VATIS Update Food Processing . Mar-Apr 2010

Register FREE
for additional services
Download PDF
Food Processing Mar-Apr 2010

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.

Editorial Board
Latest Issues
New and Renewable
VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy Oct-Dec 2017
VATIS Update Biotechnology Oct-Dec 2017
VATIS Update Waste Management Oct-Dec 2016
VATIS Update Food Processing Oct-Dec 2016
Ozone Layer
VATIS Update Ozone Layer Protection Sep-Oct 2016
Asia-Pacific Tech Monitor Oct-Dec 2014




Republic of Korea to increase support for rice industry

The government of the Republic of Korea will increase support for the local rice processing industry this year by providing more low-interest loans, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has said. A total of 60 billion won (about US$50 million) will be set aside this year for easy loans, up six-fold from the 10 billion won (US$8.2 million) offered in 2009. The Ministry will also raise the maximum amount that can be borrowed by a single company to 5 billion won (US$ 4.1 million) from 400 million won (US$327,000) last year.

The loans can be taken out from Nonghyup, the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation with branches across the nation, and from regular banks. Interest rates have been set at 3.0 per cent per year, lower than ordinary rates. The money can be borrowed to build new production facilities and to update old production lines, and to buy equipment needed to bolster the country’s rice-based food production sector. This sector is vital for fuelling consumption of rice, which has staggered as people have turned to wheat and other foods, the Ministry said.

The country’s annual per capita rice consumption dropped to a new low of 74 kg last year, down 2.4 per cent. Under a rice industry build-up plan, the government has said it wants to provide 493 billion won (US$403 million) in low-interest loans to companies from 2008 through 2017, with the goal of increasing consumption of the traditional staple grain.

Tax relief to boost Indian agriculture and food sectors

To spur growth in the agriculture sector and reduce wastage of farm produce, India’s Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee has announced a series of tax relief measures that include customs duty concessions and exemption of service tax on setting up of cold chains. Outlining the objectives in his budget speech, the Minister said a focused attention is needed to create a strong supply chain for perishable farm produce, setting up infrastructure facilities for processing of such produce and infusion of technology to boost agri-production.

To achieve the objectives, Mr. Mukherjee proposed a reduced import duty of five per cent with full exemption from service tax to set up and expand cold chains to preserve farm produce as well as milk, meat and poultry products. Experts said exempting the food processors from service tax for expansion of their units would benefit manufacturers of juice, jam, sauce and pickles among others.

Faced with the criticism of high food prices, the Finance Minister extended service tax exemption to transportation of cereals and pulses by road too. Their transportation by rail is already exempt. Further, a reduced import duty of 5 per cent is proposed to establish mechanized handling systems and pallet racking systems in warehouses for food grains and sugar. Installation and commissioning of such equipment would enjoy full service tax exemption.

The Minister has allowed duty-free import of refrigeration units required to make refrigerated vans or trucks. He reduced the custom duty on specified agricultural machinery to 5 per cent, and exempted trailers and semi-trailers used in agriculture from excise duty. To promote good quality and disease-resistant seeds, the Minister proposed to exempt the testing and certification of agricultural seeds from service tax.

Halal food carving niche in global market

The global halal food trade is estimated at US$ 632 billion, while the Middle East’s annual halal food imports are estimated at US$45 billion. In Asia, Thailand is the biggest exporter of halal food products. Pakistan can enter the global halal food market, which is growing at a rapid pace, provided it can ensure farming efficiency and quality, according to Mr. Adil K. Sattar, Executive Director, K&N’s, a leader in Pakistan’s poultry industry.

Mr. Adil emphasized that local poultry industry must continue to modernize for attaining efficiency, and thereafter should strongly consider adding value to poultry meat if it wants to compete effectively in the global arena. Pakistan’s poultry industry is considered among top ten poultry industries worldwide in terms of breeder population. The country’s broiler annual production peaked at approximately 800 million in 2007-2008. Presently, the industry is in recovery phase after suffering heavy losses due to some unfavourable circumstances which forced a lot of farms and even breeding companies to close down.

China now has a food safety commission

China’s State Council has set up a Food Safety Commission to assess the food safety and to co-ordinate the work in food safety. The Commission will prepare food safety policies and guide the departments involved in food safety. Vice Premier, Mr. Li Keqiang, is the Director of the Commission. At the first meeting of the Commission, Mr. Li said that food safety is closely related to people’s health and safety, as well as economic development and social harmony, and government should be responsible for the people and carry out food safety law. Mr. Li added that a campaign will be carried out across the country in 2010 on food safety, focusing on food additives, food processing, distribution, import and export, and all other sectors of the industry.

Indonesia builds food safety warning system

Indonesia is currently building an early warning system on food safety to ensure that all food products entering the country meet both national and international standards. Chairperson of the Indonesian National Agency of Drugs and Food Control (BPOM), Ms. Kustantinah said that the system would be connected online throughout the country and later to the same systems in countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and then to the European Union countries as well.

“This system will disseminate a warning to other countries when a food product imported from a country has failed to meet the national and international standards applied in Indonesia,” she said. “The warning will be delivered from government to government because they are the ones that have the authority to take action,” she added. The new system would be different from the existing one, which had not been integrated in the global food safety system. It would gradually cover all BPOM offices in the provinces and regencies.

Malaysian consumption of pepper up 30 per cent

Malaysia’s domestic pepper consumption surged by more than 30 per cent to about 6,000 tonnes in 2009, boosted largely by the increased usage of the spice in the food manufacturing industry. Malaysian Pepper Board’s Director-General Mr. Grunsin Ayom said the jump was a pleasant surprise, as it had surpassed the Board’s target of raising domestic demand to 5,000 tonnes by 2010. The 2008 consumption was 4,500 tonnes.

