VATIS Update Food Processing . May-Jun 2004

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Food Processing May-Jun 2004

ISSN: 0971-5649

VATIS Update Food Processing is published 4 times a year to keep the readers up to date of most of the relevant and latest technological developments and events in the field of Food Processing. The Update is tailored to policy-makers, industries and technology transfer intermediaries.

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Global database on food science

A new searchable database has been developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST). Researchers involved in food science and technology research projects relevant to worldwide food needs, especially those of developing nations, can have brief key details of their projects listed in this database. Available at the website, the database is intended to collate data about relevant food research projects, facilitate information sharing among food scientists globally and provide a resource and contact base.

A team led by Prof. Ralph Blanchfield, initiator of the database project, developed the scheme and database of requirements. The database was constructed and implemented by FAOs Agriculture and Food Engineering Technologies Service as a module of its INPhO mega-database.

Contact: Mr. Judith Meech, Intl. Union of Food Science and Technology, United States of America. Tel: +1 (905) 8151 926; Fax: +1 (905) 8151 574




International organizations demand poultry tests

A joint statement issued by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health has urged Asian countries declaring to have conquered avian influenza to base such claims on in-depth investigations. Both organizations have offered to provide international experts to assess the epidemiological situation. This statement follows concerns that Viet Nam is seeking to import between 500,000 and 600,000 t of corn for feed. The organizations state that In countries such as Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand, further outbreaks could still flare up. The virus could spread again within and between countries. As long as the H5N1 virus is not fully under control, the potential threat to human health remains.

Viet Nam, where an estimated 38 million poultry died, is expected to declare the virus eradicated. Thailand, whose poultry export business annually exceeds US$1 billion, has been forced to cull over 25 million chickens. Events in Asia are causing concern in Europe, where consumers have been doubtful since the issue of bird flue began. Apart from health aspects, poultry producers in the European Union (EU) are concerned that quick restocking could further undermine public confidence in poultry products. EU officials are keen to extend the Europe-wide six-month ban on the import of all Southeast Asian poultry until there is categorical proof that the disease has been eradicated.


Codex joins GM labelling debate

While an increasing number of governments worldwide toy with new legal frameworks for genetically modified (GM) foodstuffs, Codex Alimentarius is scheduled to table the issue at an upcoming meeting in Montreal. Falling into the agenda for the May 2004 meeting, the United Nations-backed organization, the Codex Committee on Food Labelling, will draft recommendations for the labelling of food ingredients obtained through certain techniques of genetic modification. The debate on GM foodstuffs continues to rage on across the globe as consumers, governments, and food and agriculture industries create polar camps.

In Europe, the EU15 block has cleared the toughest legislation on GM labelling the world has seen and is set to be enforced soon. This initiative has upset the United States, a key producer of GM crops, which perceives that the new rules are a barrier to trade and has approached the World Trade Organization for a settlement. Under the new European Commission regulation on GM food and feed, all ingredients that contain or consist of GM organisms, or contain ingredients produced from GM organisms, will need to be labelled as such. A threshold of 0.9 per cent will be applicable for the accidental presence of GM material, below which labelling of food or feed is not required. A 0.5 per cent threshold is stipulated for GM material not approved for use in Europe, provided it has a favourable safety assessment from the European Union scientific committees. This latter threshold will be applicable for three years.


Chinas dairy imports may exceed US$400 million

According to the United States Department of Agricultures Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), burgeoning consumer demand for dairy products is outstripping domestic supplies in China. This has led to increased imports and the domestic industry is also growing rapidly. FAS estimates that dairy imports into China could surpass US$400 million, an increase of over 50 per cent compared with that in 2002.

Indian Dairyman, February 2004

New regional halal product and services hub

The Malaysian government plans to put the nation on the halal product and services map. In line with its goal to develop the country into a regional hub, the International Trade and Industry Ministry has set up a technical committee to coordinate and streamline procedures on the certification of halal products and services. It also involves the use of the halal logo as well as conformity to international food safety standards and requirements.

The halal industry standard committee is in the final stage of preparing general guidelines on the production, preparation, handling and storage of halal food. Several locations have been identified to be developed as halal food processing centres, mainly in Pulau Indah in Selangor, Pedas in Negri Sembilan, Gambang in Pahang, Pantai Remis in Perak, Serkam in Malacca and Paya Pahlawan in Kedah.


Vegetable oil market in Russia

In Russia, a recent survey on sunflower and soya oil manufacturers, undertaken by Moscow-based Market Advice, has unveiled that poor supplies of soya bean, outdated production equipment and excessive market competition are hampering the industrys growth. Findings have revealed that the production output and product composition of the enterprises questioned vary. While about 80 per cent of enterprises produce crude sunflower oil, refined sunflower oil is produced by 64 per cent. Crude soya oil is produced by 16 per cent and only 10 per cent produce refined soya oil. Also, most of those using equipment less than three years old had acquired them from foreign producers, suggesting that there is little in the way of new equipment presently provided by domestic suppliers. Furthermore, the survey uncovered that 60 per cent of respondents specified shortage of raw materials as being the most important, with quality and pricing being particular issues.


Breakthrough in liquid engineering

Researchers at University College Dublin, the United Kingdom, have brought real-time process control for food manufacturers a significant step closer. Investigations into viscosity measurement techniques for characterizing the flow and mixability of highly non-Newtonian fluids could allow food manufacturers to better understand the changes in food with sufficient sensitivity.

Many foods are presented in a sauce or as a neo-liquid and can be produced in a process-type environment. To date, real-time control has been virtually impossible owing to the non-uniform nature of the food, which may contain particulates, fibres, vegetables, meat, nuts, raisin, biscuits, etc. The team opines that real-time process control is vital if food processors are to achieve the ultimate in product quality. To achieve this, the sensor has to be pretty special to detect the changes, yet be robust enough for regular wash-downs and general industrial abuse.

