VATIS Update Food Processing . Sep-Oct 2004

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Food Processing Sep-Oct 2004

ISSN: 0971-5649

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

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Networks launched to counter bird flu resurgence

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a veterinary network for South-East Asia to bolster the campaign against avian influenza, following reports of fresh outbreaks in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Viet Nam and China. FAO has earmarked about US$1.2 million for setting up subregional networks, with two similar platforms scheduled for South and East Asia. FAO states that these three subregional networks will bring together affected and non-affected nations, enabling better coordination of efforts aimed at controlling and prevention of this disease.

The networks provide a forum for training and information exchange among national laboratories and surveillance teams from 23 Asian nations, and would be linked with those already set up by the World Health Organization. Leading laboratory and surveillance focal points for national flue campaigns will meet twice a year to discuss the progress achieved. International experts will support countries in training, laboratory diagnosis and field surveillance.


Asia-Pacific nations lean towards processed foods

For a large majority of developed and developing nations across a wide range of food products, the share of processed products exhibited a clear upward trend throughout the 1990s, rising from 42 per cent in 1990-91 to 48 per cent of global agricultural trade in 2001-02. A report prepared by the World Trade Organization (WTO) indicates that the processed food industry is set to grow primarily in the Asia-Pacific region, where countries such as China, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are showing the biggest shifts. Marked increases were also seen in Canada and Mexico.

According to the report, two factors favour the expansion of processed goods over unprocessed stuff. First, processed goods have a larger potential for intra-industry trade and offer more possibilities for product differentiation than unprocessed goods. For example, cocoa-producing nations will not see much bilateral trade in cocoa beans while chocolate bar/snack producing countries can exchange their products, satisfying a broad variety of tastes. Secondly, the potential to increase value added for a given consumer food product is, in general, far larger than for unprocessed foods. As per capita income levels increase, consumers appreciate a larger variety of similar products and increasingly buy goods with a brand label.


Unified law for food processors in India

The Indian government is considering formulating a unified law, setting up of a regulatory authority and introducing a single-window system for the food processing industry. This development is intended to help manufacturers take on challenges posed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) regime. If this concept is realized practically, it would enable an easy flow of private and public investments to the industry. The Minister for food processing, Mr. Subodh Kant Sahai, states that WTO has created a new horizon in increasing market access to our agri-products commensurate with international requirements. We will have to ensure that Indias food products comply with the international quality and standards.


China: Global leader in honey production

A report prepared by Access Asia unveils that China will continue to dominate the world market as the leading producer of honey accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the world market. Chinas major export markets for honey include Japan (23,015 t), Germany (19,957 t) and the United States (13,994 t). Belgium, the United Kingdom and Spain are also major destination countries. The total supply and distribution of honey in China surpassed 310,756 t in 2003, a growth of over 31 per cent from 1997. Consumption also increased to 146,112 t for the same period. Over the six year review period that the report takes into consideration, total volume of honey sales rose by 56.06 per cent to reach 53,200 t in 2003. A steady rise in the volume of production, around 6 per cent, is predicted until 2008. In line with this, per capita consumption is also anticipated to grow by 5 per cent a year, to reach 0.050 kg/capita by 2008.

Recent government legislations of relevance to the honey market relate to packaging, hygiene and product labelling. The government has also introduced strict codes on the labelling of product ingredients and has strengthened laws concerning marketing claims for products, a new measure to clamp down on companies making false claims about the benefits of their products. Packaging legislation relates more to hygiene issues and the government is encouraging local companies to improve packaging and presentation of products.


Japanese aid helps ITI expand test services

The Industrial Technology Institute (ITI), Sri Lanka, has received food analytical equipment, as part of a package, through the Japanese Grant-aid assistance for upgrading and strengthening the technological support capabilities of ITI with respect to food technology, food analytical services and post-harvest management. The food analytical equipment can be categorized into microbiological, chemical and physical quality testing systems. Microbiological equipment include a sophisticated microscope that incorporates a digital camera, a membrane filtration unit, cold room and generator for the Microbiology laboratory. The membrane filtration unit has enabled the laboratory to keep abreast with current standards since the microbiological methods stipulated in the revised Sri Lanka Standard for natural mineral water is based on membrane filtration.

Chemical analytical equipment comprises fibre analysers, Kjeldhal protein analysers, Soxtec fat analyser, accessories for high-performance liquid chromatography system, flame photometer, gas chromatograph, analytical balances, pH meters, thin-layer chromatography (TLC) densitometer, spectrophotometer and homogenizer. The equipment for physical testing of food includes a texture analyser, viscometer thermo hygrometers and refractometers.

Contact: Dr. Nandani Ediriweera, Head, Agro and Food Technology Division, Sri Lanka. Tel: +94 (1) 2683 127


ITI Bulletin, February-April 2004

Soya milk gaining popularity in South-East Asia

A report by Organic Monitor shows that soya milk sales are driving growth in South-East Asias non-dairy beverages market, with retail sales projected to reach US$220 million in 2004. Though soya-based beverages were available in the region for decades, growing consumer awareness regarding the drinks health benefits is invigorating sales. Scientific research linking soya consumption to low cholesterol and reduced incidence of osteoporosis is widening consumer appeal. Additionally, governments have also been encouraging soya milk consumption. Novel flavours of soya drinks and soya milk with functional ingredients have been introduced in recent years. Green tea, mango-flavoured fresh soya milk and soya milk fortified with omega acids are available in Singapore, which boasts to have one of the largest consumer base for non-dairy beverages in Asia in terms of per capita consumption.

Modernization of the retail trade in Asian nations has led to a large rise in the number of supermarkets and hypermarkets, which are becoming the most important sales channels for non-dairy beverages. In major cities, large supermarkets offer a comprehensive range of non-dairy drinks, including those based on soya beans, organic soya, rice and oat.


