VATIS Update Food Processing . Sep-Oct 2006

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Food Processing Sep-Oct 2007

ISSN: 0971-5649

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

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ADB aid for Pakistan to set up agribusiness support fund

A US$24 million Agribusiness Support Fund (ASF) has been launched by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Pakistan to help develop agribusiness in Pakistan. ASF will provide farmers with technical and managerial services on a grant basis to improve productivity and competitiveness in horticulture, livestock, dairy production, processing and marketing. Improved agribusiness is essential to maintain and expand export markets for agricultural products and it will certainly contribute to increased economic growth and rural employment, said Mr. Peter Fedon, ADB Country Director in Pakistan, who signed the agreement on behalf of ADB. The agreement is part of an ADB Agribusiness Development Project that focuses on increased agricultural productivity and improved marketing for the agriculture sector. The project will corporatize the agriculture sector and help formulate a national agribusiness policy and provincial horticulture policies to meet international agricultural product standards.


Panel on food processing problems in India

The Government of India plans to constitute an advisory panel to examine problems confronting the food processing industry and retail chain, and suggest remedies. A sub-committee comprising representatives of all the stakeholders will be set up for removing hurdles in the existing law, which has hampered investment in the sector. It will also address issues in the licensing of contract farming and the food retail business.

The Minister for Food Processing Industries, Mr. Subodh Kant Sahai, in a round table discussion with CEOs of the food retail sector organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said that about 15 mini metros are on the anvil and hence, there would be a growing demand for packaged and ready-to-eat food. The Minister also urged the industry to target ethnic food, which is also a growing segment. FICCI, on its part, has urged the government to boost the food retail business by conferring industry status to retail, single-window clearance for all licences for stores at the local level, taking retailers on board for implementation of VAT, removing infrastructure bottlenecks like power and surface transport, revolutionize the entire supply chain and amending the land, labour and other acts.


Korea to form food safety agency

In the wake of the food poisoning crisis that gripped the Republic of Korea in June this year, it has been decided to disband the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA). As such, the duties of KFDA will be distributed among two agencies. A new food sanitation agency to be established this year will monitor nutrition and health problems in the production, distribution and delivery of food to consumers while the Ministry of Health and Welfare will look into drug-related responsibilities. The government decided to accelerate its efforts to establish a food safety agency through the separation of the roles of the KFDA, said Mr. Kim Chang-ho, the government spokesperson, about the outcome of a policy coordination meeting presided over by the Prime Minister Mr. Han Myeong-sook.


Viet Nam sets seafood export target at US$2.8 billion

Viet Nam aims to gain US$2.8 billion through aquatic product exports in 2006. This was stated by the Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Ta Quang Ngoc, at a meeting in the capital. The fisheries sector has predicted the total catch for this year at 3.44 million tonnes. Trade promotion is an important measure to expand markets to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, Canada and China, in addition to the traditional markets of Japan, the United States and the European Union, Mr. Ngoc said. The Ministry is committed to working closely with Vietnamese foreign embassies and trade consulates to help solve trade or technical barriers if they occur, he added.

Mr. Nguyen Huu Dung, Secretary General of the Viet Nam Association of Sea Food Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said that in the first six months of 2006, the fisheries sector posted an export turnover of US$1.41 billion an increase of 29 per cent over the same period last year, achieving 50.3 per cent of the 2006 target. In the first five months of this year, Viet Nams major sea products importers were Japan (23.31 per cent), the United States (18.21 per cent) and the European Union with 23.26 per cent of the total.


Chinas food and drinks conglomerate takes shape

A government-led consolidation of Shanghais food and beverage industry to create Chinas largest food and drinks conglomerate is taking shape, with all firms confirming the proposed transaction. Shanghai-based food and beverage manufacturing and retail groups Shanghai Tobacco, Sugar and Wine (Group) Co., Shanghai Agriculture Industry Commerce (Group) Co., Bright Dairy and Food Co. and Shanghai Meilin Zhengguanghe Group are to be incorporated into the new Bright Dairy and Food Group, with total assets estimated at about US$5.63 billion. These four groups are producers of many well-known Chinese brands such as Bright milk, White Rabbit confectionery, Guangshengyuan snacks, Shangshi meat products and Shikumen liquor.

Except for Bright Dairy, which is a publicly traded firm, the other three are state-owned enterprises. The consolidation was in accordance with the reform initiatives of state-owned enterprises, Bright Dairy and the four listed units said in a joint statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange. According to the Shanghai Securities News, the new conglomerate may be set up any time soon.


Philippines to increase output of cocoa beans

The Philippines is seeking to boost production of dried cocoa beans under a 10-year plan designed to lower the nations dependence on imports while targetting new export markets. At present, only 6,000 t/y of dried cocoa beans is produced, with about 30,000 t imported for domestic use. The new road map for cocoa growers, presented by the Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines, has identified four areas where planting can be raised, allowing acreage to grow sixfold to 60,000 ha in the next 10 years. This would raise the output of dried cocoa beans to 337,000 t, the organization estimates.


Opportunities brewing for Vietnamese tea exporters

Last year, Viet Nam exported tea valued at US$14 million to Taiwan, representing a year on year increase of 13 per cent and accounting for 61 per cent of Taiwanese total imports, according to statistics from the Taiwanese Directorate of General of Customs. However, export prices for Vietnamese tea are lower than those of other countries at around US$1,000 per tonne, said Mr. Duong Van Co, Viet Nams Trade Counsellor in Taiwan. He suggested domestic enterprises to focus on improving tea processing facilities, the quality of tea products and step up promotional activities to catalyse higher export turnover.

Viet Nam earned US$30 million from tea exports in the first five months of 2006, a 25 per cent increase on the same period last year, according to the Viet Nam Tea Association. In 2005, the country exported 89,000 tonnes, valued at US$100 million, mainly to India, Japan, the United States and Iraq. This figure represents a 10.2 per cent drop in volume but a 4.6 per cent increase in value, it said. A recent projection from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development states that the nations tea producers would earn US$4.2 billion annually from the export of 120,000 t/y of tea by 2010.