Researchers have simulated food processing techniques in several different laboratory rigs, one of the most used being a helical ribbon mixer similar to those employed by manufacturers for mixing ingredients together. A key component of the teams experiments is the Torqsense transducer, produced by the United Kingdom-based Sensor Technology. This device monitors the constantly varying flow characteristics of mixing materials as diverse as tomato ketchup, chocolate, pasta sauce and chicken tikka masala as they are mixed. Torqsense uses Surface Acoustic Waves technique to provide non-contact monitoring of instantaneous rotary torque, allowing accurate modelling of the instantaneous load changes. It is essentially a frequency-dependent strain gauge operating at ultrasound frequencies and comprises a transducer mounted on the mixers rotating shaft to monitor variations in its resonance frequency as the torsional load varies. A radio frequency link is used for wireless transmission of signals to an adjacent pick up so that rotation is unhindered.


Stricter laws to monitor Indian food imports

India has promulgated the new Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Imports into India) Order 2003 to curb imports of sub-standard products into the country. According to Mr. Vijay Sardana, Director of the Centre for International Trade in Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, India needs to develop globally accepted standards for food products in the country. According to Mr. Sardana, developed nations have imposed unnecessary stringent SPS regulations to deter imports from the Third World. He cites numerous cases where substantial quantities of sub-standard grapes from the United States entered India illegally. The new law is intended to restrict imports of vegetables and fruits, and makes exotic fruits such as rambutans, kiwis and melons forbidden for Indian consumers.

Beverage and Food World, March 2004

R&D in flavours and dairy ingredients

The Australian government has earmarked millions of dollars to invest in R&D for the food industry. This initiative is part of an overall goal to boost competition in the nations food industry and add value to Australian farm and food products sector. At the heart of the research are five strategic areas in the food chain identified by a research partnership, the Food Futures National Research Flagship, for transformation. Two of these take a sharper look at ingredients and additives, focusing on flavours as well as meat and dairy ingredients. The network will strive to design a precise measurement of flavour to improve wine and food quality while the second strategic spot will examine separating healthy bioactive ingredients from meat and dairy and investigate future applications. Additionally, as global wheat stocks hit 30-year lows, and China, in particular, turns to Australia for wheat supplies, one focal point of the programme will be to improve the nations burgeoning wheat industry.


New food norms

In India, the government is expected to announce new stricter laws to tighten its hold over processed food manufacturers. This step is in light of recent controversies over the presence of pesticides in colas and worms in chocolates. A new statutory body, Food Standards Authority (FSA), will integrate food laws and make them more stringent. Presently, the Central Committee of Food Standards governs food safety standards, which are covered under the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act. The existing PFA act will be amended and fresh laws incorporated.

FSA will draw up new standards for contaminants in food and food products, regulate flavours and assess risks involved in the use of food additives. It will also fix the acceptable daily intake of the level of residues such as pesticides, additives, flavourings and heavy metals. The statutory body will also be responsible for accrediting and certifying laboratories. Once the standards have been stipulated and accreditation of labs is approved, implementation of the laws will be carried out by the state governments, which in turn will appoint health officers for both urban and rural areas.


Fortified juice lowers cholesterol

Researchers in the United States report that by adding plant sterols to orange juice it is possible to reduce the risk of heart diseases. Plant sterols are known for their cholesterol-lowering power when added to migraines, salad dressings and other fats. According to researchers with the University of California-Davis, Fortifying orange juice with plant sterols is an effective way to boost a diets LDL-fighting power in individuals with mildly elevated cholesterol levels. Inclusion of sterols in orange juice offers an important treatment option without increasing saturated fat while providing vitamin C, flavonoids and several other essential nutrients.
A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and rich in soluble fibre and plant sterols is recommended by the American Heart Association and National Cholesterol Education Programme to help individuals reduce their risk of heart disease. A variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals and legumes contain sterols in minuscule quantities. LDL levels in the body are lowered by sterols, that are chemically similar to cholesterols, by limiting absorption of cholesterol in the intestine.


Health food ingredients in Japan

Industry observers report that Japanese companies are increasing the production of ingredients used in so-called functional food, i.e. food and beverages incorporating health-enhancing constituents. The market for functional foods is expanding, amid growing public consciousness about health issues, and food manufacturers want to develop health food ingredients into a major revenue source.

Fuji Oil Co. has converted its existing Osaka plant into a facility dedicated to the production of soya bean peptide, which is said to be effective in fighting fatigue. This upgrading has tripled the companys output capacity to 120 t/month. Q.P. Corp. plans to set up a production facility for hyaluronic acid, a skin moisturizing substance, at its plant in Ibaraki prefecture. Kaneka Corp., Japans largest producer of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), has doubled its output capacity for the substance to 150 t/y. CoQ10 facilitates energy production by cells. Companies are also exporting functional ingredients overseas. Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd. is increasing shipments of substances such as docosahexanoic acid and eicosapentanoic acid, which help increase good cholesterol in blood by expanding its output capacity by 70 per cent.


Demand for packaging systems

Chinas packaging industry is undergoing growth at a rate that is set to turn the sector into one of the nations leading industries. According to market specialists Access Asia, the packaging industry has been growing steadily with an annual growth rate of 18 per cent in 2001. Along with the packaging sector, the packaging machinery industry has also grown. Currently, there are about 1,600 local packaging machinery manufacturers, 25 per cent are classified by the government as large operations (over 1,000 employees), 35 per cent medium-sized (300-1,000) and 40 per cent as small-sized (less than 300). These companies together produce about 2,700 of the 4,000 types of packaging equipment available in the global market.



