VATIS Update Food Processing . Nov-Dec 2005

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Food Processing Nov-Dec 2007

ISSN: 0971-5649

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

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Vitamin A-rich mustard in the offing in India

Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), India, has embarked on a project aimed at developing a -carotene-rich mustard variety. The new mustard variety, which uses Monsantos technology initially formulated to raise -carotene levels in rapeseed, will help raise vitamin A levels in the populations of developing countries. In this endeavour, TERI is being supported by the United States Agency for International Development and Michigan State University. According to the projects principal investigator, Dr. Vibha Dhawan, We hope that the success of this project will alleviate vitamin A deficiency among our people, especially children. Mustard would be an efficient and inexpensive vehicle for vitamin A. Cooking oil made from mustard seeds is the second most common type of cooking oil used in India, with an estimated 25 per cent of the population using it.


New Philippine agency for halal food certification

In the Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in coordination with the Department of Agriculture and different Islamic religious groups in the Western Mindanao region, has created a new entity to superintend the certification and accreditation of halal food, especially those meant for export. DTIs chief trade and industry development specialist, Ms. Hermie Cuevas, stated that the formation of the Regional Fatwa Council is aimed at grouping Islamic religious scholars into a competent authority that would be responsible for promulgating guidelines on certification and accreditation of halal food and non-food set-ups.

The council is the result of the international halal communitys call for strict compliance with rules and implementation standards laid down by the International Halal Food Organization. Ms. Cuevas expressed that Halal councils to be set up all over Mindanao will converge to create a National Halal Consultative Board that would formulate a globally acceptable food standard. Creation of the board is in line with the governments effort to promote Mindanao as a halal food production hub.


Time ripe for food processing units in the Asia-Pacific

According to a recent report, food production and processing units in the Asia-Pacific are luring investors with better business opportunities. This industry caters to a large population of around 3.6 billion and is a prominent export market for the Western world. The open trading environment has resulted in the copious use of imported equipment and better technology by food processors, which in turn has led to experimentation in and the introduction of a variety of new processed products in the market frozen foods, processed meats and beverages.

With several Australian food manufacturers ruling the roost, the prediction is that new opportunities will record approximately 13 per cent growth in this sector by 2007. Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, both China and India, with a large customer base, are expected to show strong growth owing to changing food habits of the people. Industry sources revealed that a sharp rise for natural products and healthier food, without any synthetic chemical preservatives, induced manufacturers to explore new food processing and preservation methods to exploit the demand. Consequently, food manufacturers are concentrating on producing novel products to meet consumer requirements. This has led to an increased demand for better food handling, processing and packaging units, across the region.


Seafood exports on the rise in Pakistan

Following the revocation of a ban on seafood imports into the European Union (EU), Pakistan has recorded a significant increase in its volume of seafood exports to EU countries. According to exporters, EU buyers were more than eager to place their orders. Mr. Abrar Ahmed of Seagreen Enterprises expressed that if the current pace prevails for the next few months, 2005-06 could end with much higher figures of seafood exports from the country. Exports, which resumed in mid-August, crossed the US$4 million mark in less than two weeks. The EU allowed seafood from Pakistan after the latters fisheries authorities launched a quality maintenance campaign and built an auction hall dedicated only for species intended for the EU market. The EU also issued a fresh list of seafood processing factories in Pakistan, that were eligible to export to its member states, which allowed 11 exporters to deal with European buyers.


Malaysia raises palm oil exports

The Economic Report 2005/2006 released by Malaysias Treasury department estimates that the export volume of palm oil including crude palm oil, processed palm oil and stearin will increase by 6.9 per cent to reach 14.64 million tonnes next year. The export value per tonne is forecast to rise by 3.4 per cent while the value of export is anticipated to grow at a rate of 2.5 per cent, based on higher demand and a sustained average export price. Primary commodities export, including palm oil, is predicted to grow at 13 per cent. Overall, exports of primary commodities would leapfrog by 11.6 per cent this year (2004 - 20.2 per cent), with higher export receipts of palm oil, crude oil and liquefied natural gas.


Food fortification is high on the Philippines agenda

In the Philippines, various government agencies have teamed up to ensure implementation and monitoring of the Food Fortification programme, as part of efforts to lay the foundation for a healthy citizenry and ensuring economic growth. Food fortification is the addition of vitamins and minerals to commonly eaten foods lacking in basic nutrients. Various studies have unveiled that food fortification is the most cost-effective and sustainable means to eliminate micronutrient deficiency in the nation.

The agencies involved and who meddle in the manufacturing and review of some of these food products are the National Food Authority (rice), Sugar Regulatory Administration (sugar), Philippine Coconut Authority (cooking oil), Bureau of Food and Drugs (flour) and the Bureau of Customs (for imported products). For their part, the National Nutrition Council will act as the advisory board on food fortification while the Food and Nutrition Research Institution is responsible for conducting surveys and assessments. The Department of Health is the lead agency. In a bid to make this programme stronger, other agencies have also been tapped for support, including the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, Land Bank of the Philippines, Livelihood Corporation and the Local Government Units.


Malaysia to achieve food surplus tag by 2010

In Malaysia, farmers and others in agro-based industries can rely on government help to expand their production. This measure is imperative in light of the increasing food import bill and shrinking local production. According to the Chief Secretary of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry, Mr. Seri Abu Musa Asaar, In 1957, the agriculture sector contributed about 46 per cent to the Gross National Product. However, this percentage slipped to a mere 8.5 per cent last year. The Deputy Agriculture Minister, Mr. Seri Mohd. Shariff Omar, stated that the government had set the year 2010 as the deadline to correct the deficit in the food bill. Mr. Omar said plans have already been put in place to raise contributions from the agro-based sector to the Gross National Product to 5 per cent from 3.8 per cent under the 9th Malaysia Plan.