Edible oil imports by India fall

India, the worlds second biggest vegetable oil buyer, imported 29 per cent less edible oil in May 2006 than during the corresponding month last year, the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) said. Imports plummeted to 399,151 t from 565,674 t in the same month the previous year. Purchases fell 21 per cent to 2.2 million tonnes during the seven months from October 2005 to May 2006 compared with a year earlier. Refined oil imports fell by 71 per cent in the seven-month period to 90,779 t from 319,654 t in the same period last year. During the same period, crude edible oil imports decreased 14.2 per cent from 2,460,287 t to 2,109,813 t. However, its share in the total edible oil imports increased from 89 per cent to 96 per cent, as imports of refined edible oil fell sharply. Crude palm oil (CPO) used to produce refined palm oil, refined palmolein and palm fatty acid distillate has the largest share among the different vegetable oils imported. Total CPO imports in the seven months of the current oil year is 1,144,820 t, forming around 52 per cent of the total vegetable oil import.

There has been a sharp rise in the imports of palm oil into the country during the last five years. The composition of the Indian palm oil import basket has also undergone a change during this period. Crude oil has almost replaced refined oil imports owing to the differential duty between the two. The Indian government raised the crude palm oil import price by US$15, to US$447 per tonne, states the Ministry of Finance. Since September 2005, the base import prices are revised almost every fortnight, irrespective of the change in landed cost. An import duty of 75 per cent is imposed on crude palm oil.


China seizes illegally imported meat products

China seized and destroyed 3,514 t of illegally imported meat products in the first half of this year, according to a press release by the State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (SAQSIQ). In the January-June period, the name list of meat-importing countries and companies was adjusted six times. About 169 foreign firms have been permitted to export meat to China. Meat products imports from 26 registered foreign meat producers were suspended due to quality or safety problems.

SAQSIQ accelerated the implementation of food quality and safety market access system, as 2006 is Chinas second Food Safety Year for quality supervision, inspection and quarantine system. By the end of June this year, 370 kinds of food in 29 categories defined by national standards have been included into production license and market access system, accounting for 70 per cent of all the food varieties.



Food surface analysis techniques developed

CSMA, the United Kingdom, has played a key role in a groundbreaking European project aimed at developing a food analysis tool that is capable of detecting toxins. The surface analysis firm a subsidiary of Ceram, an internationally renowned centre for materials and technology is one of several research partners involved in the Immunoprobes for Food Contamination Analysis project.

Using techniques such as X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass spectrometry (ToFSIMS) to examine the extreme surface of a material, experts at CSMA have been looking at different ways to activate surfaces in order to immobilize proteins. This process allows for speedy and accurate toxin identification. Apart from producing a new technique for food safety test laboratories, the project also has the potential to develop a consumer-friendly dipstick test product developed which could, for example, be useful for people who suffer from food allergies.

Contact: Mr. Shaun Bainbridge, Ceram, Queens Road, Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 7LQ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1782) 764 444.


Rapid pathogen detection at low costs

Researchers at Purdue University in the United States report that their pathogen detection system, based on scattered laser light, can lower costs while speeding up safety checks. The team has developed a system that analyses scattered laser light to quickly identify bacteria for applications in medicine, food processing and homeland security at one-tenth the cost of conventional technologies.

Bacteria Rapid Detection Using Optical Scattering Technology works by shining a laser through a Petri dish containing bacterial colonies growing in a nutrient medium. The device bounces particles of light, called photons, off a bacterial colony. The pattern of scattered light is projected on to a screen behind the Petri dish. This light-scatter pattern is recorded using a digital camera and analysed with sophisticated software to identify the types of bacteria growing in the colonies. The procedure identifies a bacterial colony by comparing an image of its scatter pattern against a template that contains 120 features described by Zernike polynomials. Researchers have used the new system to classify six species of Listeria, only one of which is a dangerous foodborne pathogen for humans. This system has also been used to accurately identify other types of bacterial colonies, including Salmonella, Vibrio, E. coli and Bacillus. The non-invasive technology is reported to be capable of classifying bacterial colonies with greater than a 90 per cent probability of being correct.


Fresh-cut apples made safe

A new wash treatment developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in the United States provides anti-browning and anti-microbial benefits to fresh-cut apples. Led by Mr. Arvind Bhagwat, a microbiologist, the team has discovered a dip solution that keeps sliced apples fresh and controls pathogens.

Volunteer sensory panellists tasted four slices of Fuji and four slices of Granny Smith apples. Each slice had been dipped that day in one of four different commercial or ARS wash treatments, including PQSL 2.0. All four treatments were found to maintain the apple slices cut-surface colour, firmness, aroma and flavour similarly. In a separate test, researchers exposed five pathogens to fresh batches of each of the same four anti-browning wash treatments for 2 hours. Formula PQSL 2.0 reduced levels of all five pathogens in the wash solutions by 99.999 per cent. PQSL 2.0 also came out ahead in reducing microflora on sanitized apples after slicing. Such native bacterial and fungal populations can accelerate spoilage over time. Further preliminary studies have shown that a much newer version of PQSL 2.0 controlled or eliminated two pathogens on apple slices. Low doses of Listeria and Salmonella had been put directly on to apple slices along with the new formula, and the pathogens were inhibited, or completely eliminated, after one, two and three weeks.


Infrared sterilization provides controlled heat

Heraeus Noblelight, Germany, has launched new carbon infrared emitters for the European market as a means to sterilize products through controlled heating. According to the company, its emitters use carbon infrared radiation to penetrate porous materials or multilayered germ beds. The firm has a range of carbon lamps, additional infrared lamps and ultraviolet (UV) lamps for sterilizing foods.

