VATIS Update Food Processing . Sep-Oct 2007

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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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Tougher food safety legislation

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have sought tougher legislation and more inspections to prevent the food safety incidents reported internationally. The two United Nations bodies report that recent scares such as melamine in animal and fish feed, or the use of unauthorized veterinary drugs in aquaculture, prove the weaknesses in regulatory systems around the world. During the last 12 months, WHO and FAO looked into an average of about 200 food safety incidents per month. The incidents were reported through FAOs International Food Safety Authorities Network, or Infosan, which serves as an alert system to regulators worldwide.

The two United Nations agencies have urged all countries to strengthen their food safety systems and to be more vigilant with producers and traders. FAO noted that developing countries face a set of particular issues that affect food safety, including changing dietary patterns, a high population growth and urbanization, intensification and industrialization of food production. Such food safety incidents are often caused by lack of knowledge of food safety requirements and of their implications or by the illegal or fraudulent usage of ingredients, including unauthorized food additives or veterinary drugs, the organizations stated in a joint release. World Trade Organization (WTO) rules stipulate that developed countries have to help exporting developing countries to achieve the necessary high level of regulation necessary for international trade.


Food processing equipment: a US$43 billion market by 2010

A new study by Global Industry Analysts forecasts that the worldwide market for food processing equipment will reach US$43 billion by 2010. Key factors driving this growth include socio-economic structure, growing acceptance of processed food in non-traditional markets and changing dynamics. The study offers a comprehensive review of market trends, recent developments, competition, players, product profile, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities.

The global market place is shared among large multinationals with diversified businesses, narrowly focused specialists and a large number of small firms serving local markets. The study reveals that food processing in developing countries is becoming more scientific and research oriented as consumers switch to healthier and better quality products. Moreover, manufacturers are focusing on new technological innovations to stay competitive and to improve product quality, shelf-life and reduce use of preservatives in the manufacture of prepared foods.


Creating a modern food zone

As Thailand aims to become the Kitchen of the World, the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) master plan will have a willing market for its goal of turning Malaysias northern states into a premier food production centre for the Southeast Asian region. The master plan targets to increase agricultural exports for the northern region and the average farmers income, in line with its objectives of poverty eradication and economic growth.

According to statistics released by the National Productivity Council in the 2006 Productivity Report, the food processing sector accounted for just 3 per cent of Malaysias total manufacturing output last year. This pales in comparison with Thailand, which is the fifth largest exporter of food products worldwide, with its food exports expected to grow by 10.3 per cent this year. One reason identified for Malaysias poor performance is that it has not fully leveraged or capitalized on the fact that the nation has one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. This is poised to change once the initiatives targeted to boost the agriculture industry are set in motion.


Chinas food safety supervision system under review

Mr. Li Changjiang, Chinas Minister in charge of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), revealed that the current supervision mechanism will be reassessed to improve efficiency and new measures implemented to enhance supervision following sufficient investigations and studies. The existing food supervision system involves at least five central government departments AQSIQ, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, and the State Food and Drug Administration which are responsible for supervising farming, production and processing, and distribution and selling. The Vice Health Minister, Mr. Wang Longde, had earlier opined that new laws should be promulgated to facilitate cooperation among government agencies to change the overlapping food supervision system. According to Mr. Changjiang, To ensure the quality of food exports, the Chinese government has set up a monitoring system that covers plantations, breeding farms and production bases.


RFID for shrimp exporters

In Thailand, a group of radio frequency identification (RFID) and software firms IE Technology, Silicon Craft Technology and FXA Co. has teamed up with a large shrimp exporter, Chanthaburi Frozen Food, for a pilot project that uses RFID in frozen-food production. This is the first attempt by the shrimp export industry to adopt RFID technology for food traceability purposes. It aims to build an advantage for local shrimp exporters, which have to compete globally, in food safety and traceability. The project is being subsidized by some funding from the National Innovation Agency. IE Technology is providing the RFID tags and terminals while Silicon Craft Technology will supply the RFID chips embedded inside the RFID tags and FXA Company provides the software for traceability.


Korean foods receive global recognition

Codex Alimentarius Commission has recognized the Republic of Koreas red pepper paste, called gochujang in Korean, and ginseng-based products as distinctly Korean foods. This latest decision by the international food safety body recognizes gochujang as fermented food of a unique flavour and classifies Korean ginseng as food. Some nations classify ginseng as a medicinal substance, which has made its exports more difficult.


Pakistans strategy to boost seafood exports

In Pakistan, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock is working with provincial departments on a three-pronged strategy to increase seafood exports. According to the Fisheries Development Commissioner, the government plans to control post-harvest losses, focusing on value addition and development of aquaculture and shrimp farming to enhance exports. Adopting techniques that major fish exporters use would control post-harvest losses, which account for 30-40 per cent of the total catch. Furthermore, along with the provincial agencies and UNIDO, the Ministry is pursuing a programme to comply with the standard operating procedures of the European Commission.

The UNIDO team, engaged by the Ministry to address problems in seafood exports, is visiting fisheries and harbours to educate the community about the issues at the spot.


Viet Nam gets aid for safer produce

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide US$750,000 to Viet Nam on a US$950,000 project. The grant is intended to help the Vietnamese government come up with an action plan to improve agricultural safety standards and increase the number of small businesses in the agricultural sector. ADBs funding comes at a time when international concern regarding food safety is growing.

According to ADB, Viet Nam has transformed into a major food exporter in recent years. However, concerns about meat hygiene and pesticide residue in particular are on the rise. Financial and personnel limitations have prevented the government from establishing an effective regulatory process to monitor food production and export.


Scope for growth in Malaysian food processing industry

Mr. Ng Lip Yong, Malaysias Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister, has stated that there are opportunities for companies to explore in the food processing industry. The areas with growth potential in the industry include functional food, convenience food and food ingredients. Also, the halal food sub-sector is fast becoming one of the contributors for sources of growth within the food industry.


