VATIS Update Food Processing . Jan-Mar 2012

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Food Processing Jan-Mar 2012

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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India to establish National Mission on food processing

In his budget proposals for the fiscal year 2012-2013, India’s Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee has proposed setting up a National Mission on Food Processing in cooperation with state governments in following fiscal year to provide a much-needed thrust to the sector. India lags the world in the food processing sector, and vegetables and fruits worth around Rs 440 billion are lost annually owing to lack of proper infrastructure and facilities.

In the past 5 years, the food processing sector has been growing at an average of over 8 per cent per year. Budgetary allocation for the sector has been fixed at Rs 6.6 billion for the fiscal year, up from Rs 6 billion for 2011-2012. Under the proposed Mission, the state governments will set up food processing units on a large scale, and the union government will provide them with technological and logistical support, Mr. Rakesh Kacker, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, said. The states will receive assistance from the union government for technology upgrading, skill development, promotional activities and setting up non-horticultural cold storages, the Secretary added. He said that a draft of the scheme has been approved and actual work on it would start from July-August 2012.

Sri Lanka sets up its first food certification company

Sri Lanka has established its first-ever food certification firm with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Ind-Expo Certification Ltd. and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). This initiative of the Colombo office of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) was inaugurated by Minister of Industry and Commerce Mr. Rishad Bathiudeen on 28 March 2012 in Colombo. Ind-Expo Certification is a non-profit private firm for food certification that was formed by the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries and the National Chamber of Exporters. It monitors local food quality using standards administered by the Chartered Institute of Environment Health (CIEH) of the United Kingdom.

The project, which will be will be under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, has received US$1.33 million funding from the Government of Norway through UNIDO. It aims to promote food safety within the chain of tourist hotels in Sri Lanka, and Ind-Expo Certification, along with SLTDA, will implement the food safety inspection and grading system to guarantee food safety to the customers.

China to launch food safety programme

According to Mr. Sun Pishu, CEO of the Chinese information technology company Inspur Group Co. Ltd. and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, those who buy food throughout China will be soon able to know immediately where it comes from, which company made it and even how it was produced. Mr. Sun said China is set have a national electronic food-safety tracking system in place by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15), helping to make food safer and market regulation easier. “It is so hard to control food quality without the use of technology. Without food-tracking technology, we will hardly be able even to monitor a piece of pork,” he said.

The planned food-tracking system will use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) wireless technology that can be used to check the identity of almost everything and make counterfeiting difficult. The system will bring about several changes in the food industry. When food is produced, it will be given a bar code that will follow it until a customer purchases it. The customer, using a bar-code reader, can then discover various information about the product – including its place of origin, producer, date and seller – Mr. Sun said. While the company has worked with local governments to test food-tracking systems in Shandong and Shanxi provinces, those systems can only be used to track a few types of foods.

“We carried out a survey showing that after customers were able to track food, the food began selling better than before,” Mr. Sun said. Because of the prevalence of small farmers and food producers in the country, it will take time to establish a nation-wide system, he remarked. China has more than 200 million farmers producing raw agricultural products, and about 90 per cent of the country’s 400,000 food processing companies are either small or medium sized, according to Mr. Li Rong, an expert from the Office for Public Health Management under the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nepal to employ mobile lab to test food adulteration

Nepal’s Department of Food Technology and Quality Control is set to operate a mobile lab for on-the-spot-test of food items, in an effort to control adulterated food in the country. The mobile lab is a simple laboratory, which enables the food technician to immediately test food adulteration through simple chemical tests. The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control’s Senior Food Officer Mr. Pramod Koirala said that the Department will operate a mobile lab from May 2012 onwards to check the quality of food. “It will make the Department more efficient and it will be easier to take legal action against adulteration,” he added.

According to the Department’s report for 2010-11, bottled water, edible oil, milk, ghee (clarified butter), fruit squash and chickpea flour are often contaminated. The annual growth in adulteration is reported to have touched 20 per cent in 2010-11. The Department has received a mobile lab from United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). UNIDO has also provided technical training to the food inspectors.

USAID assists food processors in the Philippines

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) intends to extend its five-year Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) programme in the Mindanao province of the Philippines that concludes in December 2012. GEM programme is implemented in partnership with Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) to increase product competitiveness of Mindanao food processors in both domestic and export markets, as well as time penetrate more international markets. “We understand that the American government is likely to continue (its) assistance to high-value crops and aquaculture in Western Mindanao,” USAID’s GEM programme Chief of Party Mr. Ross Wherry said. Eastern Mindanao is now quite well developed for fruits, vegetables and aquaculture products, he added.

GEM programme works with industry federations, grower associations and business support organizations to increase domestic sales and exports of selected high-value agricultural commodities from Mindanao. Mr. Wherry said the programme has been assisting Mindanao food processing firms to acquire the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification. This is in line with the programme’s goal of expanding the export of selected high-value commodities grown by small-holder producers in the region. The programme also showcases Philippine products in the international markets through international trade shows. In addition, it works with the value chain, particularly Mindanao food marketers and producers, to enable them better understand various international quality standards, Mr. Wherry said.

Thailand plans big boost to food exports

Thailand expects its exports of farm produce and processed food to rise to one trillion baht (US$31.5 billion) in 2012, the Industry Minister Mr. Pongsawat Svasti said at a recent seminar in Bangkok. In 2011, the country’s exports of farm produce and processed food were valued at 580 billion baht (US$18.3 billion). The Minister said that the world demand for food will increase 150 per cent in the coming ten years while food production globally will decline due to the world’s changing climate. Production quality, storage and product delivery will also be affected. As a result, many countries are paying more attention to food security issues. The Minister said that Thailand will adopt the Netherlands’ Food Valley project approach to develop the Thai food processing industry and increase value of its food products. The government has allocated a start-up budget of 80 million baht (US$2.5 million) to run the project during 2012-2013.

The first four-year phase of Thailand Food Valley will designate proper areas in each region and develop networks of food industry entrepreneurs, as well as develop the production system up to international standards. Thailand Food Valley is a proactive approach of Thai food industries to penetrate the ASEAN market, he remarked.

Move to increase processed foods availability

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a US$15 million loan to Natore Agro, a subsidiary of food processing group PRAN, Bangladesh, to expand production capacity, create 1,800 rural jobs and integrate small farmers into retail supply chains. PRAN’s latest expansion is in response to a growth in demand for packaged food products from both domestic and export markets. IFC’s continued support to the group is claimed to help increase the availability of affordable, quality food products, while ensuring that farmers receive a fair price for their produce.