A six-month study undertaken by the Bremerhaven Institute for Food and Bioprocessing Technology has shown that the instruments are capable of destroying germs and bacteria safely and in a practicable way. Infrared radiation transmits large amounts of energy in a short time. The study showed that even at about 130-140C, a sufficient sterilization effect is felt on the fermentation trays in less than 30 s. Depending on the capacity of the radiator, moisture content and desired speed, the process of germ reduction is achieved at temperatures between 120C and 160C, within 10-30 s. In addition, the tray cloths are dried by the infrared heat, something that increases their lifespan, the company stated. Infrared lamps using the carbon technology CIR, deliver power capacities up to 150 kW/m2 and response times in the range of seconds.


Salmonella detection kit receives approval

In the United States, Strategic Diagnostics Inc. (SDI) is a leading provider of biotechnology-based detection solutions for a broad range of food, water, agricultural, industrial, environmental and scientific applications. The company reports that its new RapidChek SELECT Salmonella product has earned Performance Tested Certification from the AOAC Research Institute for use in raw meat, raw poultry, deli meats, liquid eggs and chicken carcass rinsates applications. According to Mr. Matthew H. Knight, President and CEO of SDI, RapidChek SELECT Salmonella test is a clearly differentiated solution, with many advantages over competitive methods, including simplified media preparation, fewer transfer steps and less false positives that translate into reduced overall total cost.



Fortified table sugar

ouble-fortified sugar is not significantly different from unfortified sugar, in terms of flavour and colour. Both nutrients are retained in beverages such as Kalamansi juice, coffee and other food preparations.

Contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Division Chief, Food Science and Technology, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, DOST Compound, Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila, The Philippines. Tel: +63 (2) 8372 934; Fax: +63 (2) 8373 164



New high gelling whey proteins

DMV International is offering new high gelling whey proteins for yoghurt and other food applications. Textrion PROGEL 800 has been developed for acid- and heat-induced gelling. Excellent water-binding properties make the product suitable for texturizing yoghurt, desserts, processed cheese, and meat and bakery products.

Mr. Floris Stehouwer, DMV International Latin America, states that the structure of yoghurt is determined by many factors composition and quality of the milk, the texturizing ingredients, homogenization and pasteurization conditions, the type of culture and fermentation conditions, the way of structuring, cooling and filling of the product. Two groups of proteins are distinguished in raw milk caseins and whey proteins. While caseins have a random coil structure and are organized in casein micelles, whey proteins have a globular structure.

During the heat treatment of yoghurt milk, whey proteins associate with the casein micelles or form soluble whey protein aggregates. When pH is reduced during fermentation, an acid gel is formed. Also, gel strength depends greatly on the protein composition; the more the -lactoglobulin, the firmer the gel will be. Compared with other acid WPC 80s, DMVs WPC 80 is richer in -lactoglobulin and is a very efficient texturizer in yoghurt, with high gelling characteristics and an excellent price/quality performance.


Coconut milk powder

The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), India, offers spray-dried coconut milk powder for use as an ingredient in many fish, shellfish, meat, poultry and vegetable dishes, confectioneries, sweets, sherbaths, beverages and other types of preparations. The institute has developed a process to manufacture dehydrated coconut milk powder that retains the natural flavour and texture of coconut milk.

The production process involves four major steps extraction of coconut milk, formulation of the milk, homogenization and spray drying. The white endosperm of coconut, after removal of shell and paring, is passed through a rotary wedge cutter. Coconut milk obtained by passing the coconut grating through a screw press is formulated by adding the necessary ingredients. The formulated coconut milk is then pasteurized, homogenized and spray dried.

Contact: Mr. T. R. Prabhu, Head, Technology and Transfer Business Development, CFTRI, Mysore 570 020, Karnataka, India. Tel: +91 (821) 2514 534; Fax: +91 (821) 2515 453



Soya bean oil could reduce trans fats in cereals

Researchers at Iowa State University (ISU), the United States, report that by increasing the oleic acid content in soybeans while maintaining low levels of linolenic levels, the level of artery-clogging trans fatty acids can be decreased in products like cereals and energy bars. This would be beneficial to manufacturers marketing their products from a health perspective as studies have shown that trans fats increase LDL bad cholesterol and lower HDL good cholesterol.

According to research, high levels of trans fats are suspected of contributing to obesity and heart disease as LDL cholesterol build-up in the body can lead to clogging in the arteries linked to the heart and brain, causing atherosclerosis. Low levels of linolenic acid in soybeans eliminate, or greatly reduce, the need for partial hydrogenation a process that forms trans fats in the oil. ISU researchers found that by adding just 1 per cent linolenic acid to soybeans, they were able to increase its oleic acid content from 28 per cent to 50 per cent, thereby rendering it more stable. Non-hydrogenated, low-linolenic oil containing no trans fats could then be derived from the test soybeans.


Spice oleoresins

Spice oleoresins being offered by the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), India, reproduce the character of the respective spice/spice oil fully. These concentrated liquid forms are obtained by solvent extraction. Used mainly as a flavouring agent in the food processing sector, oleoresins are more economical to use, easier to control for quality and cleaner than the equivalent ground spices. Also, oleoresins are more stable when heated.

Oleoresins are obtained by distilling the volatile oil from ground spices. The wet powdered spices, which is free from volatiles, are dried and then extracted with suitable solvent systems to remove the fixed oil and resinous/gummy materials. The solvent is removed from the miscella, dried and the extract is mixed with dry spice oil to the level required and the product is packed in containers.

Contact, Mr. T. R. Prabhu, Head, Technology and Transfer Business Development, CFTRI, Mysore 570 020, Karnataka, India. Tel: +91 (821) 2514 534; Fax: +91 (821) 2515 453



New ingredient targets low-calorie dairy products

A new sweetener solution for dairy desserts, launched by Tate and Lyle, is reported to allow manufacturers to lower around a third of calories and half of the total sugars from their product formulations. Developed by the Groups European research team, Dairy Dessert Rebalance is suitable for use in a range of milk-based desserts with neutral pH, including spoonable products like creme desserts, Dutch Vla, custards and trifles. Available in two forms, Dairy Dessert Rebalance 033 is designed for low-fat, reduced sugar desserts while 034 is for low-fat, no-added-sugar preparations.

