VATIS Update Food Processing . Nov-Dec 2008

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Food Processing Nov-Dec 2008

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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Joining forces for “super foods”

A recent meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) examined new strategies to bolster nutrition among the world’s poor. The meeting, held between the IAEA and HarvestPlus, a global group of scientists and institutions, centred on a process called biofortification – a practice being used to confront nutritional deficiencies in diets. “HarvestPlus works on various staple crops by using plant breeding to improve nutritional quality, and the IAEA uses nuclear techniques to evaluate bioavailability and efficacy in humans,” said Dr. Lena Davidsson, Head of IAEA’s Nutritional & Health-related Environmental Studies Section.

Biofortification is a relatively new approach to addressing nutritional deficiencies among the world’s poor by using conventional plant breeding techniques. While nutrients have traditionally been added to foods in processing stages, biofortification seeks to pack nutrients into staple foods while they are growing. This is an improvement in that staple crop varieties that are nutrient-rich may reach those populations that do not have access to centrally processed fortified foods, and would lead to a more economic approach to bolstering foods with much-needed nutrients.

“Biofortification is all about bringing agricultural science as an intervention to improve micronutrient nutrition,” said Mr. Howarth Bouis, Director of HarvestPlus. “With our biofortification strategy, we try to put more vitamins and minerals into the foods staples that the poor are already eating in large amounts.” HarvestPlus has teamed up with the IAEA on a 4-year coordinated research project (CRP) involving research laboratories in Asia and Latin America. HarvestPlus takes the lead by developing biofortified foods, and the IAEA supports the project by scientifically gauging the ability of the body to use the nutrient-rich food.

One such project in Bangladesh is studying biofortified orange sweet potatoes. A selected group of young women are changing their diet by replacing the typical white-coloured sweet potato with an orange-fleshed version, which is rich in beta-carotene, a pro-vitamin A component. Over a period, the Bangladeshi women’s vitamin A body pools are evaluated using a sophisticated stable isotope technique. The joint project, when completed, will provide new information about the usefulness of biofortified sweet potatoes to combat vitamin A deficiency.


Global prices of milk products drop down

Global prices for skimmed milk and whole milk powder are forecast to decline 16 per cent this year on increased supply, especially from New Zealand. Prices for skimmed milk powder are expected to average US$3,500 a tonne, while for whole milk powder it could average at US$3,825, according to Abare, Australia’s independent economic research agency. World import demand for milk powders continues to grow, particularly in parts of Asia and West Asia, Abare said.

Price (In US$/tonne)



Per cent change



Skim milk powder

Whole milk powder

















In the short term, moderate growth in traded milk powder supplies is expected. Proportionately more milk will be used in the manufacture of high-value products such as cheese, particularly in the European Union. A growth in demand for cheese is likely to be made up by excess supply. This is likely to result in cheese prices falling by 8 per cent to average US$4,650 a tonne. Butter prices are forecast to decline by 9 per cent to average US$3,650 a tonne. Increased exports from such countries as the United States, New Zealand and Australia are tipped to be the main drivers of lower prices.

On growth in milk production, Abare said continued growth in global demand for dairy products and relatively high prices would be met with mixed rates of growth in output in main dairy exporting regions in 2008-09 (September-August). “Some major exporting countries are continuing to face production constraints,” it said. Milk production in the European Union is forecast to increase by 1 per cent despite relatively high domestic prices for milk and a 2.5 per cent increase in milk production quotas under the Common Agricultural Policy. Higher feed costs and continued presence of blue tongue disease could reduce milk yields.


India goes for food processing infrastructure development

In India, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for setting up 10 mega food parks in the first phase of a scheme that aims to establish 30 such parks under the 11th Five Year Plan. The grant-in-aid assistance will be 50 per cent of the project cost in general areas and 75 per cent for the North-East region and difficult areas. The total grant-in-aid is limited to Rs 5 billion (US$104 million), with a ceiling of Rs 500 million (US$10.4 million) for common infrastructure and backward/forward linkage facilities and Rs 250 million (US$5.2 million) as project management fees.

The Scheme of infrastructure development aims to raise the level of processing, value addition and reduction of the wastage of perishables – such as horticultural produce, and livestock, marine and dairy products – during the 11th Plan period and to meet the targets of the Vision 2015 of the Ministry of Food Processing.

Source :

China’s food industry booms, safety to enhance

The sales volume of China’s food industry is expected to hit 4 trillion yuan (US$585.1 billion) this year, according to Mr. Wang Wenzhe, Chairman of China National Food Industry Association. He said the sales volume totalled 2.28 trillion yuan (US$333.3 billion) in the first seven months, an increase of 34.6 per cent over the same period last year.

Statistics showed 98.4 per cent of the country’s food as passing quality inspection and tests in the first half of the year. The pass rate was 4 percentage points higher than that of the same period last year, and 9 percentage points higher than in 2006. The result was based on a survey covering 3,813 kinds of food produced by 3,288 enterprises. Mr. Wang, however, acknowledged that current quality of food was far from satisfying consumer expectations. Excessive pesticide residue and food additives were included among the problems.

Source: www.

Republic of Korea to take sweeping steps for food safety

The Republic of Korea plans to take a package of sweeping consumer protection measures in the wake of a Chinese milk scandal, government officials said recently. The package will include a class action lawsuit system for victims and tougher screening of imports. The Korea Food and Drug Administration has decided toll ban food imports by Haitai Confectionary, Nestle Korea, Mars Korea and Lotte Confectionary – the companies that were found to have imported from China products tainted with melamine. But the companies will continue to manufacture and sell food products, since they didn’t violate the law as food producers and sellers.