New test kits

Tecra International Pty. Ltd., Australia, has added two new biochemical ID kits to its existing range of pathogen detection products. TECRA Gram Negative Biochemical ID Test system can be used to confirm the identity of Enterobacteriaceae and other non-fastidious, oxidase-negative, Gram-negative bacilli such as Salmonella spp. isolated from food and environmental sources. TECRA Listeria Biochemical ID kit is used to ascertain the identity of Listeria spp. isolated from food and environmental sources.

Conveniently sized and containing all the reagents required, each test strip employs 12 standardized micro-well substrates. They are simple to use, with no assembly required, single colony inoculation and non-toxic reagents. The state-of-the-art and user-friendly TECRA identification system software helps identify the isolate accurately and efficiently.

Contact: Tecra International Pty. Ltd., Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 8977 3000; Fax: +61 (2) 9453 3422




Triple pasteurization

Vincent Giordana Corp., the United States, has installed a three-step post-packaging pasteurization system at its meat processing facility. This system offers the strongest defence yet against Listeria as well as protects the integrity of the product, a benefit not available with most food safety techniques. The new system incorporates a process that kills 99.99 per cent of any bacteria present on the surface of pre-cooked products, followed by a water-flow, post-packaging process that further aids in destroying bacteria.


Rapid analysis of pathogens

Nutreco Agriculture, the Netherlands, has devised a new and rapid technique to measure pathogens in the meat production chain, with assistance from Matrix MicroScience Ltd., the United Kingdom.

Known as Pathatrix/Colortrix, Nutreco states that this method represents a significant enhancement of the existing NuTrace monitoring programme. Faster data availability enables better management of the entire production chain, from feed to meat. The company is scheduled to launch the rapid analysis method for Salmonella. Campylobacter spp. and Listeria spp. will be introduced into the programme over the next two years. The Pathatrix/Colortrix method enables analysis results to be made available within eight hours as against the conventional 3-5 days.


Test to detect Brucella

In the United States, researchers at ARS National Animal Disease Centre, Iowa State University and National Veterinary Services Laboratories have together developed a test for detecting the bacteria Brucella melitensis in goat milk. This assay relies on an adaptation of an enzyme-linked immunoassay developed earlier to test cattle for B. abortus. B. melitensis, one of six known species of Brucella bacteria that induce abortions in animals, mainly infects sheep and goats. In humans, B. melitensis infection causes Malta fever, which is characterized by fever and headaches.


Detecting dioxins in fishmeal

Researchers at the Centre for Advanced Food Studies, the Netherlands, have developed a simple, low-cost and fast method to detect dioxin content in fishmeal. The new procedure can screen fishmeal in case of increased content of the health damaging dioxin. The fish products fatty acid composition is compared with the dioxin content using chemometric technique, which can quickly determine any increases in dioxin content in the product.


Metal detectors

Safeline offers gravity feed detectors that enable inspection under continuous product flow. These systems are guaranteed to zero in on tramp metal contamination and eliminate it from free-flowing materials, thus maintaining the highest inspection standards on high volume bulk product lines. The compact systems can easily be fitted under feed hoppers or at the discharge of bulk feed conveyors. Utilizing sophisticated digital processing electronics and high-speed diverter valves designed to minimize product loss during contaminant removal, the detectors reliably identify and eliminate contamination regardless of the product volume or flow. Some of the applications include sugar, rice, flour, frozen vegetables, cereals, pharmaceuticals, peanuts, spices, cocoa, plastic resin, chemicals, pasta, etc.


Remote food X-ray imaging

Cintex Group Ltd., the United Kingdom, offers technology that allows real-time X-ray inspection imaging. At the click of a button, a remote user can monitor the progress of products passing through the X-ray machine and view each individual image without having to visit the production floor. Additionally, historic images can be easily retrieved, viewed, printed and saved, all from a host PC, making them available for analysis and reports at a moments notice.
The new MIACS software enables a PC to be used to control, monitor and collect data from Cintex end-of-line inspection systems. MIACS enables system operators to change product set-ups, control various statistical parameters and collect data from each Cintex system to provide a central record of all validation and production data. The software also provides enhanced data collection techniques, which include event-logging for individual machines on the network, report capturing which produces automated reports from specific machines and a host of other report production and analysis features. According to Cintex, the software produces clear images at high line speeds, providing twice the resolution of competing models. It allows detection of minute contaminants, including bone, rubber or plastic. Even products packaged in metal foil can be scanned.

Contact: Cintex Group Ltd., Featherstone Road, Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes MK12 5QN, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1908) 629 200; Fax: +44 (1908) 579 824



Salmonella detection

Researchers at the Department of Immunology, Microbiology and Parasitology of the University of the Basque Country (EHU), Spain, are developing a system to detect Salmonella within 24 h. Three bodies working jointly on this project include EHU (responsible for the development of a detection system for viable bacteria), Laboratorios Bromatologicos Araba (which applies the university research results to real samples) and the LEIA Technological Centre (charged with developing pretreatment systems for the samples). Salmonella is quite a ubiquitous bacterium, found in foodstuffs of animal origin and in contaminated water. It is a resistant micro-organism that adapts easily to extreme environmental conditions and can grow under a wide range of temperatures. The consequences are enterocolitis, systemic infections, gastro-enteritis and typhoid fever.

It has been demonstrated that DNA extraction is not entirely sufficient to detect Salmonella, though its complete genome (about 4,500,000 base pairs) became known only a few years ago, since this does not indicate whether the bacteria is alive or dead. As such, employing new genetic techniques, other more specific markers for the viability of the bacteria are being sought. One of these could be RNA.


