VATIS Update Food Processing . Jan-Mar 2013

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Food Processing Jan-Mar 2013

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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WHO issues new guidance on dietary salt and potassium

Adults should consume less than 2,000 mg of sodium (or 5 g of common salt) and at least 3,510 mg of potassium per day, according to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). A person with either high sodium level or low potassium level could be at risk of elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Currently, most people consume too much sodium and not enough potassium.

The guidelines are an important tool for public health experts and policymakers as they work in their specific country situations to address non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases. Public health measures to reduce sodium and increase potassium intake and thereby decrease the population’s risk of high blood pressure and heart disease could include food and product labelling, consumer education, updating national dietary guidelines, and negotiating with food manufacturers to reduce the amount of common salt in processed foods.

“Elevated blood pressure is a major risk for heart disease and stroke – the number one cause of death and disability globally,” says Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development. These guidelines also make recommendations for children over the age of two, because children with elevated blood pressure often become adults with elevated blood pressure. WHO is also updating guidelines on the intake of fats and sugars associated to reduced risk of obesity as well as non-communicable diseases. Contact: Mr. Gregory Härtl, Coordinator, News, Social Media & Monitoring, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. Tel: +41 (79) 203 6715; E-mail:

Pakistan drafts food and nutritional security policy

Pakistan’s Ministry of National Food Security and Research has finalized a draft National Food and Nutrition Security Policy (NF&NSP) aimed at countering the food insecurity in the country. The core objective of the policy is to reduce the current food insecurity situation by 50 per cent by 2030 and to bring down the poverty and food insecurity to zero level by 2050. The long-term goal proposed in NF&NSP is to ensure that all Pakistanis have physical and economic access to enough nutritious foods on sustainable basis for an active, healthy life. The ways in which food is produced and distributed shall be environment-friendly and sustainable, with both the production and consumption of food to be governed by social values that are just and equitable as well as moral, ethical and uphold human dignity.

The other objectives of the policy include establishing the vision and institutional structures that would allow the Ministry to facilitate a process involving federal and provincial authorities including other ministries, departments, development partners, civil society as well as the private sector through the establishment of a Food and Nutrition Security Council (FNSC) at national, provincial and district levels. The main role of FNSC would be to ensure coordination of federal and provincial ministries and government agencies in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, and to facilitate dialogue between government and civil society to devise specific objective and strategies aimed at achieving complete food and nutritional security by increasing food supplies.

Four main policy features are: sustainable food availability; food accessibility; food utilization and nutrition; and stability in food supplies. The new policy emphasises physical, social and economic access to adequate food at all times, with every individual having enough nutritious food accessible at the time of need in useable form. It proposes to set up a food and nutrition information system and a monitoring and evaluation system. The Ministry hosted a consultative workshop of all stakeholders to seek their feedback and has sent the finalized draft policy to all provinces and other stakeholders for comments, which would be incorporated as appropriate.

India’s armed forces get new foods

Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), India, has developed a new menu of 11 new food items for the country’s armed and paramilitary forces. The ready-to-eat (RTE) products launched include protein-rich mutton bar – a rich source of vitamin-B and minerals. The Muskmelon Shrikhand is valued for its health benefits apart from its appetizing flavour, while the Soy Curd provides balanced nutrition with 83 per cent less saturated fat. The menu also includes idli-sambar, a dried version of the traditional South Indian delicacy that can be reconstituted by just adding hot water. The other products include instant porridge/rice kheer, and crunchy hot and sweet carbohydrate bars that contain a range of nutrients, as well as sufficient protein and fat for efficient body function.

Mr. D.N. Reddy, Chairman, Recruitment and Assessment Centre, released the recently developed food products during a programme that was part of DFRL’s golden jubilee celebrations. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Harsh Vardhana Batra, DFRL Director, stated: “Army men find it difficult to carry heavy loads of food to last for the duration of operations. Ready-to-eat food products have less weight and provide the basic energy that they require.”