Representative Mr. Ahn Hong-joon, the Grand National Party’s Screening Committee Head, said the ruling party and the government agreed to introduce consumer protection measures that will impose unlimited responsibility on importers for their products consumed in the country. Consumers will be able to collectively sue local food manufacturers of tainted foods. Importers will have to mark the place of origin of their processed food on a front label, and the place-of-origin tab will be at least half the size of the brand name.

When tainted food items are recalled, the retrieval should be promptly made public through television subtitles, and the government will issue a consumer alert when information on alleged contamination is acquired. Manufacturers will have their licenses suspended when violations related to food safety are spotted twice and, will have to pay fines of up to 10 times more than their proceeds from the tainted food. The policy will also raise the minimum number of close examinations that imported food must undergo from the current 20 per cent to 30 per cent of all items. Countries that have a track record of food contamination will be subject to tougher screening.

Sources: &

Vietnamese seafood exports may fetch US$4 billion

Viet Nam’s seafood exports in September this year reached US$450 million, lifting total seafood exports in the first nine months of the year to US$3.32 billion. This is a 21.9 per cent increase over last year, according to the General Statistics Office. Growing at 24.6 per cent in the first nine months of the year, seafood processing has had the highest growth rate of all processing industries.

In the first nine months, frozen shrimp remained the industry’s biggest earner at US$1.16 billion, a year-on-year increase of 7 per cent, said Mr. Nguyen Thai Phuong from the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors. However, despite topping the list, the proportion of shrimp in the country’s total seafood exports decreased by 4.7 per cent over the same period last year due to fierce competition from Thai and Indian shrimp exports. Catfish exports followed shrimp with US$1.1 billion, accounting for 32.3 per cent of the country’s total exported seafood, up by 5.7 per cent.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) attributed the achievements to the increased exports to other markets including the European Union. The exporters succeeded in making catfish a key staple in the European market. Given that the export results gained in the first nine months and the pattern that the seafood industry typically sees record export levels in October, MARD Deputy Minister, Mr. Luong Le Phuong, predicted that seafood exports would exceed the annual target of US$4.2-4.3 billion.


Philippines to expand safety tests to non-dairy products

In the Philippines, Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) Director Ms. Leticia Gutierrez has asked food manufacturing companies that use ingredients from China to submit a complete list of their raw materials to the Bureau. “For now, we are focusing on the milk and milk products. We are focusing first on the ban; but gradually, the number of products will increase as we widen our scope,” said Ms. Joyce Carunay, Chief of BFAD’s Product Safety Division.

House committees on agriculture and food, and on health had held a joint hearing to help congressmen draft bills that would strengthen laws on imported food products and food safety. At the hearing, BFAD officials said they would inform the manufacturing companies about the new procedure of BFAD on full disclosure of raw materials used in food products. In the same hearing, Ms. Jane Bacayo, National Meat Inspection Service Executive Director, announced that luncheon meat from China being sold in the market would be tested for melamine.

Source :

India plans to subsidize coffee processing

India plans to subsidize the cost of processing more coffee domestically to increase the country’s roasting capacity, said Mr. G.V. Krishna Rau, Chairman of the state-owned Coffee Board. The government will “pay 25 per cent of the cost of equipment, including transportation and duties, to build roasting capacities,” he said.

India produced 4.85 million bags of coffee in 2007, or about 4 per cent of global output, according to the International Coffee Organization. About one-third of the output was now roasted in India, mainly for domestic consumption, Mr. Rau said. “We have to reduce the length of the chain,” he added.



China considers draft regulation for dairy product quality

China’s State Council recently discussed a draft Regulation for Dairy Product Quality Supervision. The Council says that many dairy manufacturers have ignored business ethics and endangered public health by selling contaminated products. This has exposed serious problems in the dairy industry chain in the country, and these problems must be addressed through new policies. The State Council says that a comprehensive supervision and testing system will be established from the first link in the industry chain. Dairy farmers will also receive assistance and subsidies to help the industry recover.



Indian guidelines for food testing and quality control labs

The Indian government has announced guidelines to set up and upgrade food testing laboratories during the 11th plan period (2007-12). According to the Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries, the scheme for setting up and upgrading food testing laboratories would benefit all stakeholders such as the domestic industry, exporters, entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises, existing academic and research institutions, food standards setting bodies, and the government.

Food testing laboratories will ensure safety and quality of food products by regulatory authorities, exporters, importers, processors, farmers and the consumers. The scheme also aims to establish a surveillance system for monitoring the quality and composition of food, to analyse the samples received from food processing industries and other stakeholders, to reduce the time of analysis of samples by reducing transportation time of samples and to ensure compliance of international standards on food that is exported and imported.

Central and state governments and their organizations, as well as universities will be eligible for grant-in-aid of entire cost of laboratory equipment required for laboratories. In addition, they will also be eligible for 25 per cent of the cost of technical civil works to house the equipment and furniture and the fixtures for general areas and 33 per cent for difficult areas.

All other implementing agencies and private sector organizations will be eligible for grant-in-aid of 50 per cent of cost of laboratory equipment and 25 per cent of the cost of technical civil work to house the equipment, furniture and fixtures for general areas and 70 per cent of cost of laboratory equipment and 33 per cent of technical civil work for difficult areas. This includes five per cent of the grant amount as professional fees for the programme management agency engaged for providing advisory and implementation services.


Thailand to issue stringent food safety measures

In Thailand, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Public Health Ministry is to issue stringent measures for milk and milk products in which melamine would not be allowed in excess of 1 mg/kg following China’s tainted milk scandal. Dr. Pipat Yingseri, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health, said a meeting of FDA officials has also set limits for other foods, which might contain melamine not more than 2.5 mg/kg. Violators will face a maximum fine of Bt 20,000 (US$575) or a maximum of two years in prison or both. Business operators must present a food safety certificate to FDA officials every time a new lot of products are to be sold, Dr. Pipat said. The new regulation is being drafted and will be submitted to Public Health Minister for his approval.