Test for E. coli

In the United States, a team of researchers at Cornell University, has developed a rapid method to detect Escherichia coli in food. Presently the fastest method of detecting E. coli O157:H7 yields results in 48 h. With the new method, the presence of E. coli can be determined in about 7 h. This breakthrough would enable detection of E. coli in potentially contaminated food with unprecedented speed and accuracy.

The assay is carried out in simple, thin glass tubes, which increases the sensitivity of the method. Bacterial cells are captured from the food using microscopic magnetic beads and then placed into a growth medium that allows the bacteria to replicate, making their detection easier. After a few hours of incubation, an antibody, which is specific to E. coli O157:H7 and is marked with a fluorescent dye, is added. The antibody binds to E. coli and fluoresces when illuminated with a laser, providing the lab positive results. It is extremely sensitive, able to detect as few as 100 bacteria per 8 oz sample. However, this test is not ready at present for routine field testing of products such as apple cider.



Breakthrough in food technology

Carnegie Corp., Australia, has announced the first commercial sale in the United Kingdom of a unit incorporating its unique steam-powered PDX technology. PDX is a new platform technology with potential uses in a wide range of industries, including brewing and food manufacture, nuclear and oil-powered energy systems, personal healthcare, paper and pulp, wastewater treatment, etc. PDX technology can be used to manufacture a variety of products, including sauces, soups and stocks, while reducing up to 95 per cent in manufacturing time and 80 per cent in cleaning time between batches.

The new system can pump, macerate, aerate, mix and entrain in one simple device, which is self-cleaning and requires virtually no maintenance. PDX technology utilizes steam as the sole motive power in an innovative process system. It can replace several devices in conventional processes and consequently offers a number of significant benefits. Typically, the end product is a faster and simpler process with low running costs.


Low-carb ingredient from wheat bran

In Canada, a milling company has found a novel way of creating more value from wheat bran by tapping into the growing market for low carbohydrate products. According to Mr. Mark Hayhoe, President of Hayhoe Mills, white wheat flour has a high carbohydrate content while wheat bran is mainly fibre and as such is low in carbohydrates. Though it is difficult to break down wheat bran and convert it into flour, the company has created a process to achieve this.

Avignon low net carb wheat flour from Hayhoe Mills is popular with bakers and bread makers. Wheat bran flour is much more absorbent than traditional flour, thus helping bread stay fresh for longer periods. The flour can even be blended with normal flour. Also, Hayhoe Mills has devised a programme that quickly and accurately calculates what the net carb value of products made with the blended flour would be, offering a multitude of options to customers.


Rice starch resists processing stress

A&B Ingredients, the United States, offers a native waxy rice starch that outperforms many modified starches. Remyline XS has a hard granule that resists harsh conditions like high temperature, shear and acidity, without any chemical modification. It can tolerate UHT treatment, high-pressure homogenization, freeze/thaw cycles and pH 3.2 at boiling temperature. Compared with modified waxy rice and waxy corn starches, Remyline XS exhibits improved structure resistance, slightly better shear stability and comparable shear resistance, viscosity and heat and/or pH resistance.

Remyline XS produces a soft, smooth and highly stable gel. The clean-tasting and white starch, which is kosher and GMO-free, does not brown under thermal treatment. This starch yields a short gel structure that provides body and creaminess to a product, without becoming stringy over time. Typically used as a replacement for other starches (1:1), Remyline XS is available in standard cook-up form or as a cold water-swelling ingredient. This rice derivative is easily digested and non-allergenic.

Contact: A&B Ingredients, 24, Spielman Road, Fairfield, New Jersey, NJ 07004, United States of America. Tel: +1 (973) 2271 390; Fax: +1 (973) 2270 172



Reaction process improves flavour design

Ottens Flavors, the United States, offers technology to create natural, heat-stable flavours with carefully defined and accurate profiles. Reaction-flavour technology mimics the natural formation of flavour components, while using fewer materials than compound-flavour formulation. To create accurate profiles, the company begins by identifying the components that contribute to a flavours unique characteristics. Technologists then use the resulting list of aroma and flavour elements to establish the specific compounds and their concentrations that are required from the reaction process. Flavour production commences with a select group of starting materials, primarily reducing sugars and amino acids, which are then subjected to specific flavour-processing conditions, including time, pH and temperature. The highly controllable reaction process optimizes the addition of essential flavours.

Utilizing the reaction-flavour base, complicated profiles are readily achieved with the addition of various top-notes. Available in liquid and dry forms, the true-to-character flavours are typically used at levels similar to compound-flavour rates.

Contact: Ottens Flavors, 7800, Holstein Avenue, PA 19153, United States of America. Tel: +1 (215) 3657 800; Fax: +1 (215) 3657 801


Organic catalysts

Researchers at Durham University, the United Kingdom, are perfecting an organic catalyst technology for use in the pharmaceutical, food and fragrances industries. Organic catalysts are mixed with chemical compounds to produce substances that are useful to industry. This new family of environmentally benign catalysts are produced with unusually little waste or contamination.


Oil-soluble antioxidant green tea

RFI Ingredients, the United States, has introduced a food-grade, oil-soluble, green tea antioxidant. The product involves a proprietary extraction and formulation method that provides excellent antioxidant capabilities to extend the shelf-life of foodstuffs susceptible to oxidation. Particular product areas include meat and poultry applications. The new antioxidant imparts minimal flavour and odour.

RFI has also defined a new core platform based on organic ingredients with GMP-certified organic manufacturing facilities in North and South America and China. The companys product lines include fruit, vegetable and botanical powders, extracts and concentrates, cereal grasses (barley, wheat, alfa alfa), OxyPhyte natural antioxidants, ColorPure natural colours and Chocamine patent-pending cocoa extract.