New demands for packaging products

A report from BCC emphasizes the importance of innovative packaging concepts such as oxygen scavengers, MAP and RFID to the future of food production. The Active, Controlled and Intelligent Packaging for Foods and Beverages scrutinizes the impact of such packaging options on retailers, producers and consumers. Retail trends indicate that since over 50 per cent of foods are perishable, either gas permeable or re-closable packagings are necessary to prevent spoilage. Even for non-perishable dry foods, retailers prefer a shelf-life of 12 months. The report compares various innovations in active, controlled and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) systems and investigates into the effects of radio frequency identification systems and its offshoots. Apart from in-depth comparisons of packaging components such as MAP, oxygen scavengers, sous vide and RFID, analysts provide forecasts for each type of packaging option and examine their impact on the food industry.

From the consumers point of view, convenience is a major driving factor. The report reveals that consumers favour easy-to-use, safe, fresh and appealing foods that will last for a long time. In addition, they want a wide range of choices in their products local, imported, organic, antimicrobial, space saving and preservatives-free to name a few. Analysts have also identified a trend to seek out conveniently packaged foods, already prepared or fast-preparing and with less chemical additives, which still possess a long shelf-life. Consumers also look at value for money and want foods packaged using minimum materials and a maximum ease of use, reuse and biodegradability.


Food safety: top priority of Chinese consumers

A recent survey on food safety undertaken by the Social Survey Centre of China Youth Daily has revealed that the frequent recent occurrences of food safety events certainly aroused anxieties in 82 per cent of the public surveyed while 13 per cent opined that such events may probably cause worries. Twenty-seven per cent said that in their daily life they often come across food safety problem; 64 per cent stated they did meet with the problem, but seldom and only 9 per cent gave the answer never encountered. In their letters, many readers also mentioned the hidden perils of food safety occurring around them. Although these problems did not exert wide-ranging impacts, they did cause great trouble and even harm to those who once came across the problem. As for concrete food safety problems, over half of the participants believed that food that does not reach national hygienic standards worries them most.

About 95 per cent of people consider that the date of production and quality-guarantee period are generally the problems of concern to them while buying food. However, less than half of the population take notice of relevant certificates of inspection while 52 per cent pay attention to outward-looking factors like colour and package of food. With regard to the multi-choice question What do you think is the fundamental reason for the frequent occurrence of the current food safety problems? 87 per cent chose to answer that lawless food-producing enterprises and individuals are driven by interest. Meanwhile, 68 per cent held that insufficient punishment of dishonest enterprises and individuals also constitutes one of the major reasons. Negligence of duty on the part of government departments on food safety problems also aroused great public concern while 72 per cent maintained that the responsibilities of supervisory departments are not clearly defined, and they evade and shift responsibility to each other. Lack of coordination and information exchange and insufficient punishment to officials with relevant law-enforcement departments are, respectively, regarded as fundamental reasons for the frequent food safety problems by 64 per cent and 65 per cent of the respondents.


Indian processed food sector to provide millions of jobs

The Mckinsey FAIDA report predicts that the food processing sector in India has high potential for employment. The nations processed food sector is expected to provide 7.272 million jobs during 2004-05 as a result of high production of milk, fruits and vegetables. The study further adds that general issues affecting the processed food sector include a high proportion of wastage, inefficient supply chain, lack of suitable infrastructure, high packaging costs, high taxation, lack of adequate credit facilities to industry players and existing food laws.


Largest fruit processing facility

In India, Dabur Foods has established a US$43 million fruit processing facility on 11 acres at Siliguri, West Bengal. Reported to be the nations largest facility for processing fruits, this state-of-the-art facility will produce 2,300 t of fruit pulp/concentrate in the first year of production. High capacity utilization will be achieved by processing seasonal fruits like pineapple, litchi, guava, mango and grape throughout the year. Though India is the worlds largest producer of fruits (46 million tonnes), processed fruits account for just 2 per cent of the global market.



Allergen test for food labels

In the European Union, from November onwards food labels would have to list certain potentially allergic ingredients, including cereals containing gluten, fish, crustaceans, eggs, peanuts, soya, milk and dairy products like lactose, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame seed and sulphites. Researchers at Florida State University, the United States, have developed sensitive techniques to detect minute traces of nuts such as walnuts, cashew nuts and almonds in processed foods. Lead researcher Mr. Shridhar Sathe states that Development of specific, robust, sensitive and reproducible assays for tree nut detection will help protect sensitive consumers who must rely on accurate labelling, as well as food industry and regulatory agencies who monitor the presence of trace quantities in both food and feed. Inappropriate labelling of food products and cross-contamination during commercial processing could pose serious threats to susceptible consumers and can often lead to expensive food recalls for the food maker.


Non-destructive assessment of fruit quality

Researchers at Michigan State University, the United States, have developed a hyperspectral imaging system to assess the quality of fruits. This non-destructive technique combines conventional imaging and spectroscopy to acquire both spatial and spectral data from an object, yielding a 3-D image or hyperspectral image cubes. The third dimension contains spectral (or wavelength) data for each pixel on the hyperspectral image cube. As such, this method enhances and/or expands the ability to detect some chemical constituents in an object as well as their spatial distributions.

The system acquires spectral and spatial data from a fruit simultaneously over the visible region and part of the near-infrared region. It consists of an illumination unit, an imaging spectrograph with a zoom lens, a scientific grade charge-coupled device (CCD) camera and computer. The imaging spectrograph is an optical device that separates polychromatic light into individual wavelengths while preserving its spatial information. The illumination unit generates a sharp, focused white light beam. As the beam hits the fruit, it penetrates into the fruit tissue; the photons are either scattered or absorbed. The back-scattered light illuminates a portion of the fruit contiguous and adjacent to the incidence area, generating a scattering image at the surface of the fruit. The hyperspectral imaging system is used to capture this scattering image from the fruit for wavelengths over the visible and near-infrared region. Computer algorithms help extract useful information from the fruit scattering images and then relate this data to fruit internal quality attributes like firmness and sugar content.