China announces plans to revise food safety legislation

The Vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of Chinas National Peoples Congress (NPC), Mr. Lu Yongxiang, stated that the nations Food Hygiene Law would be modified to enhance safety. A draft of the revision will be submitted to the Standing Committee in the near future. Mr. Yongxiang said that the Food Hygiene Law, which took effect 10 years ago, was inadequate to comply with the current requirements of food safety supervision.

The food industry involves cultivation, breeding, production, processing, sale and consumption. Mr. Yongxiang opined that legislators should clarify current laws, regulations and standards to make them consistent with one another. One of the major impediment is the enforcement of current food safety laws, especially in rural areas. Mr. Yongxiang urged government departments on all levels to fulfil their duties strictly according to law. Currently, different governmental departments, including health, food and drug supervision, agriculture and industry and commerce authorities are responsible for different parts of food safety supervision. Local governments in Shanghai and Guangzhou have tried to build a unified supervision system.


Viet Nam records increase in seafood exports

Viet Nams Ministry of Fisheries reports to have netted nearly US$1.9 billion from seafood exports during the first nine months of this year, a 14.5 per cent increase over the same period last year. The fisheries sector has so far this year produced 2.6 million tonnes of products, including 1.2 million tonnes from aquaculture.

While exporters of tra and basa catfish faced difficulties in foreign markets, domestic demand for these products increased. Local consumption made up about 20 per cent of the tra and basa catfish yield of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, the largest producer in the country. Although affected by heavy rains and storms, shrimp farmers suffered little loss and shrimp production and prices remained stable. This year, the Ministry of Fisheries plans to export US$2.5 billion worth of products, and to this end all involved will strive to improve food hygiene, safety and quality, as well as take measures to control aquaculture and protect the environment.


Cashew: A key export item

Viet Nams Ministry of Trade will soon announce its export strategies for the 2006-10 period and will list cashew among eight key products. In 2004, cashew export of US$430 million was recorded and this figure is expected to reach US$500 million this year. Based on international demand and the advantages of Viet Nam in producing the product, export turnovers of US$700 million by 2007 and US$1 billion by 2010 have been predicted.



New systems for quality control

In China, a project initiated by the Ministry of Science and Technology to develop standards and a full range of quality control systems for agrifoods processing has borne fruits. Three systems have been established, including a general framework for agrifoods processing standards, detailed processing standards for food, edible oil, fruits and vegetables, animal products and forestry products, as well as a standardization system chart. The public can share the data resources through , a national website for standards.

A common Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) system has been designed for agrifoods processing. In addition, individual GMP has been developed and complete range quality control systems based on SSOP, HACCP and GMP rolled out for liquid milk, concentrated apple juice, cold meat and soya protein. The database for agrifoods processing standards has become a systematic information service platform on agrifoods processing in the country .


New system espies microbial detection

Scientists at Moscow State University (MSU), Russia, have devised a method capable of rapidly assessing if meat, milk or other food products have been contaminated with microbes. The MSU method, based on the glow-worm effect, can test meat and milk within 20-30 minutes (up to 3 hours may be required in complicated cases). Glow-worms luminesce through a reaction that involves adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a compound that exists in all cells, including microbes. If a cell is destroyed and is brought into contact with a special reagent, it begins to glow. Scientists utilized the same principle to develop their bioluminescence testing method.

To carry out the analysis, a food sample is mixed with a special reagent to make it homogeneous. The sample is placed in a vessel with a bacteria-filter membrane at the bottom. As the liquid part of the sample passes through the membrane, only bacterial cells remain on it. Another reagent is added to the membrane, destroying the cells and isolating ATP. Genetically modified luciferase enzyme is added to the test sample, causing luminescence. A monitor then registers the quantity of luminescence and estimates the microbial population.


New test tackles E. coli contamination

Nymox Pharmaceutical, the United States, has rolled out a new treatment to tackle contamination of the potentially fatal food pathogen E. coli O157. The NXC-4720 method can reduce E. coli levels on fresh beef by over 99 per cent. E. coli O157 causes food poisoning, especially in young children and the elderly, with often severe long-term kidney problems and sometimes fatal results.


Instant bacteria detection

A new technique developed by researchers at Manchester University can ascertain bacterial contamination in food within a matter of seconds. This breakthrough could be the magic bullet that both solves the requirements of food processors and assuages consumer fears. Food processors need an accurate method to ensure the safety of their products and compliance with stringent regulations, thereby avoiding costly recalls.

The new technique employs infrared spectroscopy on light reflected from the food surface to produce biochemical fingerprints of any contaminating micro-organisms like bacteria and rapidly determine their numbers. The technique and the associated machine were developed as means to improve the safety of processed foods across the industry. The new infrared equipment can be integrated directly into production lines. Furthermore, the technique does not involve injecting chemicals or touching the food itself.

The technique works with both chicken and beef, which researchers say are two of the most difficult meats to checkout for safety. Chicken and beef products are processed in several ways and are typically contaminated by various types of bacteria. The method could therefore easily be applied to milk, ice cream, cheese and other dairy produce, fruit juices and other foods.