The new line contains a modified food starch and a blend of sweeteners, including the companys proprietary Splenda sucralose. It also contains soluble fibre, which the company is marketing for its probiotic effect. Compared with traditional full fat, full sugar products, Dairy Dessert Rebalance 033 is said to offer a 35 per cent reduction in calories and a 47 per cent reduction in total sugars. Dessert Rebalance 034 provides a 32 per cent reduction in calories and a 59 per cent reduction in total sugars. Both versions deliver the creamy taste and mouthfeel expected from indulgence products.


Orange pulp lowers fat

Fiberstar Inc., the United States, reports that an ingredient made from orange pulp allows food manufacturers to slash up to half of the fat in their products. Also, it acts as a moisture management tool in a number of formulations, including baked goods, salad dressings and meat products. Citri-Fi, a fibre derived from orange pulp and used in powder form, is reported to provide four primary functionalities strengthening agent, moisture management, fat replacer and processing aid.

According to Fiberstar, what distinguishes the ingredient is the way in which it binds with water. Citri-Fi can hold up to 13 times its weight in water and allows for a more stable water retention than can generally be achieved with other products currently available. The key lies in the process used to develop the material, which opens up the cellular structure of citrus pulp to create an open porous fibre matrix. The resulting product contains around 70 per cent dietary fibre, half of which is soluble and the rest insoluble. When added to moisture in the form of water or oil, the insoluble fibres act as a net to impose surface tension on the water or oil and hold these within the fibrous matrix.

Contact: Fiberstar Inc., 3023 15th St. SW, Willmar, MN 56201, the United States.




Latest international standards for lead and cadmium

The Codex Alimentarius Commission has set new standards for the maximum allowed levels of contaminants, including lead, cadmium and aflatoxins at its July meeting in Geneva, which assembled about 500 food safety experts from nearly 100 countries. Delegates considered issues such as the maximum limit for lead in fish and cadmium in rice, marine bivalve molluscs and cephalopods. Measures to prevent contamination of Brazil nuts with cancer-causing aflatoxins were also discussed, besides methods to prevent and reduce dioxin and dioxin-like PCB contamination in food and feeds. Countries also agreed to set up a task force for assessing food safety risks associated with anti-microbial resistance in food of animal origin. A committee dealing with this topic is in the process of drafting a risk assessment policy and strategies to lower food safety risks associated with antibiotics usage.


ISO 22000 food safety standards directory

The International Food Safety and Quality Network (IFSQN) has launched an on-line Food Safety Standards Directory for suppliers involved with certification to the new ISO 22000 global standard. ISO 22000 was developed by the International Organization for Standardization along with the Codex Alimentarius Commission to harmonize the requirements for systematically managing safety in food supply chains worldwide. The ISO 22000 format allows implementation by food companies such as feed producers, primary producers and food manufacturers, as well as by providers of non-food materials and services like transport and storage operators and subcontractors to retail and food service outlets, together with related organizations such as producers of equipment, cleaning agents, packaging material, ingredients and additives.


India identifies spices, coffee, rice and tea for GIs

The Indian government has begun the process of identifying products including varieties of coffee, pepper and cardamom that need to be registered as Geographical Indications (GIs) to protect the countrys trade interests. A GI is used to designate certain products on the basis of their geographical location or origin. An official release stated that to begin with, the Coffee Board will register the Monsoon Malabar coffee variety that is exclusive to the Malabar region from Kozhikode to Mangalore. The Spices Board has identified around 61 varieties, of which Malabar Pepper, Tellichery Pepper, Alleppey Green Cardamom and Coorg Cardamom will be submitted for registration.

The Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority will register Basmati rice in the country, although India and Pakistan would be jointly filing the GI application in the United States and Europe. The consultation process for registering Nilgiri and Assam tea has been started. Registration of Alphonso mango has also been mooted.


China tightens control on saccharin production

China is tightening controls on saccharin output, a move presumed to be designed to boost its domestic sugar industry. Though the production of saccharin is presently restricted, a circular issued recently by the National Development and Reform Commission, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, and State Environmental Protection Administration indicates that China plans to step up controls. The state departments are expected to strictly ban the launch of new or expansion projects to produce the sweetener and the five companies allowed by the government to produce saccharin have been told that they cannot shift production to new locations. The five designated producers Suzhou Fine Chemicals, Tianjin Changjie Chemical, Tianjin Northern Foodstuff, Kaifeng Xinghua Chemical and Shanghai Fuxing Chemical produced 22,850 t in 2005, exporting more than 19,000 t of the total volume. Measures taken to restrict saccharin come at a time when efforts are being made to promote the sugar industry.



Canned avocados

Scientists in Argentina have developed a new technique to can avocados. The technique coats avocados and treats them with an antioxidant. As such, the shelf-life of pasteurized avocado pulp and dry avocado powder can be increased to at least six months. By preserving the fruit without freezing, this technique enables processors to export the nutrient-rich product to foreign markets where demand is on the rise. In France alone, per capita consumption increased to 1,500 g from 400 g last year, according to market analysts from the Research and Markets group.
Successfully canning avocados will change the shape of the lucrative avocado market and could increase demand. Currently, the production of avocado is not meeting the growing demand of consumers in the European Union, which remains the worlds largest importer of avocado, importing 40 per cent of the supply from non-member states. Research and Markets group estimates that demand will grow in Europe as avocados become more available and the organic market begins to mature.