Contact: RFI Ingredients, United States of America. Tel: +1 (845) 3588 600.



Microwave ovens pasteurize packaging and pallets

P. Lindberg Industri A/S, Denmark, offers super microwave ovens for pasteurization. The principle of these gigantic microwave ovens is identical to the one in ordinary and much smaller units. A plate rotates at the bottom of the oven and microwaves run through the object placed on the plate to heat it up quickly. These systems can be used in the food industry as well as in fruits and vegetables business, especially for eliminating undesirable bacteria on packaging and pallets. A computerized giant microwave measuring 3 m 3 m 2 m (height breadth depth) costs approximately US$244,000 to US$330,000, depending on the technical specifications of the oven.


Pasteurization to mitigate E. coli concerns

Researchers at Kansas State University, the United States, have developed a meat decontamination process to eliminate E. coli and Salmonella. The Steam Pasteurization System (SPS) 400 is a new technological concept in meat safety. This antimicrobial treatment uses pressurized steam, instead of chemicals, to destroy harmful bacteria present on animal carcasses.

In the system, animal carcasses are conveyed through a 37 feet long tunnel where large quantities of steam are applied. This kills a large percentage of bacteria on the carcass surface and thereby greatly reduces the risk of enteric pathogens in the meat. After standard wash and dry steps, the carcass is immersed in pressurized steam to cover every surface for 6-8 seconds in the SPS 400. This raises the surface temperature to 85C, which, according to Prof. Randy Phebus, is more than sufficient to kill dangerous bacteria.

The carcass is then immediately sprayed with chilled water, bringing the surface temperature to about -14C before being stored in a holding cooler. This rapid procedure prevents discoloration and cooked look of the carcass, which are unacceptable to consumers desiring a fresh-looking product. Prof. Phebus states that steam pasteurization is superior to other decontamination technologies since it does not involve environmental issues, is economical and energy efficient. Though the new technology reduces the risk of bacteria, ultimately the most important role in food safety, which includes proper handling and preparation of meat, is up to the consumer.


Egg safety technology

Leda Technologies, Belgium, is offering patented pasteurization technology capable of eliminating Salmonella and high levels of avian flu in shell eggs. The new technology ensures that eggs can be pasteurized in the shell and consequently stored safely longer. The appliance, Pollux, has been independently certified to kill at least 700 million Salmonella bacteria inside shell eggs while not affecting the eggs composition, appearance, nutritional value, taste or cooking properties. Pre-programmed settings allow the cook to determine with accuracy to what extent the egg white and/or yolk should coagulate.

R&D efforts to see how this technology could be successfully applied in food production, rather than just food preparation, are ongoing.

Contact: Leda Technologies, Middelmolenlaan 108, 2100 Deurne, Belgium, Europe. Tel: +32 (3) 3280 090; Fax: +32 (3) 3280 091




Oxygen and carbon dioxide absorption packaging

Tianhua Tech, China, is the pioneer in oxygen-absorption packaging technology. The company offers 504 diabsorber series of patented oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbers. Products in this series are differentiated on:
  • Best application range of Aw, water activity value of targetted subject;
  • Capacity of moisture elimination;
  • Ratio of the absorption capacity of oxygen vs. CO2; and
  • The ability of balancing air pressure in a package during oxygen and CO2 scavenging.

With a high ability to eliminate free oxygen, CO2, SO2, H2S and moisture in a sealed container, 504 diabsorber can achieve an oxygen and CO2-free environment around sealed foodstuffs or other products. As such, it inhibits the development of aerobic and anaerobic micro-organisms, mould, moth, oxidation, rancidity, corrosion and discolouration. Food freshness, original taste and flavour, nutrition and quality are preserved. Key features of 504 include:

  • Multiple scavenging ability;
  • Unique feature of accelerated oxygen scavenging helps achieve oxygen-free environment faster and thoroughly;
  • Better total capacity of oxygen absorption;
  • Each product package comes together with an oxygen indicator to help consumers optically identify the effectiveness of the products; and
  • Less capacity loss during stocking period.

Contact: Tianhua Tech Co. Ltd., Suite 208, Bldg. 8, 1 Youyihe Rd., Nanjing 210007, China.



Extending the shelf-life of perishable products

CO2 Technologies, the United States, is offering technology designed to extend the life of perishables from the point of harvest through to consumption. The new technology modifies the atmosphere in a refrigerated environment through slow, controlled release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour over a defined period. The chemistry employed combines food-grade ingredients in a proprietary delivery system that will not react with or harm the products it protects. Continuous release of CO2 at levels that inhibit the growth of spoilage organisms helps extend the shelf-life of the products.

By releasing heavier CO2 into controlled environments, lighter gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and ethylene are displaced. When these lighter gases are removed, the higher levels of CO2 lower the respiration rate and ripening of the perishables in storage or distribution through the supply chain.

Contact: CO2 Technologies, 1501, 50th St., Suite 300, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266, United States of America . Tel: +1 (515) 2233 838; Fax: +1 (515) 2237 171.



Quicker meat processing

Marel, Iceland, has developed a processing system for cutting fixed weight and uniformly shaped poultry fillet portions. This unique system can process four naturally shaped fillets out of one butterfly. The twin system consists of two Template Slicing Machines (TSMs). The TSM slices uniform portions of chicken breast to pre-defined parameters. According to the company, the resulting portions are naturally shaped and consistency in weight is maintained. The system therefore processes meat in two portioning steps before check weighing and assessing the quality of each cut, which is performed by the Catch Grader installed after each TSM machine.

The weight checker is connected to MPS production software, into which statistical information is fed. This provides the manufacturer with accurate information on the state of production. The system is also capable of registering on-line all production data, an important characteristic, given the current emphasis placed on food safety and traceability.


