VATIS Update Food Processing . Mar-Apr 2007

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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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Chinese economy boosts food industry

Chinas food industry has grown a further 23 per cent during the first ten months of 2006, helped by a buoyant economy and supportive government policies. The total output of the food industry reached 2,000 billion yuan (194 billion) during the period, increasing by 23.17 per cent compared with the same time of the preceding year, according to data published by the Chinese Food Industry Association. The industry recorded a profit of 126.3 billion yuan (12.25 billion) for the period, up by 29.05 per cent on the previous year.

The food industry is one of the fastest growing industries in China. Mr. Wang Wenzhe, president of the Association, said that beverage is one of the best-performing sectors during that period. Its total production was 35.96 million tonnes, increasing by 22 per cent compared with the same time of last year. Investment in beverage sector has also surged to 41.614 billion yuan (4 billion), increasing by 58.7 per cent one of the highest in all the industries in China. Chinas GDP is expected to continue growing by 9.5-10 per cent in 2007, putting the industry in a good position for growth.


Viet Nams seafood exports surge despite barriers

Viet Nams seafood sector earned export revenues of US$3.36 billion in 2006, surpassing the annual target of US$2.8 billion, despite competitive pressures and new trade barriers, said the General Statistics Office. Seafood ranked fourth among the nine staple export goods earning US$1 billion or more this year. According to Deputy Fisheries Minister Dr. Nguyen Thi Hong Minh, Viet Nams seafood exporters profited from high prices of shrimp and fish in the world market and a slight increase in prices in Japan, the United States and other big markets. Moreover, demand for fish increased in European nations where seafood and fish exports were restricted. Exporting shrimps to the United States with low anti-dumping tariffs also helped reduce pressure on the seafood industry.

However, seafood processors and businesses had to face new trade barriers together with major changes in the trade policies of major importers. In 2006, Japans strict monitoring of all imported food products for food hygiene and safety and the antibiotic residue lawsuit filed in the United States posed serious challenges to Vietnamese seafood exporters. Deputy Minister Dr. Minh expressed confidence in the sector, noting that the country had gained important experiences in overcoming trade barriers and was well on the way in competing with products from other WTO members. He said that representatives of the United States Food and Drug Administration had expressed delight at the notable reduction in antibiotic residue in Vietnamese seafood test samples.


Lack of infrastructure hinders Indias food processing growth

Low availability of infrastructure facilities, lack of adequate quality control and testing methods as per international standards, and an inefficient supply chain with a large number of intermediaries are hindering the growth of Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the food-processing sector. A publication by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) in association with SME Rating Agency of India Ltd. on Emerging Food Processing SMEs of India reveals that companies were concerned by lack of infrastructure and institutional support.

There is still a preference for fresh food unlike the west. The absence of a proper cold chain is resulting in huge wastage. Annually, a wastage of US$13 billion is reported from India, said Mr. Kaushal Sampat, chief operating officer, D&B Information Services India. The publication is the third in a series dedicated to SMEs in India. A study of 262 SMEs (between the Rs 5 million to Rs 1,000 million segment) by D&B shows that the co-operation between small firms is limited.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the food processing industry is low at Rs 52.7 billion (US$1.2 billion) from 1991 to 2006 (November). However, the last five years witnessed an inflow of Rs 24 billion (US$545 million) of foreign investment. Mr. Sampat said FDI was picking up in the last couple of years. Brand consciousness among companies was high irrespective of size and 61 per cent of the exporting companies sold branded products while 55 per cent had quality certifications.


Pakistans seafood export falls

The depleting stocks of tuna fish as well as the under-performance of the traditional sector caused a decline in the seafood export from Pakistan in the first five months of the 2006-07 financial year, as compared with the corresponding period of the previous year. Seafood export, which performed exceptionally well in the last financial year by registering over 35 per cent growth on the back of a major catch of tuna fish, has been depressed since the beginning of 2006-07. In Jul-Nov of 2006-07, the seafood exports were down by 3.49 per cent, standing at US$79.15 million compared with US$82.012 million in the same period of the previous financial year. The quantity-wise exports also showed that there was more than 4 per cent decrease in the period under review compared with same period of last year.

There was a proposal to develop a national tuna corridor for maximum exploitation of the tuna resources in Pakistani waters; this, however, is yet to materialize due to reservations of the provincial governments of Sindh and Balochistan on giving tuna catch permission to the giant industrial fishing trawlers. The performance of the traditional sector was also not up to the mark, as there was reportedly less landing during the said period. The high cost of operation, especially high price of diesel, makes it uneconomical for the local boats to go for fishing.


Western foods driving demand for cheese in Korea

People in the Republic of Korea are consuming greater quantities of cheese, as foods like pizza, cheeseburgers and sandwiches become more popular among the younger generation. Imports of cheese are growing strongly and this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, according to a new report from the United States Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Republic of Korea has only two sources of local cheese production, and most local cheese products too are composed of imported cheese. The total cheese imports in 2006 are expected to increase by 18 per cent to reach 52,000 tonnes, says the FAS report. This follows on from total imports of cheese products worth US$144 million (44,032 tonnes) in 2005, an increase of 20 per cent from the previous year.

Local cheese production from local raw milk is constrained by the lack of manufacturing facilities and limited domestic milk production. The demand for gourmet cheese is also being boosted by increasing consumption of wine in Korea. The Korean wine market increased by 17 per cent in 2005 compared with the previous year and is up 37 per cent during the first eight months in 2006 compared with same period in 2005. This growing interest in wine and wine culture is likely to result in increased consumption of new-to-market and high quality cheeses, suggests the report. A variety of gourmet cheese is already imported for wine bars and high-end restaurants.


