VATIS Update Food Processing . May-Jun 2003

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Functional ingredient for appetite control

Lipid Technologies Provider, Sweden, will soon launch a new functional ingredient for appetite control. The emulsion is based on fractionated palm oil and fractionated oat oil. The effect of Reducal has been tested in several studies that show a 20-30 per cent reduction in caloric intake at subsequent meals compared with milk fat. 

The company has further applications in the pipeline lipid systems to increase the bioavailability of nutrients. This concept of nutrient delivery shows great potential and has already been tested clinically with significant results on components with well-known poor absorption.; 

Celery treat

Ingredient Resources, Australia, has launched a natural celery oil distillate developed by Treatt Plc., a flavour ingredients specialist. Derived from celery seed, the new product has an intense but typical celery flavour. The distillate contains enhanced levels of phthalides, chemicals that are responsible for the characteristic celery odour, compared with celery seed oil. The clear yellow distillate has a significantly more intense celery character than oleoresin without its stickiness or dark colour. 

Contact: Ingredient Resources, Australia. Tel: +61 (02) 9970 8877. 

Food and Pack, March 2003

New addition to range of fermented dairy proteins

EPI Ingredients, France, has included a new product in its Epilac line of fermented dairy proteins. Designed for use in high protein foods and supplements, Epilac 910, based on the original 901 product, tastes like yoghurt and contains a 60 per cent protein content. The Epilac powders can be easily added to soluble formulations and is stable in acidic conditions as well as through the pasteurization and sterilization processes. This range is intended for manufacturers of healthy beverages and sports and nutrition supplements. Ferment strains used in the powders include Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM developed by Rhodia Food. 

Contact: EPI Ingredients, Z.I. De LHermitage - BP. 108, 44153 Ancenis Cedex, France. Tel: +33 (02) 5114 2364; Fax: +33 (02) 5114 2482



Low-calorie sweetener

In the United states, a researcher at the Agricultural Research Service has obtained mannitol from the bacterium Lactobacillus intermedius. Mannitol is a clean-tasting sugar alcohol found as a powdery coating on chewing gum, hard candies and chewable tablets. Mr. Badal Saha successfully produced mannitol from high-fructose corn syrup, glucose and other carbohydrates.

Conventional high-pressure hydrogenation used by mannitol manufacturers generates chemical wastes and converts only 25-30 per cent of a 50:50 mixture of fructose and glucose into the desired product. Trials have shown that the L. intermedius bacterium is more efficient. When grown on a broth containing 100 g of fructose and 50 g of glucose, the Lactobacillus strain NRRL B-3693 converts as much as 100 per cent of the fructose into mannitol. This particular strain of Lactobacillus also outperformed 11 other mannitol-producing organisms. 


New ingredient for healthy heart

In Australia, a natural antioxidant developed by Tarac Technologies offers positive benefits for the heart when incorporated in food. The functional food ingredient Vin life is obtained from grape seed and is designed for use in foods as diverse as breakfast cereals, cracker biscuits and fruit juices. Antioxidants are well recognized for their ability to help counter the damaging effects of free radicals in the body. Scientific studies have shown that an excess of free radicals may be a significant factor in many degenerative diseases, including certain types of cancer, premature ageing and heart disease.

Contact: Ms. J. Rhodes, CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition, P.O. Box 10041, Adelaide BC, SA 5000, Australia. Tel: +61 (8) 8303 8870; Fax: +61 (8) 8303 8899




Substitute for gluten

GC Hanh, Australia, has developed a unique gluten substitute (UGS) that can be used in a wide range of food applications. Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in many grains such as wheat, rye and barley. It is used in bakery products to impart soft elastic qualities. UGS mimics the behaviour of gluten and creates gluten-free baked products that has the same textural and taste characteristics as normal baked products. The new product will enable people who cannot eat gluten-containing products, e.g. coeliac disease sufferers, to enjoy baked foodstuff. 

Food and Pack, February 2003

Cholesterol-lowering cheese

Tesco, the United Kingdom, has launched an alternative cheese that actually lowers cholesterol levels. The product looks, tastes and smells like normal cheddar but has a natural ingredient that prevents cholesterol from getting into the body. According to a study undertaken in Scotland, eating a small amount of the new cheese every second day causes cholesterol levels to fall by 20 per cent. 


Microwave drier

Heindl GmbH, Germany, has developed a pilot-scale microwave convective drier that can be used for various applications. It is specifically designed for R&D and experimental activities on particulate products using through-flow of air. Humidifying air and heating it to a maximum temperature of 110C is permissible. The drier has a single tray drying area of 0.0784 m2 with a batch capacity of 1-2 kg vegetable with 4 cm thickness at 700 W (2,450 MHz). The product can be simultaneously heated with microwaves in combination with convective heating. Advantages offered by microwave cooking over conventional methods include lower average temperature gradient, a shorter cooking time enables lower weight loss and thus higher yield. When used in combination with other drying methods, such as hot air or vacuum, microwaves also offer reduced process time and energy consumption, and an high-quality end product. Pasta, herbs, spices, vegetables and snack foods are some of the numerous products that can be processed using microwave energy. 

Beverage and Food World, December 2002

Updated process automation system

GSE Systems, a leading global provider of real-time process control and simulation solutions for the food and beverage industry, has introduced a new version of its process automation system, D/3. The latest model incorporates smaller footprint process control module (PCM) hardware, leveraging PCI technology as well as state-of-the-art dynamic alarm handling, saving operators time with its intuitive software interface. It also improves operational efficiency by eliminating nuisance alarms that are distracting and time-consuming for operators. The system eliminates wasted time on process interruptions by allowing users to control the importance of each alarm based on the process state and only focus on the designated high priority alarms at any given time. As with previous versions, the new model controls and automates process plant operations so that users can improve manufacturing safety, throughput and consistency while achieving cost reductions and profit improvements. 