Biosensor for toxins detection

A new technique for speedy and simultaneous detection of staphylococcus and botulinum toxins in food could help processors improve the speed at which they can isolate and remove potentially harmful products before they leave the facility. Staphylococcus enterotoxin B (SEB) and botulinum toxin A (BotA) are the common causes of food poisoning in humans. Consumer fears regarding food safety, along with a number of costly recalls, have led to tougher regulatory action and increased surveillance at processing plants.

In the United States, researchers at George Mason University report to have successfully used the Naval Research Laboratory array biosensor to detect the presence of SEB and BotA. Results have shown that the biosensor is capable of rapidly and simultaneously identifying both these toxins in complex food products. The ability to carry out multi-analyte detection in complex samples is a clear advantage for screening food, water or air samples for hazards, either naturally occurring or deliberately introduced. Also, the assays are simple to perform, show no cross-reactivity, are rapid and need little to no sample pretreatment or pre-concentration. The portable biosensor can detect proteins, toxins, bacteria and viruses within 10 minutes.


Texture analyser

Food Technology Corp., the United States, has introduced an affordable and portable food texture analyser. Getting the texture of foods right and making that feel consistent during processing is one of the most important quality control characteristics that food makers can give to their products. Characterization of texture commonly falls into two main groups, based on sensory and instrumental analysis methods.

The portable TMS-Pro, with a capacity of 1000N (102 kg) in compression or tension, is capable of testing the textures of even the toughest foods. It can repeatedly measure from tenths of a gram to 100 kg. Master and operator modes can be accessed with password protection.  The user can write simple and advanced testing routines by just pulling down menus and filling in dialogue boxes. Calculations and presentations can be achieved in the same way. For in-depth analysis, users can manually zoom into the graphs and highlight points of interest.

The system is supplied with a proprietary Texture Lab Pro software package for Windows PCs and an FX-1000 Newton intelligent load cell.

Contact: Food Technology Corporation, 45921 Maries Road, Suite 120, Sterling, Virginia 20166, United States of America. Tel: +1 (703) 4441 870; Fax: +1 (703) 4449 860



Risk assessment method developed for food botulism

In the United Kingdom, researchers are offering food processors risk assessments to help them find out how to keep their products from becoming botulism-producing factories. Botulism, a severe and often deadly disease, is caused by toxin-producing spores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The spores remain harmless until they find a suitable, anaerobic environment in which to germinate.  A little after germination, rapid cell division begins and the food becomes poisonous.

The assessments are an outcome of new research by scientists at the Institute of Food Research. The study tracked the development of botulism, stage by stage. The process involves an entire risk assessment of the food producers methods and sourcing of ingredients for each individual product. The assessment also includes checking the preservatives, additives, acidity and other parameters employed in the production procedure.



Emulsifier-stabilizer system for low-fat foods

As a result of consumer health concerns, food makers are under pressure to design tasty foodstuffs that cut back on the fat. Palsgaard, Danish emulsifier manufacturing company, has launched a new emulsifier-stabilizer system for fat-reduced food formulations chilled, aerated desserts based on quark (a type of fresh acid-set cheese). Generally, emulsifiers are used to lower the surface tension between two immiscible phases such as two liquids, a liquid and a gas, or a liquid and a solid at their interface allowing them to mix.

Palsgaards latest emulsifier-stabilizer system facilitates production of a chilled, quark-based aerated dessert with 2.5 per cent fat or even without any fat. On doses of between 2 and 2.3 per cent, the system is composed of beef gelatin, modified starch, mono- and di-glycerides and sodium citrate. For Europe, labelling of the new system that maintains organoleptic characteristics similar to those of a standard high-fat version requires E1422, E471 and E331.


New flavour release mechanism for baked frozen foods

In a bid to improve the flavour of thawed and re-heated frozen baked goods, food scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the United States, have designed a release mechanism that delays odour release until the product is cooked. The technique involves encapsulating the flavour oil in complex coacervate microcapsules using gelatin and gum arabic.

Food scientists determined the release of oil from formulations by a simple spectroscopic method based on separation of oil labelled with a lipophilic dye from unaffected particles. When heated to 100C or higher, the univesicular microcapsules (prepared with a reduced homogenization rate) released almost all of the encapsulated oil while multivesicular microcapsules (produced by high homogenization rates) exhibited lesser degrees of release. When the particles were cooled after they released their oil content, the oil was re-encapsulated. The flavour oil being encapsulated was mixed with Nile Red, a lipophilic dye, to track oil release quantity from the microcapsules in trials.


Coral mineral supplements

Coralcare, from Coralcare GmbH of Switzerland, is a source of organic calcium from fossilized corals, containing a natural balanced mixture of 74 minerals and calcium. The organic coral minerals are harvested from 100 per cent eco-safe, above-sea coral deposits, crushed into an ultra-fine (20-10 m) powder, purified in a vacuum ozone chamber and aseptically packaged.

The organic nature of the coral minerals means that they have the natural ability to become ionic upon contact with moisture and are thus highly absorbable by the human body. Coral naturally contains every mineral found in the human body in similar proportions as the human body, and is therefore an ideal nutraceutical ingredient. Coralcare is available in bulk, in 20 kg boxes and 125 kg barrels. It can also be supplied in capsule form, with added vitamin D3.

Contact: Coralcare GmbH, Schngrund 26, CH-6343 Rotkreuz, Switzerland. Tel: +41 (41) 7908 800; Fax: +41 (41) 7908 804



High polyphenol extracts

Natraceutical S.A., Spain, has developed a range of ingredients with different concentrations of the natural antioxidants present in cocoa. Aimed at food makers looking to enhance the health properties of their products, the CocoanOX range includes a cocoa powder with 12 per cent polyphenols and two extracts of the powder offering 45 per cent or 85 per cent concentrations.