Hi-tech packaging helps keep cut-produce fresh

A researcher at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the United States, has identified specific packaging wraps, called films, to extend the shelf-life of several fruit and vegetable varieties. Food technologist Ms. Yaguang Luo, employed modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) technology, wherein the ratio of oxygen and carbon dioxide gases is balanced inside select packages to allow a particular fresh-cut produce variety to respire slowly and stay fresh for the longest possible time.
For example, fresh-cut cilantro a leafy culinary herb that is a popular flavour component of tomato salsa has a high respiration rate that makes storage a challenge. Leaf yellowing, dehydration and loss of aroma can set in quickly after cutting. The packaging film identified by Ms. Luo for wrapping cilantro provides a 14-day shelf-life. As such, the cilantro has plenty of time to be picked from the grocery shelf and chopped to enliven a fresh batch of salsa. Using similar advanced packaging technologies, Ms. Luo has been able to prolong the shelf-life of romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, carrots and salad savoy, a nutritious new vegetable crop that is a close relative to kale and cabbage.


Oxygen-carbon dioxide blend reduces spoilage

In Italy, researchers have discovered that a mixture of 60 per cent oxygen and 40 per cent carbon dioxide (CO2) can efficiently mitigate microbial spoilage of refrigerated beef. The team studied three different modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) combinations to analyse the best way to reduce microbial spoilage in refrigerated beef. MAP technology is used to extend the shelf-life of products by replacing air in the package with a mixture of inert gases like CO2 and nitrogen. The low-oxygen blend extends the shelf-life of meat, vegetables and other perishable foods by up to 15 days from the normal five days. This allows processors to increase food safety and extend their markets.

In the investigations, beef was packaged using three different MAP methods and stored at 5C for 14 days.
The first method used normal air while the second employed a 60:40 blend of oxygen and CO2, and the third package comprised 20 per cent oxygen and 40 per cent CO2. Beef stored in these environments were monitored for viable counts of Pseudomonas, Enterobacteriaceae, Brochothrix thermosphacta and lactic acid bacteria. Scientists also analysed the composition of the headspace gas, weight loss and colour change. It was observed that for the first seven days, the 60 per cent oxygen and 40 per cent CO2 mix offered the best protection against spoilage. This mix helped maintain acceptable microbial loads and colour change. Rahnella aquatilis, Rahnella spp., Pseudomonas spp. and Carnobacterium divergens were prominent in the air packaging method. Pseudomonas spp. and Lactobacillus sakei were found in packaging high in oxygen content. Rahnella spp. and L. sakei were the main species identified during storage using high levels of CO2.



Fryer cuts down on oil usage

A new fryer from Heat and Control, a multinational company based in the United States, uses less oil to get the job done. The new Indirect-Heated Fryer uses precise temperature control and low oil volume to deliver consistent product quality and low operating costs. This machine can be used for products such as nuggets, patties, bone-in chicken, tempura shrimp, breast fillets, meat balls, egg rolls and coated vegetables.

The fryer requires 25-40 per cent less oil than comparable direct-heated systems. It operates without the traditional heat transfer fins immersed in the pan, allowing it to use only enough oil to cover the product. Less oil promotes faster turnover and maximizes product shelf-life. A novel design allows all of the fryer system oil volume to circulate through a filter on average of once a minute. This full-flow oil circulation allows for easier removal of fines, cutting down on oil degradation also. A series of oil inlets eliminates localized high-velocity oil flow. Oil velocity matches product velocity to maintain the products flow through the machine and to maintain the coating. Oil flow and temperature are uniform across the full width of the fryer pan. Multiple oil inlets and outlets allow processors to set different temperature zones along the length of the fryer pan for a consistently uniform output.


Deburring machine for processing milk

Fullwood, a milking machine manufacturer based in the United Kingdom, is creaming off the benefits of the latest technology. The company purchased a new machine from the market-leading surface preparation expert Wheelabrator Group. The new Walther Trowal CD 400 will put an end to the time-consuming and labour-intensive deburring presently accomplished by hand while helping comply with the new hand-arm legislation set out in the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations, 2005. The machine will deburr as well as polish components as they are processed, thus allowing Fullwood to reap significant cost savings by bringing in-house the polishing function previously subcontracted to an electro-polishing specialist.

Deburring, i.e. the removal of sharp edges and flashes produced during the manufacturing process, was previously performed by operators using linishing belts. This essential part of the manufacturing process ensures that the surfaces of components are perfectly smooth and clean, which helps avoid milk being trapped during use and the subsequent bacterial build-up. Fullwood manufactures 8,000 different parts for its milking equipment.

Contact: Wheelabrator Group, P.O. Box 60, Craven Road, Broadheath, Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 5EP, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (161) 9286 388.


Laser sorter raises the speed barrier

Key Technology, based in the United States, offers a new laser sorter designed to match the speeds of high-volume processing lines. The Optyx 6000 Raptor laser sorter can process up to 18 t/h, depending on the application. The unit designed to sort fresh, frozen and dried fruits and vegetables, including frozen potato products, tree nuts and raisins combines colour cameras with laser technology for sorting the product. It analyses size and shape as well as millions of subtle colour differences. This enables the removal of defective products, based on user-defined accept and reject standards.

Keys Raptor laser technology expands the sorters inspection capabilities by detecting foreign matter, based on the differences between the structural properties of the product and contaminant. The sorters platform measures 1,220 mm, double the width of its previous model. This wide scan area doubles the production capacity while all-digital electronics maintain the same ultra-high resolution. A press release by the company states that unlike traditional analog laser systems, Raptors all-digital architecture delivers uncompromised data that drive the most advanced algorithms for complex sort decisions.

The Optyx 6000 series sorters employ multiple cameras and sensors in a variety of configurations to match the needs of each processing application. The Optyx 6000 Raptor can be configured for either single-side or two-side laser scanning. A user interface displays the sorting information, allowing the operator to see what the laser is detecting. This feature delivers a more intuitive machine feedback to the operator, which allows for more accurate adjustment of accept or reject thresholds. Product settings can be stored and retrieved for product changeover.