Preservation of wine flavour and quality

Pall Corp., the United States, offers OenoPure filter to remove organisms that could adversely affect wine quality and shelf-life without altering the colour or taste. The new filter can effectively purge harmful contaminants during the crucial filtration step before bottling. At the core of the filter is a proprietary inert membrane that minimizes interaction with wine, thereby preserving its characteristic flavour and colour. Key traits of OenoPure include reliable microbial control, durability and inert nature.

Palls proprietary Polyethersulphone (PES) filtration membrane is formed into a high surface area cartridge with Palls Ultipleat technology. This technology results in a highly efficient and mechanically strong filter that can be sanitized using available processes hot water, steam and chemicals. Its durable PES membrane can be repeatedly sanitized with hot water for over 500 cycles, further improving the economics of wine processing. Other products for wine processing from Palls OenoVations range are OenoClear and OenoStar filters, for the prefiltration steps in microbial stabilization, and OenoFlow Hollow Fibre Microfiltration system, for clarification. 

Contact: Mr. Patrice Radowitz, Pall Corp., the United States. Tel: +1 (516) 8019 104 


Website:  or 

Milk and fish oil

In Australia, Brownes Dairy has launched a new milk product that contains essential omega-3 fats from marine oil, which have been found to help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Endorsed by the National Heart Foundation, Heart Plus is low in fat but rich in vitamins B6, B12, folate and antioxidants E and C in addition to marine omega-3 fats. A single glass of Heart Plus provides 95 per cent of the recommended daily intake of omega-3. 


Food embossing inventions

Gourmet Impression LLC, the United States, has developed two new hand-held tools that allow restaurants, caterers and other food businesses to turn pizzas, calzones and other food items into edible experiences and ads. These modular devices, known as Roller and Stamper, allow companies to emboss their logo or advertising messages on food items. The Stamper tool works akin to a rubber stamp. It is roughly four inches tall, with modules of varying lengths and widths. On pressing, it easily and quickly embosses a text message or an image into a food item. A unique feature of this tool is that it can be adjusted for the depth of the food being embossed. For example, a deeper setting can be used for bread dough while a shallower setting is used for cheese.

The Roller device features a wheel that is six inches in diameter and three-quarters of an inch wide, with a fender for gripping. Rolling the tool across foods imprints a customized message on them. The embossing depth can be modified to fit the food depth. 

Website: or


Spray drier

A new spray drier introduced by Niro group, Denmark, for the food and pharmaceutical industries is reported to be smaller, quieter and produces better quality powders than presently available counterparts. The new Integrated Filter Drier (IFD) is said to simplify spray drying by combining drier, fluid bed and bag filter all within the confines of the drying chamber. It produces free-flowing agglomerated powder with a low dust content and is particularly effective for products that are difficult to produce on other spray driers.

IFD has exhaust air filters placed inside the drying chamber, instead of outside, which eliminates the need for external cyclones and bag filters, thereby reducing the size requirement. The filters can be cleaned in place, facilitating reduced water and chemical consumption. The fluid bed incorporated within the spray drier allows users to achieve precise product properties. Prototype testing have shown that IFD is suitable for long-batch production for producing milk powder or baby food. 


Pasta processing solution

Buhler offers a processing system that aims to improve quality and efficiency of pasta production. New technology incorporated in the long-goods C-line, guarantees maximum uptime, improved hygiene, safety and better quality. The systems design ensures that the quality of the end product is maintained at a consistently high level even with high outputs. The cutters are equipped with brand-new, wear-resistant linear actuators, enabling the system to carry out both cutting and breaking operation. During this process, spaghetti elbows transferred to the cutter are aligned so precisely that losses are reduced to the absolute minimum, with the trimmings returned under hygienically safe conditions. The climate inside the drier is automatically controlled by the new Pastelec control system, as is the entire production process. The modular, easy-to-expand, leading-edge control system can be adapted to specific requirements. State-of-the-art sensors and actuators, combined with computerized control engineering, assure that the desired parameters are accurately maintained. All system components are standardized and of tried-and-true design.


Breading applicator

FMC FoodTech, the United States, offers the latest addition to its line of XL series breading applicators, the XL-40A. Designed with enhancements to safety switches, hydraulics, flour dust containment, cleanability and sanitation, XL-40A promotes a clean operating environment and better cleanability and sanitation. The breaders dust containment hoods have been incorporated to encompass the entire machine, its blower tubes have been moved further away from the discharge end and auger housings; clamping mechanisms have been made sturdier to reduce the amount of dust expelled from the unit.

Modifications incorporated to the XL-40As design include fully redesigned stainless steel fittings and stainless steel pressure compensated Parker valves. This simplistic design results in easy expansion and interchangeability of parts. Some key features include reduced number of safety switches that have been made sturdier, more tolerant to misalignment and located unobtrusively. Increased reliability of these switches decreases equipment down time. XL-40A is presently being evaluated at FMCs Food Processing Technology and Training Centre. 


Detecting contaminants

AXIS PipeLine offered by Loma Systems is designed to detect contaminants in products that are, or can be, conveyed through pipes. The PipeLine is installed early in the production process, before grinding or chopping fragments of the product further, and can detect metal, glass, stone and those with low density like calcified bone. This system is easy to install and operate, and can be tailored to suit many applications. It employs Dynamic Analysis software to adapt to variations in product density within the pipe. In addition, it eradicates the need to repeatedly recalibrate the equipment to cope with different products. 

Food and Pack, March 2003


Hand-held inspection system

In the United States, eMerge Interactive Inc. is scheduled to launch a hand-held version of its Verifeye meat inspection system. This system is intended to help meat processors of all sizes minimize outbreaks of potentially deadly bacterial infections like E. coli O157:H7. About the size and weight of a compact video camera, the new device is presently being scrutinized by several major packers in the country. According to Mr. Richard Stroman, eMerges Vice President of Intellectual Property and Advanced Technologies, In spite of the aggressive pathogen interventions that packers routinely apply, bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7 can survive in microscopic traces of organic matter. Trials have exhibited Verifeyes ability in detecting such traces, alerting users to the need for further intervention. 