New standard test method for oxygen headspace analysis

ASTM’s International Sub-committee F02.40 on Package Integrity has approved a new International Standard (F 2418-08) that covers a procedure for determination of the oxygen concentration in the headspace within a sealed package without opening or compromising the integrity of the package. The oxygen content of a package’s headspace is an important determinant of the packaging protection afforded by barrier materials. Oxygen content is a key contributor to off-flavours and spoilage of various food products.

According to the new standard, the method determines the oxygen concentration in the headspace of a closed package; and as the method is non-destructive, the headspace can be monitored over time on individual samples to ensure that results of storage studies such as shelf life testing are correctly interpreted. This standard has application in package permeability studies, leak detection, efficacy of the MAP packaging process, as well as in storage studies.

Source :

China’s new guidelines aim at better tea exports

Tea is one of China’s major export commodities. The country exported 151,000 tonnes of tea worth a total of US$344 million in the first half of this year, up 5.49 per cent year-on-year. However, markets such as Japan and the European Union have started stricter inspections on imported tea. Not all Chinese tea exports would meet those standards, and the country’s inspection system is limited to checking harmful chemical levels.

The new government guidelines for growers and processors, to be released on 1 October, address these issues. The new guidelines would be far more comprehensive. Although they will not be compulsory initially, it is expected that planters and processors would abide by them because of the potential benefits. The guidelines would be adjusted down the track and could eventually become compulsory.



A revolution in food safety testing

Microbiologists at Oregon State University (OSU), the United States, have developed a new technology to detect illness-causing bacteria – an advance that could provide actual protection to consumers while avoiding wastage and massive recalls of products suspected of bacterial contamination. The new approach – based on the colour changes in pigment-bearing cells from Siamese fighting fish – should be easier and faster to use, and more directly related to toxicity assessment than conventional approaches now used to test food for bacterial contamination.

Conventional food safety testing done with DNA-based tests or antibody-based methods indicates only the presence of specific bacteria, not necessarily their toxicity or the potential to cause harm. Sometimes bacteria only exhibit the behaviour that can cause illness under specific environmental conditions, and it is that toxic behaviour that needs detection, says Prof. Janine Trempy, Associate Dean of the OSU College of Science.

The new approach, in contrast, is built on the unusual characteristics of certain “chromatophore” or pigment bearing cells, called erythrophores, from Siamese fighting fish, whose response to specific toxic chemicals have been studied in detail by Dr. Phil McFadden, an OSU biochemist and Prof. Trempy’s collaborator. When the fish encounters certain stressful or threatening environmental conditions, such as exposure to toxic chemicals or illness-causing bacteria, the erythrophores (red chromatophores) change appearance, and the pigment moves in a characteristic pattern to an internal part of the cell. This change in pigment location is rapid, obvious and can be numerically described.

This technology can detect major food-associated bacteria such as: Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens, responsible for diarrhoeal illnesses; Bacillus cereus, responsible for gastro-intestinal illness characterized by vomiting and diarrhoea, and often referred to as stomach flu, and Clostridium botulinum, which causes toxin-induced botulism, characterized by paralysis. Further research is needed to define the pigment-bearing cell response to other important bacteria of concern, such as E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria, and before the system can be ready for commercial use.


Scratched surfaces may trap bacteria during processing

Minute particles of food soil on surfaces can help bacteria survive industrial cleaning procedures in food processing factories and may lead to contamination of food with pathogenic bacteria, say researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in the United Kingdom. “Tiny amounts of soil are enough to provide nutrients and a reservoir for contaminating bacteria to survive the cleaning process, leading to food spoilage later,” said Dr. Kathryn Whitehead who led the research.

Dr. Whitehead and her colleagues compared different methods for detection of food residues, including chemical and physio-chemical techniques, microscopy and rapid industrial methods such as ultraviolet (UV) light. They found that the standard UV light and detection techniques may not detect the tiny quantities of food soil, which can even adhere to stainless steel surfaces. They concluded that more complex analytical methods are the most effective in identifying food soil and developing appropriate cleaning procedures.

Meanwhile, another MMU study has concluded that titanium work surfaces in food factories could reduce the number of food poisoning cases: some pathogenic bacteria have more difficulty attaching to titanium than to stainless steel. Abrasion, constant cleaning and impact damage could cause work surfaces to become scratched, and these scratches may entrap micro-organisms such as Escherichia coli and prevent their removal during cleaning, said researcher Dr. Adele Packer. Her team coated the surfaces with titanium and examined them for bacteria retention. They found that the shape of bacteria was a key factor: rod-shaped Listeria remained in tiny scratches less than 0.5 micron across, while round Staphylococcus remained in scratches that were 1 micron across. (Source:


Non-invasive oxygen monitoring

OxySense Inc., a leading United States-based supplier of non-invasive oxygen monitoring systems to the packaging industry, offers a complete line of systems that fully comply with the new ASTM standard F 2418-08 related to the oxygen concentration in the headspace within a sealed package without opening or compromising the integrity of the package. The line includes: the OxySenseTM 210T headspace and dissolved oxygen analyser; the OxySenseTM 4000B fully integrated oxygen analyser; the new OxySense OxyOTRTM OTR/Permeation System; and the OxySentryTM MAP Monitoring System.