Mr. Grunsin said that the Board’s target was to increase domestic consumption to 100,000 tonnes by 2020. He attributed the growth in domestic consumption to the availability of more pepper products, like ready-to-eat sauces, noting that for black pepper sauce alone, there were about ten brands sold in the market. Besides, more restaurants and eateries have introduced food made with pepper. The Board’s Product Development Unit also had come up with new products, like pepper-flavoured chocolate, pepper-flavoured sago cracker and black pepper marinade for commercial production by the private sector.

New packaging rules on egg products in Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea will enforce mandatory labelling and packaging rules on all egg products sold on the market to enhance consumer rights and deal with substandard products. The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the new rules, which will go into effect on 1 January 2011, calls on egg producers to clearly show the date of production and shelf life, and have labels with the name of the packaging company. Mr. Choi Hee-jong, Director General of the Ministry’s Food Safety & Consumer Bureau, said that under the new rules eggs cannot be sold to consumers if they are not properly packaged and labelled, while liquid eggs that are not heated must be used within 72 hours of being produced. At present, packaging rules are not enforced, with only large producers voluntarily taking steps to package and label eggs.

Food processing gets highest ever investment

India’s food processing sector attracted over Rs 90 billion (US$1.9 billion) in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the April-November 2009, the highest ever so far. The future also holds good for the sector as FDI is likely to go up much more in the coming months, as numerous international companies have evinced interest to either put up their bases or enter into technological collaborations in India, according to Food Processing Industries Secretary Mr. Ashok Sinha.

The Indian food processing industry is in its infancy now, but sensing the huge untapped potential, overseas firms are increasingly showing their interest to participate in this sunrise sector. The domestic investment in the sector has so far been lukewarm, but Mr. Sinha said this is also on the rise as corporates have started realizing the potential in the area.

According to industry estimates, India loses more than US$11.8 billion worth of harvested produce, mostly vegetables and fruits, annually due to poor infrastructure, which includes cold chain, packaging materials and transport among others. The country processes only two per cent of its total production, which is way behind when compared with around 80 per cent in Malaysia and the Philippines.

China to boost food safety

China will step up food safety efforts in the wake of a massive dairy scandal, expanding supervision to reach more of the country’s countless small farms. Mr. Wei Chao’an, Vice Minister of Agriculture, revealed that agricultural officials at all levels are working this year “to prevent any large-scale food safety crisis”. China was working to bring more farms under better supervision, a challenge in a vast country where some rural areas are still very poor, he added.

“Our agricultural products overall are safe and of high quality, but we must also recognize that while we transit from traditional to modern farming, many of our operations remain scattered, production methods are still backward and our supervision lags behind,” Mr. Wei said. The Agriculture Ministry has to “implement quality and safety monitoring programmes targeting raw and fresh milk, and strengthen supervision of purchase stations for raw and fresh milk”.

Malaysia to get new dietary guidelines

Malaysia’s first set of official food-based dietary guidelines (DG) was published in 1999. A decade later, these guidelines were thoroughly reviewed and revised. The new Malaysian Dietary Guidelines are expected to be launched on 25 March 2010, in conjunction with the 25th Scientific Conference of the Nutrition Society of Malaysia.

Dietary guidelines (DGs) are sets of advisory statements that give dietary advice for the population to promote overall nutritional well-being. They relate to all diet-related conditions, i.e. nutrient deficiencies as well as nutritional excesses. DGs should be based directly upon diet and health relationships of particular relevance to the individual country. In this way, priorities in establishing DGs can address the relevant nutrition-related public health concerns.

The Ministry of Health of Malaysia recognized that the healthy lifestyle campaigns carried out from 1991 to 1996 needed further impetus to achieve the desired results among the communities. Subsequently, in 1999, the first official set of MDGs containing eight key messages was published by the National Plan of Action for Nutrition of Malaysia (NPANM). NPANM was later revised to cover the period from 2006 to 2015. It identified the need to promoting healthy eating and active living. The identified activities in the new strategies include revision of MDGs, and the publication and dissemination of educational materials based on these guidelines. The revised MDGs will be based on scientific guidelines, with 14 key messages. These messages cover the whole range of food and nutrition issues, from importance of consuming a variety of foods to messages for guidance on specific food groups.


New meat product risk assessment standard

The Republic of Korea has adopted an updated meat product risk assessment standard that better meets local dietary habits and safeguards public health, said the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service (NVRQS). The new standard, which went into effect in February 2010, is based on detailed research of local preferences and cooking habits that differ from other countries. “The research, conducted since last year, reflected new guidelines set by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization,” a press release from NVRQS said, adding that other factors such as age and physiology have also been taken into account in the new standard. “In effect, the new check list is custom-made to safeguard the health of Koreans,” the agency said.

Food safety reforms proposed in China

The General Office of China’s State Council has issued a plan to improve national food safety, setting the tone for this year’s programme, which includes emphasizing the accountability of the system. As part of a two-year project that began in February 2010, the plan details 11 points for reforming food safety in China, aiming to solve problems and restore public confidence in the products that are available on the market.

The plan directs that tests on pesticide residues in vegetables, fruits, teas, domestic fungus, animal products and sea food be enforced. It also calls for strengthening of regulations on pesticide production and sales, as well as random checks on pesticide quality. The plan, which calls for better supervision of fresh dairy products, also proposes severe punishments for the use of banned medications in the aquaculture industry. Other points include banning illegal food additives, and improving food production and processing. The plan also highlights the need for comprehensive food safety regulations, and calls for improving the intermediate links in food production, including better regulation of the catering and butchering industries.

Quality seal for fishery and agricultural products

The Philippine government will start adopting this year the national quality seal (NQS) for fishery and agricultural products to boost market access of quality and safe products from the country. The Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS) has been tasked to lead in the implementation of NQS. Companies and fish farms certified according to food safety and quality assurance systems – Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) depending on the commodity products – will be allowed to use the quality seal. The Department of Agriculture Secretary or his designated representative will approve the application and issue the corresponding authority for the use of NQS after a thorough evaluation by the certification committee that the applicant conforms to an established Philippine National Standard for a specific commodity.