Sri Lanka makes virgin coconut oil in large-scale

Sri Lankan Coconut Oil manufacturers have just started their virgin coconut oil manufacturing process to grab local and international markets. At present, Sri Lanka has two mass-scale virgin oil manufacturers who are targetting the export market. The manufacturers say that at present, they have good demand from the United States and the United Kingdom, but they also promote virgin coconut oil in the local market.

Virgin coconut oil is fresh natural premium grade oil, pure and free of contaminants, and is not copra based. According to the local oil manufacturers, it is heat-stable and hence ideal as cooking oil. The virgin oil gives a distinct flavour and long shelf life to finished products. Medium chain triglycerides, a fraction of coconut oil, have been identified as an important medically efficacious food.

In the manufacturing process, fresh coconut meat is grated and pressed to produce milk. This mixture is allowed to ferment for approximately 48 hours, causing the solids and water content to separate from the oil. The oil is heated at a high temperature to remove the remaining moisture to a point that will prevent rancidity. The texture of this oil is medium to thick. Premium virgin oil is made by centrifuging the coconut milk using a proprietary process to separate the oil from the other components. This oil has a very light texture and since no heat at all is applied, it retains all the flavour and scent of fresh coconut. The facility producing this oil is ISO certified, HACCP certified and the oil is produced in a Kosher-certified facility.


Indonesian food and beverage exports gaining value

Indonesias food and beverage exports will grow by between 10 and 15 per cent this year, surpassing the US$2 billion in earnings forecast for 2006, according to the Indonesian Food and Beverage Producers Associations (GAPMI). Although demand for the countrys leading food exports like rice flour and canned fish tends to remain the same, the increasing prices of these commodities on the global market are raising the forecast increase in export value.

GAPMI, however, warns that Indonesian food and beverage products face difficulties in taking larger shares of their main markets in the United States and European Union owing to the high standards of those markets. It said that the government needs to send more trade missions abroad to introduce and do more to promote Indonesian products. Indonesias main competitors in the food industry are Thailand, Malaysia and Viet Nam.


Plan to boost Indian seafood exports in a big way

With global seafood market witnessing intense competition, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) of India has drawn up a vision plan for the marine products export industry to meet the US$6 billion target by 2015. Among the thrust areas identified are value addition, expansion of aquaculture, technological upgrading and tapping of unexplored resources. The nodal agency for export of marine product is studying the feasibility of setting up aqua-farming in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, said its marketing director, Mr. Kuruvilla Thomas.

Mr. Thomas said that seafood exports for the current fiscal year is estimated at Rs 72 billion (US$1.64 billion) with frozen shrimps constituting as much as 64 per cent of the value. While there had been a marginal increase in the quantity of frozen shrimp export during the period, all other major items like frozen fish, cuttlefish and squid showed a negative export growth in quantity terms. The Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture is commercializing new aquaculture technologies, while MPEDA is mulling to set up an aqua technology park near international airports.

According to Seafood Exporters Association of India secretary general Mr. Elias Sait, marine products export to the United States was badly hit in the first half of this fiscal due to the imposition of anti-dumping duty by that country. Exports to the United States fell by 23.4 per cent in quantity and 14.3 per cent in value in April-September period. The European Union remained the top exports market with 64,660 tonnes, valued at Rs 12.36 billion, a growth of 6.1 per cent in quantity and 28.7 per cent in value. Japan too is emerging a top export market.


Chinas food industry makes steady progress

The food industry of China is presenting a trend of good development yn recent years. Firstly, the industry has kept a fast and continuous development, with steadily increasing profits. The total industrial production value of Chinas food industry accounted for 7.9 per cent of the national total industrial production value. There are 4.78 million employees in the sector, a 6.9 per cent increase.
Secondly, the output of food has increased greatly, and products structure adjustment has seen more improvement. From January to November 2006, the main products of the food industry increased in output year on year: wheat flour, 29 per cent; edible vegetable oil, 17.6 per cent; fresh refrigerated meat, 27.4 per cent; dairy products, 22.8 per cent; beer, 14.4 per cent; and soft drink 22.2 per cent. The products structure in food industry was further optimized, and the proportions of deep-processed food increased at different extents.

Thirdly, the regional allocation of food industry was becoming rational, and a pattern of industry-cluster development formed gradually. Fourthly, the organization structure of enterprises was further optimized, and production concentration rose gradually. A group of leading food companies with strong market competitiveness developed and expanded, and became large enterprises with core businesses and core competitiveness. At the same time, the company ownership structure presented a trend of multiple development, product quality clearly improved and food safety level raised steadily.

Despite this flourish of achievements, Chinas food industry still lags when compared with the advanced level in the world. Firstly, the capability in transferring added value is low. Secondly, the proportion of high added-value products is low and the variety structure is unreasonable. Thirdly, food industry allocation is not yet rational and regional advantage hasnt got full play. Fourthly, the company scale is generally small, and industry organization structure needs to be optimized.


Viet Nams seafood enterprises to meet food safety standards

In Viet Nam, the Ministry of Fisheries has set a target that about 100 enterprises that process and trade aquatic products would meet its standards on food safety by 2010. The ministry will also increase the ratio of value-added products as well as the ratio of products with high-tech contents, striving for 65 per cent and 70 per cent, respectively, of the industrys export value. To meet these targets, the industry is now reviewing regulations concerning standards on food safety and aquatic veterinary in order to set up a suitable system of regulations.



DNA pathogen test that produces results within hours

Lumora, a biotech company in the United Kingdom, is developing a DNA-based pathogen detection system that will provide test results within hours. Tate & Lyle, which is funding the project, is aiming for a cost-effective sensor that will identify and measure specific food borne pathogens within a matter of hours.