Polyphenol compounds found in apples, red wine and green tea have been investigated for their ability to fight cancer and are also thought to help prevent heart disease. According to Mr. Zachary Sniderman, a member of the firms R&D team, We maintain the same number of monomeric and dimeric polyphenols in the standardized product. These molecules are better absorbed by the body. Monomeric molecules include catechin and epicatichin while procyanidins B1 and B2 are the dimeric compounds. High antioxidant levels are ensured by modifying the cocoa powder processing method and selecting certain cocoa beans at the beginning of the process.


Probiotic twist to ambient foods

Swedish Medipharm and Sensient Flavors, the Nordic subsidiary company of American Sensient Technologies, have jointly developed a functional food component. The crisp, flavoured cereal is coated with a layer containing Lactobacillus F 19. The probiotic remains stable when stored in dry conditions at room temperature for up to 180 days. Furthermore, it is expected to sustain ice cream production and distribution conditions. The product is designed for applications in breakfast cereals, confectionery and ice cream. Five per cent addition in breakfast cereal provides the recommended daily intake dose of Lactobacillus.

Contact: E-mail:



Low-temperature ice cream innovation

Tetra Pak has introduced a new low-temperature ice cream solution. Hoyer DeepBlue is claimed to be so innovative that it offers opportunities for both new products and economical production. The smoother mouth feel and creamier taste of low-temperature ice cream compared with traditional ice cream is the result of the companys patented microform technology, a unique cold kneading freezing process.

Cold kneading produces a fine-structured ice cream with improved product quality that allows for the production of exciting, new and healthier products. Also, Hoyer DeepBlue concept provides manufacturers the choice of either reducing the amount of expensive ingredients, such as cream fat or butterfat, or using less expensive ingredients like vegetable fat instead of cream fat or butterfat. Either way, this gives processors wide scope for increasing margins. Other cost-saving production benefits of the Hoyer DeepBlue concept include shorter throughput times, fewer product transfers, reduced space requirement and improved hygiene. Hoyer DeepBlue concept comprises a complete range of modules dedicated to all the processing steps of low-temperature ice cream production.


High-protein ingredient for healthy snacks

New Zealand dairy group Fonterra has unveiled a range of dairy protein crisps with up to 80 per cent protein content for use by manufacturers of energy and sports bars as well as healthy and slimming snack foods. The novel ingredient purported to offer the highest protein content of any dairy crisp presently available on the market retains its functionality, nutritional benefit and bland flavour profile, making it suitable in a wide range of consumer products. The United States-based Good Star Foods partnered with Fonterra and supplied the protein extrusion technology that allows for the manufacture of light and crispy, high-protein dairy particulates without the use of any additives, chemicals or processing aids.


Formulation for probiotic liquids

Danish probiotics supplier Chr. Hansen has developed a flexible formulation system for adding probiotics directly to finished products. The technology uses Tetra Paks aseptic dosing machine Flex Dos that allows the bacteria to be added to liquids just before they are filled into cartons. This innovation is expected to significantly boost the market for probiotic beverages, which have so far been restricted by the delicate nature of the ingredient and concerns over contamination.

Chr. Hansens new technology does away with all the obstacles posed at the processing stage by bringing probiotics in at the final stage of the production procedure. According to Mr. Hans Christian Bejder of Chr. Hansen, the Direct Liquid Inoculation system is expected to also appeal to food sectors outside the dairy industry that are wary of formulating with bacteria.

Contact: Chr. Hansen, Bge All 10-12, DK-2970 Hrsholm, Denmark. Tel: +45 4574 7474; Fax: +45 4574 8888.



WHO calls for tighter laws

The World Health Organization (WHO) has established new guidelines for governments in the fight against a growing chronic disease pandemic. The guidelines feature in a comprehensive survey, Preventing chronic diseases: a vital investment, which charts the rise of preventable deaths from heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes in nine countries. The report states that 80 per cent, or 36 million, deaths from heart disease, stroke, cancer and adult-onset diabetes could be prevented over the next 10 years. It calls for a series of measures including limiting the availability of high-fat, high-salt and high-sugar foods to be introduced to reach the target of cutting deaths by an extra 2 per cent per year by 2015. Other milestones are intended to encourage governments to implement food labelling legislation and increase regulation of food marketing aimed at children. The new guidelines are likely to add to the pressure already being felt by European food makers


Global food safety standard

A new global standard for managing food safety in plants has been published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO 22000, a specific standard for food processors, stipulates safety management procedures. The standard will set key criteria for global processors to ensure that their suppliers around the world are following approved food safety standards. It is applicable to organizations ranging from feed producers, primary producers through food manufacturers, transport and storage operators and subcontractors to retail and food service outlets. Associated organizations such as producers of equipment, packaging material, cleaning agents, additives and ingredients will also be affected.

While ISO 22000 can be implemented on its own, it is designed to be compatible with ISO 9001: 2000. Companies already certified to ISO 9001 would be able to easily extend their standards to certification under ISO 22000. In order to help users to do so, ISO 22000 includes a table listing the correspondence of its requirements with those of ISO 9001:2000. ISO 22000 was developed within ISO by experts from the food industry, along with representatives from international organizations and in cooperation with the Codex Alimentarius Commission.