Heat scale proposed for red-pepper paste

An official labelling standard for the “hotness” of Korean red pepper paste (gochujang) could be brought in soon, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea said. The proposed standard – the Gochujang Hot-taste Unit (GHU) – will gauge the degree of hotness of the hot-pepper paste, said Korea Food Research Institute (KFRI).

Major gochujang manufacturers have not adopted a consistent labelling standard and have been using various labelling methods. The GHU system proposes five hotness levels that are graded from 0 to 100. For instance, a reading below 25 GHU would mean mildly spicy, while 100 GHU will mean the strongest sauces. Although adoption of the standard would be “voluntary”, there would be pressure on industry players to adopt the system, it is generally felt.


Two-in-one test for E. coli detection in ground beef

Scientists have reported the development of the first two-in-one test that can simultaneously detect both the Escherichia coli bacteria and the toxins that the bacteria use to cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and other symptoms in its victims. In the past, it took separate tests to protect against this double threat from the bacteria and the toxins that can remain in ground beef even after the E. coli O157 bacteria are dead and gone.

“Our test may be used in meat processing plants to allow in-house testing of products prior to sale,” said project leader Dr. John Mark Carter of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). “This would reduce the frequency of food-borne illness, reduce product recalls and enhance public health while reducing annual cost for food testing.” The test can also be used on fruits, vegetables as well as beverages. USDA is working closely with Luminex Corp. to eventually commercialize the E. coli test.

Detecting antibiotic residues in milk

Arrow Scientific, Australia, has introduced the Rapid One Step Assay (ROSA®) platform for dairy testing. The ROSA platform is based on dedicated ‘litmus-like’ strip tests that can be read with a small reader. The Beta-lactam antibiotic test involves adding the milk to the MRL-3 test strip, incubating for 3 minutes and reading the result on ROSA reader.

The ROSA MRL tests provide the closest match Australian/Codex Maximum Residue Limits, and are promoted as being convenient for farmers, field personnel, veterinarians, milk haulers, milk receivers and lab personnel. Value is added to testing programmes with data acquisition software, bar-coded test strips and radio-frequency identification (RFID)/key fob integration to strengthen data security and traceability.

ROSA has been adopted by global dairy companies such as Fonterra NZ, New Zealand. In the in-transit testing programmes implemented by Fonterra NZ, the tanker driver draws a composite sample from the tanker after the last farm pick-up, starts the ROSA MRL test, and drives to the plant. The in-transit incubator is equipped with an automatic shut-off to stabilize the results at the end of the incubation time. The completed test strip is read in seconds at the plant, thereby reducing turnaround time at milk intake and expediting production of a safe, wholesome and quality product.

New test for quicker and easier Staphylococci detection

A new diagnostic test method will make the identification and enumeration of coagulase-positive Staphylococci (CPS) in foods both simpler and significantly quicker, said Oxoid Ltd., the United Kingdom. Brilliance Staph 24 Agar analysis allows the isolation and calculation of CPS levels within 24 hours – cutting result waiting times in half. Traditional media, such as Baird-Parker Egg Yolk Tellurite Agar, take at least 48 hours to produce a result, Oxoid said.

The test also provides greater specificity in results, as it prevents the growth of non-target organisms. This reduces the need for confirmation testing, which reduces the time involved in tests. The quicker turnaround time for results is also important even if pathogen concentrations in a sample are below European Union regulatory levels, as it could indicate that there are handling issue in a particular plant or process. The system is also simpler to interpret, as CPS growth is shown by the presence of dark blue colonies on a clear agar background – allowing rapid and easy identification.

New yeast product could inhibit acrylamide in foods

Functional Technologies Corporation, a Canadian yeast R&D company, said it has developed, tested and filed patent applications for a yeast technology that reduces the formation of acrylamide, a carcinogen formed when starchy foods are fried, baked toasted. Acrylamide forms when asparagine, an amino acid found in all high-carbohydrate foods, reacts with the heat of cooking. It is recognized globally as a serious food safety issue.

The ethyl carbamate-reducing yeast technology of Functional Technologies can metabolize asparagine faster than regular yeast, as it enhances the yeast cell’s innate ability to degrade asparagine and reduce its presence before the heating process. Preliminary testing has reportedly shown the efficacy of the product as quite good.

Food manufacturers have been working to develop new methods to reduce the formation of acrylamide in products since it was first discovered in 2002. These methods include changing the pH to alter the reaction products, cutting heating temperatures and times, using an enzyme to convert asparagine into an impotent form, and binding asparagines to make it inaccessible. But, these various approaches are either too costly or not effective, according to Functional Technologies.

Ultraviolet sterilization system

In the United States, Product Development Technologies (PDT) has worked with Science and Light Technology Inc. to develop a revolutionary new sterilization system that utilizes ultraviolet (UV) light to purge 99.99 per cent of bacteria, mould and viruses from medical tools and food products. As the first of its kind, the UV disinfection machine called 3-D CLEAN brings unique technology, convenience and style to in-home and medical sterilization. Previously, users had to manually rotate objects for disinfection, and a bulky design and lengthy sterilization process meant limited use outside of healthcare.

The new product, a countertop unit the size of a microwave, utilizes patent-pending ‘360° Core UV Technology’ that disinfects and sterilizes the 360° surface of any item placed on the unit’s propriety quartz glass shelf. With self-adjusting capabilities, the machine alters UV exposure time based on an object’s size, UV absorption and the lamp’s UV output, providing a sterile item in a matter of seconds.

The advanced UV disinfection machine boasts a brushed metal exterior that is both highly durable and non-toxic. LED-indicators and a user interface with touch-sensitive controls and simple device functionality showcase its stability and robust sterilization capabilities.