Culture-based systems currently in use have detection times that range from three to five days. Once developed, the new sensor should provide processors real-time results in-house. Lumora has developed a detection system that uses a novel version of the luciferase gene, one that enables fireflies to glow in the dark. The presence of minute quantities of bacteria or viruses will cause samples to glow under highly sensitive cameras. The sensor will identify the specific type of pathogen contaminating a food sample, as well as measure the precise amount of contamination.

Although the focus of the development is to produce cost-savings and efficiencies to pathogen detection, there are multiple applications for the technology within the food sector such as the detection of minute quantities of GM ingredients in products, the company said. The system could be effective in combating growing levels of food fraud by assessing the provenance of natural food ingredients.


New sorting system for better grain-based foods

Most common technological approaches to sorting grain, seeds and other small particles involve detecting size, colour or density. While these are effective to a large extent, there are certain characteristics of wheat grains, for example that cannot be detected by these methods but have an important impact on quality. Wheat kernel composition is closely related to final product quality, and while plant breeders are actively developing tailor-made grains with novel starch and other characteristics, these factors still vary widely even within a single plant.

Under a EUREKA project, BoMill AB based in Sweden and Cimbria Heid based in Austria have devised a system for sorting wheat grains and the like based on internal content, not external appearance. The TRIQ Sorting system involves capturing individual particles, in this case wheat grains, in little pockets on the inside surface of a specially equipped cylinder, sort of like the drum of a clothes washing machine, Mr. Bo Lfqvist, CEO of BoMill, said. The grains are irradiated individually with infrared light and the reflections analysed by a specially designed detector. From there, the grains are shot out by bursts of air into appropriate receptacles. The cylinder rotates and the next batch of grains is analysed. The system is capable of sorting, with a high degree of accuracy, up to two billion individual wheat kernels per hour.


Test aids sugarcane extraction

A scientist from the United States Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Dr. Gillian Eggleston, has developed a new test to aid sugar processors in the difficult task of extracting the substance from raw sugarcane. She developed the process after examining operations in sugarcane factories and researching the difficulties encountered when bacteria damages the cane.

Bacteria feeding on damaged stalks of sugarcane produce dextran a thick polysaccharide that interferes with the process of extracting sugar from the plant. Traditionally manufacturers have used enzymes to eradicate dextran, but with variable success rates owing to their unpredictable performance. The Eggleston titration method, the new test developed, determines enzyme potency and how best to apply it during processing. At those factories in which the method was trialled there was a 95 per cent reduction of dextran.


Salmonella DNA test returns faster results

A new Salmonella detection system that uses genetic profiling to analyse food samples could slash result times, claim researchers from the University of Basque Country in Spain. Conventional microbiological techniques can take up to week, resulting in either costly delays in processing plants or expensive recalls if perishable foods shipped prior to result confirmation are found to be contaminated. The new system can determine Salmonella contamination within 24 hours.

Scientists have totally sequenced several strains of Salmonella, and certain genes have been found unique to Salmonella. Limiting system searches to those genes reduces the time in which results can be confirmed, the scientists said in revealing details of their work.

However, the drawback of conventional testing of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is that it is stable and therefore present even when the harmful bacteria are destroyed using pasteurization or sterilization. The university researchers claim that the new system looks for messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), which is an unstable and easily degradable molecule and produced only when the bacteria is active. The researchers have designed a procedure to extract this mRNA from food samples.

The mRNA sample taken is transformed into DNA by means of inverse transcription. The DNA copy created is then detected by probes previously developed by the university. The probes are DNA chains complementary to the Salmonella genes marked with a fluorescent compound. If the DNA copy and the complementary DNA unite, the fluorescent compound emits a signal detectable in real time. The device also enables quality controllers to determine the number of Salmonella cells present in the food sample.


Portable devices to ensure food safety

At the United States Agricultural Research Service (ARS), scientists are developing portable inspection devices that detect food safety and quality problems. Scientists led by Dr. Yud-Ren Chen at the ARS Instrumentation and Sensing Laboratory, Beltsville, are designing portable inspection devices by adapting optical technology used for remote sensing of the Earth. Prototypes include binoculars with lenses that detect contaminant or quality defects on meat, produce or processing equipment. A camera/light combination can be fitted to a helmet or hand-held device to expose contaminants, such as faecal matter, as white specks on an eyewear-mounted computer display.

The portable devices are the next stage for a team that recently handed industry a prototype of an on-line imaging system for chicken inspection. Next will be a similar system for inspecting fruits and vegetables. Dr. Stephen Delwiche and colleagues working at the ARS Grain Marketing and Production Research Centre, Manhattan, have succeeded with high-speed optical inspection of wheat and other grains, detecting protein content as well as mould. At the ARS Sugarbeet and Bean Research Unit, East Lansing, Mr. Renfu Lus team uses laser beams to judge taste, firmness and other quality aspects of fresh produce.


DNA fingerprinting promotes food safety

Identifying individual animals is vital to controlling diseases, and monitoring international imports and exports. Highly specialized genetic markers, developed by the scientists at the United States Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Meat Animal Research Centre are helping to improve animal identification and parentage testing. The most common type of genetic marker present in cattle is the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). The scientists have already identified 122 specialized parentage SNPs and annotated more than 1,600 neighbouring SNPs. This knowledge has raised the accuracy of parentage and identification tests.