The project will source vegetables, fruits and other inputs directly from over 1,700 small farmers, positively impacting their livelihoods. “In addition to providing a long-term loan, IFC’s advisory support to PRAN will allow it to compete better globally as it looks to expand its presence in foreign markets,” said Mr. Vipul Prakash, IFC Director of Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services in Asia. “This is the first financing supported by the Private Sector Window of the Global Agricultural Food Security Programme.”

Japan funds food safety project in Viet Nam

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided US$4.66 million to a project in Viet Nam to improve the safety of agricultural and seafood products. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the US$5.1 million project is being carried out by the Department of Management of Agro-Forestry and Aquatic Quality from December 2011-December of 2014. Under the project, Vietnamese staff specialized in agricultural and seafood products safety will attend training courses in Viet Nam and Japan to improve their capacity for inspection and in analytical tests. Japanese experts will also help upgrade laboratory processes and build a national food safety inspection programme.

Nepal’s agro goods imports increase

Nepal imported raw and processed agro commodities worth Rs 79.89 billion (US$891,760 million) in fiscal year 2010-2011, 24 per cent more than in 2009-10, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC) data. Import figures over the last couple of years suggest that the import of agro commodities is gradually increasing in the country. Experts attribute the rising imports to inadequate supply of raw materials for domestic industries. “Domestic production is unable to meet the growing demand import has jumped notably,” said Mr. Ratnakar Adhikari, a trade expert. “Growing demand for differentiated products from increasingly sophisticated consumers could also be seen along with the growth of integrated supply chains such as departmental stores in urban areas.”

Vegetable products, prepared foodstuffs, oils and their derived products, cereals, edible vegetables, edible fruits and nuts, live animals, maize, betel nuts and dairy produce are the country’s top ten imported agro commodities. The Ministry data show that raw and processed vegetable products top the list of agro commodities imported – worth Rs 26.09 billion (US$291,040 million) in the last fiscal year, an increment of 24 per cent compared with the previous year. Processed foodstuff, including beverages and spirits, was the next highest, amounting to Rs 16.48 billion (US$183,860 million), compared with Rs 13.16 billion (US$ 146,730 million) in 2009-2010. Edible oil – both crude and refined –came third in terms of import value, amounting to Rs 13.88 billion (US$ 154,850 million), more than 12 per cent jump over previous year’s Rs 12.20 billion (US$ 136,110 million).

Priority loans for small farmers, food processing

In a bid to help small farmers and businesses in the country access bank finance, a panel set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recommended that foreign banks’ priority lending should be at the rate of 40 per cent, same as that of Indian banks. It has also suggested focussed lending to small farmers and micro-enterprises that are excluded from formal financial channels. The panel has advised that food and agro-based processing units with initial investment in plant and machinery up to Rs 200 million (US$3.57 million) be made eligible for priority loans and that there be no ceiling for loans for units that process perishable agriculture produce.

The panel has also suggested that agriculture and allied activities be clubbed within the priority sector, removing the distinction between direct and indirect agriculture lending. The report notes that small and marginal farmers who constitute more than 80 per cent of the total farmer households in the country face exclusion from formal financial channels. Consequently, the panel recommended a 50 per cent sub-target for small and marginal farmers within the lending for agriculture and allied activities, equivalent to 9 per cent of adjusted net bank credit (ANBC) or credit equivalent of off-balance sheet exposure (CEOBE), whichever is higher to be achieved in stages by 2015-2016.

Stressing the importance of agriculture and small-scale sectors and their potential to generate employment, the panel has suggested that domestic scheduled commercial banks continue to lend 40 per cent of their ANBC or CEOBE, whichever is higher, to the priority sector. All foreign banks, the report says, “are expected to comply with the priority sector target or sub-targets as applicable to domestic banks”. However, foreign banks operating in the country as locally incorporated and wholly owned subsidiary of parent bank would be required to meet the priority sector lending requirements on par with domestic scheduled commercial banks.


Draft law on agri-food safety put online

China plans to set up a strict law on the management of genetically modified (GM) food in response to nationwide apprehensions about the safety of GM agricultural products. The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council posted on its website the draft of a new grain law, inviting public comments. The move is seen as a major step by the national government to address safety concerns on GM food. In 2009, the Ministry of Agriculture had issued bio-safety certificates to two strains of pest-resistant GM rice and corn in what was considered a key development in promoting research and planting of GM crops. The certificates triggered worries and queries among the public and professionals since the safety of GM technology has not been verified in many countries. The draft new law covers all activities related to GM seeds, including research, field trials, production, sales, imports and exports. It forbids the use GM technology to develop principle grain cultivars without prior approval.

Apart from dealing with aspects of GM agri-products, the new law also covers other aspects of food safety. Producers are forbidden from processing grain with mildew, or contaminated by pesticide residue or heavy metals. Contaminated vehicles and packing materials are banned from grains transportation. The production, circulation and sale of edible vegetable oil will also be under scrutiny, as it is a daily necessity for most people, the draft said.

The draft holds provincial-level governments responsible for regional production, circulation, storage and regulations enforcement to ensure quality and supplies. To ensure market order, the draft bans traders from spreading rumours, manipulating prices, monopolizing the market or cheating customers.

Viet Nam strengthens food safety assurance

Viet Nam aims to control food safety in the whole food supply chain by 2020, while actively protecting health and safety interests of consumers. However, cases of transporting and trading of tainted, rotten or smuggled foods in large quantities have been detected frequently. As these cases are just a small part of unhygienic foods in circulation, the country has prioritized the strengthening of food safety management system and food safety assurance in production, trading and processing facilities.

The Prime Minister has issued a decision on the National Strategy on Food Safety for the 2011-2020 period with a vision up to 2030. The strategy points out that ensuring food safety is ensuring interests of consumers and health of people. One of the five specific targets set in the strategy is improving knowledge and practice about food safety for certain groups. Specifically, by 2015, 70 per cent of foodstuff producers, processors and traders, 80 per cent of managers (including the leaders of relevant ministries and sectors), and 70 per cent of consumers will have right practice and knowledge about food safety.

Another target is improving capacity of the food safety management system. By 2015, all large foodstuff production and processing facilities, 40 per cent of catering service providers and 80 per cent of collective kitchens will be provided food safety certificates. Meanwhile, all supermarkets and half of official markets will be monitored in terms of food safety. The Prime Minister has asked the Health Ministry to coordinate with other ministries and sectors to instruct the implementation of the strategy.