Cooling tunnel chills each product separately

M+W Zander Gebaudetechnik of Germany has developed a tunnel for chilling a variety of products that need different times to cool down. According to the firm, its cooling tunnel transports product discontinuously with the help of a transverse trolley. This differs from a continuous tunnel, in which all the pallets remain in the tunnel as long as it takes to cool the product with the longest cooling time. The new process is reported to conserve energy and storing positions, and thus reduce space requirements and costs.

The M+W discontinuous tunnel contains a number of fixed storage cells in which the product remains during the cooling process. The product is moved only when it is transported in or out. As soon as a pallet has reached its final temperature, it is conveyed out of the tunnel. The pallets are set in two parallel rows so that a defined quantity of air flows through two opposing pallets. The air is used twice. The volume flow rate of the air is measured to allow a turbulent stream to develop within the pallet batch. This allows for effective transfer of heat, states a press release by the company. The tunnel contains a special flap mechanism that controls the direction of the air. The flap ensures that each pallet storage position cools evenly.


Versatile spiral conveyor

Industrial Conveying (Australia) Pty. Ltd. (ICA) has launched a spiral conveyor system fabricated using food-grade stainless steel. Intended specifically for applications in the food and beverage industries, the spiral conveyor can be installed for cooling and setting in the food manufacture and processing industry, allowing an extremely efficient use of vertical space without sacrificing horizontal travel length or speeds.

The applicability and efficiency gained is ideal for nearly all food industry processes, including baking, glazing, cooling, setting, defrosting dehumidifying, chilling and freezing. The units allow precise set-up of travel speeds so that each product unit arrives at the appropriate manufacturing process at exactly the right temperature and physical condition. The conveyor works efficiently across the entire humidity spectrum from completely saturated environment to that of low humidity. ICA spiral conveyors, designed to carry the product between floors and machines, have a controlled slope for smooth transfer, are designed to suit individual products, can be assembled on-site, can be gravity or powered systems, and are ideal for in-line accumulation. Modular in design, the system can be installed easily, regardless of the shape and size of premises.

Contact: Industrial Conveying (Australia) Pty. Ltd., Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 5440 5100.


Efficient potato slice blancher

Heat and Control, the United States, offers an injection blancher to raise processing efficiency in the production of fried potatoes. According to the company, the new slice injection blancher forces hot water through the bottom of the potato slice pack for uniform blanching and improved fryer performance. The machine uses technology similar to that found in the companys french fries fryers and nut roasters. It features multiple hot water inlets located across the bottom of the pan.

Injection of hot water evenly beneath the product agitates and separates the slices for thorough, uniform blanching. Unlike side injection blanchers that compress slices into the centre of the blancher, Heat and Controls bottom injection design spreads slices evenly across the width of the pan and discharge conveyor for more efficient dewatering and delivery to the fryer. Also, the system reduces fryer fuel usage while eliminating unevenly cooked clusters of chips. An independent drain conveyor and vacuum blow-off system removes surface water from slices for further fryer fuel savings.



Simple stirrer takes caffeine out of coffee

DeCaf Co., the United States, has developed a new technology that allows caffeine to be literally sucked out of the coffee cup. If successful, the patented technology could open up a whole new method of doing decaffeinated coffee, with less hassles and more flavour.

The company is interested in licencing its newly developed polymers that are used to control or remove caffeine from all beverages as they are served. Known officially as molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs), these polymers are capable of decaffeinating coffee or tea drinks without altering the coffee beans or tea leaves. The polymers, can be attached to either a stirrer or cup. When used in a beverage, caffeine molecules bind on to the MIPs, removing them from the beverage. According to DeCaf, a few stirs could decrease caffeine by up to 70 per cent, that too without the use of chemicals. Presently, a large amount of coffee beans are decaffeinated using chemicals that soak up the caffeine molecules, but this can also adversely affect flavour and aroma.


High-quality juice a reality

Koch Membrane Systems Inc. (KMS), the United States, reports to have perfected a process that combines membrane separation and polymeric adsorption technologies to upgrade the quality of juice produced by processors. In the new method, membranes separate pulp from the juice, allowing clarified juice to pass through the adsorbent, which removes the bitter components often found in citrus juices. The pulp can then be added back to the debittered juice on a continuous basis, and in the desired quantity. This results in a consistent and stable product. Key benefits of the process are:
  • Reduces bitter components like limonin, TBZ, hesperidin, naringin, polyphenols, etc.;
  • Allows for high uptime and low maintenance;
  • Improves shelf-life; and
  • FDA and USDA approved materials are used.

The modular product caters to the needs of both small and large processors. All varieties of citrus fruits can utilize this system, including orange and grapefruit prime juices, orange and grapefruit by-products, tangerine juice, clarified lemon and lime juices, fresh juice or juice from concentrates.

Contact: Koch Membrane Systems Inc., 850, Main Street, Wilmington, Massachusetts, United States of America. Tel/Fax: +1 (978) 6947 000/6575 208



Decaffeinating beverages

Researchers at McGill University, Canada, have come up with an electrochemical procedure to decaffeinate beverages like coffee and tea. While efforts are being made to perfect the method, no major issues were thrown up in validation trials. The method is implemented using a simple electrochemical apparatus that consists of electrodes and a power supply, which can be integrated with standard brewing machines. Potential applications for the technology include coffee and tea consumed by both in-home and out-of-home workplace sector. Benefits of the process include flavour retention, increased consumer choice, flexibility, cost savings, broad application range and organic and natural.

This know-how can be incorporated easily into existing coffee/tea machines with a single touch functionality. Also, users can choose the level of decaffeination.

Contact: Ms. Katya Marc, Officer, Office of Technology Transfer, McGill University, 1555, Peel Street, 11th Floor, Montreal, Quebec H3A 3L8, Canada. Tel: +1 (514) 3984 200/3983 355.