Using genetic markers, scientists can generate molecular fingerprints to match multiple samples from one animal. DNA-based technology is an effective complement to physical markers and can clearly identify animals in situations in which physical markers cannot. DNA can be obtained and analysed from cattle at any stage of life, as well as from fresh, frozen or cooked products. SNP identification has become more easy and cheaper.

Testing procedure typically costs about US$0.02 to US$0.20 per SNP, and could eventually decrease to less than US$0.01. Lower costs could enhance animal health and food safety by promoting widespread use of SNP genotyping in cattle.



Sugar-gelatin alternative to pure gum Arabic

Dr. Vikas Kaushik and Dr. Yrj Roos from University College Cork, Ireland, have investigated gum Arabic, sucrose and gelatin in various ratios for the encapsulation of limonene, the major flavour in orange oil. A matrix of sucrose, gelatin and gum Arabic could encapsulate citrus flavours and offer a potentially cheaper alternative to pure gum Arabic in the encapsulation process.

Of the two previously reported concentrations of limonene encapsulated using the freeze-drying technique, the 9:1 (total solids:limonene, w/w) concentration resulted in the highest retention in the matrix. In the current study, with an encapsulation matrix consisting of equal measures of gum Arabic, sucrose and gelatin (1:1:1, w/w/w), 84 per cent of the limonene could be encapsulated. Electron microscopy revealed that the freeze-dried product was a dent-free, flake-like structure resistant to shrinkage. High retention levels of limonene in freeze-drying might be achieved by homogenizing the emulsion containing gum Arabic-sucrose-gelatin (1:1:1) at a single stage pressure of 100 MPa.


Natural sugar with low glycaemic index

Horizon Science, Australia, with backing from BioPacificVentures, New Zealand, has developed a technique for retaining higher amounts of natural the sugarcane polyphenols from parts that are normally discarded during processing. The innovation, which taps a growing trend towards the development of low glycaemic index (GI) products, could help control the diabetes epidemic sweeping the two nations.

The company claims that the end result is a totally natural sugar, with a GI of 51, which is about half the rating of glucose (GI: 100) and almost 25 per cent lower than that of white sugar (GI: 65). GI is a measure of how quickly certain foods release carbohydrates into the body, which then raise consumers blood glucose levels.

High GI foods cause blood sugar levels to rise more rapidly. A number of studies suggest that a low GI and slowly digestible carbohydrate can contribute to the prevention of obesity and diabetes. The new ingredient can be used in cooking and baking like ordinary sugar, whereas artificial sweeteners often need recipe changes, according to Horizon Science.


Cheaper lycopene from tomato waste

In Italy, BioLyco has patented, in collaboration with the University of Rome, a process for producing lycopene oleoresin from tomato processing waste, which could lead to a cheaper source of the natural carotenoid and spur its use in more areas. Lycopene is an antioxidant carotenoid that has been researched for its role in cancer risk reduction (particularly prostate and digestive tract cancers), heart health and skin protection. It is used as a health ingredient in foods and supplements, as well as a natural red food colouring.

A further element in keeping ingredient costs down is due to the low operating costs, thanks to the processs near-ambient temperature and atmosphere. The process is based on a mixture of solvents approved for use in food use, and involves very few steps separation of the seeds and peels, followed by milling of the former and lycopene extraction from the latter. Peel is said to have five times more lycopene than tomato pulp, enabling high yields. Tomato meal from the milling and lycopene extraction steps is a useful animal feed, while the tomato seed oil resulting from the milling process is rich in unsaturated fatty acids.


Cost-effective solution to protect meat flavour and taste

European ingredients giant Danisco has introduced GUARDIANTM Green Tea Extracts, selected specifically for outstanding anti-oxidative properties on heat-treated meat and poultry products. Green tea is traditionally positioned as a flavour agent used mostly in beverages. Danisco is the first ingredient company to use its anti-oxidative properties to effectively protect the shelf life of meat and poultry products.

According to data from Danisco Food Protection Centre, GUARDIAN Green Tea Extracts have demonstrated flavour performances on meat products that are superior than synthetic antioxidants such as BHA. Furthermore, this new range is also very cost-effective compared with other natural solutions and brings a healthy and natural brand image to meat products.


Pectin from sugar beet

To boost profits for sugar beet growers and processors, scientists from the United States Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are developing new processes to efficiently isolate beet pectin and associated polysaccharides, and find profitable uses for them.
Pectin, which can be found in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables, is a polysaccharide, often used as a gelling agent and fat substitute.

Most commercial pectin is extracted from citrus peels, but sugar beet pulp is an untapped source with great profit potential. ARS researchers are investigating how the chemical features of sugar beet pectin could expand the pulp market. They have also found ways to improve the extraction process. Extracting pectin from plant material takes an hour or more using conventional heating methods. The scientists developed microwave and steam-injection techniques to heat fruit peels with acidified water in pressure-resistant containers. These methods can extract high-quality pectin within 10 minutes, using less energy.

ARS scientists are also researching new uses for pectin. In one study, plant physiologist Mr. Arland T. Hotchkiss, Jr. and colleagues demonstrated that pectin fragments from orange peel could promote health by increasing the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria in the large intestine.


New emulsifier low in trans fats

Cognis Deutschland, Germany, has introduced a new emulsifier with very low trans fat content Nutrisoft 55. In addition to replacing the saturated standard emulsifier, the new product also increases the stability and quality of prepared foods. Nutrisoft 55 is a distilled monoglyceride based on partly unsaturated vegetable fat, and contains less than one per cent trans fats. As such, it is more acceptable to health-conscious consumers and nutrition experts.