Poultry rendering plant

Dhopeshwar Engineering Pvt. Ltd., India, offers rendering plants, also known as protein recovery plants, to cook and sterilize non-edible poultry wastes. These plants offer the best treatment options for non-edible wastes by converting them into meat meal, which contains 60 per cent protein and 20-22 per cent fat. The capacity of a rendering plant is measured in terms of digester capacities, from 500-2,000 kg /batch.

Plants offered by the company incorporate the latest vacuum drying operation. A unique baro spray system prevents air pollution to ensure eco-friendly operation. The robustly built rendering plant is provided with sophisticated monitoring system to ensure maximum convenience and safety of operation. Key features and benefits include:
  • Essential safety features have been integrated;
  • Rendering is more effective and profitable than other waste disposal methods;
  • Poultry waste is converted into high protein sterilized meat meal;
  • Prevents environment pollution by disposing of all biological waste; and
  • Results in optimum use of animal resources since meat meal is used for making animal feed.

Contact: Dhopeshwar Engineering Pvt. Ltd., A-16, Co-op Industrial Estate, Balanagar, Hyderabad 500 037, Andhra Pradesh, India. Tel: +91 (40) 3770 267/3771 579; Fax: +91 (40) 3772 450



In-line poultry processing

Scanvaegt International A/S, Denmark, is offering dynamic in-line poultry processing systems. These are one of the worlds most advanced systems for automatic or manual poultry filleting. The complete system incorporates facilities for traceability and on-line yield control throughout all the processes, including a trimming table with automatic data registration and quality inspection. An on-line trim system provides and displays real-time yields for machines as well as for individual operator performances. This unit has proved to increase both yield and throughput.

The most sophisticated software in weighing and batching technology simultaneously handles up to eight products, 12 different tolerance weight jobs and 32 sizing to weight jobs with up to 400 bone-in chicken pieces, allowing all the packing tasks to be accomplished in a single working routine. Flexible packaging lines provide a solution where one machine handles all tasks, ranging from small products for retail bag and food service boxes, up to sizing and batching of fillets or legs. An automatic packaging and labelling system monitors and ensures that all pre-packed poultry products are automatically and correctly weighed, sealed, labelled and distributed, while registering all product data for use in yield calculations, stock control and despatch.

Scanvaegts ScanTracer cut-up and deboning table for meat products is an integrated system for improving yield, performance, product quality, hygiene and traceability at all stages of the process. Key advantages of this patent-pending system include:
  • Uniform cutting pattern by use of video and pictures, which ensures the same value/kg;
  • Traceability and on-line yield control regarding both individual trimming operator and batch, resulting in a 2-3 per cent better yield and a performance gain of 20-30 per cent;
  • All meat is cut to consumer order or stock; and
  • Reduced processing time for the whole animal, amounting to a total of 2-3 minutes/animal.

ScanTrim is an integrated system for improving yield, performance, product quality, hygiene and traceability at all stages of the filleting and trimming process. Available for processing both poultry and fish, this on-line trimming line provides total on-line control of all quantities and yield, as well as the collection of data at all stages of processing, from filleting to trimming. Salient features of this system include:

  • Traceability and on-line yield control on each individual trimming operator and batch, giving 2-3 per cent better yield and a performance gain of 20-30 per cent;
  • Quality samples are based on historical data on each individual operator;
  • Batch feeding to each operator based on individual performance;
  • Concurrent production of several types of products; and
  • PDA connection.

Contact: Scanvaegt International A/S, P.O. Pedersens Vej 18, 8200 Aarhus N., Denmark. Tel: +45 8930 4444; Fax: +45 8678 5810



New process to eliminate pathogens

In the United States, a patent-pending process from Inc. eliminates or reduces pathogens on produce as well as meat and poultry. Tests undertaken at California Polytechnic State University reveal that using the Food Safe technique, food-borne pathogens were consistently reduced from the surfaces of beef and chicken, with promise of total elimination upon further testing.

E. coli, Listeria, Staphylococcus and Salmonella from meat and poultry are now added to the list of microbial pathogens that the companys process, coupled with Tru-Pure ozone equipment, can either effectively reduce or eliminate. Original studies indicated reduction or removal of E. coli, Shigella and other coliforms from produce, and destruction of viruses and water-borne parasites.
Tru-Pure Ozone Technologies Inc. also offers a revolutionary patented water sterilization and purification system that uses a safe and low-voltage electric current to create natural ozone that sterilizes and purifies tap water without employing chemicals. Ozone has been proven to kill germs up to 3,200 times more faster than chlorine, without absolutely no chemical residue.

Contact: Inc., c/o. Redwood Consultants LLC, United States of America. Tel: +1 (415) 8840 348.


New poultry strip cut processing system

Marel hf, Iceland, has introduced IPM III LaserEye and Platino 800 flattener system to cut strips of poultry. The processing system yields strips of uniform length, width and height with unmatched accuracy. A combination of flattening, automatic pre-cutting and portioning, results in maximum performance and high yield. Trial operations have produced up to 100 per cent usable portions with no cut-off.

Platino 800 flattener helps achieve the correct thickness of chicken fillets before portioning. Fillets are flattened using a kneading technology that prevents meat from shrinking back to its original size. After flattening, the chicken breast goes through the first IPM III where it is pre-cut for the second process. The pre-cutter intelligently decides if zero, one or two strips can be cut from the fillet at a pre-selected angle. This process creates portions of the right length for the second cutting process. On the second IPM III the pre-cut breast is rotated and cut again. Laser guides are used to ensure the correct angle.

Operating capacities of the systems range from 300 to 500 strips/min. High-speed rotating knifes of the IPM III LaserEye deliver clean cuts at low operational cost. A usable product is obtained from all portions, enabling high yield and virtually no cut-off. The accurate, productive and efficient system has a short payback period.