Certification gains market access for Sri Lankan food sector

In Sri Lanka’s former eastern war zone, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the food processing sector have received certification with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which will help them gain better market access. “Certified food producers enjoy improved access to supermarkets and other outlets, resulting in higher sales and profits, and more secure jobs for employees,” said a statement from the United States Embassy. However, many SMEs in Sri Lanka think certification is beyond their reach and too costly.

“The aim of this initiative was to encourage SME certification by clarifying its benefits and explaining how it is acquired,” explained Mr. James F. Bednar, Mission Director, USAID Sri Lanka. USAID recently helped three food producers in eastern Trincomalee to get certificates for good manufacturing practices under the Sri Lanka Standards Code for food hygiene. Over 30 SMEs attended a recent USAID-supported seminar on “Increasing Market Access by Upgrading Your Business with Required Standards”.


Zapping Salmonella with gold particles

Scientists have described development and successful testing of a test that identifies Salmonella contamination in raw food in 5 minutes, where other conventional tests take up to 72 hours. Dr. Paresh C. Ray, who led the research, explains that the test fulfils an urgent need for a faster way to detect Salmonella, especially the multiple-drug resistant (MDR) strains that cause the most serious disease in both food and drinking water. “It does not take a trained laboratory technician to perform the test or read the results. If the colour changes from pink to bluish, that signals the presence of Salmonella. The test is suitable for use in farm fields and in remote areas of the developing world,” he said.

To find the bacteria faster, Dr. Ray and colleagues at Jackson State University, the United States, used gold nanoparticles. The researchers attached antibodies, molecules similar to the ones that help the immune system fight infections with Salmonella, to the nanoparticles. When these antibodies encounter Salmonella bacteria, they attach to the outer surface of the bacteria, carrying along their cargo of gold nanoparticles. This nanoparticle-antibody package is much smaller than an individual Salmonella bacterium, and several attach to each bacterium. The test, with its pink-to-blue colour change, detects the gold nanoparticle-antibody-Salmonella aggregates.

The approach also has potential for killing MDR Salmonella, Dr. Ray claimed. “When you shine the right wavelength of light into contaminated water, for instance, the gold nanoparticles absorb that light and heat up,” he explained. Those hot particles burn through the external membrane of Salmonella, killing the bacteria. The gold nanoparticles are popcorn-shaped, as the shape boosts the signal for detection using Raman spectroscopy, which looks at the light given off after atoms or molecules absorb energy. The splayed ends of the popcorn shape enhance the signal and make it easier to see.

Infrared heating for pasteurizing almonds

Giving almonds a burst of infrared heat, followed by a stint of hot-air roasting, helps make sure these tasty, healthful nuts remain safe to eat. That is according to studies by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) engineer Mr. Zhongli Pan and microbiologist Ms. Maria T. Brandl, who have dubbed this almond pasteurizing technique “Sequential Infrared and Hot Air” (SIRHA). Findings from their laboratory experiments show that this chemical-free process offers a simple, energy-efficient, relatively economical and environmentally friendly way to reduce Salmonella enterica populations to levels generally recognized as safe. Mr. Pan and Ms. Brandl work at the Western Regional Research Centre of USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The idea of using infrared heating to kill germs is not new. However, studies that Mr. Pan, Ms. Brandl and their colleagues carried out are likely the most comprehensive investigations on using infrared heating to pasteurize almonds and knock down Salmonella. According to results from dozens of volunteer taste-testers who participated in these studies, infrared heating does not detectably alter almond’s mild taste, smooth texture, attractive appearance or other characteristics. With further work, SIRHA should be easy to scale up for industrial use, Mr. Pan reports.

Better analysis methods for Vitamin D

At the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Centre of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS), researchers design, develop and improve analytical methods for the measurement of nutritional components in the food supply. The Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory of the Centre is using new spectrometry methods to discover compounds in foods that have not been documented before.

To correctly assess the intakes of nutrients in people, it is critical to have accurate data on the amount of minerals and vitamins in the food supply. Chemist Mr. Craig Byrdwell has pioneered new, highly precise methods for analysing vitamin D in foods and dietary supplements. Mr. Byrdwell found that there are many ways in which multiple instruments that measure molecules can be put to use in parallel to provide much more information about food samples than single instruments used alone. “Triple-parallel mass spectrometry” – three mass spectrometers, operating in parallel but in different modes – is one of Mr. Byrdwell’s techniques. Mr. Byrdwell’s experiments have also shown that two systems for separating molecules (liquid chromatographs) can be used in combination to analyse complex food samples for vitamin D and its metabolites.

New test to identify groundnut allergy

Researchers at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne, Australia, have identified a novel, accurate way to test for groundnut (peanut) allergy. The test will be more cost-effective and convenient than any standard approach. Currently, an oral food challenge is the standard for diagnosing groundnut allergy, and while an oral food challenge is definitive in diagnosing patients, it is time-consuming, costly and patients risk severe reactions such as anaphylaxis.

The new test employs part of the groundnut protein called ‘Arah2’ and involves a two-step screening process. Researchers found they could perform a blood test, followed by the Arah2 test, which was more accurate and highly predictive than using one of the tests alone. They found the two-step testing reduced the need for oral food challenges by four-fold. They say the test would also help minimize over-diagnosis, and reduce the number of patients requiring referral to specialist services for confirmation of food allergy.

Diagnosis of groundnut allergy can be complicated in cases where the clinical history is not clear or in children who have not yet been exposed to a food. Researchers say that the ‘Arah2’ two-step process could be used in children with high risk of food allergy, such as those with eczema and other food allergies, as well as for those who haven’t eaten groundnuts but have a strong family history of food allergy.

Microwave treatment removes Salmonella

Water-assisted microwave treatment of fresh vegetables can significantly decrease the presence of Salmonella typhimurium, say researchers at the Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Mexico. The study led by Ms. Maria E. Sosa-Morales, aimed at developing microwave treatments to inactivate Salmonella on vegetables, without affecting their sensory or physical characteristics.

For the study, the researchers immersed jalapeño peppers and coriander foliage in a litre of water that contained 1 mL of Salmonella-inoculated triptycase soy broth (TSB) for a period of 15 minutes to ensure bacterial growth on the vegetables. The vegetables were then drained under sterile environment, immersed in water and treated in a domestic microwave oven at 950 W to reach 63°C. The jalapeño peppers were exposed for 25 seconds and coriander foliage for 10 seconds. After microwave heating, the samples were cooled in water at 4°C and evaluated using a confocal microscope.