Nutrisoft 55 also enhances the appearance and quality of food. When used in bread or yeast-raised products, for example, it interacts with the starch to improve crumb softness and increase bread volume to significantly enhance the products overall appearance. It also stabilizes the helical structure of starch: this slows down the staling process, and greatly increases the shelf life of bread. In ready-to-eat (RTE) mousse desserts, the emulsifier bestows a more stable texture and structure, and increases the product volume. Nutrisoft 55 has an iodine value of about 25, and is supplied as a free-flowing powder yet it provides superb extrusion and heat-shock stability in ice cream.


Thicker groundnut flour for better texture

New findings by the United States Agricultural Research Service (ARS) about the thickening capacity of various forms of groundnut (peanut) flour are expected to help scientists improve food textures. Groundnut flour is a dry powder formed after the partial extraction of oil from the roasted seed. It is used to add flavour and protein to processed baked goods, nutrition bars and snacks, as well as to marinades, sauces and dressings. Worldwide, groundnut flours have been limited to use by industrial food processors as a major food ingredient.

The study was conducted by food technologist Dr. Jack P. Davis and his colleagues in the ARS Market Quality and Handling Research Unit at Raleigh. To determine how effectively different commercial groundnut flours thicken during heat processing, Dr. Davis team used different types of rheological tests. Rheological measurements involve testing the flow behaviour and changes in the form of a material and have been shown to directly relate to the human perception of texture. Generally, groundnut flours are offered at fat levels of 12-28 per cent, and as light, medium or dark roasts. The scientists found that regardless of roast colour, lower-fat groundnut flours thicken more effectively than higher-fat ones.



Subsidy in Sri Lanka for HACCP Certification for tea

In Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Plantation Industries has launched a subsidy programme for food safety certification based on HACCP. Up to 60 per cent of the cost incurred in obtaining quality certification from agencies approved by the Ministry will be reimbursed under this scheme. The scheme also focuses on encouraging qualified and accredited service providers for certification and group training to support certification activities.

The ISO Forum of Sri Lanka Association for Quality has welcomed the scheme as a strong move to encourage internationally acceptable certification so that the Ceylon Tea will continue to hold its traditionally strong market position. The Forum said it had highlighted certain unacceptable practices in food safety certification and the Ministrys intervention will be a very important step in tea exports promotion.


Korea to bring trans fats standard

The Republic of Korea will require all food-related companies to list the content of trans fats, substances that are believed to contribute to heart disease and other ailments, on product labels from December 2007. Ahead of the implementation of this requirement, the Korea Food and Drug Administration plans to map out a standard during the first half of this year. The listing of trans fats content is now required for all packaged food products in Canada, Denmark, the United States, etc. Early this year, Republic of Koreas major confectionary companies decided not to use trans fats in their foods.
Lotte Confectionary has banned trans fats in all of its products in line with United States standards, which say that if a packaged food product contains less than 0.5 g of trans fats per serving, the label will be allowed to read zero trans fats. Starting 12 January, Lotte will also have trans fat content labelling on all its products.

Rivals such as Haitai Confectionary and Crown Confectionary said they would follow suit soon. Other food companies have begun to sell products with less trans fats. Bread chains such as Paris Baguette, Crown Bakery and Tous Les Jours have used cooking oils with less trans fats since late last year. Dunkin Donuts changed its shortening to one with a low amount of trans fats. Fried chicken and fast food chains have also changed their cooking oils.

Mr. Yang Si-cheol, a manager of cooking oil manufacturer Lotte Samgang, claimed, We developed a technology to reduce trans fats in 2005. Currently, cooking oils produced in South Korea have almost no trans fats. However, there is no public organization in the country to inspect or supervise the use of trans fats, which makes it difficult to certifying the level of trans fats. Some firms have asked non-official organizations such as the Korea Food Industry Association and Korea Food Research Institute to certify their level of use of trans fats.


Viet Nam cracks down on chemicals in seafood

The use of banned chemicals and antibiotics in the production and processing of seafood for export must be more strictly regulated, according to a decision issued by the Prime Minister of Viet Nam. Government Decision No. 05/TTg-NN orders food quality and safety administrators, the Ministry of Fisheries and its agencies to closely inspect seafood products and exports of enterprises that have been earlier warned about the use of banned chemicals and antibiotics in their products. These agencies must also ensure the enforcement of regulations on seafood safety and hygiene at fishing ports, warehouses, places of preserving and processing export seafood, and aquaculture farms to ensure quality and food safety in all stages of the process from catching and rearing seafood to processing and exporting it.

The decision requires the Ministry of Fisheries to increase efforts to provide information to farmers and fishermen on banned chemicals and antibiotics and guide them on safer alternatives. It also requires the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Trade, Health and Industry, as well as customs offices, to more closely regulate the import, trade and use of chemical additives and antibiotics. Representative offices abroad of the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade are directed to collect information about seafood safety and quality standards in foreign markets.


Philippine standards for ethnic foods

Filipino ethnic food products are gaining acceptance in foreign markets especially those with sizeable Filipino communities. Through such communities, foreign nationals are also beginning to appreciate these foods. This has prompted the Department of Science and Technologys Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERD) to extend a menu of support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in product development, appropriate packaging, and quality and safety assurance.

PCIERD recently tied up with the University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Home Economics to undertake a project to develop standards for selected ethnic food products. This project is supported by the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. The project, dubbed as Development of standards for selected ethnic food products, also aims to upgrade and harmonize domestic requirements and enhance SMEs capability to meet export requirements and access world markets. It has set as priority previously identified indigenous products such as mango and calamansi (musk lime) beverage products, and heat-processed fish. Standards for coconut water and rice noodles will also be drafted.