Indias integrated strategy to promote agribusiness

In India, the cabinet has approved the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MFPI) proposal on an integrated strategy for promotion of agribusiness vision, strategy and action plan for the food processing sector. Earlier, the Ministry had adopted a vision document 2015, which aims to triple the size of food processing sector by increasing the level of processing from 6 to 20 per cent, value addition from 20 to 35 per cent and raising the share in the global food market from 1.5 to 3 per cent. The group of ministers constituted by the government under the chairmanship of the Minister of Agriculture had considered the proposals and recommended that the matter be placed before the cabinet. Strategies and thrust areas approved by the cabinet include:
  • Detailed mapping of the food clusters;
  • Strengthening backward and forward linkages and development of supply chain with cold chain mechanism;
  • Establishment of mega food parks in identified SSI/horticulture/meat/dairy/marine sectors;
  • Modernization of abattoirs;
  • Enhancing capacity building in HRD/R&D/quality control laboratories;
  • Developing infrastructure for organized food retail market;
  • Strengthening and restructuring of MFPI;
  • Need for larger public investment in rural infrastructure; and
  • Role of state/union territories to synergise their efforts with those of the central government.


Vietnamese seafood exports touch US$2 billion

Viet Nam earned US$340 million from seafood exports in July alone, bringing the total seafood export value to approximately US$2 billion for the January-July period. The seafood export volume, especially shrimp to Japan, had reduced significantly as a result of strict requirements in quality, hygiene and safety. Thailands shrimp exports could decrease owing to increased materials cost and diseases. In such a scenario, Vietnamese seafood businesses can look forward to a boost in their exports. It is forecast that in the near future, exports to the European Union (EU) and the United States will increase, as some EU companies will shift their orders to Viet Nam. Notable achievements in the seafood sector gained in the first few months of this year are to remain at 51 export markets, including markets with high technical barriers such as the EU, the United States and Canada. However, four markets Russia, Japan, Australia and Taiwan have applied new technical barriers.


China places onus for food safety on local governments

According to a new regulation in China, the district and county governments of Beijing will be held responsible for any serious food safety violations. The Beijing Food Safety Administration states that if its attention is drawn to any incident, it would investigate the concerned government departments in addition to food manufacturers. Officials will be punished for improper management or dereliction of duty, and they will also be held accountable for failing to plug food safety loopholes in time or for inflicting severe consequences by not dealing with illegal activities.


Food quality up to standard

In China, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine reports that records of the past 22 years indicate a steady increase in the safety of food products, since 1998. It said tests on 3,384 different kinds of foodstuff showed about 86 per cent were up to standard. The products, from 2,777 processing companies, involved 35 categories, including beer, milk, jelly, fruit juice, milk powder, canned goods, and dried fruits and nuts. Tests showed that 89.3 per cent of beer products met required standards, 5.2 per cent higher than last year, and 80 per cent of fruit juices, up 4.1 per cent.



New ultrasonic spray coater

Sono-Tek Corp., the United States, has released a new pilot-plant scale ultrasonic spray coating system the Universal Food Coater. This new versatile equipment was developed in response to specific requests from food manufacturers who observed the advantages of Sono-Teks uniform, low flow, ultrasonic spraying capabilities at the companys laboratory in a batch mode.

The Universal Food Coater is equipped with six independently controlled non-clogging ultrasonic atomizing nozzles, mounted in a fashion allowing complete 360 coverage of the food target, at a range of liquid flow rates. The system is equipped with a variable-width, variable-speed conveyor, allowing flexibility for testing independently and/or in-line with other manufacturing equipment. These features make the Universal Food Coater ideal for optimization of low-flow spray coating processes for R&D and small production capacity needs.

Contact: Dr. Joseph Riemer, Sono-Tek Corporation, 2012 Route 9W, Milton, NY 12547, United States of America. Tel: +1 (845) 7952 020; Fax: +1 (845) 7952 720.


X-ray improves detection accuracy

InspX, the United States, has launched a new X-ray system that uses two beams to achieve dual detection for increased accuracy and improved product quality. ScanTrac Dou detects foreign materials in packaged products while inspecting for imperfections and underfills. It provides real-time, non-contact inspection, detecting and automatically rejecting out-of-tolerance products from the production line.

ScanTrac Dou ensures inspection coverage on the bottom of glass jars and bottles. About 95 per cent of glass bottles and jars feature a push-up bottom that creates a shadow, which can make detecting contaminants resting on the bottom of the container difficult to find with a single X-ray beam. A low-energy X-ray and advanced image processing software detect even the smallest contaminants, achieving a false reject rate of less than 1:10,000. The system can be mounted, without modification, on conveyers running at speeds of up to 700 ft/min, carrying up to 1,400 containers per minute. The system can handle products of up to 8 inches in diameter and 16 inches in height. It can be adjusted for inspecting a range of products. Diameter size inspection changes can be made in minutes without any changeover tools, while products with the same diameter can be handled in seconds via pre-programmed products recipes.


Tiny devices help detect invisible pathogens

Scientists in Denmark have fabricated two tiny devices and leveraged them to detect a range of contaminants, from molecules to whole bacteria, in food and water. The devices one uses nano-sized cantilevers and the other uses coloured markers were created by a team of scientists led by Ms. Anja Boisen at the University of Denmark. Cantilevers are akin to miniature diving boards that measure 200 m long and 40 m wide, about half the width of a human hair.
The team developed two cantilevers and placed them in a sensor. A liquid is then passed through the cantilevers. While the reference cantilever helps to eliminate factors such as temperature changes, the other one is coated with a detector layer that binds to the specific pathogen to be detected. When the molecule or microbe that is to be detected binds to its surface, the board bends and its electrical resistance is altered. Detection is achieved by measuring the change in resistance. The second sensor also has a flexible board or lid, but this is placed on top of a tiny box that contains marker molecules. The lid is coated with specific detector molecules that bind to the targeted pathogen. On detection, the lid deflects to release the coloured marker molecules which in turn produce colour visible to the naked eye. Both sensors are extremely sensitive and can measure deflections of just 1 nm; so the devices are able to detect the presence of very small molecules.