The researchers found that microwave exposure led to a reduction of 4-5 log cycles on the Salmonella population, a microbiologically safe level. While the treatment affected the colour of vegetables, as darkening was noted in jalapeño peppers and loss of greenness in coriander foliage, the firmness and sensory characteristics remained the same.

Rapid, mobile food safety test system

China Health Labs & Diagnostics Ltd., China, has launched the BK Food Safety Rapid Test System, or BK-iRT, which is a compact, easy-to-operate, rapid and mobile food safety test system. BK-iRT is able to conduct over 60 types of tests and consists of a physicochemical detection module, a pathogenic bacteria identification module, a biotoxin detection module, and an information management module.

BK-iRT was designed such that it can be transported in a small car and used by teams of health safety officers. Another target market for the BK-iRT is food safety monitoring for cafeterias and canteens in universities, offices, etc. BK-iRT – designed to sample and test food products on site – integrates sample treatment, detection and information management in a mobile, user-friendly system. It is also equipped with a 3G telecommunication module to transmit data and communicate with a network of mobile and stationary labs. Contact: Ms. Judyanna Chen, Chief Financial Officer, China Health Labs & Diagnostics Ltd., North American Investor Relations, The Exchange Tower, PO Box 427, 130 King Street West, Suite 1800, Toronto, ON M5X 1E3, Canada. Tel: +1 (416) 865 3351; Fax: +1 (416) 865 3352; E-mail:


New method to make a meat substitute

Production of meat is complicated, costly and not eco-friendly: fattened animals have to consume 5-8 kg of grain just to generate 1 kg of meat. It would be simpler and more sustainable if one were to make cutlets without the detour through the animal’s body. There are plants that are suitable for the production of meat substitute products, and researchers in the European Union project “LikeMeat” have studied what they are, and how they could be incorporated into a product that tastes and looks like meat. Researchers are developing a method to prepare a vegetarian meat substitute that not only tastes good, but is also environmentally sustainable. Mr. Florian Wild, a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, Germany, is spearheading the project, with cooperation from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria, the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands and 11 small- and medium-sized food companies.

“Our goal is to develop a vegetable surrogate for meat that is both juicy and fibrous, but one that also has a pleasant flavour. The product should have a long shelf-life, it should not be more expensive than meat, and be suitable for vegetarians and allergy sufferers,” explained Mr. Wild. The ingredients originate from the land: wheat and peas, lupins and soybeans. Conventional methods of mixing plant proteins with a little water and heating them under high pressure proved to be useless. Mr. Wild and his co-researchers used a new process specially developed for meat substitutes: The main ingredients – water and plant proteins – are brought to a boil and then slowly cooled down. As the temperature sinks, the protein molecules start to form a fibrous structure that is quite similar to that of meat.

The prototype of the new vegetarian cutlet factory is currently located in the IVV laboratory. The system is no larger than two table tennis tables. It can produce an endless piece of meat, approximately 1 cm thick, that can be shaped as desired. The research team is currently able to produce 300 to 500 kg per day of the meat substitute. However, there is still a little work to be done on the flavour, which the project team homes to achieve in one year.

Sugar beet extract could stabilize food pigment

Pectin derived from sugar beet improves the formation and stability of anthocyanin-based blue pigments, which may help food companies to use natural blue colours, according to a recent study conducted at the Hohenheim University in Germany. The researchers evaluated the ability of sugar beet pectin (SBP) and a pectic polysaccharide fraction (PPF) of low molecular weight, derived from sugar beet, in stabilizing anthocyanin-based blue pigments.

The researchers found that in low acid liquids and gelled food models, the colour changes were more prominent when PPF was added to anthocyanin-containing solutions, on comparison with model solutions based on commercial SBP. They propose that this may be due to higher levels of aluminium and iron, which catalyse and stabilize the colour shift. The research also showed that highly purified anthocyanin extracts without colourless polyphenols and citric acid had the strongest shifts and average blue colour stability at pH 5.0 in model solutions with PPF.

The researchers said that, for the first time, the study demonstrated the promising application of SBP and PPF as additives to anthocyanin-based food colorants. According to them, replacing synthetic colorants with natural additives is a major challenge and currently reds, yellows and oranges are the only natural colorants commercially available. Anthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple or blue according to pH, and they are found in edible fruits and vegetables such as grape, red cabbage, red radish, elderberry, blackcurrant, sweet potato, etc.

New method to spice up meals with nutraceuticals

At Purdue University, the United States, a food scientist has developed a novel method to encapsulate nutritional supplements in food-based products, a technique that can enable consumers to sprinkle antioxidants, vitamins and other such nutraceuticals on their meals. The new method developed by Mr. Srinivas Janaswamy, a research assistant professor of food science, involves creating crystalline fibres that encapsulate the nutraceuticals, protect them from external factors and prevent degradation.

Mr. Janaswamy said that many of the nutraceuticals that are added to food are structurally unstable. Heat, light, oxygen and other external factors can degrade the supplements, making them ineffective. Mr. Janaswamy used iota-carrageenan – a long-chain carbohydrate – to encapsulate curcumin, which is believed to be the principle compound found turmeric that acts against inflammation, cancer and obesity. Iota-carrageenan, which lacks a defined structural arrangement, was stretched to form well-oriented crystalline fibres. In the fibre network, the carbohydrate had stable double-helical structure with small pockets between the helices that contain water molecules. Mr. Janaswamy replaced these water pockets with curcumin. The curcumin was then found to be encapsulated and protected by the strong iota-carrageenan network. The encapsulated fibres could then be chopped into small particles, and diners could sprinkle curcumin on their meals, the same way they use salt or pepper.

Mr. Janaswamy is working to delay the release of the embedded compounds once consumed, from the current 30 minutes to three hours, as lengthening the time will ensure that the nutraceuticals reach the intestines, where they can be properly absorbed. He is also working to increase the amount of nutraceuticals that could be embedded into the fibres. Iota-carrageenan and other polysaccharide carbohydrates are designated “Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)” by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Reducing salt in crisps without affecting the taste

Food scientists have studied how salt is released from crisps into the mouth and found a way to measure how we register that saltiness – a discovery that could lead to new ways of producing healthier crisps, without losing any of the taste. The research by scientists at the University of Nottingham, the United Kingdom, could also lead to significant salt reduction in all types of snack foods.