Hydrocolloids may inhibit acrylamide formation

Common hydrocolloids like pectin may inhibit the formation of acrylamide in french fries by up to 60 per cent, reports new research from China. Similar results were also observed when alginic acid was used, but other hydrocolloids like xanthan gum and carrageenan did not inhibit acrylamide formation to the same extent, suggest research findings. The study, led by Ms. Xiaohui Zeng from the University of Hong Kong, adds another option to formulators seeking to reduce the acrylamide content of their fried or baked foods.

Approaches already used by the food industry to help reduce acrylamide levels include converting asparagine into an impotent form using an enzyme, binding asparagine to make it inaccessible, adding amino acids, changing the pH to alter the reaction products, cutting heating temperatures and times, etc. Enzymes that work by converting asparagine into aspartic acid, thereby preventing it from being converted into acrylamide, effect up to 90 per cent reduction in acrylamide in the final product. While the new study reports acrylamide reduction of only 60 per cent in the final product for alginic acid and pectin, this could be improved.

The researchers examined the effects of eight hydrocolloids at a concentration of 2 per cent on the formation of acrylamide in a model system. The hydrocolloids tested included alginic acid, carrageenan, carob gum, hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate (HDP), pectin and xanthan gum, and agar and gelatine. Results showed that pectin and alginic acid reduced acrylamide formation by over 50 per cent in the model system, and xanthan gum by 20 per cent, but the other hydrocolloids needed to be increased to 5 per cent before an effect was observed. In the potato strip test, when added to a solution into which the strips were immersed, the time of immersion was found to be critical, with a 60 per cent reduction in the acrylamide level after five hours in a 5 per cent alginic acid solution. Similar results were observed for pectin, said the researchers.


Ingredient for stomach-friendly coffee

Almost two out of every ten people suffer from stomach irritation when they drink coffee. While stomach-friendly coffees are already on supermarket shelves, there is a lack of understanding of the irritancy problem. “Manufacturers currently make ‘stomach-friendly’ coffees by processing raw coffee beans with steam or solvents intended to reduce levels of the irritants. But their effectiveness is unclear,” said Ms. Veronika Somoza, from the University of Vienna, Austria.

Ms. Somoza therefore teamed up with Mr. Thomas Hoffmann from the Technische Universität Munchen, Germany, to determine more clearly what is causing irritancy in coffee. The two scientists exposed cultures of human stomach cells to a variety of different coffee preparations – dark-roast, regular, mild, decaffeinated and stomach-friendly. They identified several substances that appeared to trigger chemical changes associated with increased acid production. The data showed that caffeine, catechols and N-alkanoly-5-hydroxytryptamides stimulate molecular mechanisms of stomach acid secretion in human stomach cells.

As most of the ingredients identified in the latest research are removed by steam or solvent treatment, the results appeared to provide evidence supporting the efficacy of the current batch of stomach-friendly coffees. The research brought up some unexpected results that could help manufacturers create a new generation of stomach-friendly brews with the rich taste and swell of regular coffee. One of the coffee components identified in the work, N-methylpyridium (NMP), seems to block the ability of the stomach cells to produce hydrochloric acid and could provide a way to reduce or avoid stomach irritation.

Since NMP is generated upon roasting, dark-roast coffees contain high amounts of this stomach-friendly coffee ingredient, Mr. Hofmann and Ms. Somoza said. The scientists are testing different coffee bean varieties and roasting methods to increase NMP levels and make a better stomach-friendly coffee.

Gluten-free ingredients for mainstream products

Penford Food Ingredients, the United States, has developed new ingredients systems to make crispy coatings and baked goods that are gluten-free. The company’s PenTechGF provides the texture, appearance and mouthfeel of wheat-based products, so that companies can provide gluten-free products as part of their mainstream portfolios, rather than as part of a specialist niche. Director of R&D at Penford Mr. Bryan Scherer said that the PenTechGF systems could be used to replace any ingredient mix that contains gluten, or to improve current gluten-free offerings.

The product is a dry system that can be customized according to manufacturers’ specific needs, based on a proprietary blend of flours, starches and dehydrated potato that do not contain gluten. The coating mix can be used for fried products like meat, chicken, seafood, vegetables and onion rings, providing a Japanese-crumb type coating that holds up to the frying process. The company claims that its gluten-free fish batter mix adheres better than others on the market, with a good bite, and a neutral flavour that allows for customized flavourings.

Milk protein complexes may hold key to W/O/W emulsions

In normal emulsions, the oil is dispersed in water; in water-in-oil-in-water (W/O/W) emulsions, however, the oil droplets are packed out with water, which makes for reduced fat. Despite increasing interest in the development of these emulsions, application of the technique has been limited due to difficulties with the stability of the internal water droplets. This is linked to thermodynamic stability issues, and their strong tendency for droplet coalescence.

Researchers from Ireland now report that formulating W/O/W emulsions with the maltodextrin-sodium caseinate complex produced more stable emulsions than when sodium caseinate was used alone. The study, by Mr. Jonathan O’Regan and Mr. Daniel Mulvihill from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at University College Cork, examined the potential of sodium caseinate-maltodextrin conjugates to improve the stability of W/O/W double emulsions. They compared conjugates made with two types of maltodextrin – Md40 and Md100 – with pure sodium caseinate.

The emulsions, prepared using a two-step emulsification process, were tested for their ability to encapsulate vitamin B12, and the stability of the emulsion assessed by measuring the level of entrapped Vitamin B12 in the inner aqueous phase. On storage at 45°C for seven days, the “conjugate-stabilized emulsions were more generally stable than sodium caseinate-stabilized emulsions,” the researchers reported.

In comparison with sodium caseinate-stabilized emulsions, conjugate-stabilized emulsions showed improved Vitamin B12 encapsulation efficiency in the inner aqueous phase on emulsion formation and improved encapsulation stability following storage of the emulsions. The droplets in the conjugate-stabilized emulsion tended to not coalesce, as evidenced by less increase in the size of droplets. The scientists also noted improvements in the inner phase encapsulation efficiency and encapsulation stability of Vitamin B12.