Regulating genetically modified substances

Sri Lankas Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has established the National Bio-safety Framework for Sri Lanka (NBFSL) to regulate and control imports of genetically modified organisms and food, as well as genetically modified feed and processed merchandise into the country. NBFSL includes the National Bio-safety Policy, regulatory mechanism, administrative structure, risk assessment and management procedures, and public participation. NBF recommends that a new law be enacted to regulate and monitor all applications and uses (including applications and uses on human beings), all development, R&D, production and manufacture for commercial, research and other purposes, contained use, deliberate release, all marketing and other commercial applications, all imports/exports and all methods of disposal in relation to applications of modern biotechnologies.


Control of harmful reidues

The Ministry of Fisheries, Viet Nam, asserted that a consistent policy has always been implemented to strictly control residues of harmful substances contaminating aquatic products, as a means to ensure food safety and hygiene. In a communiqu released on 31 August 2005, the ministry stated that since 2002, the Vietnamese government and the ministry itself have promulgated many legal documents on this issue and instructed relevant agencies to implement measures to stop residues of harmful chemicals and antibiotics contaminating aquatic products. Lists of chemicals and antibiotics banned from use or restricted in use in Viet Nam have been compiled, in line with current regulations and standards applied by the United States, Codex committee and European Union Commission.



Self-adhesive oxygen absorber

Multisorb has stated that its self-adhesive oxygen absorber now sticks better to packages, helping food processors eliminate production line downtime. FreshMax, a square sachet designed for sticking inside packages of high-value foods where oxygen absorption requirements are at levels below 50 cc, was originally released last year. With the new system, the solid form sorbent is contained in instances where consumers accidentally slice a packet open.

Oxygen absorbers are popular with ready meal processors, who are under increasing pressure to cut down on artificial additives and improve the nutritional value of their products. FreshMax can be used for a variety of packaged foods, including sliced deli and processed meats, nuts, baked goods, snack foods and dairy products. By lowering and maintaining oxygen content within the packing to below 0.01 per cent, FreshMax helps processors to protect foods against colour change, rancidity, loss of nutritional value and mould growth. It also eliminates the need for chemicals such as sulphur dioxide, sorbates, benzoates and other additives commonly used to preserve foods. The product is adhesive backed, with an ultra-thin design. It can be pasted anywhere within a package and can be printed on to form the label.


Aloe vera: a natural preservative

Researchers in Spain have developed an Aloe vera gel that can be used as an edible coating to prolong the quality and safety of fresh produce. The gel, reported to have no adverse impact on either the taste or appearance of foods, could soon provide a safe, natural and environmentally friendly alternative to the conventional synthetic preservatives currently applied to produce after harvesting.

Dr. Daniel Valero and colleagues at the University of Miguel Hernndez dipped a group of common table grapes (Crimson Seedless) into Aloe vera gel and stored them for five weeks under low temperature while exposing a group of untreated table grapes to the same conditions. The colourless Aloe gel used in this study was developed through a special processing technique that maximized the amount of active compounds in the gel. The untreated grapes appeared to deteriorate rapidly within about seven days, whereas the gel-coated grapes were well-preserved for up to 35 days under the same experimental conditions. Gel-treated grapes were firmer, had less weight loss and colour change, measures which correspond to higher freshness, than the untreated grapes.

Researchers believe that Aloe gel works through a combination of mechanisms. Composed mostly of polysaccharides, it appears to act as a natural barrier to moisture and oxygen, which can speed up food deterioration. The gel also enhances food safety. According to various studies, Aloe vera gel appears to contain a variety of antibiotic and antifungal compounds that can potentially delay or inhibit micro-organisms responsible for foodborne illnesses in humans as well as food spoilage.


Moisture control technology enhances shelf-life

CSIRO, Australia, has designed Moisture Control Technology (MCT) to control free moisture found in stored or transported fresh food, thus enabling food to stay fresher for longer periods. MCT is potentially suited to a wide range of fresh fruits, vegetables and cut flowers. The active packaging senses a change in the internal package or the external environment and responds by altering its properties to accommodate the change. MCT manages the water vapour content of the atmosphere around the produce using a new type of liner, which can be placed inside any standard fibreboard or polystyrene box. MCT liners reduce moisture loss by maintaining high humidity inside the box. The liners have been designed to prevent any condensed moisture, which may have formed inside the bag as a result of temperature fluctuations during transport, from finding its way on to the produce.

CSIRO tested the MCT liner with both fruits and vegetables. In laboratory storage trials, a shelf-life of 28 days was achieved at 2C for cauliflowers and six days at 25C. In the case of oranges, the shelf-life was 56 days at 3C and 21 days at 21C. The technology can be incorporated into current export systems and has the potential to improve returns for exporters of fruits and vegetables. MCT is the outcome of a joint project supported by CSIRO, the Western Australian Department of Agriculture, Warren Cauliflower Group Inc., Murray Valley Citrus Board and CSIROs Food into Asia initiative.


New processing method extends shelf-life of vegetables

Viands Concerted, a food development company based in the United States, has developed a new method for processing cooked vegetables that preserves the products colour, flavour and natural sweetness while raising its shelf-life. The natural method does away with the need for additives or preservatives, a key selling point as consumers are increasingly opting for natural products. The patent-pending process, known as Lintonizing, can be used to produce higher quality vegetable and potato products.

Lintonized cooked vegetables have a refrigerated shelf-life of 45-60 days. Moreover, because of cellular changes, there is little or no acrylamide formation in deep-fried potato products. It is claimed that fully cooked broccoli smells fresh out of the bag even after 30 days of refrigeration.