Hygiene monitoring system targets food industry

Strategic Diagnostics Inc. (SDI), the United States, has announced the expansion of its product line to include hygiene monitoring with the exclusive distribution of the Lumitester PD-10N/LuciPacTM W. The system is a unique patented platform with a proprietary enzymatic recycling technology that enables detection of both AMP and ATP. It offers significant benefits over other hygiene monitoring systems on the market, which, due to the unstable nature of ATP, may not give a true indication of cleaning efficiencies. AMP is a stable, persistent molecule with the ability to provide users a more precise, reproducible indication of the effectiveness of both cleaning and sanitation programmes.
Key advantages offered by the LumitesterPD-10N/LuciPacW system include:
  • Extremely accurate results even when only a small amount of residual biological material is present; and
  • The patented reagents are detergent tolerant.

The LumitesterPD-10N/LuciPacW complements SDIs RapidChek product line by further impacting the ability to enhance overall microbiological control and the performance of the customers HACCP programmes.

Contact: Strategic Diagnostics Inc., 111, Pencader Drive, Pencader Business Park, Newark, DE 19702, United States of America. Tel/Fax: +1 (302) 4566 789/770



Analyser adapted for high-viscosity production

Milk-Lab, the United Kingdom, has reported that analysers designed to assess milk composition claims have been adapted for use in the production of high-viscosity dairy products. This development could offer dairy processors a new method for the production of beverages like milk shake, by monitoring fat and solid levels to reduce the danger of clogging up the production line. According to Milk-Lab, the adapted analyser uses a slow suction peristaltic pump along with wider tubing to allow for the production of high-viscosity milk products that contain ingredients such as chocolate and fruit. The inclusion of such solid ingredients can potentially restrict beverage flow. The company has also included cleaning-in-place systems in a bid to further reduce the risk of blockages, while cutting the need to disassemble the production line for maintenance. Furthermore, the milk examining equipment is free of hazardous chemicals and materials such as glass, offering a safer and cost-free analysis straight from the milk sample.


Grain analyser

Foss Electric India offers a dedicated whole grain analyser whose capabilities can be expanded with optional accessories such as volume weight, sample transport and flour modules. InfratecTM 1241 grain analyser has a wavelength range of 570-1,100 nm to allow for colour measurements. All modules can be installed in one unit just select the application and run your samples. The grain analyser is the ideal solution for all steps in the agricultural chain, including grain trading, crop management, grain processing and flour production. It can be used to analyse quality parameters such as protein, moisture, starch, oil, volume weight, colour, etc. with high accuracy.

The Infratec 1241 can be used either as a stand-alone or as a networked unit. It is equipped with a multigrain cell having automatically variable path length. This makes it possible to analyse commodities including rapeseed, wheat and corn without any demand on the operator. Transfer of data between instrument and LIMS systems as well as remote control of the unit is facilitated by Datalogger and Datalink software packages. Key features and benefits include:
  • Near-infrared transmittance (NIT) eliminating sample preparation;
  • Ready-to-use calibrations (ANN) accuracy;
  • Truly transferable calibrations (ANN) for low operating cost;
  • Long-term stability of calibrations for low operating cost; and
  • Capability for high moisture samples for a wide range of applications.

Contact: Foss Electric India, Central Camera Bldg., 195 D.N. Road, Mumbai 400 001, Maharashtra, India. Tel: +91 (22) 2261 0682; Fax: +91 (22) 2261 0724




DSM develops enzyme to ease juice filtration

A new enzyme for apple, pear and berry juice processors has been introduced by DSM Food Specialities, the Netherlands. Rapidase Optiflux, the latest addition to the companys Rapidase line of enzymes, improves the results of the filtration process. It complements the two other enzymes in the Rapidase range Rapidase Smart and Rapidase Smart Clear.

Rapidase Optiflux was developed in response to demands from fruit processors for an ingredient to improve the flux rate during filtration and reduce blocking of the filtration equipment. Derived from the Aspergillus niger fungus, new addition is said to work by decreasing the molecular weight of polysaccharides from the fruit cell wall with a high molecular weight and reduce their binding with proteins and polyphenols. Apart from speeding up juice production, Optiflux can help streamline the process by extending the time needed between cleaning of equipment. According to DSM, the three enzymes are intended to be used in synergy.


Bakery emulsifier and mould inhibitor

European ingredients firm Cognis has launched a variety of new products for the United States market, including emulsifiers, aerating agents and a natural mould inhibitor. The Cegemett Fresh mould inhibitor is said to act as a preservative in a wide variety of applications, including meat, bakery, confectionery, dairy and beverages. One of this ingredients strong points is that it allows food producers to offer cleaner labels, in response to consumer demands for natural products. Made from a blend of plant extracts and delivered using a variety of carrier systems, Cegemett Fresh extends shelf-life and inhibits mould growth by killing bacteria in food products. It could also help protect against pathogenic micro-organisms such as Salmonella and E. coli. Other potential areas of application are carbonated beverages, bakery products, confectionery and dairy products.

Cognis Spongolit 560 aerating emulsifier allows cake manufacturers to remove trans fats from their products by eliminating the need for hydrogenated oils. The ingredient can be used in combination with liquid oils, such as sunflower oil or corn oil, to achieve the same texture and taste as products made with hydrogenated oils. Spongolit 560 can be used in an all-in-one production process, in which all ingredients are added and mixed at the same time, thereby avoiding certain formulation restrictions encountered with some other products on the market.