Lactic bacteria may reduce bread additive use

Researchers have discovered lactic bacteria that naturally produce hydrocolloids in wheat bread using sourdough, and could be used to make additive-free products that meet taste and texture requirements. Sourdough always contains lactic acid bacteria, which are responsible for the fermentation process. At VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, senior research scientist Ms. Kati Katina led a three-year project to screen over 100 other cereal and food-based microbes to find out which ones can yield helpful hydrocolloids in a wheat matrix.

Once the team had narrowed down the potential candidates, it progressed to the baking stage. The team was able to find some lactic bacteria that helped the mechanical processability of the dough, improved shelf life and increased volume. The taste was mild and lacked the pungency often associated with sourdough bread. The effect is attributed to the production of exopolysaccharides during the fermentation process, which act as coagulants and emulsifiers.

Ms. Katina and her team said that Weissella confusa was identified as a strain with particular potential. Others from the general Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus and Weissella were seen to produce exopolysaccharides, but with some strains the positive technical results were marred by acidification. This was not the case with W. confusa. The indication is that the addition of the lactic bacteria early on means that there is no need for other additives to be used in the manufacturing process, in order to achieve the same high quality results.

Fortification of chocolate with fibre and multivitamin

Herza Schokolade, German chocolate ingredient supplier, said it has recently concluded a series of trials on the incorporation of health-boosting ingredients into chocolate, based on the hike in demand for the functional additions from its food manufacturer customers. The company said it has the capability of integrating ingredients such as green tea or Aloe vera powder, as well as biotin and bamboo extract for strengthening skin and hair and nails, into chocolate for use in a variety of functional foods and drinks.

Herza applications technologist Ms. Bodil Reimers said that the company tailors its R&D projects according to the requirements of its customers, with the most recent research work focused on combining a fibre-based natural sugar replacer with chocolate. “We found that natural dietary fibres such as plum powder or dried rice syrup serve to increase the fibre content of cocoa paste while acting as a replacer for isolated inulin.”

The company collaborates with sister companies, SternVitamin and SternLife, on determining the mix of vitamins necessary when developing chocolate pieces for customers seeking a combination of vitamins such as B, C and E for their cereals bars. “It is more cost-effective for our customers to have a ready to mix ingredient that is already fortified with vitamins,” Ms. Reimers said. She said Herza Schokolade’s R&D team has been fine-tuning its mixing technology to ensure a smooth blend of functional ingredients – such as caffeine, lecithin granulate or guarana – with the confectionery product.


Process for a beverage precursor

Three Unilever companies – Unilever Plc. of the United Kingdom, Unilever N.V. of the Netherlands, and Hindustan Unilever Ltd. of India – along with Inventor Mr. Ian Smith have applied for patent on an invention that provides a beverage precursor comprising black leaf tea characterized by the presence of theanine in an amount of at least 4 per cent by dry weight of the precursor. The invention also provides a process for manufacturing a beverage precursor wherein black tea is coated with theanine and then blended with uncoated tea.

Precursors with relatively high levels of theanine have improved infusion performance compared with precursors having theanine levels typical of black leaf tea alone. The applicants believe that theanine may help to solubilize the coloured polyphenol fraction (e.g. theaflavin and/or thearubigin) of black tea. They found that theanine may be absorbed onto black tea in very high amounts, making it possible to manufacture black tea coated with a high level of theanine. This coated black tea can be blended with uncoated tea to improve the infusion performance.

Blueberry tea beverage

Mr. Huang Sen, an inventor from China, is patenting a process for the preparation of blueberry tea beverage. The beverage consists of following ingredients: blueberry leaf, fruit material suspending agent, and pure water. It is beneficial effects are those: (1) Blueberry leaf contains abundant vitamin C, flavones, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and anthocyanidin, thus it can dissipate fatigue, slow down aging, remove free radicals in the body and protect the vision, besides other natural healthcare functions; (2) Blueberry leaf contains a number of organic acids, and its pH value in solution boiled is between 2.5 and 3.5 – thus there is no need to add a number of organic acids again and incur more cost – it has outstanding mouthfeel; and (3) Blueberry leaf boiled solution has natural tangerine, and thus it has an attractive sensory effect.

New clarifier for wine and fruit juice

GEA Westfalia Separator GmbH, Germany, has developed a new GSE separator series for the clarification of wine, grape must and fruit juice. In must and fruit juice clarification, the GSE 100 delivers a capacity of up to 10,000 l/h, while in wine clarification capacities go up to 20,000 l/h. GSE 100 rounds off the Westfalia Separator® hyvol® product line in the medium capacity range and supplements the slightly smaller GSE 75 machine on the market. The series stands for high throughput capacities, and the machines can operate as clarifiers as well as polishers.

Equipped with a self-cleaning bowl, the machines are suitable for fully automatic cleaning-in-place. Opening and closing of the bowl for ejecting the solids is done hydraulically by means of water. The feed and discharge are designed to suit the application, but are incorporated in a closed line system. This minimizes the intake of oxygen. Both product feed and discharge in the bowl are hydrohermetically sealed. The use of such a hydrohermetic feed minimizes the negative impact of the shear forces. The separation efficiency and product quality are consequently optimal. Another feature of all hyvol machines is the fast ejection valves that keep product loss as low as possible during separator ejections. The optional Westfalia Separator® wewatch® enables monitoring of the system for preventive maintenance.

Reduced-calorie, sweetened acidic beverages

Along with inventors Mr. Hubert Denis and Mr. Sabine Lecocq, the Coca-Cola Company, the United States, has patented a beverage comprising at least one nutritive sweetener and an added combination of at least two acids. The acid combination increases the sweetness, reduces sourness, increases flavour intensity and improves the mouthfeel of the beverage. Certain embodiments of the invention provide a reduced calorie beverage devoid of high intensive sweeteners. Contact: Coca-Cola Company, One Coca-cola Plaza, NW Atlanta, GA 30313, United States of America.