According to Dr. Ian Fisk from the Division of Food Sciences, “The ‘salt burst’ from crisps is released into the mouth only 20 seconds after chewing begins. This means that in many cases, the crisp may have already been swallowed before the majority of the salty taste is detected. Our aim is to develop a series of technologies that accelerate the delivery of salt to the tongue by moving the burst from 20 seconds to within the time that you normally chew and swallow.” What this means is that the same amount of taste could be obtained with less salt.

Dr. Fisk and co-researchers brought together the consumer panel of 10 food tasters to chew crisps a prescribed number of times and hold them in their mouths for 60 seconds. The crisps were then swallowed as normal. By taking tongue swabs and analysing the results on equipment capable of detecting sodium content, they were able to monitor the salt levels when they peaked and troughed. Unlike other studies, Dr. Fisk’s research truly identified the moments of maximum intensity and maximum value. Salt in crisps sits on the surface as well as is embedded in the surface oil. So the salt has to be physically separated from the crisp bolus (chewed material), solubilized in the saliva and then moved to the salt receptors in the tongue for the brain to register the taste before being swallowed. Contact: Dr. Ian Fisk, Division of Food Sciences, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (115) 951 6037; E-mail:

Antioxidant-rich foods from tomato by-products

By-products from tomato processing could be used to develop functional foods or extend shelf-life of foods, as they contain bioactive phytochemicals that exert antioxidant properties, a new study at Harokopio University, Greece, claims. The researchers compared by-products of tomato processing and unprocessed tomatoes by evaluating the presence of bioactive phytochemicals such as lycoepene, tocopherols, sterols, carotenes, terpenes, and total and simple polyphenols. They showed that, on dry weight basis, by-products of tomato processing had significantly lower levels of lycopene, but had high levels of ß-carotene, tocopherols, sterols and terpenes, and both unprocessed tomatoes and tomato waste had similar amount of total polyphenols.

Of the 18 polyphenols, hydroxycinnamic acids predominated in unprocessed tomatoes, while flavonoids were predominant in tomato waste. The fatty acid profile in tomato by-products was also similar to that of unprocessed tomatoes. The study concluded that the bioactive phytochemicals in tomato by-products can withstand industrial processing methods, and most of these phytochemicals demonstrate antioxidant properties. Tomato by-products can be isolated from tomato waste and used as natural antioxidants for the formulation of functional foods and also in food systems to extend their shelf life, the researchers noted.


New enzyme product extends bread’s shelf-life

Mühlenchemie GmbH, Germany, has developed Alphamalt Fresh, a new enzyme preparation that can prolong the shelf-life of industrially produced bread by up to 15 days. Alphamalt Fresh prevents recrystallization of the amylopectin content of the starch that has gelatinized during baking and keeps the crumb soft longer, which reduces the quantity of bread that becomes stale.

Smaller amylose molecules migrate out of the starch grain into its surroundings and recrystallize soon after baking, whereas, the larger amylopectin molecules initially remain in their non-crystalline form. At low temperatures, amylopectin crystallizes causing subsequent hardening of the crumb. Alphamalt Fresh breaks down the parts of the amylopectin that can crystallize. Moreover, the resulting short-chain dextrins are able to interact with the remaining coiled structures of the starch and inhibit its crystallization. If Alphamalt Fresh is combined with emulsifiers or enzymes that optimize the bread volume and the bread structure as it appears immediately after baking, a longer shelf-life of up to three weeks can be achieved.

Mustard seed waste extract could act as food preservative

According to a study conducted by a team of Canadian researchers, a new method to extract compounds from low-value mustard seed waste can provide the food industry with a new source for natural preservatives. The researchers from University of Alberta, led by Ms. Christina Engels, identified the antimicrobial activity of various compounds extracted from the mustard seed meal, considered to be a waste product of low value by the industry. The study found that the seed meal contained elements that could be useful as natural food preservatives.

The research team isolated sinapic acid, which has antibacterial effects against strains such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes and can be used a natural food preservative. According to Ms. Engels, the use of sinapic acid from defatted mustard seed meal – a product left over after the seed is pressed for its oil – provides wider choice to consumers in opting for foods containing preservatives. The research team extracted phenolic compounds from defatted seed meal of oriental mustard (Brassica juncea) and identified sinapic acid, together with several sinapoyl conjugates. The raw extract and a purified phenolic fraction showed selective antibacterial impacts against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative spoilage bacteria. However, only sinapic acid could be traced in the extract after alkaline hydrolysis, enabling the quantification using reference substances. The release of sinapic acid after the procedure facilitates the standardization of the antibacterial activity of extracts as food preservatives.

Natural anti-fungal compounds as food preservatives

Tecnalia, a Spain-based research company, is investigating the development of a new system of active protection for processed cheeses, cakes and pastry products through the selection of natural anti-fungal compounds – additives that avoid or delay the growth of fungus in food products. The aim of the study is to develop a method that meets consumer demands, using naturally occurring compounds that do not affect organoleptic properties while boosting shelf-life. Tecnalia is one of several partners in the project, which includes the Spanish Institute of Plastic Technology (AIMPLAS) and the National Centre for Food Technology and Safety (CNTA).

The research team will investigate three different strategies: the direct inclusion of the compounds in the polymeric matrix of the packaging material; its use as a coating on the packaging material; and its application as an edible coating on food products. Project leader Dr. Maria Carmen Villarán said that while the use of anti-microbial and anti-fungal materials is a common practice to increase shelf-life, without altering the good organoleptic properties, many of these are synthetic.

Dr. Villarán explained that natural compounds will be applied to packaging and food under all three strategies, of which the direct inclusion of compounds in packaging material has arisen as the most suitable option. She added that there have already been difficulties applying the compounds as a coating with compounds losing their anti-fungal properties during the packaging process. To avoid these problems and guarantee the properties of these compounds after the packaging development, the scientists have proposed the encapsulation of these compounds. “On the other hand, the edible films will be a good alternative because they can be applied after the processing of foods, avoiding some thermal treatments that can produce the degradation of some active compounds that can be added to the edible coating. And these natural compounds usually are sensible to the temperature”, Dr. Villarán said.