The Lamequick range of whipping agents, designed for use in a variety of desserts, is based on milk protein, vegetable fat and aerated emulsifiers. A new addition to this range is the Lamequick CE 7203, which is non-hydrogenated and can be used to achieve products with more desirable nutritional profiles. Another product, the Lametop S 80 DATEM emulsifier, is designed for use in yeast-raised applications, including bread, rolls and croissants. DATEM, an acronym for di-acetyl tartrate ester of monoglyceride, is used to strengthen doughs by building a stronger gluten network. The Lametop S 80 product contains the maximum level of tartaric acid as allowed by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Cognis is also launching a number of functional food ingredients, including a new Omevital Omega-3 fish oil for foods and beverages, Vegapure sterol esters for healthy heart and Tonalin CLA ingredients for body composition.


Low GI offers healthier option for bakers

Macphie, the United Kingdom, is offering a new range of low glycaemic index (GI) ingredients that allow bakers to help consumers stay fuller for longer. Seeduction is a multi-seed bread concentrate with a GI rating of 52, while standard white bread has a GI rating of 71. Packed with sunflower seeds, linseeds, pumpkin seeds and oats, it can be used to make a versatile concentrate for producing loaves, rolls and even croissants. The product is available in 8 kg and 16 kg bags.

For those with a sweeter tooth, there is Satisfaction a range of indulgent, low-GI cake mixes, which are available in plain and chocolate varieties. Ms. Paula Cormack, Macphies Strategic Marketing Manager, said that consumers consider low GI to be a credible signpost for healthier food choices and low-GI diet is scientifically proven to help banish cravings, lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.


New calcium source

Puracal QSynergy is a new calcium source from Purac Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd., Singapore. Developed especially as a ready-to-use calcium source for turbid acidic beverages such as fruit juices and acidified dairy drinks, the patented product offers the following benefits when used in fruit juices and acidified dairy drinks:
  • Enhances the freshness of fruit flavour;
  • No gritty mouth feel;
  • Easy to process (non-dusting, free-flowing, quick dispersion);
  • Bio-available calcium source; and
  • Natural, GRAS, lactose-free, kosher and halal.

Puracal QSynergy is a carefully designed mixture of calcium lactate and calcium citrate, optimized on bringing out the freshness of fruit flavours and on possessing excellent powder properties to ensure ease-of-use in processing. This is Puracs latest addition of calcium source to its versatile portfolio of highly bio-available calcium salts suitable for calcium fortification of foods and beverages.

Contact: Purac Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd., Corporate Office, 138, #18-01, Robinson Road, Singapore 068906. Tel: +65 6349 1350; Fax: +65 6222 1707



Natural ingredient may extend chocolate life

Vitiva, Slovenia, offers an ingredient that extends the shelf-life of chocolate products by up to 30 per cent. Chocolate products are generally prone to oxidation, particularly those containing high levels of milk or fat, making them deteriorate quickly. Vitivas Inolens 12 is an alternative to synthetic antioxidants because it uses all-natural ingredients and is allergen-free. The ready-to-use formulation is added to the fat during manufacturing, such as cocoa powder, sugar or powdered milk. Moreover, the ingredient can be added without altering the taste or smell of the chocolate product.

Inolens is a range of odour-reduced rosemary extracts that slow down the oxidation of foods. It is carnosic acid and antioxidant-based but the bitterness is considerably reduced and the rosemary flavour is mild making it suitable for a variety of products, without altering the taste. Vitivas other two rosemary extract lines are AquaRox, a water-soluble extract rich in rosmarinic acid aimed at supplements and nutraceuticals and Ursole, primarily for cosmetic uses. According to Vitiva, its full range of deodorized rosemary extracts is come in different concentrations. These pure extracts are soluble in oil or water, and are available in both powder and liquid forms.


Fortification of dairy products

Lipogen Ltd., based in Israel, has launched a delivery system for its Lipogen phosphatidylserine (PS) functional ingredient. The latest system is designed for fortification of yoghurt drinks and dairy milks. The company also offers advanced Lipogen PS milk powder, a PS formulation that can be easily applied in dairy premixes, blending or other milk processing.

Phosphatidylserine, found naturally in human breast milk, is essential for normal brain development and nerve functioning. It has been shown to have a role in slowing or even reversing some forms of age-related cognitive deteriorations, such as short-term memory and the inability to learn new tasks. Lipogen successfully developed its PS line of milk applications to use standard dairy production equipment and procedures. The inclusion of PS does not affect end product taste, texture or mouth-feel. In 2006, he United States Food and Drugs Administration had accorded Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status to Lipogen PS.

According to Mr. David Rutenberg, the CEO of Lipogen Ltd., the new delivery system for dairy milk products is equally important for use in child nutrition programmes in schools a significant part of campaigns by leading companies and governments to provide healthier and functional nutrition to children.

Contact: Mr. David Rutenberg, CEO, Lipogen Limited, Israel. Tel: +972 (544) 522 355; Fax: +972 (3) 5480 149; E-mail: info




ISO standard for food traceability

The International Standards Organization (ISO) recently issued a new standard that aims for traceability along the food chain. ISO 22005, the latest in ISOs series for the food and drink industry, sets out the general principles and basics essential to design and implement a traceability system along a processors supply chain. The standard uses the same definition of traceability as the Codex Alimentarius Commission and provides a complement for organizations implementing the ISO 22000 standard released in 2005.