Long-wave microwave could replace canning

Mr. Juming Tang, a professor of biological systems engineering at the Washington State University, the United States, has invented a new method to preserve food that could make canning obsolete. “We use a long-wave microwave to heat the product to a high temperature to kill bacterial spores,” he said. The process time is much shorter. For example, preserving salmon in a can involves heating it for 50 to 70 minutes to kill the bacteria. Using the new method, the same task can be accomplished in eight minutes, Mr. Tang said.

The difference is important because it affects everything from the food’s texture and taste to its nutritional value, Mr. Tang said. The problem with conventional canning is that the food closest to the can walls gets overcooked. “Using a short process time, you have less exposure to the high temperature so the product is much better,” he added. Using microwaves to heat the food better preserves colour, texture, taste, aroma and the nutrients.

The metals now used for canning do not allow microwaves to get through, so food preserved in this way would be stored in plastic containers rather than cans. He also expects his process to reduce the energy required to preserve the food. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Mr. Tang’s microwave sterilization process, the first such process approved in the United States.

Super fruit may boost shelf life of probiotic yoghurt

Adding the pulp of açai berries (fruit of Euterpe oleracea palm) may boost the shelf life of probiotic yoghurt, as well as improve the fat profile of the functional food, says a new study. The levels of one Lactobacillus strain and two Bifidobacteria strains in a yoghurt increased over the course of four weeks in cold storage, while the monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content of the product also improved on adding the açai pulp, according to new findings of the study, led by Ms. Marice Oliveira from São Paulo University, Brazil.

The fruit of açai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) have long formed part of the staple diet of Brazilian tribes. With the appearance of a purple grape and taste of a tropical berry, it has been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties owing to a high level of anthocyanins – pigments that are also present in red wine.

“This study demonstrated that the production of bioactive lipid components such as alpha-linolenic and conjugated linoleic acids can be enhanced by açai pulp addition during fermentation of skim milk prepared with B. animalis ssp. lactis Bl04 and B94 strains, offering potential health benefits of this probiotic açai yoghurt,” the researchers wrote. They used skim milk to prepare a range of yoghurts with starter cultures and four probiotic cultures: L. acidophilus, B. animalis ssp. lactis BL04 and B94, and B. longum 120. Yoghurts were prepared with or without the addition of the fruit pulp. According to the results, the açai pulp was associated with increased cell counts of L. acidophilus L10, B. animalis ssp. lactis Bl04 and B. longum Bl05 after four weeks. Further, all açai yoghurts showed higher MUFA and PUFA contents compared with their controls without pulp.

Liquid crystal advance could boost food shelf life

A research team from Texas A&M University, the United States, has discovered a method to manoeuvre the disc-shaped molecules of liquid crystals into distinct and separate layers – which significantly enhances their properties as a sealant. The layering process, known as a “smectic phase”, is common with rod-shaped crystal molecules but has never been recorded with their disc-shaped equivalents, said Mr. Zhengdong Cheng, leader of the research group and assistant professor of chemical engineering.

“Before this, no discotic smectic phase was known to exist,” Mr. Cheng said. “For some time, people have been really puzzled as to why the discs don’t form layers.” He added that the technology may be applied across several materials including food packaging. “Integrating such a sealant into food packaging would translate into foods staying fresher for longer periods of time”, said Mr. Cheng.

Liquid crystals are a state of matter between a conventional liquid and a solid crystal. In the experiments, each disc, composed of millions of atoms, was a single layer of inorganic crystals with an identical thickness of 2.68 nm and a diameter around 2,000 nm. The discs were created by exfoliating crystals of a compound of zirconium phosphate. Mr. Cheng was able to verify the suspension was in a liquid crystal form by placing the disc suspension between two light polarizers. Then using X-ray technology, he observed how the discs eventually arranged themselves into a stable state, usually forming column-like structures, through a process called self-assembly.

However, in Mr. Cheng’s experiment, the discs behaved in an uncharacteristic manner, forming themselves into separate layers. This atypical behaviour occurred because of particular characteristics of the disc dimensions, the researchers concluded. Each disc had an identical thickness – in this case 2.68 nm – but varying diameters. A further vital factor is that the ratio between the thickness and diameter had to be sizeable. The team hypothesised that previous attempts to layer these discs had failed because the ratios were too small.

New system for high pressure processing

A new high pressure processing (HPP) system makes improved food safety technology more affordable and responds to the growing trend for preservative-free products, said manufacturer Avure Technologies Inc., the United States. The company’s new QFP 100-litre 600 HPP extends shelf life, eliminates the need for preservatives such as sodium, and offers the opportunity to develop new food applications. HPP is a post-packaging lethality treatment that eradicates food pathogens in products as varied as ready-to-eat meats, soups, wet salads, fruit smoothies and seafood. Products are loaded into the machine, submerged in water and then subjected to a maximum pressure of 600 MPa at temperatures reaching 50°C. The treatment has “limited effects on taste texture and nutritional properties,” Avure said. The 100-litre system had been designed to maximize throughput, with production rates reaching 12,900 kg over a 20-hour period. This is due to the design of the 308 mm diameter vessel into which product is loaded. This accommodates various shaped packages, including bottles and cups and thus the equipment can process up to 70 kg in one go. It operates at 9.2 cycles per hour, with holding times varying between products – from 45 seconds for juice to up to three minutes for meat. With its smaller 6.4 m total footprint and 730,000 euros price tag, the system has been designed for small and medium volume, or seasonal processors.