A fresh approach to extending shelf-life

SPX Corporation, the United States, is finding new ways to extend the shelf-life of dairy products, without the use of additives. Through the use of High Temperature Short Time (HTST) sterilization, SPX’s Ultra High Temperature (UHT) technology can eliminate bacteria growth, minimize product mixing and deliver the most natural, long-lasting product possible. UHT technology can be implemented either directly, via infusion or injection, or indirectly through tubular, plate or scraped heat exchanger systems. It is offered as part of an easy-to-operate, complete sterilization solution – a continuous process for blending, heat treatment and aseptic storage of beverage products.

Infusion UHT creates an extremely flexible product that has been successfully implemented on processing lines for dairy, coffee creamer and nutritional supplement products. While most sterilization methods simply control the amount of bacterial growth within milk, Infusion UHT technology also minimizes any nutritional degradation, ensuring the fresh taste of the milk remains. Raw product is sent to an infusion chamber filled with culinary steam. While falling through the steam, the raw product can be quickly heated from 75°C to 143°C in under 0.2 seconds. A cooling jacket within the infusion chamber protects the product from contact with metal, reducing fouling and foaming. Thermal treatment provides an accurate, defined holding time before a vacuum chamber instantly cools the product to below 80°C.

The result is a fresh product, produced quickly with longer run times. Infusion UHT offers dairy manufacturers the fastest, most accurate heating times for processing a variety of products with extended shelf-life. A fresher, more natural product saves distribution costs and presents customers with added value. Contact: SPX Corporation, 13515 Ballantyne, Corporate Place, Charlotte, North Carolina 28277, United States of America. Tel: +1 (704) 752 4400.

New dairy analog antibiotic could preserve food

Researchers at the University of Illinois, the United States, report to have discovered a new antibiotic that, as an analog of milk peptide nisin, has potential for use both as a food preservative and for the treatment of bovine mastitis. Occurring naturally in milk, the antibiotic nisin is a product of bacteria resident in the cow’s udder, where it keeps milk from spoiling and kills a wide range of bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium difficile, which cause food-borne illnesses.

Lead researcher Prof. Wilfred van der Donk said that many people did not realize that nisin – approved as a food additive since 1969 – was added to foods, or that it occurred naturally in milk. He noted nisin’s promise in treating bovine mastitis. But whereas nisin became unstable at higher temperatures or at the neutral pH levels required for foods or pharmaceuticals, the new nisin analog did not do so Prof. Van der Donk said. While studying another bacteria, the research group found related genes, and engineered a molecule – geobacillin – with similar structure and function to nisin, but was more stable than the naturally occurring antibiotic.

Both nisin and geobacillin worked by binding to a molecule the pathogen needed to build its cell wall, and then poking holes in the bacteria’s cell membrane to kill it. But while nisin has five looped regions formed by cross-links in the protein chain, geobacillin had seven loops owing to two additional cross-links, which lent it greater stability. The team tested geobacillin against several food-borne and disease-causing bacteria and said it was similarly or more effective than nisin, and was three times more active against the main contagious bacteria responsible for bovine mastitis. As it is much like nicin, but more stable and active, geobacillin could also find use as a preservative for milk.


Edible membrane food packaging

Scientists at Harvard University, the United States, have developed a new edible packaging technology that allows individuals to eat and transport food without plastic. The novel packaging, called WikiCells, encloses food and liquid in an edible membrane. WikiCells was developed by Mr. David A. Edwards, who also developed inhalable chocolate and inhalable caffeine, with the assistance of designer Mr. François Azambourg. Mr. Edwards wanted to create a bottle based on how nature creates bottles, citing grapes as an example of one of nature’s “bottles”. WikiCells imitate such natural packaging by enclosing food and liquid in an edible membrane. The membrane, which comprises a charged polymer and food particles, is in turn protected by a hard shell that can be broken away much like an egg shell.

Mr. Edwards and his team have developed a variety of different platforms for WikiCells that can be served as meals, drinks and snacks, including: a tomato membrane containing gazpacho soup that can be poured over bread; an orange membrane filled with orange juice that you can drink with a straw; smaller grape-like membrane holding wine; and a chocolate membrane containing hot chocolate. Mr. Edwards has plans to expand WikiCells to restaurants, specialty stores and supermarkets. Eventually, he hopes to develop a product platform for WikiCells that would allow individuals to produce their own edible bottles.

Market-ready glass fibre reinforcement

Owens Corning, the United States-based global producer of glass fibre reinforcements for composite systems, has pioneered a new solution to help kitchen appliance and food processing equipment manufacturers comply with impending European regulations on glass fibre used in materials for food and drinking water contact. FoodContact™ glass fibre solution for reinforced plastic, from Owens Corning, is designed for use in consumer appliance and food manufacturing products such as kitchen utensils and kitchenware, coffee machines, food preparation equipment, ingredient holding tanks and drinking water systems.

The fibre reinforcements were developed to perform optimally in high-temperature resins such as liquid crystal polymer (LCP) and polyphenylene sulphide (PPS), as well as polyphenylene oxide (PPO), polyamide (PA), and polyester-based resins polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It is available as glass fibre reinforcement in the form of a chopped strand for use in thermoplastic resins. FoodContact glass fibre solution was developed with consideration for the supply chain to ensure a seamless transition from existing reinforcements to these new compliant materials. Owens Corning worked with its customers, custom moulders, design firms and manufacturers to develop a product suitable to their requirements.

Food packaging for longer shelf-life

The A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), Singapore, has formed a consortium with its industry partners to develop plastics that will protect foods and medicines more adequately from oxidation. The Industrial Coating and Packaging (ICAP) consortium aims to develop transparent plastics that will not only protect food and medicines but will also keep them fresh for longer by blocking oxygen, moisture and ultraviolet (UV) rays.

IMRE Senior Scientist and Head of the first ICAP project, Dr. Li Xu said that current standard plastic packaging has its limitations, as it allows diffusion of oxygen, moisture and UV light – compared with materials like aluminium or tin – which oxidizes and degrades perishables like food. Dr. Xu said that his team will fully utilize IMRE’s state-of-the-art capabilities to develop new Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) technologies to address such issues and limitations. “The plastics we develop should also require less energy to produce and allow consumers to see the actual perishable products compared to today’s opaque aluminium-plastic packaging materials,” he added.

Life-extending packaging for strawberries

Ethylene, the hormone produced naturally by plants, causes fruit to ripen and then turn mouldy. To slow down this process in strawberries, the United Kingdom’s supermarket giant Marks & Spencer (M&S) has rolled out a new packaging that is claimed extend life of fruit stored in refrigerators by up to two days. At the bottom of punnets of strawberries, M&S incorporates a small strip measuring 8 cm × 4.5 cm and containing a patented mixture of clay and other minerals that absorb ethylene. The company claims that the strip does not affect the recyclability of the material and that there is no extra cost to the consumer because of the packaging.