Contact: Mr. Chris Corsbie, eMerge Interactive Inc., the United States. Tel: +1 (561) 2998 011; Or Mr. Juris Pagrabs, eMerge Interactive Inc., the United States. Tel: +1 (561) 2998 041. 


Pneumatic trimmers

Bettcher Industries Inc., the United States, offers Whizard Series II AirMax pneumatic trimmers that cut faster and require less effort for every application load. They trim more easily than possible using conventional counterparts, with 48 per cent more power. The air motor and hose assembly is up to 19 per cent lighter, thereby enhancing tool manoeuvrability for the operator. Other important patented design elements incorporated in AirMax trimmers increase operator productivity, safety and comfort. The handpiece features a contoured handle engineered to reduce grip force and lessen the incidence of the tool turning in the hand. The handles are made of a vibration absorbing material and are colour-coded by size for easy identification.

As an additional safety feature, AirMax pneumatic trimmers use a unique two handed starting feature to ensure hands are in the proper place. Moreover, the trimmers will not operate unless the hold-to-run handle is engaged. 

Contact: Mr. Scott Gregory, Bettcher Industries Inc., 6801 St. Rt. 60, Birmingham, Ohio 44816, the United States; Or P.O. Box 336, Vermilion, Ohio 44089, the United States. Tel: +1 (440) 9654 422; Fax: +1 (440) 9654 900



Electrical stimulation yields tender meat

A new processing technique developed at the Agricultural Research Service, the United States, allows older, egg-producing layer hens to be processed like broiler birds. Normally, mature birds are processed for low-value items feed, pressed products like chicken nuggets, etc. The team uncovered that electrical stimulation of carcasses makes breast meat more tender and speeds up processing. 


Fighting pathogens

Purac, a leading producer of lactic acid in the United States, reports to have found a solution to a recent government directive that classifies ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products formulated with an antimicrobial agent as low-risk products. To qualify for the low-targetted verification programme, RTE meat and poultry processing establishments must have a science-based programme addressing Listeria monocytogenes in product, food-contact surfaces and the environment, and provide data from its testing programme to relevant Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) personnel.

RTE products processed with a sodium/potassium lactate and/or sodium diacetate formulation that has been validated through scientific studies to inhibit growth of L. monocytogenes are classified as low-risk products. Purac is offering its range of lactate/diacetate products under the brand name PURASAL. Appropriate use levels of PURASAL Opti.Form can be determined with Puracs Opti. Form Listeria Control Model. This predictive model calculates the lactate and diacetate levels needed to retard the growth of L. monocytogenes in cured meat and poultry items, taking into account factors such as amount of moisture in the finished product, concentrations of sodium and potassium lactate, sodium diacetate and salt, and good manufacturing practices.



FAO fights for food chain

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is advocating a new strategy to ensure that food is free from foodborne hazards. The Food Chain Approach system urges prevention as well as cure. For FAO, the key to tackling the issue is to strengthen each and every link in the complex process of food reaching the consumer, from the way it is grown or raised, to how it is collected, processed, packed, sold and consumed. FAOs path involves adoption of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), which establish basic principles for farming, including soil and water management, crop and animal production, storage, processing and waste disposal. The aim of the food chain approach is to ensure that the food chain becomes more transparent so that national and international food crisis could be prevented rather than treated. 


New tool to ensure safety of aquatic foods

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have together launched an initiative to help developing nations improve their understanding of the safety and quality factors relating to the production and processing of aquatic species for consumption by humans. By providing greater access to scientific information, the Aquatic Food Product Initiative aims to assist developing countries have access to international markets in the context of sustainable development and enable active participation in standard setting organizations like the Codex Alimentarius. It will also generate information that can help in the delivery of training programmes and education.

By fostering cooperation between FAO, CFIA and various international institutions, the initiative will also generate a knowledge base that will be used to assist subject experts involved in the production and processing of a wide variety of fish and seafood products. The technological tool, known as FishPort, will disseminate information to the recipient country. This is expected to allow scientists from around the world to comprehensively collate and link information in the field of aquatic food safety and quality to a central repository.


India as hub for food flavours

Danisco, a flavours and edible ingredients company based in Denmark, intends to make India the manufacturing hub for food flavours in south and west Asia. The company would invest up to US$10 million over five years to set up an R&D lab and warehouses. It also plans to double the size of its factory after more than two years of operations in India during which it has grown at over 50 per cent on a year-on-year basis. Danisco India is presently manufacturing food flavourings. It imports ingredients such as pectin, emulsifiers, enzymes and cultures from international facilities and exports US$5 million of products every year. 

Chemical Weekly, 18 February 2003

Coke plans to raise investment in India

Coca-Cola is set to invest around US$160 million to expand its existing beverage manufacturing facilities in India. A major project listed under the expansion plans include a coconut water manufacturing unit at Kerala. According to a company spokesman, Coca-Cola would expand its production units and establish additional categories. The tender coconut water plant is just one among many such project scheduled by the company. 


Study on probiotic and prebiotic dairy foods

In Australia and New Zealand, immense potential exists for expanding consumption of probiotic and prebiotic dairy foods. However, inadequate consumer understanding of these concepts presents a critical challenge to market growth. These findings were revealed by a new study undertaken by Frost and Sullivan, an international market consultancy. Probiotic products contain live microbial cultures, prebiotic products selectively stimulate the growth of probiotics and synbiotic products combine probiotics and prebiotics, all exert a positive effect on the digestive health and overall well-being.