With a single OxySense system, a laboratory can perform headspace analysis, dissolved oxygen studies, film and finished package permeation studies, and all in real time under real world conditions. Contact: Mr. John Ryan, OxySense Inc., 13111 N. Central Expressway, Suite 440, Dallas, Texas, TX 75243, United States of America. Tel: +1 (214) 575 7600, Ext. 200; Fax: +1 (214) 575 7936; E-mail:

Source :

New electronic system to measure tea aroma, colour

An electronic nose and vision (ENV) system capable of measuring the aroma, colour, appearance and other quality parameters of both finished and “in-process” tea is likely to be launched commercially in a year. Currently, the alpha version of the ENV system is being tested in a few tea companies. “A beta version based on these feedbacks will be brought out by us in six months,” said Mr. Nabarun Bhattarcharya of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), India.

Traditionally, tea companies have been controlling the quality parameters of tea manually. CDAC’s ENV system is an instrument that can detect and discriminate the complex odours in tea using an array of sensors. It will help tea companies to improve the processing of the beverage. The vision of the system analyses the tea using a suitable colour matching algorithm backed by software and standard colour images. It also gives details of fermentation during the production process that is key to ensure quality of the produce. The nose detects any volatile emission pattern in a production process. Moreover, based on the aroma and flavour of the finished tea, the e-nose components can be made to sample the tea and give scores like a tea-taster.

A drawback that has come out during industry testing is that the system is not grading orthodox teas correctly; the system would need extensive modification for that. “Our software is not tuned to orthodox teas. That is why we have these shortcomings,” says Mr. Bhattacharya. “Even tea tasting options required extensive data input into the system,” he adds. Despite the drawback, industry scientists agree that the system would help in objective assessment of tea quality even as it is in the process of production.

Source: www.thehindu

New technology delivers fresher, safer foods

Most consumers assume refrigerated food products are safe to consume, but highly publicized incidents of food-borne illnesses are increasingly creating concerns over bacteria, moulds, viruses and other harmful micro-organisms within our food supply. Ingersoll Rand offers a solution to address these food-safety challenges. Its Environment Management System (EMS) is made up of a suite of solutions – including environmental sampling, food safety consulting and asset-based solutions – to help customers understand and address their food safety concerns.

A core element of the EMS suite is a patented breakthrough, two-stage surface and air sanitation technology that uses oxygen ions to cleanse the ambient environment, killing micro-organisms that reduce the quality, safety and shelf life of perishable products. In the first stage, the primary air cleaning occurs as air passes through the EMS non-thermal reaction chamber, where airborne impurities are destroyed at a molecular level. In the second stage, the transformed oxygen in the air cleans surfaces of food and equipment and further cleans the air. EMS is totally harmless to humans, animals and the environment. Contact: Mr. Wayne Benson, EMS Director of Sales and Marketing, Ingersoll-Rand Climate Control Technologies, 12999 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, MO 63044, United States of America. Tel: +1 (314) 291 2000; Fax: +1 (314) 298 4756; Website: www.



New method of tackling Listeria in ready-to-eat foods

Listeria monocytogenes pathogen can contaminate RTE meat and poultry during post-processing steps such as slicing, peeling and packaging. A new study by scientists at Clemson University, the United States, has found the combination of natural antimicrobials with in-package pasteurization of ready-to-eat (RTE) turkey bologna is effective in reducing the L. monocytogenes and preventing outgrowth during refrigerated storage. The researchers claim that their combination treatment is a novel approach to food preservation and has a greater impact on bacterial populations than single treatment approaches, and reduces the need for intense heat treatment.

The group said the objective of the project was to evaluate the efficacy of surface application of nisin, a natural antimicrobial that has Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) FDA approval, and/or lysozyme derived from hen egg white. The substances were tested in combination with in-package pasteurization of RTE low-fat turkey bologna against L. monocytogenes. RTE low-fat turkey bologna averaging 14.3 per cent fat, 10.7 per cent protein, and 71.4 per cent moisture with 2 per cent salt was used for the experiment, according to the study.

The sterile bologna samples were treated with solutions of nisin, lysozyme and a mixture of the two antimicrobials before in-package pasteurization at 65°C. The researchers said the in-package pasteurization resulted in an immediate 3.5 to 4.2 log reduction in L. monocytogenes for all treatments and that all pasteurized treatments also resulted in significant reduction of the pathogen by 12 weeks compared with un-pasteurized bologna. The combination treatment was effective in reducing the bacterial population by below detectable levels by two-three weeks of storage. The researchers claim that the treatments used satisfy the requirements of Alternative 1 of the interim final rule of the United States Department of Agriculture in regard to its regulation for controlling L. monocytogenes in plants that produce RTE meat and poultry.



Sweetness enhancers offer greater mouth feel

Taste Advantage LLC, the United States, has introduced a new range of natural sweetness enhancers to try and recreate the syrupy mouth feel that comes with sugar but tends to be lost in low-calorie products. These second-generation enhancers are primarily for use in the ready-to-drink beverages and alcoholic categories and help to remove the “thinness” of artificially sweetened drinks. However, the products can also be used in candies, confectionary and many other applications, says Mr. Ed Baranski, Taste Advantage’s Director of Operations.

The enhancers are suitable for products that use sweeteners or sugars, in order to increase the sweetness without increasing the amount of sugar used. Taste Advantage claims that its enhancers can amplify the sweetening effect and mouth feel of high fructose corn syrup. With non-nutritive sweeteners, they can remove the “bite, burn and artificial tastes” that they are often associated with, and for sweeteners specifically designed for gum they can release “the sweetness of aspartame throughout the chew”, said Mr. Baranski. Additional benefits include lowering and blocking of acidity, astringency and bitterness, as well as increasing the flavour and perceived quality of products. It also gives additional sweetness to citrus flavoured applications. The format is flexible as they can come as powder or in a number of different liquid solutions, such as in ethanol.