In tests with apple fruits, the system has been shown to provide good predictions regarding fruit firmness, with the correlation coefficient greater than 0.8, and sugar content, with a correlation of 0.9. Based on these results, the team developed a prototype multispectral imaging system, which acquires scattering images at several selected wavelengths simultaneously. This system is presently being evaluated for real-time measurement and grading of fruit based on firmness and sugar.

Contact: Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State University, A.W. Farrall Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824 1323, United States of America. Tel: +1 (517) 3554 720.


New system for analysing liquids with low boiling points

Ultrasonic Scientific, Ireland, offers a high-resolution ultrasonic spectroscopy (HR-US) pressurizing system to analyse liquids with low boiling points. This enables scientists to monitor microstructural as well as molecular transformations during high-temperature sterilization of food systems. Since the new powerful tool can analyse samples at pressures above 1 atm, it is ideal for analysing things like bubble suppression, allowing samples to be characterized by the system in their pure, bubble-free state. The HR-US pressurizing system could even be used to study the formation of micelles and composition analysis in solutions of surfactants, heat-induced conformational changes in polymers and the kinetics of chemical reactions with gas-producing products or reactants. The solubility of gases in samples and gas bubbles in liquids can also be scrutinized.

The pressurizing system comprises an internal compressor delivering a desired pressure to each of two cells of HR-US spectrometers. The cells can easily be pressurized either independently or simultaneously for different measurements and two individual pressure outlet lines allow the user to set different pressures in each cell if required. Pressure is displayed on the front panel and is controlled by a regulator valve. Additionally, the pressurizing system is supplied with a gas inlet that can be connected to an external line allowing the user to pressurize the samples using a particular type of gas.

Contact: Ultrasonic Scientific, 1, Richview Office Park, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14, Ireland. Tel: +353 (1) 2180 600; Fax: +353 (1) 2180 601




New method to prove probiotic effect

Aria Foods, a Swedish/Danish company, teamed up with Arexis, Sweden, to monitor the effects of Lactobacillus casei-F19 using a new technique that proves the health benefits of food products. Known as nutrigenomics, this method helps identify new and previously unknown medical areas where bacteria in the intestines are important. It also helps identify markers to prove the positive effect on human health. Preliminary studies have shown that L. casei-F19 (based on milk acid) affects the immune system.


Safer meat processing

In the United Kingdom, a team of researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Agricultural College and Moredun Research Institute, have uncovered that E. coli O157:H7 colonizes only the last few centimetres of the cattle gut. The bacteria spread on to the surface of faeces as they leave the cow and as such can easily contaminate the environment. Thus, eradicating the pathogen from the bottoms of cows may prevent future outbreaks of food poisoning. Dr. David Gally from the University of Edinburgh states that researchers intend to develop vaccines that would prevent E. coli from attaching to the gut walls.


Novel sensor technology

Atonomics of Denmark offers biosensor technology for detecting bacteria in meat. The biosensing device, scheduled to be available in 2005, employs proprietary surface acoustic waves (SAW). A SAW filter consists of inter-digital electrodes, known as inter-digital-transducers (IDTs), incorporated on a piezo-substrate. The sensors feature a resonator covered by a new biochemical filter designed to slip through the molecule that is to be detected.


Reducing moisture migration in cheese blocks

In the United States, Prof. Dave Barbano has developed a new approach to ensure consistent quality throughout a 290 kg block of cheese. The key lies in controlling the migration of moisture in the cheese. A block of cheese as large as that mentioned above takes 10 days to cool in a very cold room. The first two to three inches on the outside of the block cools quickly while the centre stays warm. This difference in temperature sets up moisture migration. For example, in a 50 per cent reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, the centre is hard while the outside is much softer. This can lead to variations in texture and flavour traits.

The strategy adopted by Prof. Barbano involves shifting the chemical equilibrium by reducing the cheeses pH level. This is achieved by adding carbon dioxide (CO2) to the milk of the 50 per cent reduced-fat cheese vat prior to production. As a result, moisture migration is reduced from 6 per cent to 1 per cent or less. Researchers are testing the capability of this procedure to block moisture migration in full-fat Cheddar.


Portable gas analyser

A new gas analyser developed by Servomex has been installed at a coffee production plant in the United States to ensure consistency in quality. Coffee beans quickly lose their freshness when exposed to oxygen; so roasted beans are packaged and sealed in carbon dioxide (CO2), sometimes with other gases present too. However, roasted beans absorb CO2 in a process referred to as drawdown, which is why coffee often appears to have been vacuum-packed. As such, it is essential to check the oxygen concentration in coffee packs.

The portable analyser incorporates a hypodermic needle, the tip of which is surrounded by a foam pad to prevent the ingress of gases from the working environment. The needle tip pierces the coffee package and a small volume of gas is extracted by the analysers internal pump; an in-line filter ensures only gases are drawn into the measurement cell. Capable of operating with as little as 2.5 ml of gas, Servomex 574 can easily be recalibrated in the production environment using nitrogen and/or air to maintain its accuracy of 0.2 per cent oxygen with a repeatability of 0.1 per cent oxygen. A key benefit of this unit is that it will be competing for benchtop space with other quality assurance equipment like weighing scales. A further advantage is that the analyser uses non-depleting paramagnetic technology in the sensing cell.


Honey colour analyser

Hanna Instruments Pty. Ltd., Australia, offers C221 honey colour analyser that yields an immediate digital readout of results. This portable microprocessor-based analyser measures the percentage light transmittance of honey colour compared with analytical reagent-grade glycerol. The transmittance value allows identification of the honey Pfund grade. The analyser directly displays the measurement result, expressed in mm Pfund, and operates in the range of 0 to 150 mm with an accuracy of 2 mm Pfund.

The C221 is supplied complete with five sample cuvettes, one light shield cap, 30 ml glycerol, 9 V batteries, a 12 Vdc transformer and an instruction manual. Recommended accessories include the C219KITN, which comprises 30 ml glycerol, 82 matched square cuvettes and two 15 ml syringes.