Consumer interest regarding functional foods is growing in Australia and New Zealand. This has been bolstered by positive media coverage of probiotic health benefits. Probiotics and prebiotics are emerging at the forefront in the intensifying search for food-based drug substitutes to combat several lifestyle-related diseases. Their role in controlling high blood pressure and obesity is well documented. They are also relevant in the battle against colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Their ability to boost the immune system, thereby reducing the effects of stress on health, is also gaining probiotic and prebiotic products favourable notice. 


Eco-friendly packaging

Latex-coated wrapping can preserve food, be recovered easily within the paper recycling process and is compostable. However, latex is expensive and prone to break down once incorporated into packaging. Prof. Lars Jarnstrom et. al at Karlstad University in Sweden have been studying the polymerization of latex to determine optimum reaction conditions that create a strong and durable coating to protect food from moisture and oxidation. The team is working at the molecular level to control transportation of gases through latex food packaging, where the damaging oxygen and water molecules are excluded while preservatives such as nitrogen and carbon dioxide are retained. Fine-tuning the mechanisms involved in barrier coating would lead to latex films with improved properties. According to Prof. Jarnstrom, latex can be easily separated from paper wrappings at the cellulose dissolving stage in a paper mill. Thus, handling efficiency is raised and transportation costs lowered. 


Healthier bread

At the Catholic University in Belgium, under the aegis of the EU Flair-Flow programme, a research programme called Solfibread is striving to provide and implement technologies to increase the amount of soluble fibre from wheat and barley in bread products, including the use of naturally occurring enzymes. Soluble fibre like those found in fruits, vegetables and grains e.g. oats may be beneficial to health since it is thought to decrease blood cholesterol levels, a risk factor for coronary heart disease. It may also help in the control of adverse effects of diabetes mellitus because it produces a reduced post-prandial glycaemic response (blood sugar level).

Wheat and barley contain arabinoxylan and beta-glucan, respectively, and these can be present in a soluble or insoluble form. The insoluble form can be converted into soluble form through the use of enzymes. Initial results from the project have shown that when compared with standard bread-making wheat, barley contained high levels of glucans and flavonoids. However, further research revealed that barley beta-glucan may be affected through the different stages of standard bread-making in a way that may reduce its beneficial constituents. Researchers have successfully developed and implemented, on an industrial level, new technology for milling hull-less barley into flour, which will be useful in bread-making as well as in other food applications, with increased soluble fibre levels. 


New rules focus on food safety

In the wake of a series of scandals and incidents in Japan, new rules to ensure safety of food and protect consumer health have been promulgated. The bills were devised in response to the outbreak of mad cow disease, false labelling of meat and other products, high levels of pesticides in imported vegetables and deaths and illnesses caused by Chinese diet aids. Echoing recent steps by Europe that saw the building of the new European Food Safety Authority, one of the bills seeks to set up a governmental food safety commission to evaluate the health effects of certain foods. The proposed commission would comprise seven experts in toxic and chemical products who will be charged with recommending to health and farm ministers that the government take preventive measures when certain food products pose risks to the public.

Another bill is intended to revise the health improvement law to ban false or exaggerated advertising of food products. A bill to revise food hygiene law calls for raising maximum fines for companies that have sold or imported food containing pesticide residue. Also passed was a bill to establish a system to identify cows and their producers as well as beef distributors to help track beef infected with mad cow disease. The bill would require cattle farmers to register identification numbers assigned to all cows with the authorities and oblige wholesalers as well as retailers to put labels carrying the numbers on their beef products. 


Research on meat safety

AMI Foundation, a meat industry association in the United States, organized a press conference to highlight some of the latest research into tackling the problem of meat contamination. Oregano, lactic acid bacteria and calcium sulphate were all found to be effective in tackling Listeria monocytogenes, one of the most virulent foodborne pathogen. At the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, researchers led by Dr. Kalidas Shetty have demonstrated that a specially cloned line of the herb oregano, named Umass oregano, offered meat and poultry processors with a consistent source of antimicrobial activity. Comparative analysis of the clone and commercially available oregano revealed that while both were effective in combating Listeria, only the Umass variety yielded adequately high consistency.

Ethanol extracts of an elite phenolic phytochemical-producing clonal line of oregano were used to assess its inhibitory potential against listeria in both broth and meat systems. The extract was chosen to counter the dilemma of diverse ingredients among different batches of the same plant species. Thymol and carvacrol, two of the main phenolic constituents of oregano extracts, were also tested in both systems to evaluate their activity against that of the whole oregano extract. Results indicated that thymol, carvacrol and the clonal oregano line were all effective in inhibiting the growth of the bacterium in both broth and meat systems. However, the greatest growth inhibition was achieved when the whole oregano extract, which is high in rosmarinic acid, was used in meat systems.

Another study at the University of Georgias Centre for Food Safety, led by Dr. Michael Doyle, focused on the use of lactic acid bacteria in biofilms over extended intervals of time and at refrigeration temperatures where Listeria is most likely to grow. It was uncovered that the lactic acid bacteria, which included types often used as starter cultures for meat fermentation, were effective at inhibiting bacterial growth even at temperatures as low as 40C the optimal temperature for refrigerated foods. Lactic acid bacteria isolated for this study were found in biofilms formed in floor drains from commercial processing facilities with a history of no detectable Listeria. The Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis C-1-92 strain produces nisin A and nisin B, which are known to inhibit Listeria. The isolate did not grow at 4C but apparently produced anti-bacterial metabolites at this temperature to keep Listeria populations on biofilms below the detectable level. Two other isolates, Enterococci durans 141-1 and 152 also proved effective in controlling listeria in biofilms.