A natural sweetener

Australia’s national food authority, FSANZ, has approved a new natural sweetener for use as an ingredient in foods and beverages. The sweetener comprises steviol glycocides from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, and was developed after almost 10 years of research by the Central Queensland (CQ) University’s Plant & Water Science Division. It is regarded safe for consumption by diabetics, an aspect that is garnering considerable interest from Australia’s major food and beverage companies.

Prof. David Midmore and Mr. Andrew Rank from CQ University have been working together to develop the plant’s sweet potential. Mr. Rank said tests showed stevia could be used for treatment of diabetes by lowering high blood pressure and stimulating insulin production. Stevia is a non-nutritive sweetener like saccharin, which means less of it can be used to get the same sweetening power. The plant, originally from Paraguay, has been used as an additive in tea throughout Asia since the late 1800s. Being up to 300 times sweeter than sugar cane, people simply dipped leaves into their cups of tea. It is low calorie and its taste is described as between liquorice and treacle.


Seaweed granules may replace salt in foods

Seaweed may hold the key to reducing salt in foods without affecting the shelf life and taste of the product, according to a new project from the United Kingdom. Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University, working in collaboration with the joint Anglo-Norwegian venture Seagreens, are exploring the potential of seaweed granules to replace salt (sodium chloride) in processed food. The seaweed granules are manufactured from cold water brown seaweed.

Dr. Andrew Fairclough, who is leading the project, said: “Our research has found that as well as maintaining the taste of the food, the seaweed granules reduce the numbers of certain micro-organisms, thereby helping to lengthen its shelf life in a similar way to salt.” The Seagreens granules are reported to contain a balance of mineral salts including sodium at around 3.5 per cent, instead of 40 per cent typically found in salt.

Salt reduction remains a major challenge, not only in terms of taste but also formulation, as salt is very important in food manufacturing. In processed meat products, for example, salt is involved in activating proteins to increase water-binding activity, improving the binding and textural properties of proteins, and helpings with the formation of stable batters with fat. Dr. Fairclough said that research in sausage-like meat products has been performed following industrial interest, and significant interest has been received also from the bakery sector.


Novel product for food oil structuring

The structure of many food products is based on triacylglycerol from a hard stock. The crystal network provided by this hard stock lends plasticity and stability to food products, but they are primarily made up of saturated and trans fat, which have adverse effects on human health. One alternative to hard stock is the use of organogels, which can provide structure without the need for saturated or trans fat. Use of organogels has been limited to date due to a lack of food-grade organogelators.

University of Guelph, Canada, has developed a new class of organogelator, which is derived from foods such as soybean and dairy products. The ingredient has been added to various edible oils, including canola oil, and forms a self-standing gel at concentrations as low as two per cent. Addition of the organogelator resulted in the formation of small dendritic crystals, which interacted to form a supramolecular network similar to natural fat. The potential applications of the organogelator include structuring of edible oils to reduce saturated and trans fat, and use as a nutraceutical that would provide additional health benefits in food beyond reduction of harmful fats.


Production of a natural red food colorant

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) offers a technology that produces a red food colorant. The colorant is suitable for applications in juice and beverages, fruit preparations, yogurts, confectionery, etc. within a pH range of 3 to 4.5. It comprises anthocyanins from red cabbage, and is very stable when exposed to light and heat, and free of cabbage and vegetable odours. It is crystal clear, which means it can be formulated with gelatine. AAFC is looking for a corporation that is interested in obtaining a knowledge management and technology transfer licence with the possibility of sub-licensing. Contact: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Sir John Carling Building, 930 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C7, Canada. Tel: +1 (613) 759 1000; Fax: +1 (613) 759 7977; E-mail:



Food or beverage containing fucoidan

Fucoidan, a sulphated polysaccharide found mainly in various species of brown seaweed, is now being marketed as a nutraceutical and food supplement. Takara Bio Inc., Japan, has secured United States patent on a method for the production of food or beverage that contain fucoidan, which is derived from a fucoidan-containing substance. The fucoidan derived is claimed to have less or no algins (alginic acid and its salts and esters), another polysaccharide found in brown seaweed. The inventors also claim that the food or beverage prepared using their process would contain an effective amount of fucoidan to induce apoptosis.


Juice quality of new mandarin-like hybrids

Tacle and Clara [Monreal clementine (Citrus clementina Hort. ex Tan) × Tarocco orange (Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck)] are two new triploid citrus hybrids developed by the Italian institute CRA-Istituto Sperimentale per l’Agrumicoltur. The fruits are easy-peeling and juicy, have a pleasant and sweet taste. In addition, a distinctively attractive characteristic of these mandarin-like fruits is the red-pigmented flesh caused by the presence of anthocyanins.

Researchers at the institute have carried out a study and reported on the juice quality attributes of fruits harvested at different ripening stages and of cold-stored fruits kept for 104 days at 6 ±1ºC and 90-95 per cent relative humidity. Physico-chemical analyses showed that the fresh-fruit juice yield ranged from 39 per cent (Tacle) to 41 per cent (Clara). The yields were 11-14 per cent lower after 104 days of storage. Vitamin C content in the Clara juice was decisively higher than that in the Tacle juice. Anthocyanins and other polyphenols in the juices increased during cold storage. The researchers have concluded that low-temperature storage enhances the functional attributes of Tacle and Clara fruit juices.


Sparkling juice with antioxidants

The Coca-Cola Company in the United States has been assigned a WIPO patent for a sparkling juice beverage comprising carbonated water, juice concentrate, antioxidants Vitamins C and E, green tea extract and grape seed extract. The beverage may be sweetened with natural sweeteners and/or artificial sweeteners. It provides a delicious and refreshing way to give the body important antioxidants for body health, the company claims.

