additionally, emissions released during the production process is 15-60 per cent lower.



Pork DNA traceability programme

A DNA traceability programme for pork, developed by Maple Leaf Foods Inc. of Canada, offers the Canadian pork industry with a major competitive advantage. The new programme allows Canadian pork marketed anywhere in the world to be traced back to the maternal sow. DNA traceability provides assurance to consumers that they are getting the best pork from the worlds healthiest hogs, raised under the third-party audited Canadian Quality Assurance programme.

Maple Leaf worked with Pyxis Genomics Inc. in the R&D phase of the DNA traceability project for developing a panel of highly informative genetic markers. By combining well-proven fingerprinting technology, enhanced with its own innovation, Pyxis successfully developed a gene panel that provides the foundation for the pork traceability system, which can accurately and rapidly trace pork products back to the farm of origin. The system can also be applied for meat from other animals. Maple Leaf and Pyxis have chosen Orchid BioSciences to develop an assay for analysing the genetic marker panel and to implement a quality accredited laboratory process that will deliver rapid, high-throughput DNA analysis. Orchids proprietary genotyping and service testing expertise is expected to deliver cost-effective, accurate and rapid high-volume genetic analyses for animal food safety applications.

Contact: Maple Leaf Foods Incorporated, Canada.



Probiotic bacteria: A boon

Researchers at the University of California, the United States, report that the digestive system can derive the same benefit with the presence of DNA from probiotic bacteria as when live bacteria are present. Mr. Eyal Raz and colleagues studied the effect of probiotic bacteria on mice with colitis, a condition similar to inflammatory bowel disease in humans. They found that the bacteria were just as effective when inactivated with gamma radiation as when live cultures were used. A similar scenario was observed when mice were treated with a synthetic DNA molecule known as an immunostimulatory oligonucleotide, which mimics the effect of bacteria on the immune system.

This new discovery may allow the health benefits of probiotic bacteria to be incorporated into a range of different types of foods, or even pills and injections. Live bacteria are generally restricted to products such as dairy foods, since cooking or heating the culture kills them. According to Mr. Raz, live probiotics are not the best way to deliver the DNA.


Seeing the UV light

Ultraviolet (UV) rays inactivate E. coli bacteria by degrading their cell walls and DNA. Researchers have further uncovered that in direct contrast to pasteurization, the sensory quality of food products is not affected by irradiation. Also, inactivation of the bacteria lasted for the entire shelf-life of the product. Heat pasteurization often affects both the flavour and consistency of food. Scientists working on the project hope that this represents a breakthrough in the fight against foodborne pathogens.


Gene chip for the food industry

BioMerieux sa, France, has developed a version of gene chips, invented by the United States-based Affymetrix, aimed at food producers, processors and retailers who want to check the source of products or monitor food safety. FoodExpert-ID is sensitive enough to detect the difference between tuna caught in drift-nets, which also tend to kill dolphins, and alba tuna, the more expensive fish that is caught using a more eco-friendly method. The new chip can even differentiate between duck and goose meat. Implications for the food industry, which is now more responsive to demands for ethical and hygienic food, are enormous.

While Affymetrix has been able to put the entire sequence of the human genome on a single chip the size of a thumbnail, BioMerieux puts just a few genes on cheaper chips. FoodExpert-ID will be marketed and produced under licence from Affymetrix.

Contact: BioMerieux sa, F-69280 Marcy IEtoile, France. Tel: +33 (4) 7887 2000; Fax: +33 (4) 7887 2090.



Analytical Methods for Food Additives

Accurate measurement of additives in food is essential to fulfil both regulatory requirements and the need of consumers for accurate information about the products they eat. This book addresses the methods of analysis for 26 major additives, from azorubine and adipic acid to sunset yellow and saccharin. Each case reviews current studies to establish the best available methods and how they should be used.

Dairy Processing: Maximizing Quality

This book reviews key developments and their impact on product safety and quality. Part I summarizes the latest research on the constituents of milk, reviews how agricultural practice influences the quality of raw milk and delves into key aspects of safety. Part II reviews some of the major technological advances in the sector.

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



This book provides essential information in a concise format to help tackle day-to-day problems related with the shelf-life of foods. Topics covered include introduction to the shelf-life of foods, ways in which food deteriorate and get spoiled, mechanisms of deterioration and spoilage, moisture/water vapour shelf-life, frequently asked questions and much more.

Contact: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., c/o. Marston Book Services, P.O. Box 269, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4YN, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1235) 465 500; Fax: +44 (1235) 465 555



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