At Texas A&M University, a team headed by Dr. Jimmy Keeton focused on an acidified calcium sulphate solution called Safe20, which was found to significantly reduce the amount of Listeria on hot dogs and also prevented regrowth of the pathogen over a 12-week period. The solution, applied to the surface of hot dogs, could significantly reduce Listeria growth during the optimal 12-week shelf-life the product typically has in a grocery or retail store. Batches of the frankfurters were treated with a final Listeria concentration of about 108 CFU/ml, or about 10 million micro-organisms per gram, far higher than the concentrations of Listeria likely to be found in any ready-to-eat processing facility. It was found that while lactic acid showed some reduction in Listeria growth on frankfurters, it failed to kill all of them and to prevent the bacteria from growing again on the frankfurter during refrigerated storage. A potassium lactate solution applied to the surface did not effectively retard growth at all. 


Shelf-stable meat

Innovative Foods Australia (IFA) has developed a modified retort packing process, under a project funded by Meat and Livestock Australias Red Meat Processing and Product Innovation programme, to ensure shelf-stable meat. This breakthrough could bring about a wave of new generation value-added red meat products. Retort packaging essentially involves the use of heat and pressure to sterilize food products in enclosed packages like cans. In the new technology, cans have been replaced by microwaveable plastic pouches.

IFA has developed shelf-stable red meat products with an unrefrigerated shelf-life of twelve months, preservative-free. Plastics used in the pouches are multi-layer, heavy-duty laminates especially designed for retort cooking (well above 1000C) and microwave/hot water immersion reheating. The heat-sealing process is also critical, especially when using high-temperature plastic materials, and represents new technology in itself. A major benefit of retort packaging is that storage, cold chain and transport costs are significantly reduced. 

Food and Pack, November 2002

PVC food wrapping banned

In the Republic of Korea, the Environment Ministry has banned the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for wrapping foods. The government is reviewing this material under its materials resource and recycling policy and intends to bring forward legislation it plans to enact next year. PVC-coated wrapping materials will also be prohibited. 


Self-sufficiency in packaging

China is in the process of developing a long-term plan designed to make its packing industries world class. According to the deputy secretary-general of the China Packaging Technology Association, indigenous core technologies and brands in packaging would be developed over the next 20-30 years. This would counter the reliance on imports for the latest technology and materials. In order to realize this, all agencies and enterprises involved have to pay attention to the regulatory framework, improved research and standards development. 


Organic foods more healthy

Researchers at the University of California, the United States, report that organically grown crops contain more healthy compounds than conventional crops. The team compared levels of total polyphenolics and ascorbic acid content in blackberries, strawberries and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally. They found that blackberries grown sustainably or organically and then frozen contained 50-58 per cent more polyphenolics, compounds that act as antioxidants and may protect cells against damage that can lead to heart disease and cancer, than conventionally grown crops from neighbouring plots. Sustainably grown frozen strawberries contained 19 per cent more polyphenolics than conventional fruit. Sustainably grown and organic produce also had more ascorbic acid, which the human body converts into vitamin C. 

Chemical Weekly, 1 April 2003

New flavonoid database

In the United States, a food composition database for flavonoids, a class of beneficial plant-chemical compounds, was launched recently. This database provides analytical values for a range of flavonoid compounds in about 224 foods. Knowledge regarding the amount of dietary intakes of flavonoids is essential for researchers as they strive to evaluate the links between flavonoid intakes and risk factors for various age-related and degenerative diseases.

The supplemental database was established by scientists at Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Centre in collaboration with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre on Ageing at Tufts University and various industry groups. Other supplemental databases include those for carotenoids and isoflavones. Isoflavones are estrogen-like compounds in soya foods that may be responsible for lowering the risk of cancer, while carotenoids (e.g. beta and alpha carotene, lycopene and lutein) are another class of compounds in food that may contribute in reducing the incidence of certain types of cancer and other chronic ailments. 

Contact: Website: or 

Study to limit acrylamide in foods

In the United States, snack food makers are investigating methods to reduce the level of acrylamide, a potential carcinogen. Acrylamide, found in many fried and baked foods, causes cancer in animals, but experts have not yet confirmed its effect on humans. Representatives from Frito-Lay as well as Procter and Gamble reported progress in understanding how acrylamide is formed during cooking. Studies indicate an amino acid called asparagine as the key precursor to acrylamide, which appears after the food is heated. Frito-Lay is investigating if it is possible to remove asparagine from products, eliminate the reaction that seems to cause acrylamide formation or remove acrylamide from foods after it appears. 

Chemical Weekly, 18 March 2003


Shelf-stable meat

The recent development of shelf-stable retort pouch packaging techniques is bound to give rise to a wave of new-generation value-added red meat products. Retort packaging essentially involves the use of heat and pressure to sterilize food products in enclosed packages such as cans. The latest innovation has replaced cans with microwaveable plastic pouches. Plastics used in the pouches are multi-layered, heavy-duty laminates designed especially for retort cooking (above 1000C) and microwave/hot water immersion reheating. A major difference between the canning process for cooked meat-based products and the newly developed pouch technology is that the pouch treatment leaves meats in a state that closely resembles freshly prepared restaurant standard meals.

The modified retort packing process was developed by Innovative Foods Australia (IFA), under funding by Meat and Livestock Australias Red Meat Processing and Product Innovation programme. IFA has developed successful shelf-stable red meat products with an unrefrigerated shelf-life of 12 months, preservative-free. Another benefit of retort packaging is that storage, cold chain and transport costs are substantially reduced. 

Food and Pack, November 2002

Cling films

Patkar Extrusions Ltd., India, offers antifog and perforated cling films for fresh fruits and vegetables. Antifog film is a special blend of film, which prevents build-up of condensations inside the tray thereby preventing premature spoilage. It is suitable for packaging fresh or frozen meat, poultry, fresh produce, etc. and is available in standard width of 300 mm. Advantages offered by this film include: provides ventilation and simultaneously prevents contamination, allows sizeable breathing, and helps control early ripening and maintain quality.