Natural preservative tackles fruit juice spoilage

Purac, a division of the Dutch firm CSM, is launching a new natural preservative for fruit and juice-based beverages, which is said to counter the spore-forming spoiler Alicyclobacillus. The product, a highly purified crystalline lactic acid called PuraQ Xtend AX37, tackles the tricky issue of spoilage in juice-based drinks. The preservative works because “lactic acid in its acidic form can diffuse through the cell wall of the bacteria, causing the pH to drop in the bacteria,” said Mr. Ivo van der Linden, Category Manager for Food Preservation at Purac. Since bacteria have neutral pH, they either stop or, in most cases, have to work hard to get the pH increased, causing them to spend energy, slowing growth. Alicyclobacillus can be a problem for juice firms because it is hard to detect. If it shows up only a few days after bottling, the manufacturer may not notice. By the time the consumer receives the product, however, it could have an off-flavour or odour, which could be damaging to the beverage brand. The problem is said to affect both refrigerated and shelf-stable drinks, made with apple, pear, peach, orange, white grape, tomato juice and blends. According to Purac, Alicyclobacillus could be resistant to preservatives like sorbate and sulphite, and can not only survive but also grow faster in most heat treatments.


Fully recyclable packaging

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed an environmentally friendly packaging coating solution. The coating offers a new method for manufacturing fully recyclable, thin, light and air-tight packaging materials. Developed using the atomic layer deposition (ALD) method, the coating has excellent gas permeation resistance and as such it is particularly suitable for food and pharmaceutical products.

The ALD technology, which was developed in Finland in the 1970s, facilitates the manufacture of packaging materials that are thinner, lighter and better sealed than traditional barrier materials. The barrier ability can be created without aluminium film, the traditional barrier material that curtails recyclability. The amount of aluminium can be reduced 500-1,000 fold compared with current blister packs. ALD coatings are uniform, thin and pinhole-free, and they closely follow the contours of the coated material. Their thickness can be adjusted to the accuracy of one atomic layer. Thanks to the thinness of the film (approx. 25 nm), the protective layer is flexible. Thin bio-based packaging materials produced using this technology have gas permeability properties similar to those of existing dry food packages and pharmaceutical blister packs.

By using ALD coating, different functions can be integrated in the packaging material, such as preventing water, oxygen, humidity, aromas and fats from permeating the packaging, and protecting the surface from stains and bacterial growth. ALD thus provides savings on raw material and transport costs, as the amount of packaging material can be reduced. Contact: VTT Technical Research Centre, P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044, Finland. Tel. +358 (20) 722 111; Fax: +358 (20) 722 7001; E-mail:

Barrier food packaging for PET

M&H Plastics, the United Kingdom, has created a new oxygen-scavenging product for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers which it claims maintains product quality and extends shelf life. The product is a blend of PET and an oxygen scavenging concentrate, which together create a barrier which stops oxygen from getting to the contents through the walls of the container. “The ability to tightly control oxygen ingress enables PET containers to keep products fresher, more vibrant in colour and tasting better for longer,” M&H says. “This helps assure product quality, consistency and extended shelf-life for a wide range of oxygen-sensitive products including tomato-based products, fruit juices and citrus products.”

Open-mouth bagging system

Chronos BTH, the Netherlands, has introduced a new hygienic open-mouth bagging system. The dust-proof bottom-up filling technology guarantees high accuracy during the filling process. The machine features closed bag-top transport, quick and simple cleaning, fast change-over times, and minimized dust emission.

The bagging system is available in full stainless-steel version. Optional nitrogen purging is also available. During bag transportation, the bag-top remains closed and the control area is separated from the functional bagging zone.

There are no fasteners (such as screws or bolts) in the product flow zones. All material contact parts are sanitary-welded and the machine has a polished finish on the exterior. Individual processing modules are combined to form a compact integrated unit. The system concept is developed in accordance with the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group guidelines. Contact: Chronos BTH B.V., Meerheide 40, 5521 DZ Eersel, Netherlands. Tel: +31 (497) 514 988; Fax: +31 (497) 514 953.

Nano-based RFID tags may replace bar codes

New research has come up with an inexpensive printable transmitter that, once implanted into packaging, could allow all items in a shopping trolley to be scanned simultaneously, while adjusting the total inventory of a store. More advanced versions would collect all the information about the contents of a shop in an instant, allowing a retailer to know where every package is at any time.

The technology developed jointly by Rice University, the United States, and Sunchon National University, the Republic of Korea, is based on a carbon-nanotube-infused ink for ink-jet printers first developed at the Rice University. This ink is used to make thin-film transistors, a key element in radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags that can be printed on paper or plastic.

Mr. Gyou-jin Cho, professor of printed electronics engineering at Sunchon, said his work in the development of the electronics and the roll-to-roll printing process could “bring the cost of printing the tags down to a penny apiece and make them ubiquitous”. The team believes that the cost of RFID tags, which are mainly silicon-based at present, could be cut dramatically by the development of paper or plastic tags printed as part of packaging. Mr. Cho said the roll-to-roll technique, which uses a gravure process rather than ink-jet printing, had the potential to replace bar codes. Mr. James Tour, laboratory leader at Rice, said printable RFIDs are practical because their passivity and do not have a life-time limit. The tags power up when hit by radio waves at the right frequency and return the information they contain.

High-performance aseptic carton packaging

A3 Speed iLine from Tetra Pak, the multinational food packaging company of Swedish origin, is an integrated design technology built on computer networks providing unique centralized production line management. This new generation of high-performance aseptic carton packaging solutions takes line integration and automation technology to a new level owing to a novel process control and information management system. Revolutionizing the face of packaging, the A3 Speed iLine offers lower operational costs and increased robustness. Additionally these highly efficient machines benefit a customer by providing: the highest package output in the industry; highest standards of food safety; improved production line management capabilities (enabled by Line Controller 30); and enhanced packaging line monitoring system and analysis tools (via PLMS Centre with extended functionalities).