Processors who achieve certification under the new ISO standard will be required to have systems in place to trace the flow of feed, food, ingredients and packaging into and out of their plants. Also, they should be able to identify the necessary documentation and tracking for each stage of production, ensure adequate coordination between the different actors involved, and require that each party be informed of at least his direct suppliers and clients. ISO also promotes the standard as a cost-saving measure, doing away with the need for multiple and sometimes conflicting schemes used by different players along a supply chain.


Precautionary principle left out

Codex Alimentarius has excluded the controversial precautionary tenet in its risk analysis standards, marking the end of a long battle between trade groups and the European Union. The final decision was made at Codexs recent meeting in Rome when the Working Principles for Risk Analysis for Food Safety for Application by Governments was finally adopted, excluding the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle would have allowed governments to take certain preventative measures for foods in cases where scientific evidence on the safety of the food is uncertain, seen by many organizations and governments as a tool to create unjustified trade barriers. The principle, which has already been established formally by the European Commission (EC/178/2002), granted food risk managers the ability to take measures to protect health if they feared that an unacceptable level of health risk exists.


Codex adopts additives at IADSAs advised levels

Nine additives widely used in food supplements have finally been adopted by Codex at the levels proposed by the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplements Associations (IADSA). IADSA Manager of Regulatory Affairs, Mr. David Pineda, states, The adoption of these additives will help to ensure free trade in dietary supplements across the world and encourage countries to change legislation that is not in conformity with these Codex standards. The list of additives, adopted as part of the official Codex General Standard for Food Additives, include castor oil (1,000 mg/kg), polysorbates (25,000 mg/kg), polyvinyl alcohol (45,000 mg/kg), acesulphame potassium (2,000 mg/kg), aspartame (5,500 mg/kg), cyclamates (1,250 mg/kg), neotame (90 mg/kg), saccharin (1,200 mg/kg) and sucralose (2,400 mg/kg). An additional 13 additives, including the sweetener aspartame-acesulphame salt and colours, are due to be considered for inclusion next year.


China issues new regulation on food safety

Chinas cabinet has publicized a special regulation on the supervision of food safety amid criticism, at both home and abroad, of the quality of food products made in China. The regulation issued by the State Council is aimed at intensifying the control over producers and distributors dealing with food products. Key points include:
  • Inspection and quarantine authorities, as well as commercial and drug supervisors, should establish positive and negative records for Chinese food exporters and submit all such records regularly to the media;
  • Local governments at county level and above are mainly responsible for the supervision of food product safety; and
  • Exporters who provide fake quality certificates or evade quality and quarantine inspections will be fined three times the products value.

The regulation also sets out rules pertaining to the supervision of imported food products.


New Chinese standard for mass-produced food fillings

The China General Chamber of Commerce has stated that a national production standard for food fillings is likely to be published by the end of this year. The standard will be applied to most mass-produced food with fillings that are consumed on a daily basis, such as buns, dumplings, cakes, bread and ice-cream. However, it will not cover handmade food fillings in restaurants and from vendors. Quick-frozen dumpling fillings are also not included in the list because of the wide variety and complexity of the fillings. The examination standards for food fillings coming off the production line have been drawn up. The products will be tested for smell, contamination, impurities and micro-organisms.


China amends food safety standards

The Chinese government has amended all food safety standards, according to the Standardization Administration of China (SAC) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. Changes have been made to 1,817 national standards for edible agricultural products and processed foods, whereas 208 standards have been abolished. Meanwhile, 2,588 standards established by the food industry, 6,949 standards set by local governments and more than 140,000 enterprise standards have been amended. At the end of last year, there were 1,965 national standards in total for food safety, among which 634 were mandatory standards. They were accompanied by 2,892 food industry standards to further ensure food safety. The government has drawn up mid- and long-term development plans for food safety standards and established 62 standardization technique commissions. By 2010, the average duration of food standards will be 4.5 years from the current 12 years.



Oxygen treatment to extend shelf-life

Researchers at the Volcani Centre, Israel, report that a week-long pre-treatment of organic produce with low levels of oxygen can extend shelf-life dramatically. The new technique could replace current methods, allowing processors to maintain the quality of the organic produce over a longer period. Moreover, it could also help reduce losses, eventually decreasing the high cost of organic fruits and vegetables supply. According to Ms. Edna Pesis who headed the team, 90 per cent of Granny Smith apples sealed in a low-oxygen atmosphere for seven days at 20C prior to cold storage were saved from the scald problem in addition to other physiological diseases after eight months of cold storage. All of the untreated apples were lost after eight months under the same conditions. Scalding refers to a type of chilling injury associated with prolonged cold storage. The technique can be tweaked for use with avocados, tomatoes and other organic produce.


Biopolymers extend probiotics shelf-life

EnCoate, a biopolymer company jointly owned by the New Zealand-based firms AgResearch and Balance Agri-Nutrients, is developing a line of biopolymer ingredients that will allow probiotics to be used in more foods than is presently possible. The new family of biopolymers is expected to stabilize probiotic microbes so that they can survive for long periods without refrigeration. EnCoate reports to have developed a technology that can stabilize the microbes so that they can be used to enhance foods such as breakfast cereals, infant milk powders and dog biscuits. The edible biopolymers can be added to food containing probiotic ingredients.


Food preservation systems

Paper-Pak Industries, the United States, offers a food preservation system that includes a multiphase bacterial inhibition food pad. The food pad incorporates absorbent media and/or material to absorb fluids emanating from the packaged food. The absorbent media/material includes one or more bacterial inhibitors that may possess bacteriostatic and/or bactericidal properties. In addition, the food pad could include an atmosphere modification system capable of modifying an atmosphere in a food package. Optionally, reaction promoters and/or mechanisms to protect the preservation system may also be appended. Overall, the food preservation system inhibits bacterial growth, thereby enhancing food preservation and/or food safety.