Contact: Viands Concerted, P.O. Box 360417, Columbus, OH 43236-0417, United States of America. Tel: +1 (614) 9391 177; Fax: +1 (614) 9390 943




New cashew nut sheller

Researchers at the Post Harvest Technology Centre, India, have developed a cashew nut sheller with a capacity of 100 kg/h. In this integrated system, which is based on centrifugal forces, the force is exerted by an impeller with a diameter of 26.5 cm. Operational parameters have been standardized to optimum, ensuring better shelling as well as preventing vibrations in the machine. Cashew nuts are consumed all over the world as a snack or used as a food ingredient. In 2004, Viet Nam produced 825,696 t of cashew nuts, followed by India with 460,000 t and Indonesia with 120,000 t.


Vegetable and fruit processing machinery

According to an agreement with Techno-Food, Kronen Co. Nahrungsmitteltechnik, Germany, has obtained the rights to manufacture and market all salad, vegetable and fruit processing machines developed by Techno-Food. The licensing contract gives Kronen worldwide rights. The first of these machines is a multi-slicer that helps rationalize the cutting process of pre-packed vegetables and fruits. The main unit is capable of cutting onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, lemons, peppers, oranges, eggplants, mushrooms, strawberries, peeled and unpeeled apples into slices of 4-12 mm and lays them into trays. Other devices in the companys stable include:
  • A pick-and-place system that will suck the products and place them automatically in the cutting station;
  • A coring station for removing unwanted parts, e.g. the peduncle of tomatoes;
  • The multi-corer is ideal for the preparation of further processes it allows to cut peppers, cabbages, iceberg lettuces, cabbage lettuces, radicchio, cauliflowers, broccoli, etc. into 2-3-6 or 2-4-6 segments and simultaneously removes the core at a determined length. The machine can be equipped with 2, 3, 4 or 6 feeding lanes to process 1,440 to 4,320 pieces/h; and
  • Kronen is investigating a machine that would hollow fruits and vegetables like apples, oranges, onions, tomatoes and peppers and cut their top.


Condensing machine for the food industry

Alfa Laval, Sweden, has designed a scaled-down model of its vapour condensing machine to provide the food industry with a low-cost method to execute evaporation and condensation processes. The new machine has been publicized as an efficient and cheaper alternative to shell-and-tube heat exchangers and barometric condensers, currently used by the industry.

AlfaCond 400 is a lower capacity model of the AlfaCond, the worlds first purpose-built plate condenser. AlfaCond condenses vapours under low pressure, high vacuum conditions in distillation and evaporation systems. Based on the plate-and-frame heat exchanger concept, AlfaCond 400 is about 20-30 per cent cheaper than the current machines used by food processors. It also has smaller space requirements and weights less, thus assuring lower installation and maintenance costs. A modular design allows for scalability to suit the size of the processing operation.


Vision machine looks, detects and sorts

Cognex has introduced a food-grade sight machine that can be used to sort objects, detect proper fill levels, inspect labels, caps and safety seals, verify label text, date and lot codes, read linear and two-dimensional codes, and count and verify products in cartons. Generally, vision machines are employed in the food industry to ensure product and packaging quality and that the production line is running at optimum speed.

Fabricated using stainless steel, Cognexs In-Sight 5400S vision scanner complies with international specifications for withstanding shock and vibration in an industrial section. The hand-held machine can even withstand chemical wash-down and submersion without having to be enclosed within a protective accessory. The product comes with  a library of vision software, built-in Ethernet communications and In-Sight Explorer software. PatMax, a performance software standard for feature and object location, is available as an option.


New system reduces cheese wastages

Schenck, a British manufacturer known for its expertise in balancing crankshafts, rotors and turbines, has devised an innovative static balancing machine that reportedly halves cheese production wastes. With traditional geometrical methods for slicing large circular cheeses into wedges, dairies need to provide a 13 g buffer to ensure that each wedge meets the legal minimum weight of 200 g. However, by balancing cheeses with the new Schenck system, only a 5 g buffer is required, thus accruing savings of both cheese and money.

Schencks new balancing machine operates by determining the position of the barycentre (centre of mass) of each circular cheese, which marks the reference point for positioning the slicer used to cut out wedges at the sales counter. Rather than only cutting wedges of the same geometrical size, this new method helps cut wedges of the same weight.

Contact: Schenck Test Automation Limited, Lowesmoor Wharf, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR1 2RS, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1905) 613 361



Crystallized and emulsified food processing equipment

Gerstenberg Schrder (GS) has introduced food processing equipment for the manufacture of all varieties of crystallized or emulsified food products and products that require thermal treatment. The Denmark-based company is recognized internationally as the leading manufacturer of high-quality machinery and process lines for the food industry. Some of the products in the companys inventory include:
  • Fat crystallization line: The GS lines of equipment cover high-pressure pumps and Scraped Surface Heat Exchangers (SSHE), known as Perfector, Kombinator and Consistator. SSHE is at the heart of the crystallization line. The flexible Perfector and Kombinator allow for the production of everything from margarine, shortening and low-fat spreads to butter and butter blends. Consistator can be used for a variety of other products that require thermal processing. GS SSHE programme facilitates easy optimization of existing production set-ups, responds quickly to changes in the market and expands operations when the need arises.
  • Emulsifying equipment: Available for continuous production of a wide range of emulsified fine food products such as mayonnaise, dressings, sauces, salsa and ketchup.
  • Thermal processes: The Consistator allows for heating, chilling and crystallization of delicate and heat-sensitive products. Also, on this type of SSHE, it is possible to produce a wide range of products such as cake frosting, cream cheese, yoghurt, fruit concentrate, ketchup, starch products and deboned meat.