The company also supplies other products such as LLDPE hand-grade/machine-grade stretch film, stretch film, LD shrink film, CPP, blister film, PP sheets for thermoforming and for files and folders, masking film, and speciality film. 

Contact: Patkar Extrusion Ltd., B-32, Bonanza Industrial Estate, Ashok Chakravarty Road, Kandivali (E), Mumbai 400 101, Maharashtra, India. Tel: +91 (22) 8877 673; Fax: +91 (22) 6904 842 



Popular Plastics and Packaging, November 2002

Beverage packing system

In Australia, Mr. Scott Brown has devised a packaging system that preserves beverages longer and crushes by up to 80 per cent. The new squash and seal packaging system, or Squattle, is described as a solution for flexible and recyclable liquid packaging. The life cycle of Squattle package is equal to at least nine normal packages. This innovation removes the headspace in the bottle, which can provide prolonged life expectancy of the products and preserve the quality by significant margins. It has a floating internal valve or closure system that allows for unique physical abilities. Benefits of this system include:

  • The inner valve automatically seals on reduction, allowing for the ability to provide a vacuum-sealed container after opening;

  • The closure can be adapted to other forms of flexible liquid packaging such as Tetra Pak, foils, rigid packaging, concertina bottles and tamper-evident packaging as a second line of defence;

  • When required for air-free storage and preservation, the bottle is squashed and the valve floats, centres and seats within the neck. This provides dual seals, eliminating the need for contemporary inner cap seals with tamper evident qualities; and

  • To reuse, the cap is pressed to dislodge the valve for pouring.

Food and Pack, November 2002

Keeping meat fresh

The Meat Industry Research Institute of New Zealand has developed technology to keep meat fresh for up to 20 weeks. The Securefresh meat packaging technology has been tested in both case-ready and primal applications. This process extends the shelf-life over standard vacuum packaging as it creates an oxygen-free, carbon dioxide atmosphere that delays growth of spoilage organisms. These low oxygen levels are maintained by barrier films in master pouches. 

Food and Pack, December 2002


The future of food preservation

Food preservatives can be grouped into three types antimicrobials that block growth of moulds, bacteria, etc; antioxidants that slow oxidation of fats and lipids that lead to rancidity; and a third type that fights enzymes, which promote natural ripening that occurs after fruits or vegetables are picked. Chemicals like sulphur dioxide works in all three areas, and is part of a larger group called sulphites. Propionates are antimicrobials that help keep bakery products fresh. Benzoates, a weak antimicrobial, work best at low acid levels. Nitrites and nitrates are most commonly used to preserve meats. These chemicals also help cured meat retain its pink colour. Antoxidants stop the chemical breakdown of food exposed to air.

According to Mr. Hassan Gourama based at the Pennsylvania State University, the United States, the current consumer trend towards healthy food products has led food scientists to search for additional preservatives in natural products. New antimicrobials have even been found in the micro-organisms themselves. 

Beverage and Food World, December 2002

Cold rooms

Mech Air Industries, India, offers cold rooms in various sizes and capacities to suit varying requirements. Cold storages/walk-in coolers are available in pre-fabricated PUF panels and conventional panels. Key features of the PUF panels include:

  • Manufactured according to European standards;

  • High pressure system for polyurethane injection, ensuring high dimensional stability of the panels and closed cell density;

  • Flexible density according to project needs and budget;

  • Environment friendly, lightweight PUF panels for superior construction;

  • Metallic camlocks for ease of installation;

  • Airtight construction with features like hinged and sliding doors;

  • Heavy-duty floor panels with non-slip aluminium plates for flooring in walk-ins; and

  • Quality and reliability of the finished product ensure stability and durability, both in physical and dimensional terms.

Mech-Air cold rooms are ideal for stocking small quantities of food products at temperatures of 10C to -40C. The rooms are constructed using modular sectional panels that are quickly assembled and locked using metallic cam locks. The refrigeration systems include an evaporator, one condensing unit complete with pre-charged tubing and a pre-wired electrical control panel.

Contact: Mech Air Industries, 3/16-A, Gorwa Industrial Estate, Gorwa, Baroda 390 016, Gujarat, India. Tel: +91 (0265) 2285 751; Fax: +91 (0265) 2280 062



Pressurized air keeps food fresher

Scientists of the Department of Agriculture in the Northern Ireland are testing a new process wherein foods are subjected to very high hydrostatic pressure, up to 45,000 psi, to keep them fresher, tastier, safer and nutritious longer. The high-pressure processing system destroys many bacteria and decay-causing enzymes without affecting nutrients like vitamins. According to Dr. Margaret Patterson, a member of the research team, Although the pressures used are immense, the processing conditions are designed so that foods are not squashed and they do retain their shape. She says that in theory, processing could do away with chemical preservatives. The current focus is on shellfish; trials with other foodstuffs will be undertaken soon. 


New rehydrating process

Harvest Bay, the United States, has launched a new range of products that utilize a revolutionary rehydrating process, which allows dried fruit to regain much of its moisture. TenderFruit is partially rehydrated to make it extra moist and juicy. The different types of TenderFruit include Apricots, Peaches, Mangoes, Tropical Fruit Mix, Pineapple and Orchard Fruit Mix. The companys airtight, resealable packaging allows the product to be kept on grocery store shelves for at least a year. However, once the bag is opened it must be refrigerated and consumed within seven days.



Separation Process in the Food and Biotechnology Industries

This book offers an overview of various separation processes. Topics discussed include pressure-activated membrane processes, supercritical fluid extraction and its application in the food industry, ultrafiltration, microfiltration, ion exchange and electrodialysis, innovations in bioprocessing, fractionation of fat and solids separation processes.

Contact: The Computype Media, 208-209, IJS Place, Delhi Gate Bazaar, New Delhi 110 002, India. Tel: +91 (011) 3284 148/3259 312; Fax: +91 (011) 3259 312


Trade Liberalization and Indian Dairy Industry

This book provides an excellent account of the Indian dairy industry, together with developments since Indias liberalization programme and implementation of WTO agreements. Intended for use by planners, policy makers and those engaged in the international trade talks, this book offers information useful for trade negotiations.