Contact: Agriculture Division, Hanna Instruments Pty. Ltd., 18, Fiveways Blvd., Keysborough VIC 3173, Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 9769 0666; Fax: +61 (3) 9769 0699




Fluid bread shortening

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) offers a fluid bread shortening to the baking industry as part of its Superb line speciality oil and fat products. Produced using technology developed at ADMs Pura Foods, the liquid bread shortening enhances emulsifier functionality, producing tender, moist bread with softer crumb texture and greater volume. The shortening incorporates a blend of crumb softeners, dough strengtheners and oils. Its fluid form, stability at ambient storage temperatures and sustainability for bulk delivery helps lower handling costs, improves finished product consistency and enhances bakery efficiency.


Making foods healthier

A novel technology to include medications and vitamins in the food we eat has been developed by a team of researchers from Israel and Australia. Researchers at the Hebrew Universitys Casali Institute of Applied Chemistry, Israel, in cooperation with the Yissum Research and Development Co., Australia, have established a start-up company, called NutraLease, which designs vehicles for delivering the nutrients.

Addition of nutritional or medical components to food had hitherto been problematic since most bioactive phytochemicals (chemical components derived from plants) are not soluble in water. As such, their absorption through the digestive system is very limited. The beneficial components simply pass through our bodies. Researchers in Israel have developed nanovehicles that can successfully convey the desired components through the digestive system. Built using complex formulations comprising emulsifiers, water, oil and alcohol, the nanodroplets and tiny liquid crystals are effective in binding with, dissolving, stabilizing and retaining food or medicinal chemicals. These nanovehicles improve the delivery of nutraceuticals and cosmetoceuticals into the bodys blood stream and tissues.

In a related development, Enzymotec, a biotechnological company based in Israel, has formulated a new cooking oil capable of breaking up blood ats like cholesterol. Enriched with phytosterol-esters and diglycerides, MultOil will benefit diabetes and heart disease patients who need to limit their consumption of fats. Based on natural oils, MultOil combines 25 per cent phytosterol-esters and 15 per cent diglycerides. MultOil is produced using the patented AMIET process, developed by Enzymotec to modify enzymes.


Fruit ingredient for bakery products

Ocean Spray Ingredient Technology Group (ITG), the United States, will shortly roll out a plumper version of its health ingredient for use in bakery products. ITG has developed an improved soft, dried cranberry ingredient that is reported to be more juicier than before. The sugar-infused dehydrated fruit (Vaccinium macrocarpon), used in bakery, confectionery and snack products, has been certified by AFSSA, the French governments food safety authority, as capable of helping to reduce the adhesion of certain E. coli bacteria to the urinary tract walls. The ingredient, which can sustain its vibrant colour throughout the mixing process, has a sweet/tart flavour and can be sliced to various dimensions down to 1/8 inch.


Edible coating includes vitamins

In the United States, researchers at Oregon State Universitys Department of Food Science and Technology have developed an edible film from natural ingredients to protect foods. In appearance, the film looks like a sandwich wrap, yet is thin enough to not have an effect on the texture of the food it covers. It can also hold vitamins and other nutrients within it to boost the nutritional value of the food product.

The team combined chitosan, a fibre found in crab and shrimp shells, and lysozyme, the protein from egg whites, to create an antimicrobial food wrap. While the natural polymer chitosan inhibits the growth of microbes that cause rot in fresh berries and other foods, lysozyme is as good as chemical sulphites in preventing unwanted microbiological growth, without altering the products taste or quality.


New range of antioxidants

Eastman Chemical Co., the United States, offers a comprehensive range of synthetic food-grade Tenox antioxidants. Antioxidants control the oxidation of fats and oils in fresh and processed foods, inhibit rancidity and ensure the freshness and nutritive value of foods. Tenox antioxidants help to stabilize an array of refined vegetable oils, frying oils and animal fats. These Tenox products exhibit good carry through properties and can handle the high heat of baking and frying. They carry these important benefits into packaged meats and meat products, including beef, poultry and pork.

Contact: Mr. Peter Eschbach, Global Media Relations Manager, Eastman Chemical Co., United States of America. Tel: +1 (423) 2296 636



Use of whey in protein drinks

Boatwright Laboratories Inc., the United States, offers patented technology to incorporate whey in citrus flavoured high protein drinks. A process is also available for converting raw liquid acid whey into a palatable high protein liquid without spray drying. At present, with the exception of a small amount fed to pigs, there is no market for acid whey.

Contact: Boatwright Laboratories Inc., 2029 E. Montebello Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85016, United States of America.



New sweetener

Xlear Inc., the United States, has launched its XyloSweet All Natural Xylitol sweetener in individual four-ounce serving packs. XyloSweet is 100 per cent pure xylitol, a natural sugar found in fruits, vegetables and wood. XyloSweet is sweet, has no aftertaste, contains 40 per cent fewer calories than sugar and can be used in baking, cooking and other daily uses. It can be exchanged for common table sugar at a one-to-one ratio. Since it dissolves, mixes and acts like sugar, XyloSweet can be used in most recipes where sugar is an ingredient.

The sweetener has minimal impact on blood-sugar levels, making it an appropriate sugar substitute for diabetics and hypoglycemics. Xylitol is absorbed slowly by the body, resulting in a low glycemic index of seven compared with sugars index of 83 (or higher). XyloSweet has been shown to be effective in preventing cavities and fighting tooth decay. As a natural enemy to bacteria, xylitol is effective in reducing plaque build-up and controlling cavity-causing bacteria that form in the mouth. The company also offers Xlear Nasal Wash, a patented saline and xylitol solution.


Novel peptides herald next-generation foods

A muscle recovery ingredient developed by DSM, the Netherlands, is claimed to be a breakthrough in protein technology as it allows for the addition of the normally heavy and insoluble substance to beverages using smaller protein compounds or peptides. The new PeptoPro will be marketed in a range of products worldwide by Europes biggest sports nutrition company Haleko. Trials undertaken at the University of Maastricht have concluded that PeptoPro-based drinks lead to a 5 per cent better average performance level in athletes than those using an ordinary sugar-based sports beverage.