Freeze dryer

A freeze drying pilot plant developed by Niro A/S, Denmark, can be used in the food and beverage industries for small-scale production of market samples and pilot testing of new products prior to full-scale production. The RAY 1 plant can even be used in bacterial and pharmaceutical applications. Designed to ensure a hygienic process in the food and beverage industries, RAY 1 also features easy cleaning and maintenance, and is operated through a PC control system. Parameters are monitored and stored during the freeze drying process to ensure full documentation of the process. This makes it possible to repeat the test with the same freeze drying characteristics. Further, a modem for remote control or troubleshooting can be integrated into the PC system.

Test runs have provided excellent data for scaling up to industrial production, either in a Atlas RAY batch freeze dryer or a CONRAD continuous freeze drying plant. Auxiliary equipment available with RAY 1 include a low-temperature freezer, and granulator and sieve arrangement (for solid products); foaming equipment for bulk density control, granulator and sieve arrangement for definition of granule size, and pre-freezing and final freezing equipment for controlled freezing process (for liquid products like coffee, tea, etc.).

Contact: Niro A/S, Gladsaxevej 305, P.O Box 45, 2860 Soeborg, Denmark. Tel: +45 (39) 545 454; Fax: +45 (39) 545 800

E-mail: /


3-in-1 machine for non-aerated beverages

Zhangjiagang City Baixiong Beverage Machinery Co., China, offers CGX series 3-in-1 machine for non-aerated beverages. CGX32-32-8 is used in the production of beverages like fruit juices and mineral water packaged in polyester bottles. the unit integrates washing, filling and capping processes. Salient features of the machine are:
  • A suspended bottleneck clamping design;
  • A new generation of stainless steel spring in the washing clamps, which have no contact with the area above the bottle screw;
  • Advanced micro-negative pressure filling technology in order to ensure quick, steady and accurate filling;
  • Touch-screen interface and advanced PLC control and frequency control technologies;
  • All parts are fabricated using SUS304 stainless steel, with critical electronic components sourced from top class international companies.

Contact: Zhangjiagang City Baixiong Beverage Machinery Co. Ltd., Sanxing Non-governmental Business Developing Zone, Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu 215624, China. Tel/Fax: +86 (512) 5857 9885/9889.



Yeasts reduce ethyl carbamate levels in bread

First Venture Technologies Corp., Canada, reports that its functionally improved yeasts are effective in reducing ethyl carbamate (a known carcinogen) levels in bread. Multiple experiments conducted at the Wine Research Centre, University of British Columbia, have demonstrated a reduction in ethyl carbamate (urethane) levels by as much as 54 per cent.

At the 64th Meeting of the Food and Agricultural Organization/World Health Organizations Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives in early 2006, it was concluded that human exposure to ethyl carbamate for all intakes, alcoholic beverages and food combined, is of concern. Bread made with yeast has been reported to be a potential major source of ethyl carbamate ingestion (including by children) due to the high consumption pattern of these foods in peoples basic diet.

Contact: Mr. Howard Louie, President and Director, First Venture Technologies Corp., Canada. Tel: +1 (604) 6482 200; Fax: +1 (604) 6482 201




Chinese dairies catch on to probiotic bacteria

Chinese dairies are jumping on the probiotics bandwagon, with a spate of new dairy products containing the healthy bacteria being launched in recent weeks. A survey of Mintels Global New Products Database reveals that all leading players in the country have launched probiotic products or extended their ranges since the beginning of June. Some of the companies and their products are listed below:
  • Yili has introduced a new 390 g pack with free spoon for its Big Pieces Fruits Aloe and Kiwifruit Yoghurt with LGG bacteria, licensed from Finlands Valio. It already offers LGG yoghurt in 125 g, 200 g, 500 g and 950 g packages as well as a drinking yoghurt in 200 g daily dose bottles. LGG probiotic bacteria is believed to help with the growth of culture inside the body, improve the immune and digestive systems, help with diarrhoea and also reduce allergy.
  • Mengniu has introduced a strawberry flavoured yoghurt reported to have 200 million probiotic bacteria per 1,000 g, including Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus acidophilus supplied by Chr. Hansen.
  • Bright Dairy has introduced Abioo Jianneng Yoghurt with grape flavour, said to contain 100 million probiotic bacteria per 1,000 g, including Lactobacillus bulgaricus and L. acidophilus.
    Major probiotic culture suppliers Chr. Hansen and Danisco have stated that the demand for probiotics is growing by up to 30 per cent each year. French group Danone, one of the first to introduce probiotic yoghurts in China, is also keeping up with the trend by introducing a kiwi and cucumber yoghurt with BE80 bacteria, which is said to make the skin healthy and smooth, and to benefit overall health. Small-scale producers too have joined the race, e.g. Shenyang Dairy, Weiquan Food, etc.


Genetics paves the way for natural flavours

Researchers at HortResearch, a plant research institute based in New Zealand, have been able to accurately determine the genes responsible for the individual flavours and fragrances found in fruits and flowers. According to industrial biotechnologist Dr. Richard Newcomb, We used microarrays to learn which of the genes in our database switched on at the end of the ripening process the time when the fruit gains flavour. Using starter compounds found in bacteria, one can then use enzymes to reproduce these during fermentation. The compounds end up floating into the airspace above the bacteria, where it can be harvested. Once the flavour compounds are harvested, they are guaranteed to be nature-identical with the same molecular make-up as those found in fruit because they are produced by the same gene. This breakthrough may allow for the recreation of natural flavour compounds using traditional fermentation techniques, rather than having to resort to chemical synthesis or expensive extraction technologies.


Instant yoghurt

The Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) is all set to enter the ready-to-consume food market with flavoured yoghurt powder and an instant yoghurt mix that will be easy on housewives and snack outlets that serve lassi, a yoghurt-based drink. The recent breakthrough at IIT-KGP allows for the preparation of flavoured yoghurt in five minutes. The preparation process involves mixing the flavoured yoghurt powder with lukewarm water and refrigerating this mix.