A technical working group (TWG) composed of experts from various government agencies was organized to prepare draft standards and recommend codes of practices for different ethnic food products. The TWG-developed standards for these products are expected to be adopted as national standards by regulating and implementing agencies. This will provide a technical guide for local processors to ensure the quality and safety of ethnic food products. The standards would also help provide leverage against technical barriers to trade, competitiveness, and market acceptance to local ethnic food products better.



Onion extract improves shelf life of sliced meat

Researchers from the Food Science Department at University College Dublin (UCD) Ireland, report that a brined onion extract significantly reduces lipid oxidation in turkey rolls over seven days of storage and improves flavour. They prepared a brined onion extract, tumbled the turkey breast meat in the liquid, and then packed into plastic casings and sealed. The researchers report that 50 per cent brined onion extract reduced oxidation of the fat in the meat by about 25 per cent, compared with control (10 per cent brine).

The content of quercetin, the main onion antioxidant, was found to decrease by an initial 65 per cent in freshly cooked rolls compared with raw rolls, but then did not change significantly further during storage. A 30-member sensory panel expressed a preference for the onion extract product when 4 mm thick meat slices were stored in air for 24 hours.


Preservation system for fruits and vegetables

Agrofresh Inc., the United States, has reported the success of its SmartFresh fruit and vegetable preservation system. SmartFresh uses 1-methylcyclopropene, which is effective against ethylene, a ripening agent that causes fruits to soften. A small amount of SmartFresh powder introduced into water will dissipate into the air completely within 24 hours, leaving no residue. An amount the size of a small sugar package is enough to treat up to three million apples with the edible coating, claims AgroFresh.

SmartFresh has a particularly positive effect on sensitive apple varieties, claims AgroFresh. Recent tests in France and Belgium with apples such as Golden Delicious, Gala and Jonagold showed that, in storage and after a shelf life varying from one to three weeks, SmartFresh-stored apples were firmer than cold-stored apples to varying degrees: 15 per cent for Golden Delicious to 41 per cent for Gala.


Natural extract prevents meat oxidation

Lipid oxidation is a major problem in the storage of fatty foods because it can affect taste, colour, smell and nutrient content, and even generate toxic compounds after a time. Processed meat and poultry are especially susceptible to oxidation. Aqua Liquid OriganoxT, from Rad Natural Technologies of Israel, is an all-natural extract derived from edible labiatae species such as oregano and lemon balm, and is a natural solution to prevent lipid oxidation of meat. It can be used for both processed and packaged fresh meats and is specifically designed to counter the effects from brine injections, tumbling or spraying.

Unpleasant flavours in pre-cooked and meat analogues, such as hamburger and breaded nuggets, accumulate during storage and cooking. When frozen or chilled meat is reheated warm-over flavours (WOF) develop. Processors disguise these effects by added flavouring, which alters the taste of the final product. OriganoxT completely eliminates WOF. It absorbs free radicals generated during cooking and prevents rancid flavours.


Cold sterilization of milk

Dr. G.P. Agarwal from the Department of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IITD), has developed a filtration technique for the cold sterilization of milk from cow and buffalo. Microfiltration removes contaminating bacteria and spores and substantially increases the shelf life of the processed milk. Inorganic membranes used for microfiltration have a working life of more than 10 years.

Microfiltration technique is quite superior to the conventional thermal techniques. Spores removal using microfiltration is better than any other technique. As the processing conditions required for microfiltration have been optimized by IITD to reduce operating cost, the method will be attractive economically.

Contact: The Managing Director, Foundation for Innovation & Technology Transfer, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110 016, India. Tel: +91 (11) 2685 7762; Fax: +91 (11) 26851169




Instant Darjeeling tea

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Khargpur (IITK) have developed a method to brew instant Darjeeling tea, just like instant coffee. While 2.5 g of tealeaves can brew one cup of tea, the same amount of soluble tea can make six cups. The patented recipe uses ground fresh tealeaves, 60 per cent of their juice and enzymes, and a chemical (polifinatic) to add flavour and colour similar to regular tea powder. The extract is fermented for an hour in a controlled chamber at 30-35C temperature. After the oxidation process, new compounds are formed, and the green juice turns coppery brown. This juice is then dried in refrigeration to get soluble tea powder. With this process, 1 kg of fresh tealeaves can yield 25-30 g of soluble tea powder, and 230 g of black tea. The total cost for companies to produce the instant tea would be about Rs 100,000 to set up a grinder, a temperature-controlled chamber and a refrigerated dryer.


Health beverage solutions

Flavoured Water ENRICH, part of the obesity and weight management platform, provides excellent levels of fibre, protein and calcium. It is suitable for lightly carbonated or still flavoured waters. Flavoured Water ENRICH prototypes include B vitamins, besides vitamins A and E, as well as various minerals. The added protein and fibre aids satiety, helping people to feel fuller for longer and reduce snacking between meals. SPLENDA Sucralose used in the ingredient system reduces the need for added sugars and lowers the calorie count.


A milk beer called Bilk

Abashiri Beer, a brewery in Hokkaido, Japan, has succeeded in producing a low-malt beer with milk. The drink, called Bilk, is one-third milk and it reportedly has a fruity flavour. The drink has been viewed as a good way to use up milk in the town and its brewers hope Bilk will be popular among women. The idea for the drink was conceived after dairy firms threw out a huge amount of surplus milk in March last year. Since milk has a low boiling point, the brewery took care to control the temperature during the boiling process so that it wouldnt boil over. After they put beer yeast and hops into the drink and began the fermenting, the beverage looked and smelled like tea with milk. However, when fermentation was complete and the drink cooled down, it had the same colour as beer.