Contact: DSM Corporate Communications, P.O. Box 6500, 6401 JH Heerlen, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 (45) 5788 111; Fax: +31 (45) 5719 753.


Flavouring protein-based foods

Virginia Dare, the United States, offers a line of flavours designed specifically to cater to protein-based systems. Proteins can adversely affect a products sensory attributes, with unpleasant off-notes. High-protein nutritional bars and beverages frequently lack the long-lasting flavour necessary to completely mask the proteins undesirable aftertaste. The new VidaPro flavours successfully address these challenges. Working synergistically with a masking agent, VidaPro flavours deliver accurate, long-lasting profiles, regardless of the protein source used in a product. The flavours rely on a unique delivery mechanism that both prevents interaction with the protein and promotes a steady, uniform flavour release.

Contact: Virginia Dare, 882, Third Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232, United States of America. Tel: +1 (718) 7881 776; Fax: +1 (718) 7683 978




New guidance on dietary supplements

China has welcomed the new guidance issued by the International Alliance of Dietary Supplement Associations (IADSA). The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) and its affiliated organization, the China Centre for Pharmaceutical International Exchange, are keen to work with IADSA and capitalize from the experiences of other regions in developing sustainable guidance systems. China will introduce a new set of dietary supplement regulations before the year-end. SFDA has invited IADSA to hold workshops to give government officials a greater understanding of the regulatory models in other regions of the world and provide an update on the core framework that is being developed within food laws by Codex Alimentarius.


New food standards

The worlds watchdog for food rules, Codex Alimentarius Commission, has approved over 20 new and amended food standards covering milk products, animal feeding and a newly adopted definition for traceability. Codex agreed on a new code of practice for milk and milk products, which supersedes an old code of practice on dried milk, and will provide guidance to the 170 member nations to prevent unhygienic practices in the production, processing and handling of milk and milk products. New guidelines were also adopted on Information Exchange in Health Emergencies that spell out how that information exchange should take place.

Amended guidelines on health and nutrition claims supplement the existing provisions for nutrition claims, provide definitions of health claims and the conditions under which they can be allowed, and may assist governments in establishing natural provisions for health claims. Adoption of the definition for traceability and product tracing by Codex at its 27th session in Geneva, Switzerland, marked the bodys first step in this area.



Preserving the natural colour and nutritive value of foods

Multisorb Technologies Inc., the United States, offers FreshCard oxygen absorber to preserve the freshness and quality of packaged foods and extend product shelf-life. Made entirely of food-grade ingredients, FreshCard lowers and maintains oxygen content within the packaging to below 0.01 per cent, significantly lower than traditional vacuum, back or gas flushing. Packaged foods like baked snacks, breads, cookies, cakes, nuts, candies, processed meats and dairy products are protected from spoilage, mould growth and other damage. Additionally, FreshCard lowers or even eliminates the requirement for food additives and preservatives. Its oxygen scavenger technology prevents the growth of pathogens and organisms by monitoring the oxidative chemical reactions that occur inside the packaging.

FreshCard lies flat and occupies minimal space inside the package. Customized four-colour printing on the FreshCard are offered to enhance product branding, enabling it to be used as a coupon, game piece or for other promotions. It is available in sizes ranging from 2 2 inch to 4 4 inch, in spools or fan-folded for automatic dispensing.

Contact: Multisorb Technologies Inc., 325, Harlem Road, Buffalo, NY 14224 1893, United States of America. Tel/Fax: +1 (716) 8248 900/8244 128



Freeze drier

Warsash Scientific P/L, Australia, offers FDCS196 freeze drying cryostage developed by Linkam. The new system uses FDCS and light microscopy techniques like phase contrast and polarized light. It can accurately determine collapse temperature and investigate freeze-dried structures of complex samples. Both stage pressure and temperature can be monitored and programmed to simulate industrial processes for evaluating the ideal drying parameters. Temperature can be measured to an accuracy of 0.01C by a Pt100 resistor mounted close to the sample and controlled to 0.1C down to pressures as low as 10-3 mbar.

The FDCS clamps directly to the microscope sub-stage for stability and can be used with all microscope techniques. It is suitable for confocal, laser Raman, IR and X-ray systems. The objective lens working distance is 4.5 mm and there are a range of condenser extension lenses available. Real-time video software can be employed to capture images of the freeze drying run with all the experimental data inlaid in each image, e.g. temperature, time, date, pressure and magnification. The system has a temperature range down to -196C for a sample area 22 mm in diameter.

Contact: Warsash Scientific P/L, Australia. Tel: +61 (02) 9319 0122



Natural preservative

Preservation Sciences, the United States, has developed a new preservative designed for orange and other fruit drinks. The Natural Choice for Beverage preservative can be used in a variety of beverages, including orange drinks, fruit drinks and other citrus-based beverages. The preservative inhibits spoilage due to microbial contamination such as common yeast, mould and some bacteria generally found in beverages. Additionally, the shelf-life of beverages is enhanced by at least two times than those without preservatives.


Grape pomace extract: a natural preservative

Researchers in Turkey have developed an antimicrobial agent from grape pomace extract grape seeds, skin and stems. Tests have exhibited effective antibacterial action at a concentration of 5 per cent. Antimicrobials prevent the growth of moulds, yeast and bacteria in processed food.

The study focused on determining the total phenolic contents and antibacterial effects of grape pomace extracts (cultivars Emir and Kalecik karasi) against 14 bacteria. Effectiveness of the extracts on the growth and survival of two of the bacteria during storage was also investigated. Apart from eliminating food pathogens, pomace is a rich source of polyphenols, substances which reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer by inhibiting low-density lipoproteins.