To obtain the flavoured yoghurt powder, IIT-KGPs process blends raw milk with soya and mango pulp. This mixture is then sent through a low-temperature air-drying process. One kilogram of mixture (85 per cent milk and 15 per cent soya and mango pulp) yields 200 g of yoghurt powder. The process of producing instant yoghurt mix is much the same. Milk is dried by hot air blowing for 3-4 h to obtain a powder that can be spiced up after mixing with lukewarm water. Both flavoured and instant yoghurt powders would be available in pouches.


Goat milk engineered to mimic mothers milk

Researchers at the University of California-Davis, the United States, have genetically engineered goats to produce milk containing lysozyme, an important antibacterial component of human breast milk that is absent in the milk of dairy animals. The antibacterial milk from genetically engineered goats could eventually help protect children from diarrhoeal disease.

Researchers tested the milk in pigs, which have a digestive tract akin to humans. In addition to their normal food and water each day, young pigs were fed with two glasses of pasteurized lysozyme milk. After 16 days, the amount of coliform bacteria in the small intestine of these pigs was reduced compared with pigs that were given normal goat milk. The results are similar to those comparing the intestinal bacteria of breast- and bottle-fed human infants.



Biodegradable food packaging

RPC Bebo UK Bristol, the United Kingdom, has launched a new range of convenience food packagings manufactured from biodegradable plastic. The company produces its packaging from biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA), a corn-based polymer from NatureWorks, the United States. PLA can be used for rigid thermoforms, films, labels and bottles. However, it cannot be used for hot-fill and gaseous drinks like beer or sodas. PLA degrades under commercial composting conditions in 75-80 days. RPCs convenience food packaging is available in three sizes 375 ml, 650 ml and 1,500 ml. The 650 ml size is available in single and twin compartment versions. The packs incorporate a special positive stacking feature, with a recess in the lid that allows a second pack of the same size to sit on top in order to maximize shelf space. The new range has been created for a variety of convenience products, including leaf salads, pasta salads, fresh fruits, snacks and other delicatessen products.


Thermoformed food packing offers high quality

Ulma Packaging, the United Kingdom, offers a thermoforming food packaging system that allows for high-quality display packs of uncooked and cooked products at medium production levels. The TF Supra Skin thermoformer is suitable for producing high-quality display packs of cooked and uncooked meats, fish and cheese. It also features optional vacuum and gas flushing systems for modified atmosphere packs.

A highly efficient infrared top web heating system allows for quicker start-up from cold, resulting in energy efficiency and reduced costs. Mr. Derek Paterson, Ulmas director for the United Kingdom, states that TF Supra Skin produces attractive packaging with the product held firmly on a rigid base, with the tight seal avoiding risk of product slippage. As the top mould web of film is moulded to the product like a second skin, retailers can display packs upright so that consumers can clearly see what they are buying. Also, the packs are easy to open, another significant advantage.

Contact: Ulma Packaging, Unit 4, Woodland Court, Coach Crescent Shireoaks, Worksop, Notts S81 8AD, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1909) 506 504.


Hi-tech food packaging

A new vacuum packaging product developed by Sealed Air, a global food packaging supplier, has become popular in Asia. Especially sought after by manufacturers looking to export new, high-end products, the packaging helps retain moisture and freshness of the packaged food product major factors contributing to the appearance and taste of the product. Sealed Airs tray is covered with a vacuum-sealed skin film that does not need to be pierced before food is heated in the microwave. Instead, the film tents up as the product is heated, keeping both the moisture and flavour in. The packaging product, manufactured using Simple Steps technology, has been available in the United States for the past three years, and it has only recently found favour in Asia. Several firms based in Singapore are now considering new export markets for Asian-style meals, using the Simple Steps technology.


MAP packaging made cheaper

Ilapak, Switzerland, is offering a packaging system that extends the shelf-life of fresh food products without using the more expensive thermoforming process. Delta VacMap has been designed as a cost-effective alternative to expensive skin and thermoforming packagings. This model combines vacuum and modified atmosphere packaging, or MAP, in a single machine. According to a company press release, the system is particularly suitable for spongy products that are typically found in the bakery industry. Cost savings are accrued from lower film costs, increased throughput and reduced labour expenses. Also, unlike with thermoforming, whole package printing is as easy as on a traditional horizontal flow wrapper. A Delta VacMap line handles multiple sizes and can be used as a normal gas flushing wrapper by turning off the vacuum system, thus increasing wrapping speed.



Probiotic Dairy Products

New insights have led to a better understanding of milk systems. Additionally, interest in the use of probiotics as functional food ingredients has increased. This book reviews the latest research with regard to the functional aspects of dairy and fermented milk products and their ingredients. Topics covered include production systems, health claims, genomic characterization, gut microflora, maintenance and statutory regulations.

Dairy Science and Technology

This book provides the latest information on the efficient transformation of milk into high-quality products. It focuses on the principles of physical, chemical, enzymatic and microbial transformations. New chapters in this second edition delve on infant formula, treatment and nutritional aspects of milk components, etc.

For the above books, contact: Cheese Reporter, 2810, Crossroads Drive, Suite 3000, Madison, Wisconsin 53718, United States of America. Tel: +1 (608) 2468 430; Fax: +1 (608) 2468 431


Emerging Foodborne Pathogens

This handbook discusses some of the emerging pathogens and how they can be identified, tracked and controlled so that they do not pose a risk to consumers. The first section of this two-part guide delves into how pathogens evolve, surveillance methods in the United States and Europe, risk assessment techniques and the use of food safety objectives. The second part deals with individual pathogens in detail, including their characteristics, methods of detection and methods of control.

Contact: Woodhead Publishing Ltd., Abington Hall, Abington, Cambridge CB1 6AH, the United Kingdom. Tel/Fax: +44 (1223) 891 358/893 694




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