Flavoured tea

The Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) has produced flavoured tea using cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pineapple and calamansi (musk lime) as flavourings. The flavoured tea which comes in easy-to-open tin cans can be marketed as a health product for niche markets, as tea and spices with phytochemical properties are beneficial to health.

MARDI now offers the technology to those interested in setting up a soft drink/ beverage factory or those already with a canning line for canned products. Capital investment required for a production facility with 6,000 cans/day capacity is about US$117,000 and the working capital for half-year operation would be about US$29,000. Payback period is 30 months at an internal rate of return of 59.2 per cent.

Contact: Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, P.O. Box 12301, General Post Office, 50774 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tel: +60 (3) 8943 7111; Fax: +60 (3) 8948 3664.


Ready-to-drink creatine product

Atlantic Multipower Germany, Europes leading supplier in the sports food sector, is introducing Crea Max, a ready-to-drink creatine product. The cranberry-flavoured Crea Max contains 4.6 g of creatine citrate, a natural dietary supplement, which enhances the performance of those engaging in activities involving intensive muscle workout. The drink comes in 429 ml cans; creatine was previously available only in tablet or powder form.

Using the wedge, an airtight and watertight plastic capsule incorporated in FreshCan technology from the beverage can maker Ball Packaging Europe, the creatine is freshly mixed with the drink when the can is opened. FreshCan enables sensitive ingredients that quickly lose their effectiveness in an aqueous environment to be stored in a dry state until use. Scientific studies have shown that creatine is not stable in normal beverage products. The longer it is in contact with the liquid, the greater the loss in effectiveness, explains Dr. Ralf Jger, Vice President Marketing & Sales at Degussa Fresh Tech Beverages, co-developer of FreshCan packaging. Degussa is a leading producer of creatine, which is sold under the brand name Creapure.



Fryer designed to handle trans fat-free oils

TFF-IV Fryer from FMC FoodTech, Sweden, is built to address the trend towards using non-trans fat oils. The fryer combines the companys Thermofin heat exchanger technology with its MX series centrifugal filtration system. The electro-polished fin construction of Thermofin heat exchanger prevents sediment from sticking, while the MX filtration system filters out suspended flour particles as small as 5 m. A second filtration system the sediment conveyor belt runs opposite the product path, filtering out particles at the infeed so that they do not travel through the fryer and burn, causing further deterioration and off-flavours. Thus, the TFFs heat-transfer system helps keep the build-up of free fatty acids to a minimum. A reduction in the height of the heat exchanger results in an eight per cent decrease in oil use throughout the entire system, according to FMC FoodTech.

TFF-IV has dual exhaust vents in the hood one at the infeed and one at the discharge. The design creates a uniform steam blanket over the top of the cooking oil, reducing oxidation and providing a measure of insulation from the surrounding air. It results in a temperature-equalizing effect along the length of the fryer. The smaller diameter exhaust fan size cuts down on the amount of oil being pulled out of the fryer, the company stated. Other features include all-stainless steel exposed motors, external adjustments for the top submerger and the Teflon slat belt, and an electric lift system.


Jelly moulding machine

The jelly moulding machine, from the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), is specifically meant to mechanize a few processes that have been identified as most critical in terms of labour intensiveness and requiring the most attention during processing. The machine performs the following functions:
  • Filling of starch flour into the moulding trays;
  • Printing of moulds onto the moulding flour;
  • Depositing of jelly into the printed moulds, and
  • Sprinkling of a thin layer of starch flour to cover the exposed surface of the deposited jelly.

The machine has a processing capacity of 92 kg/day of confectionery jelly. In comparison with the manual production method, this machine provides for more consistent product quality, higher production output and lesser manual handling.

Contact: Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, P.O. Box 12301, General Post Office, 50774 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tel: +60 (3) 8943 7111; Fax: +60 (3) 8948 3664.


Ultrasonics improve soy processing

Laboratory tests carried out at the Iowa State University, the United States, have shown that addition of ultrasonic treatment to soy processing increases the release of soy proteins by 46 per cent. The treatment also boosts sugar yields by 50 per cent. The researchers exposed ground and defatted soy flakes to ultrasonics, to increase the release of soy proteins and break some of the bonds that tie sugars to the soy proteins. Separating the sugars from the proteins improves the quality of the proteins, and boosts the sugar content of the soy whey.

The researchers will now try lab tests to see how the technology works in continuously flowing stream that would be used in a soy processing plant. The researchers are optimistic the technology can be effective and efficient in a full-size soy processing plant.


Cooker-cooler reduces change-over downtime

Lyco Manufacturing, the United States, claims its new Clean-FlowTM technology in its cooker-coolers significantly reduces the cleaning change-over on short runs to as low as 15 minutes, and on a totally automated mode without the need for manual labour. On a standard commercial cooker-cooler rotary drum, it would typically take two hours to complete the cleaning for a line transition, Lyco claims. The Clean-Flow equipment can accommodate for as many as two product change-overs per hour, or 16 changeovers per shift.

The Clean-Flow cooker-cooler uses Lycos rotary drum system, which provides water injection for agitation that keeps the product in uniform suspension while moving through the unit. Damage to fragile product is a fraction of one per cent, and even less than in a rotary drum. The Clean-Flow cooker-cooler employs a screw similar to that used in a screw blancher. The screw resides in a stationary wedge-wire screen that holds it from the three to nine oclock position at a tolerance between the screw and the screen less than one-half a grain of rice. Clean-up time is reduced from hours to minutes because the screw is fully exposed for cleaning, and can be rotated at the same time as the screen, again exposing all surfaces to the cleansing water sprays.