Foodstuff preservation

Lipton, the United States, is offering a natural microbicidal and/or microbiostatic composition wherein the sole antibiotic, microbicidal agent is natamycin (pimaricin), which inhibits or destroys yeast and mould in selected foodstuffs, including sauces, dressings, marinades, dairy products, spreads and margarines.

The novel composition is expected to have particularly good antimicrobial properties. Additionally, it is expected to be able to prolong food shelf-life by preventing food spoilage for a long period of time. Natamycin is used in the 10-500 ppm range to effect stability. The preservation technology can be used to effect microbiological stability and/or safety in beverages such as vegetable and fruit juices, herbal tea beverages, soft drinks or any other beverage distributed at ambient (or chilled) temperatures and requiring chemical preservations, a thermal process, strict chill chain control or other technology to prevent yeast and/or mould spoilage as well as the other systems mentioned.


Technology for milk preservation

Researchers at the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council have developed a package of technology for preserving the quality of raw milk to benefit milk producers and other stakeholders. Lactoperoxidase (LP) system is a naturally occurring chemical complex in milk that keeps bacterial multiplication down though hardly for 2-3 hours after milking. However, this activity/effect can be enhanced to 8-12 hours by activation of this system. The PARC technology uses specific chemicals (thiocyanate and hydrogen peroxide), added extraneously in very minute quantities (0.0015-0.0030 per cent) within 2 hours of milking in a specific manner. By doing so, the LP system is activated and thus effectively preserves milk for about 8-12 hours (depending upon initial milk quality and keeping conditions) even under hot and humid conditions. This technology has also been recommended by WHO/FAO for underdeveloped countries/areas without cold chain facility.


Extending the shelf-life of mango beverage

Of late, there has been a merging of dairy products and fruit beverage markets with the introduction of juiceuticals, which include hybrid products like fruit-based cultured milk beverages. Nutritive attributes of whey and a fruit are combined in these products to develop a delicious beverage. This provides a healthful blend of fruit, calcium and whey proteins. In India, the Karnal-based National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research has recently developed ingredients for the formulation of mango lassi, a fermented milk-based product. The NDRI researchers have also successfully extended the shelf-life of the mango lassi using bio-preservatives.

In India, lassi produced from curd is consumed widely as a fermented milk beverage. However, problems like short shelf-life, post acidification, and whey syneresis hinder the market saleability of lassi. Inclusion of mango pulp in lassi not only helps in value addition but also aids in reducing the post-harvest losses of mango. The optimum formulation conditions of milk fat, sugar and mango pulp per kilogram of curd have been identified. A good-quality, highly stable mango lassi with less than 1 per cent whey separation was produced using a blend of bio-stabilizers in combination with a small amount of pectin.

Contact: Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Krishi Anusandhan Bhawan II, Pusa Campus, New Delhi 110 012, India. Tel: +91 (11) 2584 3415/2284, ext. 1408; Fax: +91 (11) 2584 2660




Direct-steam injection cooking

EuroPeg, a direct-steam injection cooking trial system based at Berief Innovativ, Germany, is the European trial system of renowned RotaTherm continuous cooking system manufactured by Gold Peg International, Australia. The EuroPeg system forward-feeds and cooks with direct-steam injection, and has cooling options indirect, vacuum flash de-aeration, or a combination of the two. The direct-steam injection cooking of Rotatherm continuous cooker ensures no product burn-on, excellent viscosity management, consistently superior product quality and formulation flexibility, with pause capability.

EuroPeg can cook up to 140C, with throughput rates of about 500-1,500 kg/h, and cool to 25C. Trial results are scalable to production. Rotatherm cooking systems are available in configurations for aseptic, UHT and pasteurization, with throughput rates of 50-7,500 kg/h for production and R&D. Contact: Gold Peg International Pty. Ltd., Australia. Tel: +61 (3) 8531 2999; Fax: +61 (3) 8531 2988



New technology for continuous low-pressure product conveying

Standard-Knapp, a leader in the manufacture of innovative packaging machinery, has introduced its Zero-Gap II Infeed complete product conveyor assembly. Engineered to eliminate line jams during the packaging process, Zero-Gap II uses electronic sensors to monitor and control product movement, thus maintaining a constant low line pressure and maximizing machine uptime. A flexible design and gentle handling capabilities make the Zero-Gap II ideal for applications in the soft drink, beer, wine, food and household product industries.
Installed between the upstream product conveyor and the original infeed of the machine, the Zero-Gap II distributes product from a nested pattern into multiple lanes. As these lanes fill and product accumulates in the low-pressure area, electronic population sensors signal the conveyor to increase its speed, thereby maintaining balance. Each of these lanes continues to carry the product downstream where the lanes begin to narrow and line up with the machines individual lane guides.


Sorter weeds out coffee rejects

The Swiss group Buhler offers a new machine that is reported to be the first to sort reject materials from coffee beans by colour and shape. Sortex Z+, which allows coffee processors to classify beans simultaneously by shape as well as colour, shows promise of improving coffee quality on line. According to Buhler, previously it was possible to distinguish defects in coffee beans only by optical colour sorting, whereas the removal of any foreign material of the same colour as the accept product, like brown sticks in roasted coffee, had to be done mechanically or manually.

Sortex Z+ utilizes the companys PROfile shape sorting technology to simultaneously identify reject material by both shape and colour. The machine can also connect by phone to Buhlers Z-Anyware service, allowing engineers to assess performance remotely.


Mix without stirring

Researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia, have developed a new method for the mixing and heat exchange of highly viscous liquids without the use of traditional stirrers. RAMeX is twice as effective as traditional mixers and uses about five times less energy. The performance improvements have been possible as RAMeX operates without the use of stirrers, impellers and plates. Advanced mathematical simulations were used in the development of the prototype that, following successful trials, is now ready for commercialization.