M&S agronomist Mr. Hugh Mowat said the packaging will help the customers reduce their food waste, as they no longer need to worry about eating their strawberries as soon as they buy them. Trials carried out in M&S stores showed a minimum wastage saving of 4 per cent, which would equate to 40,000 packs, or about 800,000 strawberries during the peak strawberry season. If the move with strawberries proves to be a success with consumers, the company will consider adding the innovative strips to all the berries it sells.

Unique food packaging coating

At Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the United States, scientists have developed LiquiGlide, a novel coating that add lubrication to containers – of glass, plastic or nearly any other material – to enable food substances to flow out conveniently. LiquiGlide, developed and patented by MIT’s Varanasi Research Group, is a non-stick, non-toxic coating for food packaging, which will help substances flow out from containers smoothly. By coating the inside of any bottle with the slippery LiquiGlide coating, anything from ketchup to mayonnaise to jam flows out like water, barely leaving a smudge behind.

The Group spent two months working out of an MIT lab to develop the revolutionary substance, which was originally intended as an anti-icing or anti-clogging coating. Apart from the obvious benefit of not having to struggle with a viscous condiment, the coating also ensures that much less food ends up in the garbage from being stuck to the bottle. The research team estimates about 1 million tonnes of food could be saved each year if every bottle used LiquiGlide, and that is just counting the sauces. The stickiness of most condiments also means that plastic squeeze bottles require a larger cap to work. Getting rid of the caps could save 25,000 tonnes of plastic each year.

Super-absorbent packaging

Fresh-R-Pax® from Baltimore Innovations Ltd, the United Kingdom, is a family of patented absorbent products designed to extend the shelf-life of freshly cut fruit or vegetables by absorbing the excess fluid. The super-absorbent complies with all current European legislations for direct food contact products. Apart from increasing the shelf-life, Fresh-R-Pax reportedly improves the texture, taste and colour of fresh cut fruit and vegetables stored in it. The technology involves a proprietary mix of food ingredients blended to form a highly absorbent material, which is built into pads, pouches, trays and cups. Fresh-R-Pax absorbs and retains liquids even under pressure. It inhibits bacteria and mould growth, but doesn’t dehydrate the fresh cut produce, as it only absorbs excess liquid – 70 times its own weight in fluid.

Fresh-R-Pax pads have a super-absorbent material enclosed in a pad with fabric side for absorption and polymer side on the reverse. The pouch is clear-sided with the integral super-absorbent pad incorporated into the product. The tray has the super-absorbent material integrated into a series of wells, offering rigid protection for fresh-cut produce. In cups, the super-absorbent material is integrated into the lid, where fluids are absorbed and retained. Contact: Baltimore Innovations Ltd., Innovations House, Jackson Business Park, Wessex Road, Bourne End, Buckinghamshire SL8 5DT, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1628) 531900; Fax: +44 (1628) 531100; E-mail:

Customizable microwave bags

A new line of microwave bags with customizable cooking features from Nordenia, the United States, turns microwave foods into high-quality meals in the convenience of a single, cost-effective bag. The microwave bags from Nordenia are available in four primary technologies, customized to fit particular cooking needs:
  • NOR®GuardIt: avoids overcooking “hot-spots” with shield patterns;
  • NOR®AbsorbIt: avoids sogginess by absorbing grease or moisture;
  • NOR®SteamIt: allows package steam to escape at just the right time for thorough cooking; and
  • NOR®CrispIt: improves crust or bread crispness via focused heat distribution.

Contact: Nordenia USA, 14591 State Highway, 177Jackson, MO 63755, United States of America. Tel: +1 (573) 335 4900; Fax: +1 (573) 335 6172; E-mail:


Keeping a tab on apples and oranges

Chemistry professor Mr. Timothy Swager and his students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the United States, have built a new sensor that could help food distributors and grocers better monitor their produce. The new sensor can detect tiny amounts of ethylene, a gas that promotes ripening. Mr. Swager envisions the inexpensive sensors attached to cardboard boxes of produce and scanned with a handheld device that would reveal the contents’ ripeness. That way, grocers would know when to put certain items on sale to move them before they get too ripe.

The MIT team built the sensor using an array of tens of thousands of carbon nanotubes: sheets of carbon atoms rolled into cylinders that act as “super highways” for electron flow. To modify the tubes to detect ethylene gas, the researchers added copper atoms, which serve as “speed bumps” to slow the flowing electrons. Copper atoms slow the electrons a little bit, but when ethylene is present, it binds to the copper atoms and slows the electrons even more. By measuring how much the electrons slow down – a property also known as resistance – the researchers can find out how much ethylene is present.

To make the device even more sensitive, the researchers added tiny beads of polystyrene, which absorbs ethylene and concentrates it near the carbon nanotubes. With their latest version, the MIT team can detect concentrations of ethylene as low as 0.5 parts per million (ppm). The concentration required for fruit ripening is usually between 0.1 and 1.0 ppm. Mr. Swager and his team tested their sensors on many types of fruit – banana, avocado, apple, pear and orange – and were able to measure accurately their ripeness by detecting the quantity of ethylene the fruits secreted.

Machine for de-shelling coconut

In India, students of National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NIT-K), have developed a machine for de-shelling coconuts. A prototype of the machine – aimed at helping the faster production of desiccated coconut powder as a substitute for grated coconut – was demonstrated recently at NIT-K. The machine breaks the hard shell of the coconut, without harming the coconut meat inside, by introducing four cuts in the shell that causes the shell to break when it is heated. The coconut meat, in the shape of a ball, then goes through a process known as paring, removal of brown (outer) skin, before it is processed into desiccated coconut, which is used as a substitute for grated coconut.

The machine – expected help small-scale entrepreneurs by eliminating the requirement of skilled labour and increasing the production rate – was designed by students linked to Engineer’s Forum for Entrepreneurship Awareness (E-FOREA) Entrepreneurship Cell of NIT-K, with the help of the college’s Innovation Centre. The machine is said to be nearly 15 times faster than a human hand and give a yield with an efficiency of 80-85 per cent without harming the coconut ball. It is made in a way that can accommodate any size and contour of coconut. A team of five students worked on the project.