High-shear colloid mills

The high-shear colloid mills from Bematek systems, the United States, provide highly efficient particle size reduction for any multi-component fluid emulsion or dispersion. A high-speed conical rotor and matching jacketed stator subject the product to intense hydraulic shear forces. The result is a finished emulsion or dispersion with a small mean particle diameter and a narrow particle size distribution.

An efficient, high-speed, rotor/stator pair is at the heart of the milling section of the colloid mills. After entering the milling chamber, the premix is assisted into the rotor/stator gap by a pumping impeller. While in the rotor/stator gap, the internal phase particles of the emulsion or dispersion are reduced in size by the intense hydraulic shear to which they are subjected. The final size of the particles depends on readily adjustable process parameters. The CZ-series high-shear colloid mills are available in five models, with motor powers ranging from 1 hp to 100 hp (7,000 rpm) for typical flow rates up to 9,000 gph.

Contact: Bematek Systems Inc., 12 Tozer Road, P.O. Box 264, Beverly, MA 01915, United States of America. Tel: +1 (978) 927 2179; Fax: +1 (978) 922 7801




Container filling-sealing machine

Starwheel from Packaging Automation Ltd., United Kingdom, is a rotary type container filling, sealing and over-lidding machine with the production speed of 50 containers per minute. With a double-wheel format, the production capacity can be doubled to 100 pots/minute. The machine is suitable for use in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, baby food and confectionery industries.

Starwheel has pneumatic operation and transfers pots by means of two indexing tables, either side of an infeed conveyor, into the machine body, where the filling, sealing and over-lidding takes place. The versatile machine can accommodate a maximum container size of 101 mm (dia.) round or 93 mm 93 mm square and a maximum height of 130 mm. It can lid the containers with clip-on or tamper-evident overcap.

Contact: Packaging Automation Ltd., Parkgate Industrial Park, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 8XW, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1565) 755000; Fax: +44 (1565) 751015



Oxygen-scavenging PET

Conventional PET, and plastic in general, is not very good at keeping oxygen from permeating the container and reducing the shelf life of such products as juices, teas and flavoured water. Oxygen has been shown to have degrading effect on flavour, colour and vitamin content for many beverages. Constar International, the United States, claims to have developed a material, which when blended with monolayer PET, binds oxygen, preventing the degradation of products.

Constars DiamondClear uses oxygen scavengers to minimize oxygen permeation through the container by chemically binding the molecules, which has the effect of clarifying see-through packaging. As the DiamondClear material is blended at the preform injection stage, the technology works equally well with one-step and two-step injection stretch blow moulding operations, eliminating the need for high cost co-injection equipment necessary for multi-layer barrier systems.


New vacuum chamber packaging machine

Koch Equipment LLC, the United States, has introduced Koch 800, a double-chamber vacuum packaging machine designed for the meat and poultry, seafood, produce, dairy and pharmaceutical industries. The Koch 800 is designed with several quality standard features such as 10 mm wide-band seals and a 10 hp vacuum pump. It has four large sealing stations, including two 800 mm seal bars for each chamber. The chamber dimensions are 750 mm 950 mm 254 mm.

The machine is made from stainless steel, capable of withstanding the harsh wash-downs required in food processing and packaging plants. Easy access panel doors allow for easier maintenance, while protecting the machinery and operators. Other features include NEMA-4 digital control panel, vacuum sensor, high-density plastic filler plates, and capability for air-assisted sealing.

Contact: Koch Equipment LLC, 1414 West 29th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108-3604, United States of America. Tel: +1 (816) 753 2150; Fax: +1 (816) 753 4976



Vertical form-fill-and-seal machine

The new robag3, from the multinational TNA, is a triple jaw vertical form-fill-seal machine with speeds in excess of 220 bpm, which makes it ideal for the confectionery sector. Fitted with a TNA 314 multi-head scale, the units integrated structure and unique product transfer system result in a higher fill rate, greater film efficiency and lower waste. It has the ability to package even the most fragile of products at high speeds and efficiency.

The robag3 features a redesigned, ergonomic swing-out former mechanism for easy unloading and rapid changeover (less than 60 seconds). It features single action film threading (including through the date coder), a patented simple dancer mechanism for film tensioning and feeding, and a splice assist unit to avoid film change delays. Touch-screen control, software-controlled drive system and ease of maintenance are some of the main features.



Chemical Migration and Food Contact Materials

This book reviews the latest controls and studies in the field of food packaging and how they can be used to ensure that food is safe to eat. The first part of the book discusses the regulation and quality control of chemical migration into food. The second part of the book reviews the latest developments in areas such as exposure estimation and analysis of food contact materials. The final part contains specific treatment of major food contact materials and packaging types, such as recycled plastics, metals, paper and board, multi-layer packaging and intelligent packaging.

Contact: Woodhead Publishing Limited, Abington Hall, Abington, Cambridge, CB1 6AH, England, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1223) 891 358; Fax: +44 (1223) 893 694


Flavourings: Production, Composition, Applications, Regulations Second Edition

The demand for flavourings has been constantly increasing over the last years as a result of the dramatic changes caused by a more and more industrialised life-style. This book draws on the expert knowledge of nearly 40 contributors with backgrounds in both industry and academia and provides a comprehensive insight into the production, processing and application of various food flavourings. Methods of quality control and quality management are discussed in detail. The authors also focus on conventional and innovative analytical methods employed in this field and on toxicological, legal, and ethical aspects. Up-to-date references to pertinent literature and an in-depth subject index complete the book.
Contact: John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte. Ltd., 2, Clementi Loop, #02-01, Singapore 129809. Tel: +65 6463 2400; Fax: +65 6463 4604



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