Contact: Marel hf, Austurhraun 9, 210, Gardabaer, Iceland. Tel: +354 5638 000; Fax: +354 5638 001



Beneficial bacteria help eliminate pathogens

Researchers at the Institute of Food Research (IFR), the United Kingdom, have uncovered that beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, could destroy pathogenic bacteria living in the gut of poultry birds. The team found that Lactobacillus johnsonii cleared the pathogenic bacterium Clostridium perfingens from the gut of chickens. Though this pathogen does not cause disease to the bird, it produces toxins associated with necrotic enteritis, which causes poor weight gain and ulcers in poultry. In humans, the symptoms of this condition are intense abdominal cramps and diarrhoea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting. The probiotic also reduced to a considerable extent colonization of E. coli in the small intestine. This finding may pave the way for the use of targetted probiotics as a viable alternative to the use of antibiotics in animal feed. The probiotics may even provide additional benefits by stimulating the immune system and improving the growth rate.


Food safety reaches a new high

Researchers at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, the United States, are subjecting hamburgers, steaks and entire sides of beef to acids, flame, steam and ultra-cold temperatures to make them extra safe. These experiments are intended to substantially reduce the number of normally occurring bacteria on meats. According to the team, by using a range of decontamination methods such as organic acids, quick chilling, flame or steam, it is possible to slow down or kill bacteria in the lower value cuts that typically go into ground beef products.

The team is also looking at the most effective methods to remove bacteria from a beef carcass before it is cut up. The relatively low-cost methods are designed to be practical and usable for small-sized meat processing operations. Moreover, these procedures do not affect the foods taste. Apart from increased food safety, these decontamination methods also have the potential of making refrigerated meat products last longer.


New solutions for meat industry

The latest offerings for the meat industry from Chr. Hansen, Denmark, include a system that allows easy shaping of meats, a variety of mixing machines, fast fermenting sausage meat and clever application systems. INNO 20/INNO 30 system is a versatile solution for innovative meat products. Based on a gel-forming reaction, this system allows various shaping options of fresh meat products, resulting in stable restructured products even after heat treatment.

Contact: Chr. Hansen, Boge Alle 10-12, DK 2970 Horsholm, Denmark. Tel: +45 4574 7474; Fax: +45 4574 8888




Fluidized bed drier

Food and Biotech Engineers (I) Pvt. Ltd., India, has collaborated with Finland-based Ralli OY to become a leading firm specializing in dairy, food, fruit, pharmaceutical and bio-products projects. The company is also involved in fabrication and erection of plant and machinery, and other mechanical works, industrial equipment, evaporators, driers, pressure vessel, storage tanks, stainless steel piping and structural works, etc.

Fluidized bed drier offered by the company is based on a vibrating conveyor, which can be up to 10 m long and 1 m wide. Eccentric motors produce the vibration of the drier, which may be supported on helical or leaf springs. The direction of vibration can be changed by rotating the motor and the amplitude by changing its eccentricity, to ensure uniform distribution of air over the whole area of the air-permeable base plate. The perforation usually occupy between 1.5 and 5 per cent of the area of the plate and the depth of the bed, which can be adjusted by means of an overflow weir, is normally between 50-300 mm.

Benefits offered by the vibrating fluidized bed include forced conveyance in a given direction, fluidization even at low air velocities and a residence time of the product which can be at least partially controlled.

Contact: Food and Biotech Engineers (I) Pvt. Ltd., 291, Sector 37, Faridabad 121 003, Haryana, India. Tel: +91 (129) 2278 058/2250 543; Fax: +91 (129) 2272 011



Beverage and Food World, March 2004

Machine vision system for scanning baked products

In the United States, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Baking Technology Systems Inc. are together developing a machine vision system that continuously inspects fresh-baked buns to ensure proper and uniform colour, shape and seed distribution. At present, baking operations grade their goods on the production line by manually inspecting a small sample using hand-held colorimeters. An automated machine vision system, in contrast, would eliminate this labour-intensive process and inspect all products exiting the oven. In addition, it would offer a source of adaptive feedback data that could be used with proof-box and oven controllers to increase yields.

The vision system is presently undergoing tests. It includes two Dragonfly 1/3 inch progressive-scan CCD cameras from Point Grey Research Inc., Canada, a PC running Windows 2000 as the image processing unit and another PC for database storage. Researchers developed the image processing software in-house specifically for this application. According to the team their system offers three key benefits:
  • It employs low-cost colour cameras connected by FireWire interface to the image processing unit, easing networking and camera synchronization;
  • It can be placed on the cooling line in the baking process, which reduces infrastructure costs by eliminating the need for a dedicated, specialized conveyor belt for inspection; and
  • It stores the collected data in SQL, a standard database language, making it possible for approved users on the network to generate production reports such as the number of baked goods produced or the number that failed to meet quality standards over an Ethernet connection.

Future development will apply this data to enable the system to synchronize with proof-boxes and ovens for in-line process control, automatically adjusting the rising and baking conditions to minimize product flaws.


Tunnel technology revised

Linde AG, Germany, offers an updated cryogenic freezing tunnel, developed for the value-added frozen foods market, which features many innovations. The new system can handle remote data collection, offers manufacturers complete traceability and comes complete with remote service support through the internet. The freezing tunnel has been designed to facilitate quick and efficient cleaning. The absence of hidden surfaces ensures that water does not collect and the whole tunnel can be completely opened up so that every nook and cranny can be cleaned. Controls and valves of the aesthetically pleasing system are hidden while the covers are arranged at an angle.