The sparkling juice beverage is formulated to provide the benefits of Vitamins C and E, as well as green tea extract and grape seed extract, but without the bitter taste associated extracts. The beverage may contain 1-10 per cent juice, at least 10 per cent of the Recommended Daily Allowances of Vitamins C and E, and 0.0025-0.1 per cent by volume each of green tea extract and grape seed extract. It may also include added natural and artificial sweeteners. Ideally, the beverage would contain about five per cent juice.


Filtering device for a citrus juice extraction machine

A Brazilian inventor, Mr. Carlos Neto, has obtained European patent on an improved filtering device for a citrus juice extraction machine (patented earlier) consisting of: a perforated tube having multiple transverse slits of increasing diameter from inside to outside, concentric to the peeler, and a tubular juice collector that has a window opening and a threaded cover, which centres the tube. A sliding connecting rod, a piston pushed by a spring, and a chamber to collect the filtered juice form the other main parts of the device.

The patent claims that the improved filter, which is an automatic mechanical device, increases substantially the citrus juice extraction machine’s productivity and the quality of the juice. Further, in every cycle of operation, the system passes through a total cleaning, and the refuse from the fruit are expelled into a single reservoir, which facilitates the sanitation of the equipment and helps avoid proliferation of bacteria. Contact: Mr. Carlos Neto Mendes, Rua Voluntarios de Pàtria, 1738, Araraquara, Sao Paulo CEP, 14.801-320, Brazil.

Source :


Food shelf life extender

Mr. David Richmond and Mr. Jonathan Oswaks – two inventors from the United States – have secured a WIPO patent covering a self-pressurizing food storage device and method of its use. The device is an enclosed food storage chamber having an internal air pressure of about 1-10 psi above ambient air pressure outside the chamber. The geometrically and ergonomically fitting lid assembly ensures maintenance of the pressure. No external, detachable pump is required to create the elevated pressure within the food containing chamber.

The closure assembly may comprise at least one: bayonet closure, over-centre latch, pivotally attached lever, or some other closure assembly known in the art. It is geometrically configured to provide sufficient leverage to enable a user to easily create an internal air pressure within the chamber. In an exemplary embodiment, the method includes the introduction of zeolite impregnated with potassium permanganate into the food container. Zeolite would absorb ethylene gas produced by some food items, such as fruits, and thus delay the ripening and decay of the fruit. Removal of ethylene in combination with low pressure lengthens the shelf life of foods that emit ethylene. Contact: Mr. David Richmond, 5826 Uplander Way, Culver City, CA 90230, United States of America.


Fruit preservation technology

Researchers of the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), India, have developed a new technology, which could help preserve fruits for a longer period without causing quality deterioration. The technology, called humidified air dryer using heat pump system, can be used for drying fruits, vegetables, spices, condiments, medicinal aromatic and other such commodities.

Normally, fruits and vegetables are preserved frozen. But in the process, the outer surface of commodities shrinks due to the freezing of liquid inside fruits or vegetables. The new technology, developed by a team of researchers led by Mr. Mohammed Khalid Khan of College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, also preserves commodities at low temperatures, but adds humidity to keep the fruits fresh.


New heat treatment method for milk

The Good Cow Company of the United States, together with inventors Mr. Hand Paul Maron and Ms. Patricia Ruth Corby, has secured a WIPO patent on a process for producing a concentrated, sterilized liquid milk product. The process essentially comprises: (a) partially concentrating milk or a milk product, and (b) sterilizing that partially concentrated milk or milk product. The concentration process may employ cold reverse osmosis (at 7ºC) of raw whole milk or skim milk, and heating the concentrated product successively at two elevated temperatures – 80ºC and 140ºC – for short periods.

The concentrated, sterilized product is cooled and then subjected to an evaporation process. Still under aseptic conditions, the sterilized concentrated milk stream is optionally passed to a homogenizer to distribute fat evenly throughout the product. The homogenized milk product is then transferred to a heat exchanger where the temperature is lowered to 24º-26ºC. The homogenized, cooled milk stream is directed to an aseptic packaging station where it is filled into sterile containers under sterile conditions and the containers are sealed. Contact: Good Cow Company Inc., 1117 E. Plaza Drive, Ste. F. Eagle, ID 83616, United States of America.



Packaging solutions for chilled goods

Building on earlier successes with its SureFresh range of black PET laminates for fresh produce, the packaging solutions team of the global packaging leader Amcor has developed a new range of packaging solutions to deliver chilled goods in an environmentally sustainable format. The lightweight, corrugated material pack is made from recycled paper fibre and Thermshield, a functional film laminate recently developed by Amcor Functional Coatings. When the new patented air-gap insulation, dual-wall design is utilized in conjunction with the Thermshield laminate, the Amcor ChillFreshTM family of solutions offers an advanced packaging solution for premium chilled goods.

The company claims that field trials have confirmed ChillFresh as a new generation alternative to traditional expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam packaging. Several ChillFresh solutions are available that can either match or exceed EPS foam performance, depending on material finish and carton design features. The patented air gap wall design, for instance, enables superior insulation and pack strength for premium export applications. The solutions offer a robust construction with high scuff and impact resistance, and semi-leak proof design through full depth gussets. They are available in both hand erect and machine erect formats.


Flexible food packaging with a re-sealable flap

Ms. Sheree Bezzina-schell, an Australian inventor, has patented a flexible packaging for snack foods and the like. The packaging comprises a pouch formed by co-extensive flexible panels with ends sealed together and a gusset closing at the bottom end. At least one of the panels includes a displaceable flap to enable access to the food packaged, so that the pack also serves as a food serving vessel.