“Intelligent” potato processor for improved efficiency

Researchers at University of Lincoln, the United Kingdom, have unveiled the latest technology to grace the potato processing industry. They have developed a scanner that uses artificial intelligence to improve processing. Dr. Tom Duckett, Director of Lincoln’s Centre for Vision and Robotics Research, and his team used off-the-shelf equipment coupled with some new software to create a system that is notable for its low cost. The resultant machine is able to spot defects, diseases and blemishes in real time and accepts different programming that allow it to differentiate different varieties of potato, and thus help the industry improve efficiency, speed and accuracy, as well as lower costs.

The system comprises a low-cost vision sensor and standard desktop computer. It uses software that takes input from human experts to learn how to identify differences in colour and texture between blemished and unblemished skin in a specific sample. To enable the software to deal with the large amounts of natural variation in the produce, the Dr. Duckett and his team created a machine-learning algorithm that enables the automatic selection of good image features. Another major challenge that the team had to address was enabling the system to work in a pace enough to analyse the potato in real time, as the original software took several hours for each image.

High-shear liquid food mixer

The MIXING FORMULA™ range of high-shear liquid mixers from GEA Liquid Processing, located in Denmark, is designed to suit the requirements of the food, dairy and beverage industries. The range is ideal for the mixing of high-viscosity dairy and food products such as: ketchup, mayonnaise, baby food, sweetened condensed milk, ice-cream mixes, processed cheese and spreads; beverage products like ready-to-drink iced coffees, chocolate drinks and isotonic drinks; and personal care products such as gels and creams. The machines homogenise and mix a product in one operation and have the ability to liquefy whole fruit, including fibres that are hard to homogenise, into juices, including products such as pineapple that has high fibre content.

While the test mixer, a lab-sized machine, is designed to mix small quantities of product from just 10 litres, the full range can handle production volumes of up to 15,000 litres in a single batch at viscosities up to 50,000 cP. Alternatively the system can be used in a continuous process that will handle up to 40,000 litres per hour at lower viscosities. Contact: GEA Liquid Processing, GEA Process Engineering A/S, Nørskovvej 1B, DK-8660 Skanderborg, Denmark. Tel: +45 7015 2200; Fax: +45 7015 2244.

Auto dryer for fresh-cut produce

Key Technology, the United States, had introduced its new Auto Dryer, designed for removing surface water from fresh-cut produce while enabling continuous line flow. Available in one-, two-and four-drum models, the new Auto Dryer is engineered to achieve the smoothest operation with new controls, a new motor, and a new structure that improves the dynamic operating condition of the dryer. This automatic dryer removes moisture from fresh-cut produce gently and consistently to enhance product quality and extend shelf-life.

Compared with traditional batch dryers that require manual loading and unloading, the new Auto Dryer offers fully automated, uninterrupted loading and unloading. Compared with batch dryers, the Auto Dryer also doubles throughput in half the floor space while reducing labour, improving worker safety, and enhancing sanitation. The new Auto Dryer handles 500 kg to 1,360 kg of product per hour per drum, depending on the product. Thus, the four-drum model handles up to 2,000 kg per hour when drying lightweight products and up to 5,440 kg per hour when handling heavier products.

Product settings – which control spin speed, cycle time and fill level – can be stored and easily recalled via the colour touchscreen control panel. This fast and easy change-over routine assures each product is handled optimally so final moisture specifications are met. The Auto Dryer reduces product damage and maximizes drying efficiency by loading a constant, even flow of product into dryer drums using a patented spiral layering method that eliminates the slug of product seen on other dryers. With its consistent centrifugal pressure, this spiral layering achieves more uniform drying while minimizing the wear on mechanical parts, resulting in less maintenance and long life of the equipment.

Immersion freezer to help food industry

In the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has developed an immersion freezer to meet greater demands in food preservation by the food industry. The immersion freezer has its contents (food products) submerged in cold liquid that serves as freezing agent. The DOST immersion freezer, specifically designed for small and medium enterprises, appears like a large grocery chest freezer. It has a maximum capacity of 1000 litres of storage and a freezing capacity of 60 kg per hour for ice-making.

The immersion freezer is more efficient than the common domestic air-blast freezer. It uses brine as a coolant pumped in the cold storage to flow through the cooling coils and then to the products. This mechanism precipitates faster cooling because heat transfer between liquid and solid is greater than air to solid. It is important, however, that the food package be properly sealed so that the brine will not seep into the product being cooled. The freezer is also equipped with adjustable coolant temperature settings so as to meet specific requirements of different food materials. Dividers are provided to cool smaller amounts of product, with separate controls for each division, which make the freezer more efficient both in cooling and power consumption.


Food and Package Engineering

Food and Package Engineering is a groundbreaking work that serves as a comprehensive guide to the complexities and the potential of the industry. For the first time, engineering for the packaging industry and for the biggest packaging user, food processing, is presented in a manner that clearly demonstrates its interconnected, globally integrated nature. The book adopts a “Packaging Cycle” approach by guiding the reader through the life of a package from raw materials and conversion, operations, distribution, retail, all the way to recycling or disposal by the consumer. The book includes many essential topics that are usually not addressed in other food engineering or packaging texts, such as: inventory management and production scheduling; regulations, security and food safety; recycling and landfill issues; and distribution packaging. Intended for readers with varying levels of experience, the book offers multi-level accessibility to each topic, allowing readers to find useful information and develop technical expertise. The book provides both real-world examples and challenging problems that require consideration at several different levels.

Contact: John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd., CWT Commodity Hub, 24 Penjuru Road, #08-01 Singapore 609128. Tel: +65 63029838, +65 63029800; Fax: +65 62651782; Email:

Extrusion Problems Solved: Food, Pet Food and Feed

Extrusion is used for the preparation of a wide variety of foodstuffs including breakfast cereals, snack food and pasta, as well as pet food and animal and aquaculture feed. The book is divided into twelve chapters for ease of reference. Presented in a question-and-answer format, the opening chapters concentrate on introductory queries and on different components of an extruder system, followed by chapters that help the reader select the correct type of extruder for a product. The book then moves to factors that impact of extrusion process and the use of pre-conditioners. The latter part of the book discusses specific types of extruders and issues relating to drying extruded food products. The final chapter offers guidelines and rules of thumb for the most common issues relating to food and feed extrusion.

Contact: Woodhead Publishing Ltd., 80 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge, CB22 3HJ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1223) 499140; Fax: +44 (1223) 832819; E-mail:


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