Contact: Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India.


PET Packaging Technology

This comprehensive reference book is designed to provide extensive information regarding PET. Topics covered include development of materials and technologies to improve its barrier and heat stability, various process technologies for converting it into rigid and flexible packs, and environmental and recycling issues. Major contents are PET materials and applications, barrier materials and technology, PET film and sheet injection and co-injection preform technologies, etc.

Contact: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd., Mansion House, 19, King Field Road, Sheffield S11 9AS, the United Kingdom.


Latest X-ray technology

The United Kingdom division of Cintex is offering its latest low-cost, X-ray system. Sentry XR combines state-of-the-art technology and enhanced functionality. With a head size of just 330 mm wide and a conveyor 1,400 mm long, Sentry XR is considerably smaller than most metal detectors but can accommodate packages up to 240 mm wide and 75 mm high. Simultaneous inspection for   contamination and pack fill integrity can be performed with separate reject provisions for each. The new system is ideal to inspect confectionery, cakes, foil trayed ready meals and frozen foods.

Compact XP is a recent addition to the Cintex Insight range of X-ray systems. A new Windows-based software program has significantly added to the detection capabilities of this system, leading to an increase in accuracy levels and reduction of false rejects. Intended for applications such as checking the presence of filling in doughnuts and searching for missing pieces of butter in garlic baguettes, Compact XPs new frame-based processing technology allows each entire image multiple checks for contaminants, fill checking, item counts, product shape inspection and measurement. 


System to enhance food safety

In Switzerland, Biacore has unveiled its latest development in biosensor technology for food safety tracking. The FoodSENSE project demonstrated the applicability of Biacores Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) biosensor-based technology for high-throughput analysis of potentially harmful contaminants and chemical residues in food. The project involved eight other organizations from four nations and was supported by the EC Programme for Agriculture and Fisheries, as part of the 4th Framework Programme. It has been shown that a substantially higher daily throughput of tests, up to 650 samples/day, can be performed using SPR. In addition, a much wider range of residues can be detected than feasible by existing methods.

According to Biacore, the SPR technology has been successfully used to detect and measure illegal growth promoters in the urine of cattle, and antibiotics in the bile and tissue of pigs. The FoodSENSE project resulted in the creation of a new company, XenoSense Ltd., which has teamed up with Biacore for developing kits and reagents to detect food contaminants using SPR technology. At present, six kits are available for the analysis of sulphadiazine and sulphamethazine (sulphonamides), clenbuterol, streptomycin, ractopamine and chloramphenicol. 


Faster check on meat contamination

In the United Kingdom, researchers at Aberystwyth University have developed a new technique that detects bacterial contamination of meat products quickly and efficiently. The team used Fourer transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to produce a fingerprint of the biochemical changes on chicken breasts as a result of micro-organic growth. These metabolic changes give rise to various organoleptic features, which make meat unacceptable. The horizontal attenuated total reflectance FTIR spectroscopy was designed using the most appropriate machine learning algorithms for estimating the bacterial total viable count directly from the surface of muscle foods. The effectiveness of this technology has been established through a detailed study of the natural spoilage process on chicken breast muscle. 

Chemical Weekly, 15 October 2002

Advanced sorting technology

Inspection Systems, Australia, offers an automatic defect removal system that incorporates electronic vision, introduced by Radix, for use with baked goods. The Autosort machine identifies defects in formed and extruded products that are burnt or misshapen, or those with missing chocolate or cream. It can be adapted into new or existing production lines and monitors the full product flow for biscuit colour, shape, height, coating, sandwich assembly and many other parameters.

If a defective product is identified, a fast air ejector removes it from the product flow. A guided set-up enables the user to set specific parameters, and the system automatically adjusts the parameters to take into account baking variations and production conditions. Alarms and reports are also produced to assist in quality and production management. The system can even inspect small defects such as carbon specks at feed rates in excess of 6,000 biscuits/min. Standard sizes are available to fit all common widths of biscuit lines. 

Contact: Inspection Systems, Australia. Tel: +61 (03) 9329 7666. 

Food and Pack, February 2003

E. coli and Salmonella kit

A team at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, the University of the Philippines Los Baos, have developed detection kits based on PCR technology for E. coli and Salmonella. These foodborne pathogens cause diseases like typhoid fever and other infections of the intestines leading to diarrhoea. The PCR method is used to increase the number of copies of certain regions of DNA unique to an organism, producing enough DNA detectable for testing. Accurate identification on the DNA level is assured with the PCR-based method while the conventional process is based on morphological, biochemical/physiological and serological characters to identify and distinguish micro-organisms. 

Contact: Ms. Ramirez/Dr. Mercado, Biotech-UPLB, the Philippines. Tel: +63 (049) 5360 547.


New technology

Marshfield Clinic, the United States, has developed a PCR-based testing technology to detect foodborne illnesses. The Roche LightCycler instrument employs fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) hybridization probe technology for rapid and specific detection of target DNA, eliminating the need for gel electrophoresis. In addition to real-time quantification of DNA, this device also uses melting curve analysis for target DNA. It provides results in about 12 h. Marshfield Clinic Food Safety Services has patents pending on DNA sequences for Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), pathogenic Salmonella species and Listeria monocytogenes. 

Contact: Marshfield Laboratories, 1000, North Oak, Marshfield, WI 54449, the United States. Tel: +1 (715) 3877 121; Fax: +1 (715) 3875 835

Website: or  

Tool for food safety

ProClarity Corp., the United States, has installed the ProClarity Analytics Platform within the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. Used across the entire organization as a part of its Performance-based Inspection System, ProClarity allows users with varying computer skills to access and analyse critical information that would otherwise not be available on a timely basis. It enables managers to view, download and conduct analysis on data regarding inspections to provide a complete snapshot of over 6,500 meat, poultry and egg processing facilities throughout the nation. 