In a preferred embodiment, the packaging is made using 2-6 layers of film, and the flap is removable and has a rupturable seal in at least one of the panels. It is further preferred that the packaging is formed from metallized oriented polypropylene or Biaxially oriented polypropylene, polyethylene, polypropylene, oriented polyethylene terephthalate, etc. Contact: Ms. Sheree Bezzina-schell, 10 Harrison Avenue, Bonnet Bay, New South Wales 2226, Australia.

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Filler-packer for granular and powdered products

WeighPack Systems Inc., Canada, has introduced the Star Auger Filling Machine in two models – Star 100 and Star 200 – for filling a variety of granular and powdered products like coffee, flour, powdered sugar and chemicals. Equipped with a servo-drive motor (instead of the clutch/brake or inverted gear AC motors on conventional augers) and a newly integrated PLC function, the Star Auger is accurate and has a noticeable increase in response time. It has reduced electrical interference when coupled with auxiliary packaging equipment.

Both models feature automatic feed back adjustment: if the finished package is placed on a scale to be check-weighed, the Star Auger will adjust the auger screw automatically to stabilize any weight deviations. A viewing glass allows the operator to see how much product is left in the hopper. Available in 26 litre and 50 litre hopper, the machine can run at speeds of up to 80 cycles per minute with a filling weight of up to 1000 g. Options available include level sensing controls, double catch door mechanism and stainless steel stand. It is claimed to integrate easily with any type of bagger or inline indexing conveyor.


Method for packaging beverages

The Coca-Cola Company in the United States has patented a method for packaging a beverage comprising particulates in a liquid. The method consists of dispensing one portion of the beverage – containing a majority of the particulates and a part of the liquid – from a source into containers, dispensing into the containers a second portion of the beverage from another source using counter-pressure filler, and sealing the containers to form packaged beverage. The patent also covers an apparatus for carrying out such packaging of a beverage comprising particulates in a liquid.

The invention is claimed to encompass a method for decreasing container-to-container variation in pulp content in a packaged pulpous beverage and reducing pulp build-up in the filling apparatus. The first portion of the pulpous beverage filled will comprise most of the pulp (such as a diary component), while the second portion of the beverage will be substantially pulp-free. A third source for carbonating the beverage may be added to the second step, which employs counter-pressure filler.


Aluminium foil in juice packaging extends shelf life

Researchers have evaluated four different types of containers for the storage of mandarin juice and found that carton containers with an inner layer of aluminium foil best ensure the quality of the product. Spanish researchers from University Miguel Hernandez and San Antonio Catholic University said they assessed the quality of the juice based on its high vitamin C content, deep orange colour, fresh mandarin flavour and absence of negative off-flavours. “A container with thick inner layer of aluminium foil will maintain the quality of the juice for a longer time (more than 90 days) compared with a shelf life of about 54 days for cartons with an inner layer of ethylene vinyl alcohol co-polymer,” said the researchers.

The research aimed to compare the colour properties, ascorbic acid degradation and changes of gas composition in the headspace of refrigerated mandarin juice stored in four different containers. The juices were processed under aseptic packaging and thermal pasteurization treatment, packaged in three different non-transparent plastic containers and one transparent container, and stored under refrigeration conditions. Juices A and B were stored in containers made of different percentages of cardboard, polyethylene and aluminium foil, juice C was in containers made of cardboard, polyethylene and ethylene vinyl alcohol co-polymers, and juice D in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. The juice samples were analysed at different intervals of 0-90 days.

Oxygen production was measured in the juice containers by extracting 1 ml of the headspace using a gas syringe, and oxygen was quantified using a Shimadzu 14-A gas chromatograph, while colour determinations were made with a Hunterlab colour flex. Sensory evaluation was determined over sampling days 0 to 90, and a panel of 20 consumers was asked to rank the juices in terms of colour, fresh mandarin flavour and off-flavours.

The study concluded that juices C and D presented significantly higher oxygen concentrations than juices A and B, with correspondingly high reductions in vitamin C content. It was found that after 54 days, both juices A and B presented significantly higher intensities of fresh mandarin flavour than juices C and D. Overall, juice A provided the best result. The study proved that carton composition was an important quality control parameter in determining the degradation of the initial vivid orange colour of the refrigerated mandarin juices, say the research team.


System for continuous tray/shrink wrapping

Standard-Knapp, the United States, has introduced the 296TS Continuum Tray/Shrink System. Designed for the food and beverage industries, the model features an intuitive graphic operator interface, an on-demand film-wrapping wand and error-free film thread feed module. The model 296TS system, operating at speeds of up to 80 trays per minute, offers ‘Zero-Gap’ infeed technology for balanced, jam-resistant packing lanes.

The system’s heavy-duty stainless steel frame features transparent guarding, which makes the parts clearly visible, allowing for easy “walk-by” maintenance. The shrink-wrapping section’s film-wrapping wand is controlled by a servo motor and sensor. The on-demand wand runs only when needed, eliminating wasteful wear and tear. The film feed module was redesigned to include a simple single-pass film thread system, and the film bed fitted with a clamshell design to facilitate easy access for periodic maintenance. Contact: Standard-Knapp Inc., 63 Pickering Street, Portland, CT 06480, United States of America. Tel: +1 (860) 342 1100; Fax: +1 (860) 342 1557; E-mail: info@



Magnetic mixer for mixing large volumes

Millipore Corporation, the United States, has introduced its GMP30000 mixer, an extension of the market-leading NovAseptic magnetically coupled mixer product family. The NovAseptic GMP30000 mixer offers effective mixing in large volumes – as high as 30,000 litres – for pharmaceuticals as well as high-end food and beverage applications. The large mixer size can also be leveraged for mixing smaller volumes at high viscosity and/or specific gravity. The new mixer has all the well-known characteristics of magnetically coupled GMP mixers: easy maintenance, low level mixing and assured integrity of the vessel, eliminating the risk of contamination. Contact: Millipore Corporation, 80 Asby Road, Bedford, MA 01730, United States of America. Tel: +1 (781) 533 6000; Fax: +1 (877) 627 7991; Website:


Maize processing machine

Across Africa, processing the maize (corn) harvest is labour-intensive: people gather to spend a day or two filling bags with the dried cobs, beating to loosen the kernels, and then separating out the kernels from the cobs, or else removing the kernels by hand. It would take one person about two weeks to complete the job alone. Thanks to a technology largely developed at MIT, the United States, there is now a better, faster way. The new processing system, a simple attachment to a bicycle, makes it possible to remove the maize kernels quickly (up to 30 times faster) and efficiently (one person can complete the job alone in a day) using pedal power.