New dual-shaft mixer

Charles Ross and Son Co., the United States, offers its latest dual-shaft VersaMix design, which incorporates a special helical agitator and high-speed dispersion blade. The new combination of agitators provide improved axial and radial turnover of the materials being mixed, as well as high shear of the product. This feature is especially useful for:
  • Viscous materials that have poor flow qualities;
  • Addition of powders that tend to float on the surface; and
  • When heat transfer of the batch constituents is crucial.

The helical agitator is designed for bidirectional operation. Optional Teflon scraper assemblies can be attached outside of the agitator to further facilitate scraping of the sides and bottom of the vessel when operating in either the forward or reverse direction. VersaMix is available with up to three separate agitators, including the helical agitator, a high-speed disperser and a high shear rotor-stator mixer.


Optimum milk chilling and routing system

Carlisle Process Systems, a process systems provider specializing in the dairy industry, has supplied the Scottish ice cream maker Mackies with equipment that improves the chilling and routing system, thereby ensuring that ice cream remains at optimum temperature throughout the production cycle. Carlisles equipment has replaced Mackies traditional byre and old mill system.

The new milk chilling and routing system and storage tanks designed by Carlisle incorporates a state-of-the-art chilling system with piping, which includes cleaning-in-place. Two separate chilling systems have their own storage tanks, allowing one to be cleaned while the other is working. The chilling system lowers temperature to 4C and can cope with up to 15,000 l/d of milk. An ice cream ageing tank can handle 10,000 l at a time. Milk from the automatic milking machines is routed to one of the two chilling systems. The controls allow operatives to gauge exactly how much milk is coming in. Based on this information, the system is either speeded up or slowed down.


New membrane system

PCI-Memtech, a division of ITT Sanitaire based in the United Kingdom, recently supplied a membrane system for the reverse osmosis plant of Alberto Bertuzzi SpA, a specialist Italian food processing company. The well-proven B1 modular membrane system is fabricated almost entirely of stainless steel and its large diameter channels allow the processing of fluids with a high level of suspended solids without any pretreatment. It is designed for a maximum feed capacity of 5 m3/h, depending on the final product specification.

Operation of the facility at optimum cross-flow velocities provides several benefits over traditional methods of water removal, including sustaining a high filtration rate, reducing membrane fouling and achieving substantial energy savings. Furthermore, the plants operating temperature can be modulated between 35C to 50C because of the choice of the membrane used. This implies that the product can be treated at a lower temperature if necessary, i.e. avoiding heat degradation, and thereby enhancing the products taste and final quality.

Contact: ITT Sanitaire Ltd., Layerstoke Mill, Whitchurch, Hampshire RG28 7NB, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1256) 896 966; Fax: +44 (1256) 893 835



Filtration+Separation, 10 April 2004

Membrane filtration pilot plant

Niro Inc., the United States, has launched a lab-scale plant for testing the feasibility of cross-flow membrane filtration applications in the ultrafiltration, microfiltration and nanofiltration ranges. The GEA filtration model M pilot plant can be set up for evaluating various membrane formats, including spiral-wound, ceramic, stainless steel and hollow fibre. A modular design allows the model M to be built with completely customized design solutions, which include construction materials and material finishes, operating configurations and parameters, sanitation/sterilization protocols and instrumentation/automation level. Notable features of the model M include:
  • Flexible design that allow membrane screening across a full range of membrane formats;
  • Simple and modular design allows for effective and efficient feasibility testing; and
  • Compact design for testing very small product batches available in fully customizable designs.

Contact: Niro Inc., GEA Filtration, 1600, OKeefe Road, Hudson, Wisconsin 54016, United States of America. Tel: +1 (715) 3869 371; Fax: +1 (715) 3869 376


Website: and

Robotic technology for the food industry

Jorgensen, based in Denmark, has supplied a robotic system to Abbott Laboratories, a major infant formula manufacturer in Ireland. Abbott is expanding its production potential by integrating the new robotic technology, which facilitates picking and placing items such as scoops, cans, cups, cartons and stand-up pouches at higher speeds and with greater accuracy. The robotic system is part of a complete can packaging line, from depalletizing empty cans to palletizing the end product (milk powder and scoops). The robotic technology comprises stations along a plant line with the ability to supervise food production and detect faults. Each station, which can make up to 120 picks per minute, is configured to the major control unit that coordinates and optimizes the entire production flow. The robotic station also minimizes the risk of loose parts falling down in the product, and the modular principle makes it possible to fit the capacity to meet future needs.

The system provided to Abbott consists of three robotic stations placed in a row, integrated physically in a stainless steel construction and electronically in a major control system. Each robot has its own vision system with camera, connected to the control system and thus provides efficient and reliable identification and control of the scoops. The robot is continuously informed about the exact position of the scoop. Below the robots are three parallel conveyor belts. In the middle, the scoops are put forward, surrounded on both sides by conveying belts, and empty cans are let forward. Specially developed suction cups allow the first robot to insert the scoops into the cans on belt one. The next robot, aided by the vision system, inserts the scoops in cans on the second belt. The exact speed of the cans on both conveying belts is indicated so that the robots can coordinate the scoop insertion. The third and last station is for checking. The vision system checks the two outer conveying belts for cans without scoops. The last robot can insert the scoop on both sides. Cans without scoops, which may pass the last robot, are detected by the fourth and last video system and the can is rejected from the process on a chute. The maximum capacity for the robotic system is around 350 scoops/can per minute and it can handle seven different kinds of cans and four different kinds of scoops simultaneously.


Filling machine for chilled products

Tetra Pak International offers its latest Tetra Brik filling machine for chilled products, Tetra Pak C3/Flex. The new system provides a cost-effective platform for bulk production as well as increased flexibility in being able to switch rapidly between two different volumes. Apart from steady functionality, the platform offers excellent hygiene properties. Tetra Pak C3/Flex has an enclosed hygienic design and all surfaces are made of stainless steel. It incorporates a hygiene chamber with sterile air over-pressure and is designed to provide extended hygiene (XH) capability as an option. Automatic and effective foam cleaning is a built-in feature.