During trials, according to the developers, the RAMeX produced homogenous heating or cooling through a smaller heat exchange unit and at a rate faster than can be matched by typical mixers using shell-in-tube (jackets) or annular (tube-in-tube) heat exchangers. Suitable for batch mixing and in-line continuous mixing, the simple design of the RAMeX eliminates the need for internal baffles and plates incorporated in static mixers that generate large pressure drops and energy use.


Automated machine to meet changing market demands

Tetra Pak has introduced a moulding machine that automates the production of multilayer ice-cream products, including sherbet and fruit-juice sticks. Hoyer Rollo IM was designed in response to changing market demands favouring quick changeovers. The new machine is available in two models capable of generating 15,000 or 30,000 stick novelties per hour. It targets the high-capacity schedule for manufacturing such goods, according to Tetra Pak, aiming to provide companies with a slim and easy to assemble machine that is controlled from one central panel. The moulds are also cleaned after each production cycle a feature specifically designed for use in the creation of multilayer goods.


Research-scale high-pressure processing system

Avure Technologies, the United States, offers the QFP 2L-700 laboratory food processing system to meet the research and feasibility testing needs of processors, universities and R&D labs. The compact yet highly functional unit closely replicates a high-volume production environment. The water medium in the 2 litre vessel can be pressurized up to 100,000 psi (690 MPa), with temperature control from 10C to 90C. This broad processing range allows for both microbiological and food functionality studies in which the effects of direct and adiabatic heating can be evaluated. The results obtained are directly scalable to all of Avures larger commercial food processing systems.

The QFP 2L-700 features precise computer control of the full range of pressure and temperature parameters, with data acquisition for test cycle analysis and comparisons. Safety enhancement features include leak-before-break pressure vessel technology and threadless end closures.

Contact: Ms. Glenn Hewson, Avure Technologies, 22408 66th Avenue South, Kent, WA 98032, United States of America. Fax: +1 (253) 981 6229




Consistent hygienic mixing for fruit drink blender

The fruit juice blender David Berryman Limited, Dunstable, United Kingdom, has invested in an all-stainless steel, high-shear mixer with a Marlin stainless motor, from the Ytron and Quadro range of Quadra Engineering, Canada. David Berryman Ltd. is at the forefront of its field and is very much involved with the introduction of new products and fruits to the drinks market. Current examples include work with fruits such as Goji and Acai berries and the production of juice drinks for a health food company, Julian Graves. This is in addition to their involvement in the supply of close to 30-40 per cent of the juice and soft drink products found on the shelves of supermarkets in the United Kingdom.

The Ytron-Y ByPass incorporates an integral feed chute that delivers ingredients directly to the mixing head below the liquid level. This ensures that ingredients are instantly wetted, suspended or dissolved to achieve a truly homogeneous mix. It is equally effective for both dry ingredients and liquids, even highly viscous ones, with the negative pressure created by the rotating mixer head helping to draw the ingredients into the mix.

Contact: Marlin Stainless, Electra Way, Crewe, Cheshire CW1 6GL, the United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1270) 270 022.


Malt beverage process

John Labatt Ltd. offers a process for the production of a non-alcoholic malt beverage, the conditions of which favour minimization of undesirable aldehyde flavourants while avoiding any substantial ethanol production. The cold contact process comprises the steps of preparing a boiled malt wort of about 12-20 Plato and acidifying the wort through the addition of an edible acid, to a pH of greater than 4.0 but less than 4.6. To this acidified wort is added an amount of about 25-75 per cent wet-packed yeast slurry suspended in a freshly harvested regularly brewed, barm beer. The slurry is added in adequate portions to produce a yeast cell concentration in the resulting wort/slurry mixture, of about 40-80 million yeast cells/ml thereof. The yeast and the wort are held in contact in the mixture for 10-30 hours at a temperature of 0-7C. The resulting beverage is then aged after separating the wort from all but 0.5-2 million yeast cells/ml of the separated wort. The resulting product may be organoleptically supplemented with beer ester flavours to produce an ester and beer-flavour supplemented mixture that is then diluted with water to make a non-alcoholic malt beverage.


Sugars and acids-rich juice and phytochemical-rich juice

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., the United States, has patented a method for processing fruit or vegetables into two different juices: one with a relatively high level of phytochemicals and low level of sugars and acids, and the other with a relatively low level of phytochemicals and a high level of sugars and acids.

The method entails providing three juice streams. The first juice stream is passed through an ultrafiltration or similar apparatus for preferentially separating the relatively lower molecular weight compounds from the higher molecular weight compounds. This yields two juice fractions one relatively high in sugars and acids and the other is relatively high in phytochemicals. The second juice stream is combined with the juice fraction that is high in sugars and acids to create a juice that has relatively high levels of sugars and acids but a low level of phytochemicals. The third juice stream is combined with the juice fraction that is relatively enriched in phytochemicals to create a juice that has a high level of phytochemicals but relatively low levels of sugars and acids.



Non-carbonated filling line

Zhangjiagang City Fanchang Machinery Co. Ltd., China, offers a three-in-one machine, for PET bottles, that integrates the functions of rinsing, filling and capping. Based on advanced technology, CGF14-12-5 is custom-designed according to the filling requirements. The machine incorporates a 1.5 kW main motor and the production capacity for 500 ml bottles is 5,000-6,000 bottles/hour.

Contact: Mr. Polcon, Zhangjiagang City Fanchang Machinery Co. Ltd., Wukesong Road, Sanxing, Jinfeng Town, Zhangjiagang City, Jiangsu Province 215624, China. Tel: +86 (512) 5691 8677; Fax: +86 (512) 5691 8655.