The basic concept for the maize sheller was first developed in Guatemala by an NGO called MayaPedal, and then refined by Ms. Jodie Wu in D-Lab: Design, a class at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. She changed the maize sheller system, which was originally designed as a permanent installation that required a bicycle dedicated solely to that purpose, to make it an add-on that could be easily bolted onto an ordinary bike and removed easily. “That made it a mobile device, something that could be used as a service” by someone pedalling from one village to another, Ms. Wu says. Maize is grown widely in Africa and Latin America, and the simple bicycle-based technology is readily available in most developing countries. The maize sheller could thus find widespread application, she hopes.


New flexible dosing system

Endress+Hauser, a global supplier of measuring instruments and automation solutions, has introduced a dosing system that optimizes the filling process of flow meter-based filling machines in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. The dosing system is suitable for rotary and line fillers, and offers various digital communication interfaces. It is easily adaptable to meet specific customer requirements.

The system was designed with modularity and accuracy in mind – offering users higher productivity due to higher throughput, less wastage due to tighter filling tolerances, and less downtime as overspills are prevented with the patented air bubble detection solution. Other benefits include self-learning functions and continuous self-monitoring of the system. This ensures fast commissioning and tight control of filling accuracy, which leads to consistent product quality throughout the life cycle of the machine.


Flexible link chain conveyor

The GFK90 flexible link chain conveyor system, from MiniTec UK Ltd. of the United Kingdom, is aimed at processing and materials handling applications in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. The new conveyor is based on 82.5 mm wide chain segments that are interlinked with a minimal gap that allows very small components to be transported but provides maximum curvature flexibility for bends, radii as well as vertically elevated sections. A 500 mm horizontal radius capability provides maximum space saving.

Components or materials to be transported can be matched to a choice of plastic or stainless steel conveyor segment material for maximum durability. Plastic segments are suited to ambient temperatures from -20ºC to +60ºC; the stainless steel option suits +120ºC. The chain segments may be customized to suit specific handling requirements. Flat-form plastic or stainless steel chain segments may include machined features to assist transport of components. Integral rollers can be added to provide sliding friction to counter product accumulation, and rubber or other materials may be added to aid friction for uphill or downhill sections.

Depending on the components conveyed, the conveyor path and the type of chain material selected, speeds of up to 50 m/min are possible. Conveyor loading, also material-dependant, is up to 2000 N. Comprehensive CAD data and design software is available to help visualize and select system elements.


On-line viscometer for food products

The XL7 on-line viscometer, from Hydramotion in the United Kingdom, is a clean-in-place, solid-rod sensor with a crevice-free, all-welded 316 stainless steel construction. The technology of the instrument deters material adhesion to the sensor, which can be mounted in any orientation and in any location using any size or type of fitting, including sanitary types such as quick-release tri-clamp, RJT, IDF or DIN.

The XL7 viscometer is available as a range of standard models, all with the same features and benefits such as: high accuracy and sensitivity; simple installation; virtually maintenance free; resilient to process conditions; any tank or pipe size, and any process connection; and digital and analogue outputs.

Factory-calibrated to certified viscosity standards traceable to NIST, the XL7 needs no on-site calibration and has no moving parts. Within minutes of installation, the XL7 will give production staff the data they need. Contact: Hydramotion Ltd., 1A York Road Business Park, Malton, York YO17 6YA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1653) 600294; Fax: +44 (1653) 693446; E-mail: sales@hydra; Website:



Fruit and Vegetable Flavour: Recent Advances and Future Prospects

This book, an important collection of contributions from a team of experts, reviews the chemical basis of fruit and vegetable flavour and current methods for improvement. It discusses the possibilities and limitations for flavour enhancement by selection and breeding, and illustrates how knowledge of the genetics of quality attributes can be applied to flavour improvement. The publication examines the economic importance of flavour in fruit and vegetables, the formation of fruit and vegetable flavour and how it deteriorates after harvest, flavour management during horticultural and post-harvest operations, and emerging trends in flavour manipulation, especially the relevance of genetics in quality attributes and its application to flavour improvement.

Improving Farmed Fish Quality and Safety

Fish farming enables greater control of product quality and safety, and presents the possibility of tailoring products according to consumer needs. This publication reviews safety and quality issues in farmed fish and presents methods to improve product characteristics. It discusses chemical contaminants, chemical use in aquaculture and farmed fish safety. Important quality issues – such as selective breeding to improve flesh quality, the effects of dietary factors on eating quality, microbial safety of farmed products, parasites, flesh colouration, and off-flavours – are examined. It also discusses ways of managing of product quality, with chapters on HACCP, monitoring and surveillance, authenticity and product labelling.

For the above two books, contact: Woodhead Publishing Ltd., Abington Hall, Granta Park, Great Abington, Cambridge CB21 6AH, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1223) 891358; Fax: +44 (1223) 893694; E-mail:


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