Tetra Pak C3/Flex can switch between two different package sizes in approximately 15 minutes. Tetra Brik 1,000 ml Square and Tetra Brik 500 ml Square packages are the two models presently available. The capacity for both systems is 7,000 pph. By adding a DIMC QuickChange Tetra Pak C3/Flex can produce SimplyTwist or SimplyPull openings. With the new DIMC QuickChange, operators can change the package size, including one type of opening, by pushing a button. The DIMC unit is placed at floor level for easy operator and service access.

Contact: Tetra Pak Pty. Ltd., Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 9632 1200




Low-cost filtration

Researchers at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, the United States, have developed a system of low-cost fibres capable of filtering traces of atrazine, a widely used herbicide, to levels well below 1 ppb. This unit can also remove hazardous contaminants like chloroform and trichloroethylene from water, both are by-products of the commonly used chlorine disinfection process. The regenerable fibres are made by coating fibreglass assemblies with a polymeric solution and a chemical activation agent. Then, under mild heat, the polymer cross-links, creating pores about 10-30 angstroms in size. By controlling the chemistry, it is possible to tailor the fibres for specific target molecules. This patented process has potential applications for food and beverage production processes like brewing.


Sensor to detect dissolved oxygen in beverages

Emerson Process Management, the United States, offers a long-life dissolved oxygen sensor for use in carbonated beverage processing. Capable of withstanding caustic clean-in-place cycles, the new Rosemount Analytical Model Bx438 sensor monitors trace levels of dissolved oxygen in beer and other carbonated beverages. A robust steel-meshed, double-layer membrane enables the sensor to cope with high pressure and temperature while maintaining high diffusion rates.

Accuracy is ensured through the sensors unique membrane design and zero polarization voltage set point. Several competitive dissolved oxygen sensors set the polarization voltage to 670 mW, however, this set point may lead to offset readings due to carbon dioxide effects at low oxygen concentrations. The Bx438s zero polarization set point is the industrys most accurate dissolved oxygen readings. Since changes in flow rates have minimal impact on measurements, the sensor experiences minimal drift in low flow and no flow environments. The simple-to-use device comes standard with a VP 6.0 connector head for easy installation and is compatible with Xmt-A, 5081-A and 54eA devices.

Contact: Emerson Process Management, 2400, Barrancca Pkwy., Irvine, CA 92606, United States of America. Tel: +1 (949) 7578 500; Fax: +1 (949) 8639 159



New pressure testing for beverage containers

VBS International, the United States, offers a new pressure testing system for non-carbonated liquid containers. The small portable unit, specifically designed with pneumatic test actuation for repeatable test results, is ideal for processors who need to carry out high volumes of pressure testing. It allows manufacturers to achieve consistency of test results from different operators. Sized for standard 28 38 mm neck finishes, VBS neck support system eliminates crushed bottles. Even lightweight PET can be weighed accurately and operators will find the results easy to read on the 0.60 psi pressure gauge.

Contact: VBS International, Corporate Office, 808 E. McGlincy Ln., Campbell, CA 95008, United States of America. Tel: +1 (408) 3713 303; Fax: +1 (408) 3713 320.


Filtration solutions

Microfiltrex, a division of Porvair Filtration Group Ltd. based in the United Kingdom, offers a new microfilter developed specifically for the reliable removal and retention of diatomite and polyvinylpolypyrrolidine (PVPP) particles. The Microfiltrex Trapfil cartridges are manufactured from a multi-layer combination media, precision pleated and thermally seam-bonded to maximize the available filtration area and ensure an efficient flow throughout the cartridge. The cartridge can be repeatedly in situ-steam sterilized up to 130C as well as hot water sanitized up to 90C. Regeneration of the filter by back-flushing ensures greater life and reduces costs. Trapfil cartridges, available in absolute ratings of 5, 10 and 15 m, enable breweries to produce beer with excellent clarity and very low turbidity.

Contact: Ms. Christine Chapple, Porvair Filtration Group Ltd., Fareham Industrial Park, Fareham, Hampshire PO16 8XG, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1329) 285 616; Fax: +44 (1329) 822 442




Automatic packaging

Korsnas Packaging, Sweden, has delivered a new fully automatic packaging plant to Regal Molle based in Norway. Regal Molle, a manufacturer of ready-to-eat bread, cake and waffle mix, required a custom facility incorporating a sack filling plant and palletizer. Korsnas came up with a tailor-made sack filling solution which ensures that the packing of two distinct products can be dosed using the same net weighing machine. The weigher can adjust to become a screw-feeding machine, which is suitable for flour products or alternatively a vibrator-dosing machine, used for products like meal, flakes and muesli. A Gripen III robot palletizer, which includes a specially developed sheet dispenser, has been installed to ensure that each sack layer is smooth, resulting in more uniform and compact palletizing.

Valve sacks from Korsnas are available in sizes ranging from 3 to 150 litres, with a variety of valve types ranging from automatic closing to sealed closing systems. Valve sacks can be filled under pressure and they fulfil the demands of a large filling plant capacity. The sacks can be sealed to make them fully airtight to make sure that the product inside has a long lifetime.


Packaging machines

Ulma Packaging Systems, Spain, offers machinery designed to produce a wide range of packaging devices, including stretch film, flow pack, thermoforming, shrink and vertical ones. Chick Model packing machines can pack a large number of trays for production and packing centres. Exclusive design of the S Model includes package tension control for the best treatment of delicate products in fragile trays, such as fruits and vegetables. Key features of the Chick stretch film packaging are:
  • Anticorrosive construction;
  • Automatic feeding of film depending on product height;
  • Regulation devices to obtain a perfect packing of all types of trays;
  • Film length regulation;
  • Side folder and support clamp regulation; and
  • Temperature control in welding belt.