Contact: Linde AG, Corporate Centre, Postfach 40 20, 65030 Wiesbaden, Germany. Tel: +49 (611) 770-0; Fax: +49 (611) 770 269.


Low-mist viscous spray system

Autojet Technologies, a subsidiary of Spraying Systems Co., Australia, offers a new low-mist spray system that is suitable for spraying low volumes of viscous liquids such as chocolate, butter and margarine, release agents and oils, and syrup. Headers in AccuCoat low-mist, based on standard Spraying Systems air atomizing nozzles, operate at minimal air and liquid pressures. By reducing operating pressures and positioning nozzles closer together and close to the surface to be sprayed, misting and overspray are greatly reduced. This results in a cleaner and safer work environment and reduced plant maintenance.

An electrical control panel monitors and adjusts the closed loop spray system by regulating liquid and air flow to the header. The Autojet controller also maintains temperature control in heated systems based on input from multiple temperature sensors. The controller features Spray Logic software and is pre-programmed with parameters and function screens for food coating applications, saving time and money during installation. A liquid delivery system with dual tank configuration provides a constant flow of sprayed product without interruption. These pressure tanks eliminate shear often caused by pumping viscous liquids. Liquid level is monitored by the Autojet spray controller and changeover from one supply tank to the other is automated, eliminating down time for tank refill. Designed specifically for food-grade applications, all wetted parts of the AccuCoat system are stainless steel or Teflon. Optional accessories available to enhance system functionality include:
  • Liquid recirculation;
  • Liquid and air heating;
  • Automated tank wash;
  • Automated tank agitation; and
  • Touch screen controller.

Contact: Spraying Systems Co. Pty. Ltd., Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 9318 0511.


New spray system

Spraying Systems Co., Australia, offers a spray system that improves yield of expensive coating. Many food processing applications require a precise amount of coating to be applied to the food product. Nozzles that clog or are imprecise can result in costly maintenance and increased expenses.

The companys VAU variable spray Autojet nozzle is unique in its ability to fine-tune the capacity, drop size and spray pattern for precise coverage. A food processor applying a special egg-based coating to turkey patties, for adding flavour and also to assist in the browning process, has installed these nozzles to apply an even, controlled amount of the coating. As such, coating wastes have been reduced from 50 per cent to 10 per cent. Another benefit of the Autojet spray nozzle is that it features a built-in orifice clean-out needle, which gets automatically activated between each spray cycle. This fully eliminates nozzle clogging.


Sniffing out food microbes

An electronic nose (e.nose) could realize significant savings for food producers, as researchers employ the latest technology to detect undesirable off-odours and microbial contaminants in dairy and bakery products. The e.nose systems, launched commercially in 1995, are computerized tabletop units with sensors that detect odour molecules. The food industry has been slow to exploit this technology as part of real-time quality assurance systems. An EU-funded project, e-nose, found that the new technology can be used to quickly detect bacteria, yeast, filamentous fungi and off-odours.

Researchers headed by Prof. Naresh Magan at Cranfield University, the United Kingdom, used different types of e.nose systems, based on conducting polymer sensor arrays or metal oxide sensor arrays, for the rapid and early cost-effective detection of undesirable, harmful contaminants, toxins and taints in the dairy and bakery industries. The team is now in the final stages of completing e.nose trials in the food industry together with a cost-benefit analysis in the dairy and bakery sector. At present, e.noses are used to sniff the quality of wine and coffee, detect cheese flavours, etc.



Aseptic Processing of Foods Containing Solid Particulates

The technology of aseptic processing of particulate foods promises lower packaging costs and higher food quality and safety. However, this technology is yet to be regulated and the majority of innovative research undertaken in the past decade remains uncollected. This book details critical experiments conducted with an eye on developing uniform parameters for operation. Topics covered include flow and residence time distributions of solid-liquid mixtures, fluid-solid convective heat transfer, statistical design and analysis and microbiological validation, hazard analysis and critical control point evaluation of a multi-phase food product aseptic system, etc.

Continuous Thermal processing of Foods: Pasteurization and UHT Sterilization

This book provides comprehensive, state-of-the-art coverage of thermal processing of liquid and particulate foods. Food products covered include soups, sauces, fruit juices and other beverages, and milk and milk products. Pasteurization, sterilization and aseptic processing are all discussed with emphasis on the underlying principles and problems of heat treatment of more viscous fluids, where streamline flow conditions are likely to prevail and of products containing particles.

Pasteurization and heat treatments designed to further extend the shelf-life of pasteurized products are also discussed. A comparison of pasteurization and sterilization processes highlights similarities and differences. Throughout, factors influencing the safety and quality of heated foods have been emphasized. More than 100 illustrations, 50 tables, extensive cross-referencing and a comprehensive reference section are included to aid the reader.

For the above publications, contact: CTI Publications Inc., 2, Oakway Road, Timonium, Maryland

Environmentally Friendly Food Processing

This guidebook addresses how to achieve environmentally friendly food production, and reviews the assessment of various food products and ways in which the industry can improve its operations. While the first part evaluates the environmental impact of food processing operations in areas such as fruit, vegetable, meat and fish processing, the second part delves into good practices in food processing, reviewing packaging, recycling and waste treatment, as well as methods of improving energy consumption and environmental training for the food industry.

Rapid and On-line Instrumentation for Food Quality Assurance

This collection summarizes key developments in the field of proactive quality and safety management systems. Part 1 reviews the emergence of new methods to analyse food safety and includes chapters on the detection of foreign bodies, other contaminants such as toxins, pesticides, dioxins and veterinary residues, and rapid methods for detecting pathogenic and spoilage bacteria. Part 2 discusses the measurement of product quality. Chapters delve into analysing ingredients such as additives and micronutrients, genetically modified organisms, etc.

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




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