New testing kits

Strategic Diagnostics, the United States, offers RapidChek assay for E. coli O157. The new test method recently completed evaluations by major independent laboratories. These investigations revealed that RapidChek assures a 65 per cent reduction in overall false positives when compared to a well-recognized competitive test, exhibited greater sensitivity and is easier to use.

The company has also launched a pathogen test to detect Salmonella, a common food pathogen found in a wide variety of foods including meats, dairy products and processed foods. Benefits of this assay include simplified preparation process that makes the test easier to run than competitive brands. The products performance standard complies with present regulatory requirements. 


Antibody spice

Researchers at the University of Alberta, Canada, have developed a new spice to fight E. coli and Salmonella. This cocktail of natural antibodies is derived from freeze-dried egg yolks. It could be sprayed or shaken over food products, added to ketchups, mayonnaises or sauces, and even used to treat raw meat prior to processing.

Adding a powder containing the antibody immunoglobulin Y (IgY) to food could provide an additional defence against poor sanitary methods. The additive is obtained using a technique employed to manufacture the flu virus. Chickens are injected with specific pathogens, which then develop antibodies to the disease-causing microbes in their bodies. These are passed on into eggs laid by the chickens and the IgY antibodies accumulate in large quantities in the yolks, which are collected, freeze-dried and processed. The spice does not kill pathogens but prevents them from infecting the human body. 


X-ray system

In the United States, SureBeam has been awarded a patent that extends its current two-pass patented X-ray system to a four-pass system, resulting in enhanced processing efficiency. This technology increases profitability during throughput of certain products while not adding to the operating costs. Increased processing efficiency, by 5-15 per cent, is feasible. SureBeams X-ray and electron beam technology is a process that uses ordinary electricity to eliminate the threat of dangerous bacteria e.g. E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella from food products, and is also an effective disinfestation treatment for eliminating harmful pests. 


Improved disinfection of water

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the United States, have developed a better and low-cost method to disinfect water used in food processing. The new Advanced Disinfection Technology System (ADTS) relies on ultraviolet (UV) radiation to eliminate moulds, viruses and bacteria. ADTS handles water more efficiently than its counterparts, thus improving overall effectiveness of the disinfection process. A unique pattern of mixing ensures that every particle of water is equally exposed to the UV lamp.

At the heart of ADTS is a pair of cylinders, one inside the other. The smaller cylinder rotates inside the stationary outer cylinder while water is pumped through the gap separating the two. Inside the gap, the cylinder rotation causes water to churn and tumble in a well-documented phenomenon called a Taylor vortex. This vortex motion also keeps the lamps free of material build-up. 

Contact: Ms. Jane Sanders, the United States. Tel: +1 (404) 8942 214




Support for Codex

A joint report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), which set out to evaluate the Codex Alimentarius Commission, reveals the overwhelming belief among Codex members in the inherent value of the Codex food standards. According to the report, the standards were perceived as vital in promoting food control systems designed to protect consumer health, including issues related to international trade and the agreements on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures and on technical barriers to trade at the World Trade Organization. The report also identified several key areas for improvement. These include:

  • Greater speed in Codex Alimentarius Commission work and provision of expert scientific advice;

  • Increase in the inclusion of developing Member States in the standard-development procedure, including risk assessment, Codex Alimentarius Commission standards that are more useful to Member States in terms of relevance to their needs and timeliness

  • More effective capacity-building for development of national food control systems.


New and revised food and agriculture standards in India

IS 1011:2002 Biscuits Specification (fourth revision), Gr 4.
IS 11473:2002 Groundnut decorticator Test code (first revision), Gr 4.
IS 14483 (Part 2):2002 Fertilizer and chemical injection system: Part 2 Water-driven chemical injector pump, Gr 4.
IS 15156:2002 Acephate + Fenvalerate emulsifiable concentrate Specification, Gr 2.
IS 15157:2002 Deltamethrin + Triazophos emulsifiable concentrate Specification, Gr 2.
IS 15158:2002 Pretilachlor, technical Specification, Gr 1.
IS 15160:2002 Pretilachlor emulsifiable concentrate Specification, Gr 1.
IS 15161:2002 Fenpropathrin, technical Specification, Gr 1.
IS 15162:2002 Fenpropathrin emulsifiable concentrate Specification, Gr 1.
IS 15163:2002 Isoprothiolane, technical Specification, Gr 2.
IS 15164:2002 Isoprothiolane emulsifiable concentrate Specification, Gr 1.
IS 15165:2002 Tebuconazole, technical Specification, Gr 2.
IS 15166:2002 Glufosinate ammonium technical concentrate Specification, Gr 2.
IS 15167:2002 Deltamethrin + Endosulphan emulsifiable concentrate Specification, Gr 2.
IS 15234:2002 Penconazole, technical Specification, Gr 2.
IS 15235:2002 Chlorpyrifos + Cypermethrin emulsifiable concentrate Specification, Gr 2.
IS 15237:2002 Penconazole emulsifiable concentrate Specification, Gr 1.
IS 15241:2002 Propiconazole, technical Specification, Gr 1.

Standards India, Vol. 16, No. 9, December 2002

Rule for importing seafood

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Australia and India has resulted in the former modifying inspection rates for fish and fishery products imported from the latter. This move follows an assessment of Indias export controls by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS), which found that the Indian controls are on par with systems in Australia. Additionally, seafood products from India have consistently complied with Australias requirements for the past 14 years.

Shipments of Indian products such as frozen prawns and fish will now be accepted on the basis of certification, minimizing entry fees and making entry processing more efficient. According to AQIS, the MOU will be a model for future agreements with countries that export food products to Australia.



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