Contact: Gerstenberg & Agger A/S, Vibeholmsvej 22, DK-2605 Brndby, Denmark. Tel: +45 4327 7000; Fax: +45 4327 7003





Herbal beer in India

Nebri, a herbal beer developed by the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), India, is anticipated to be on store shelves in 2006. Nebri is made from medicinal herbs and raw Dussehri mango extracts.

Kanpur-based ANJS Exports Ltd. gained rights to the technology and has set up a factory with a production capacity of 1,000 l/d. The beer has an optional alcohol content of 2 per cent with the quintessential tangy and carbonated fizz of the commercial beer. It is also easily digestible, liver protective and immuno-enhancing, according to the developer, as it incorporates antioxidants and compounds to strengthen the immune system. The herbal beer is devoid of industrial alcohol and glycerine. It contains only self-generated alcohol produced by the fermentation of mango and medicinal herbs with yeast. Tests for fizz, taste and colour were conducted among 500 people to finally get the right mix. The herbal beer will have the same taste and colour as other beers, and will foam just like other commercial beers.


New range of fruit juices introduced

In India, Bangalore-based Balan Natural Food (P) Ltd. has launched four varieties of preservative-free fruit juices, eyeing a slice of the lucrative US$85 million fruit juice market. At present, the company has unveiled its mango, pineapple, guava and orange juice varieties. The preservative-free beverages are available in 1 l tetrapacks, but the company can cater to bulk requirements.

B Natural premium mango is rich in carotene, which is good for the health of the eyes. It is also rich in vitamin C, which builds immunity and helps the body fight common illnesses. While most of the fruits are sourced from India, pineapples for the pineapple juice are imported from the farms at Mekong Delta, Viet Nam. The company, which will complete its first year of operations on 31 March 2006, is expecting a turnover of around US$2.1 million.



New sourdough process

Recent investigations undertaken at the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) indicate that the sourdough traditionally used for baking rye bread can also be used to obtain tasty, high-fibre wheat bread with a prolonged shelf-life. Optimization of the sourdough procedure by fermenting bran with yeast and lactic acid bacteria allows for the production of mildly sour wheat bread with better flavour, texture and nutritional value. This bran sourdough is of even greater quality if used in combination with enzymes.

According to Ms. Kati Katina, a researcher at VTT Biotechnology, the best results for volume and softness during storage was obtained with mildly acidic sourdough made with white wheat flour and fermented for 12-14 h (lactic acid bacteria fermented sourdough) or 6-8 hours (yeasted sourdough). Lactic acid bacteria fermented sourdough also prevented rope spoilage of bread, if the acidity of the sourdough and subsequent bread was low enough the pH of sourdough and bread should be less than 4 and 5, respectively. The same sourdough did not prevent rope spoilage if the pH of sourdough exceeded 4.5.


DNA test to assess seafood quality

Researchers at the University of Santiago, Spain, have found a way to ensure that fraud in canned, filleted or processed seafood is prevented, as one cannot see what specie it is. The new method identifies the species with total accuracy from a DNA test, something that benefits the consumer. For example, the quality and quantity of a fish species in baby food can be determined. With this method, it is sufficient to take a sample of the fish one wants to identify, take a DNA test and compare the result with the database developed by the researchers, which lists the most common commercial species on the market.



High-clarity PET

Constar International, the United States, reports to have developed a material that when blended with monolayer PET, binds oxygen, thus preventing the degradation of products such as juices, teas and flavoured water. This breakthrough is expected to provide the edge that companies are looking for to move over to plastic containers from glass or metal. The new product, called DiamondClear, is presently undergoing tests before it is submitted for regulatory approval.

Oxygen scavengers minimize the permeation of oxygen through the container by binding the molecules chemically. DiamondClear offers both the clarity of glass and an economical monolayer structure. Since the DiamondClear material is blended at the preform injection stage, this novel technology works equally well with single-step and two-step injection stretch blow moulding operations, eliminating the need for high-cost co-injection equipment necessary for multi-layer barrier systems. Unlike conventional systems to apply internal or external barrier coatings, DiamondClear preforms can be produced centrally and then shipped to any blowing location.


High-capacity packaging lines

Beumer Maschinenfabrik GmbH and Co. KG of Germany, has bagged an order for complete high capacity palletizers and high capacity packaging lines from the substrate manufacturer Klasmann-Deilmann for its Sedelsberg facility. Klasmann-Deilmanns Sedelsberg plant produces different substrates and fills them into PE bags.

The packaging line from Beumer comprises two high capacity palletizers of the Beumer paletpac type, which are timed together on to a following stretch hooding packaging machine of the type Beumer stretch hood. Both palletizers have a capacity of about 1,400 bags/h in a 3-bag bonded pattern and a maximum stacking height of 2,200 mm. The palletizing systems are equipped with a central empty pallet supply with memory for two types of pallets, EURO pallet and non-returnable pallet. These are then fed to the corresponding palletizer according to requirements.

The Beumer stretch hood S packages with a capacity of 75 packagings/h. Contact: Beumer Maschinenfabrik GmbH and Co. KG, Oelder Str. 40, 59269 Beckum, Germany. Tel: + 49 2521 24-0; Fax: + 49 2521 24-280



Fourth-generation shrink wrapping system

SMI Pacifica Pty. Ltd., Australia, has launched its fourth-generation shrink wrapping and tray/shrink systems. The firm has enhanced the products proven formula for reliable supply chain readiness, by delivering a range of improvements that assure even greater reliability, reduced maintenance and productivity. The touch screen control is now rail mounted and slides the full length of the machine, for faster access and a cable-free workspace.