Compact and Xtra Plus models are specially designed to pack fresh products with stretchable film. Their versatility, strength and automatic use make them ideal for fresh product packing in supermarkets and packing stations. Technical features include:

  • Small space requirement;
  • Fully automatic operation;
  • Semiautomatic coil exchange;
  • Packing made with PVC, polyethylene and polyolefin film;
  • Product packing without tray;
  • Anticorrosive construction; and
  • High packing quality with minimum film consumption.

Florida horizontal packaging machine for flow packing is ideal for the constraints of small and medium-sized enterprises. Fabricated on a vertical plate for easier machine cleaning, this system has a working sense direction from left to right and cross-wielding spinning clamps. It features three pairs of longitudinal film welding, dragging and folding rollers. The system includes a self-centering coil support with brake, 2 m long feeding unit, a stretchable forming mould and elliptical cutting speed adjustment from the machine front and is a continuous version. The Smart Model adapts itself to a wide range of films and trays made of simple, complex and stretched materials according to the requirements of each product. A complete packing cycle is made automatically, on the simultaneous activation of two start pushers. Some of the salient features are:

  • Control system with programmable automation;
  • Working diagnosis;
  • Protection and security as per EC standards;
  • Parameter and message display; and
  • Automatic machine cycle.

Ulma also offers machines for shrink and vertical packages.

Contact: Ulma Packaging, B Garibai, 28 Apdo. 145-20560, Onati (Gipuzkoa), Spain. Tel/Fax: +34 (943) 739 200/783 218



High-speed 6-pack erector and multipacker

Pearson Packaging Systems, the United States, offers DX150 Carrier Erector and S1150 Multipacker for packaging beverages. These units use continuous motion and servo-driven technologies to provide beverage manufacturers with systems that operate about 50 per cent faster than existing designs. In a typical beverage line installation, the new high-speed machinery reduces the number of lines needed to supply 100 cases/min from three lines to two. As such, the floor space is lowered by 30 per cent, equipment costs decrease by around 20 per cent and eliminates maintenance and operation of six machines. An optional lane diverter enables production of carriers sent to the multipacker to be maintained by up to 100 per cent redundancy, depending on line speed.

DX150 erects up to 150 carriers/min while S1150 packs 50 cases/min. Two DX150 units feed the S1150, loading 200 carriers/min into 50 shipping cases. Contact: Pearson Packaging Systems, 8120, West Sunset Highway, Spokane, WA 99224, United States of America. Tel: +1 (509) 8386 226; Fax: +1 (509) 7478 532



Robots boost pizza packing

A robot packaging system, developed by SIG Pack Systems of Switzerland, has enabled Wagner, Germany, to step up its pizza packaging functions. The new compact solution can handle up to 100 pizza boxes/min. Pizzas are now packed in threes on a SIG HBM pillow pack machine. The products are spread across three lanes and then transferred to the cartoning process, which comprises three SIG Delta robots. Each robot can place more than 100 triple pizza packs/min into ready-made pizza boxes supplied from the carton former.

Packages are detected through a vision system with image processing. This enables each robot to accurately locate each package and precisely place it into the carton. Each robot arm matches the speed of the conveyor belt to guarantee an accurately centred pick-up of the products. The system is designed to provide even distribution between packages and ensure equal workload on all three robots.

Contact: SIG Pack Systems AG, P.O. Box Beringen, CH 8222, Switzerland. Tel: +41 (52) 6747 419; Fax: +41 (52) 6746 524.


Solution to manage packaging

Technology group 3M has combined its packaging expertise with Microsoft products to develop and deliver a new integrated packaging management solution. The Integrated Packaging Tool enables enterprise-level customers to effectively address critical issues like compliance, product surety, time to market and reduction of packaging costs. This web-based, data-enabled system, built using Microsoft.NET with Microsoft SQL Server as the back-end database, centralizes all the packaging data. It also allows users to capitalize on the existing IT infrastructure through the use of an XML-based Application Programming Interface. At present, 3M provides its packaging information management software and services to companies across several industries, including consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, life sciences, etc.


End-of-line improvements

Wrapid Packaging Systems Limited, the United Kingdom-based end-of-line equipment specialist, offers an updated budget automatic packaging machine. Compacta Trend is reported to provide substantial cost savings over traditional chamber and semi-automatic solutions. It can operate at speeds of up to 20 packs/min, depending on the actual product, to provide a secure packaging seal. This makes the system ideal for applications where security and tamper evidence are crucial.
Compacta Trend features side sealing and can wrap items of almost any length. Typical applications include 7 m long profiles like pipes and guttering. This level of versatility makes it suitable for packing a wide range of awkwardly shaped items, including egg boxes and related items. The system also incorporates a Siemens PLCS5 control system, which can be synchronized with other end-of-line packing machines as appropriate.

Contact: Wrapid Packaging Systems Ltd., 250, Thornton Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England BD1 2LB, the United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1274) 220 220; Fax: +44 (1274) 736 195




Pesticides, Veterinary and Other Residues in Food

This book reviews recent research on assessing and managing the risks from pesticide, veterinary and other chemical residues present in foods. Part 1 covers the assessment and management of risks, with individual chapters on genetic susceptibility to dietary carcinogens, HACCP systems and good agricultural practices, targeted and rapid methods for analysing residues in food and ways of assessing the mutagenicity of chemicals. While Part 2 examines veterinary residues, Part 3 covers pesticides, with chapters on surveillance and detection methods for fungicides and herbicides. The final part includes chapters summarizing a wide range of other chemical residues.

Texture in Food Volume 1: Semi-solid Foods

This text summarizes the wealth of recent data on what influences texture in semi-solid foods and how it can be controlled to maximize product quality. It reviews research on the structure of semi-solid foods and its influence on texture, covering emulsion rheology, behaviour of biopolymers and developments in measurement. Key aspects of product development and enhancement are also dealt with in detail.

Natural Antimicrobials for the Minimal Processing of Foods

This book discusses the practical applications of antimicrobials in food preservation, often in combination with other preservation techniques. Topics discussed include bacteriocins, present and future uses of natamycin, organic acids, antimicrobials from animals and chitosan as preservatives.

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



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