Product inspection systems with X-Ray technology

RAYCON product inspection systems from S + S Separation and Sorting Technology GmbH, Germany, have the ability to detect contaminants and other quality defects, offering optimum technological solution for the inspection of products in aluminium foil packaging. These systems utilize X-ray technology and are used for final inspection of packaged products. Even misaligned or misplaced products will not result in errors and with the S + S units, it is also possible to inspect two parallel product lines simultaneously. For rejection of out of specification product a pusher is used for cartons and a reject flap for bags.

RAYCON product inspection systems guarantee optimal image processing at a very high throughput rate of up to 600 products per minute. Operating with a low X-ray power of only 50 KeV, they are certified for food and food ingredients in compliance with European Commission directive 1999/2/EC, and has no special installation requirements.

Centrifuge for chocolate production

Wastage due to breakage or defects are common occurrences in chocolate manufacture, with the resulting residual amounts of chocolate and other ingredients such as cookies, raisins, cereals or nuts traditionally having to be disposed of rather than reused. Centrifuging equipment that separates liquid chocolate from solid rework components by centrifugal force helps eliminate food waste by enabling the chocolate to be reused in production, claims its developer Steimel of Germany.

The Schoko-Polar centrifuge can be used with products that combine chocolate with cookies, nuts, raisins, cereals and other ingredients. All components of the centrifuge that come into contact with the product are made of stainless steel and meet food hygiene requirements. Steimel said that the centrifuge is available as a manually operated machine, but can also be integrated in a fully automatic system when large quantities are required to be processed. The Schoko-Polar is available in three sizes, and can be modified to suit a particular product, while all centrifuge parameters such as temperatures, speeds and centrifugal times are freely adjustable.

Processing machine for pomegranate juice

According to Hefestus, Israel, pomegranate juice drinks have often suffered from a bitter taste because processors commonly squeeze the juice from the whole fruit. The company is therefore launching a processing machine for pomegranate fruit that allows the juice to be squeezed out at a reduced cost and without the bitter taste of peel.

Traditionally, processors squeeze pomegranate juice with the peel – as deseeding the fruit manually can be a complicated and expensive process – which causes a bitter taste due to the highly concentrated tannins in the peel and pith. Hefestus has developed a system that separates the peel from the aril, which is the fleshy cover of the seeds, and also separates out the pomegranate seeds. It claims this enables beverage producers to easily extract a juice from the arils in an automated process that avoids the bitter taste caused by squeezing the whole fruit.

Two-in-one heating/ chilling system

The process temperature control system, from Morkon in the United States, offers a combination heating/chilling system in a single package. These units are ideal for applications including jacketed vessels, reactors, multiple-zone processes, food processing, laboratory, sanitary, chemical processing and other processes that require both heating and chilling.

Mokon’s Full Range System integrates a circulating water system with a chiller to provide heating and chilling in a single, compact, self-supporting unit for optimal performance. The system is ideal for applications that require different temperatures. They are also ideal for applications that require multi-zone control and installations where supply water or drains are not accessible.

The Full Range System is available in heating capacities up to 96 kW, pumping capacities up to 450 l/min, chilling capacity from 2 to 40 t, and a temperature range of -7°C to 149°C. Full Range Systems offer many standard features to provide accurate temperature control while heating and/or chilling processes:

* Stainless steel centrifugal pumps; * Highly efficient brazed plate evaporator; * Insulated nonferrous plumbing and components; * Microprocessor-based controller with LED readout; and * Heater canister with stainless steel diverter.

Inspection system for bottles

CI-Vision of Mettler-Toledo Inc., the United States, has developed a new 360° bottle inspection system to spot packaging and labelling defects. The 360 Full View machine uses four cameras to inspect un-orientated bottles and containers for print, label, composition and cap defects.

Designed for use in wineries and distilleries as well as pharmaceutical and other food and drink plants, the new system can inspect up to 700 bottles per minute depending on the number of inspections required. With the cameras connected to Mettler-Toledo’s CIVCore software, the machine can perform a variety of inspection tasks, from virtually unwrapping labels to check alignment, to checking cap height and orientation.

Bottles that pass through the system at any orientation are photographed by four cameras to provide a complete picture for the CIVCore vision processing algorithms to analyse. If for any reason a bottle fails inspection, it is tracked and diverted through a soft rejection mechanism. The 360 Full View machine has two main advantages compared with previous generation machines: It has better mechanical fixtures for the cameras and is more intuitive for the operator. In particular, the machine is easier to calibrate and is better at unwrapping and stitching images together for inspection.


Engineering Aspects of Thermal Food Processing

The publication presents groundbreaking advances in the physical and engineering aspects of thermal food processing, paying particular attention to modelling, simulation, optimization, online control and automation. It first covers the fundamentals and new processes in the thermal processing industry, including new packaging materials like retortable pouches. The second section moves on to mathematical modelling and simulation, which also addresses emerging preservation technology such as ohmic heating. The third section of the book is devoted to optimization, recognizing that mathematical optimization is the key ingredient for computing optimal operating policies and building advanced decision support systems. The lat section examines online control and automation describing a practical and efficient strategy for on-line correction of thermal process deviations during retort sterilization of canned foods.
Contact: CRC Press, London, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1235) 400524; Fax: +44 (1235) 400525; E-mail:

Food Process Engineering and Technology

The last thirty years have seen the establishment of food engineering both as an academic discipline and as a profession. Combining scientific depth with practical usefulness, this book serves as a tool for graduate students as well as practicing food engineers, technologists and scientists looking for the most recent information on transformation and preservation processes as well as process control and plant hygiene topics. This book is suitable for both professionals and students in food engineering, science and technology.
Contact: Customer Service Department, Elsevier B.V., 3 Killiney Road #08-01, Winsland House I, Singapore 239519. Tel: +65 6349 0222; Fax: +65 6733 1510; E-mail:


This website is optimized for IE 8.0 with screen resolution 1024 x 768
For queries regarding this website, contact us
Copyright © 2010 APCTT | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Feedback