Nano wheels improve food packaging

In Germany, researchers led by Mr. Sigurd Hoger at the Bonn University have used nanotechnology to develop a molecule shaped like a wagon wheel. This breakthrough could help in the production of improved food packaging materials bottles and materials that lighter and stronger, with better thermal performance and less gas absorption, can be produced. Materials with these enhanced properties can extend the shelf-life of products, as well as lower the transportation costs involved in shipping food.

According to researchers, the hub, spokes and rim of the highly symmetric structure are clearly recognizable in images obtained using scanning tunnelling microscope. Two-dimensional particles, such as inorganic alumina platelets, are used as fillers for plastics because they impart excellent mechanical properties to these materials. In the next step, researchers will attempt to grow these little wheels bit by bit by adding more building blocks onto the rim.


Palladium insert to scavenge O2

Emco Packaging Systems, the United Kingdom, has developed a palladium insert for more efficient scavenging of oxygen (O2) in packages or filled bottles. However, the insert has to be used in a modified atmosphere gas mix containing hydrogen. The palladium uses hydrogen to bind the oxygen present in the head-space of a package or filled bottle, creating water. According to Mr. John Hirst, Emcos managing director, the palladium keeps working until all of the hydrogen is used up. The water formed from the process is held trapped between a gas-permeable membrane and a plastic substrate placed in the bottle caps.

Emco developed its palladium insert by designing a method to anchor the metal into a substrate and cover it with a gas-permeable membrane. The membrane is then attached to a plastic base using radio frequency welding. The whole wad can then be fitted into the cap of a bottle, or put into a package.


Form-fill-sealer with improved cycle speeds

In the United Kingdom, Quin Systems and Endoline have announced the availability of a compact case packing and erecting machine capable of handling 100 picks and 20 cases per minute. Combining Quin Systems revolutionary RThetaTM high-speed picking head with Endolines 220 series of case erectors, the new Versapack provides a complete, versatile end-of-line packaging solution inside a small 1,800 1,750 mm footprint. It provides new options for high-speed packing where automation had hitherto not been possible or economical. Versapack offers installers a flexible choice of layout options, from straight in-line through 90 to reverse case flow, with infeed module options available for rigid and flexible packs. Applications include roll-wrapped biscuits, flow-wrapped wet-wipes and cartoned ready meals.

Contact: Quin Systems Ltd., Oaklands Business Centre, Oaklands Park, Wokingham, Berkshire RG41 2FD, United Kingdom. Tel: + 44 (118) 9771 077; Fax: +44 (118) 9776 728.


Polymer opal films shed light on spoiled foods

Scientists at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and the Deutsches Kunststoff-Institut (DKI), Germany, have developed a flexible plastic film that can be used in food packaging applications. The new polymer opal films use nanotechnology to change colour, a quality that can be exploited to indicate when foods get spoiled. The films have the potential to help food manufacturers prevent recalls and food contamination incidents from affecting their brands.

The films combine natural and man-made optical effects thereby enabling objects to change their colour precisely. The polymer opal films belong to a class of materials known as photonic crystals, which comprise many tiny repeating units. Photonic crystals, used in fibre optic telecommunications, are being considered as a potential replacement to toxic and expensive dyes used for colouring objects from clothes to buildings. Yet much of their commercial potential has yet to be realized because the colours in man-made films made from photonic crystals depend strongly on the angle of view.


Automatic sealing equipment

Humber VHB, a grower of top-quality tomatoes in the United Kingdom, has been meeting seasonal demand by hiring high-specification, automatic packaging equipment. This strategy has succeeded in controlling costs and reducing product waste. Working with the leading packaging equipment manufacturer Packaging Automation Ltd., Humber VHB has upgraded from a semi-automatic PA182 tray sealer to a fully automatic system. Vision 182 is a compact, in-line, automatic machine for heat-sealing reel-fed film lids to pre-formed trays and containers. It packs the tomatoes into clear, pre-formed plastic trays and applies a clear plastic film to which standard, printed self-adhesive labels are applied. The complete line includes a transfer conveyor, check-weighers and a print-and-apply labelling system.

Designed for manufacturers automating existing semi-automatic production lines, the Vision 182 provides quick tool changes, PLC control, an easy-to-use touch screen, menu-driven operation and self-diagnostics for error reporting. The Vision 182 can be equipped with a variable length chain conveyor, tray de-nesters, autofillers, labeller and date code printer facilities.

Contact: MPI Australia, P.O. Box 6530, Silverwater NSW 2128, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 9648 3011; Fax: +61 (2) 9648 3282.



Handbook of Food Preservation

Processing of food is no longer simple or straightforward but is a highly interdisciplinary science now. A number of new techniques have been developed to extend shelf-life, minimize risk, protect the environment and improve functional, sensory and nutritional properties. This second edition of the Handbook of Food Preservation emphasizes practical, cost-effective and safe strategies for implementing preservation techniques. It dissects the exact mode or mechanism involved in each method by highlighting the effects on the foods properties. The book presents comprehensive preservation methods based on chemical and microbiological additives, such as fermentation and pH lowering agents.

Food and Beverage Fermentation Technology

The handbook presents a comprehensive overview and examines a wide range of starter cultures and manufacturing procedures for popular alcoholic beverages and bakery, dairy, meat, cereal, soya and vegetable food products. An international panel of experts from government, industry and academia provide an in-depth review of micro-organisms, fermentation history, quality assurance practices and manufacturing guidelines.

This guide focuses on the quality of the final food product, flavour formation and new advances in starter cultures for dairy fermentations utilizing recent examples that depict the main species used, their traits and impact on the development of other fermented foods. With approximately 2,300 references for further exploration, this is a valuable resource for food scientists, technologists, microbiologists, toxicologists and processors.

For the above two publications, contact: CRC Press LLC, 6000 Broken Sound Parkway, NW, (Suite 300), Boca Raton, FL 33487, United States of America. Tel: +1 (561) 994 0555; Fax: +1 (561) 989 9732.


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