A new, patented film feeding system eliminates most of the mechanical complications associated with traditional shrink wrappers. Instead, sensors and computers control the servo motor for precise film tension and accurate cutting, especially crucial for registration of printed film. The resultant smooth product flow enables higher output rates while creating a smoother, more even film finish for customer appeal. Faster lane-width adjustment via new half-turn levers facilitates immediate, tool-free resetting of lane widths when changing products. A reconfigured film overlap mechanism allows for increased product heights. Gearboxes, another source of mechanical failure, have been replaced with servo-controlled direct-drive motors.

Detailed improvements include easy access film cutter, automatic chain and cylinder tensioning, simplified film tensioning and the option of automated film changeover. Replacement film can be self-joining for faster and more reliable product changes, reduced downtime and less operator intervention. A patented design makes replacement of worn film knives simpler and faster. Several formerly aluminium surfaces have been replaced with stainless steel for long life. The right-angle board infeed on tray/shrink models has been replaced with an oblique merging system for ease of loading.

Contact: SMI Pacifica Pty. Ltd., 5/84 Voltri Street Mentone VIC 3194, Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 9584 3622; Fax: +1 (3) 9584 3633




New bulk container

DSL Packaging, Australia, recently introduced the Schtz Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC). The units measure approximately 1 m3 and comprise a heavy-duty polyethylene blow moulded inner bottle, surrounded by a steel cage, which is mounted on either a metal, plastic or wooden pallet for easy handling.

Designed for packaging liquid products, including food, the IBCs have been approved by the United Nations for many dangerous goods. A single IBC can hold the equivalent of five 200 l steel drums in the space of four. They are reusable and come with a unique and environmentally friendly global collection system.

Contact: DSL Packaging, P.O. Box 38, South Fremantle WA 6162, Australia. Tel: +61 (8) 9336 2688; Fax: +61 (8) 9336 6052




Packing machinery for fresh produce

Ultrabagger UB-100 of Gir, Spain, represents a complete revolution in packing machinery for fresh produce. Designed specifically for versatility, the UB-100 allows packing of the new and attractive Ultrabag package, as well as the popular Girsac bag. The total flexibility to produce a wide variety of bags, using different film widths and film type possibilities, as well as knitted or extruded net with different handle options, delivers a custom-designed package. This ensures maximum profitability of each machine. Furthermore, the use of consumables in bobbin allows for up to 2 h of continuous operation, guaranteeing an increased net output and lower labour costs.


Safe and secure blister packing for food products

MPS, a blister packaging machine manufacturer based in Switzerland, is offering machinery for packaging various foodstuffs, including dairy, fish, small goods, etc. Also, systems for packing bulk meat, pet foods as well as a variety of single-serve and snack pack configurations, including dips, honey and jam, nuts and crackers are available.

With the basic MPS machine it is possible to prepare classic blister packages, vacuum packs (with gas flushing if required) and single-serve applications with multiple packagings/blisters per machine cycle. A choice of packaging materials can be handled, like flexible semi-rigid and rigid films. The extremely flexible MPS machine is available in a range of models to satisfy customers pack shape and production requirements.

Contact: HBM Plastics & Packaging Technologies, 46/5 Inglewood Pl Baulkham Hills NSW 2153, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 8814 3100; Fax: +61 (2) 8814 3199




Low-profile packaging system

Autopac Systems, Australia, has launched a low-profile turnkey packaging system for use in areas where installation height is an issue, but without compromising on the packaging speed. A major benefit of this unit is that all the spare parts are not machine specific and can be purchased anywhere worldwide.

Festo pneumatics, Allen Bradley PLC, Mitsubishi temperature controllers and standard size bearings make servicing of the system very simple, thereby saving time and money.

Contact: Autopac Systems P/L, 38 Trade Pl Coburg VIC 3058, Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 9355 7188; Fax: +61 (3) 9355 7199





Pre-harvest and Post-harvest Food Safety: Contemporary Issues and Future Directions

While presenting the latest scientific research on the major pathogens associated with meat, poultry, produce and other foods, this book goes beyond other professional reference material by identifying the research needed to assure food safety in the future. Scientists and researchers from academia, government and industry collaborated to examine the high-priority food safety areas recognized by the federal government pathogen/host interactions; ecology, distribution and spread of foodborne hazards; antimicrobial resistance; verification tests; decontamination and prevention strategies; and risk analysis. The authors review cutting-edge literature as well as provide insights and forward thinking into the development of new and innovative approaches and research strategies.

Regulation of Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals: A Global Perspective

Offers the most comprehensive resource available today for information on regulatory aspects of the growing and economically important functional food and nutraceuticals industry. International professionals with legal and/or scientific expertise address the full range of relevant topics, right from quality issues to organic foods to labelling, including innovative product development, global principles, inter-country trading issues as well as comparison of the laws and regulations within different countries. This guidebook is invaluable for researchers, managers, manufactures and marketing strategists in the functional foods/nutritional supplements business, and academics in fields related to this area.

For the above publications,

contact: Blackwell Publishing Professional, 2121 State Ave., Ames, IA 50014 8300, United States of America. Tel: +1 (515) 2920 140; Fax: +1 (515) 2923 348.


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