Hi-tech lab in Bangladesh to stop food adulteration

The Government of Bangladesh is trying its best to fight food adulteration, said the country’s Food and Disaster Management Minister Mr. Abdur Razzak, while opening the National Food Safety Laboratory (NFSL) housed at the state-run Institute of Public Health (IPH). NFSL, financed by the European Union, has two well-equipped sections for testing contamination by microbes, and heavy metals and chemicals. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provided the technical assistance to set up the laboratory. The Government of the Netherlands is financially supporting the food testing activities in the laboratory.

Prof. Shah Monir Hossain, Senior National Advisor to FAO, said that technical personnel in NFSL were trained abroad to operate the high-tech machinery. He added that food adulteration is rampant in dairy products, turmeric, chilli, mustard oil, soy oil and palm oil. Adulteration/contamination is prevalent in fruits, sweetmeats, beverages, juice, jam, jelly, pudding and ice cream as well.

China considers a new department for food safety

In China, a new government department exclusively for supervision of food safety and enforcement of associated standards and regulations could be in the offing. Such a department is certain to improve the quality of what Chinese people eat, Mr. Chen Xiaohong, Vice Minister of Health, stated. Mr. Chen made this remark on the sidelines of the annual session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in March 2013. Mr. Chen, who is also a member of the National Committee, said that bringing food safety within the remit of a single department would help avoid the duplication of work or a vacuum in which vital tasks fail to be performed. Mr. Jiao Hong, Assistant Minister of China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), however, declined to respond to media questions regarding a new food safety department, stating that the exact plan still requires legislators’ final approval.

Food safety is currently within the purview of a number of government agencies such as the Ministries of Health and Commerce, CFDA, and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection & Quarantine. Mr. Chen pointed out that such a step will be a “good example of China’s institutional reform and would facilitate the enforcement of laws and regulations to ensure food safety”. He expressed confidence that such a plan, which would help realize seamless supervision of food safety, will be passed by the legislature very soon.

Mr. Chen said that China is highly likely to set up a food safety standards centre. The country currently has more than 5,000 standards on food quality and hygiene, with multiple agencies involved in their implementation. The system needs to be reorganized as some of these standards were overlapping, while some contradicted each other, Mr. Chen said. “The coming centre will consolidate those standards, a practice in line with that in countries with good food safety regulation,” Mr. Chen stated.

Indonesia improves quality and safety of fisheries products

In Indonesia, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) has committed itself to improving food quality and safety to encourage export of fisheries products. MMAF’s attempts to improve quality assurance and product safety have had a positive impact on export value and volume increment in 2012. According to MMAF Regulation No. PER. 01/MEN/2007, food safety has to be guaranteed along the production chain, and all parties who contribute to fisheries products supply have to be responsible towards food safety aspect.

In 2013, MMAF will target development and practice of Indonesian National Standard on fisheries product processing in order to cover about 483 fisheries products under the Indonesian National Standard (SNI). Another effort will be to improve quality and safety standards of aquaculture products in about 7,000 aquaculture units in 33 provinces. This will be followed by setting standards for fish hatchery, fish feed, pharmaceuticals for fishery, and product monitoring of aquaculture farms in terms of pharmaceutical and chemical residues, biological materials and contamination.

Viet Nam’s fruit and vegetable exports grow

Viet Nam earned US$119 million from fruit and vegetable exports in the first two months of 2013, up 16 per cent on previous year’s same period. The result continues the sector’s 10 year streak of consecutive export growth. This year’s fruit and vegetable export turnover is expected to hit US$1 billion, making it possible to join the US$1 billion club if the steady growth is maintained in the remaining months.

The country’s 13 primary markets with import turnover of exceeding US$10 million included China (US$ 218.1 million), Japan (US$54.6 million), the United States (US$ 39.9 million), Russia (US$28.4 million), the Republic of Korea (US$22.6 million) and Thailand (US$20.4 million). Large volumes of specialty fruits are being shipped abroad, such as longan, mango, orange, grapefruit, lychee, banana and dragon fruit. However, Viet Nam still spends significant amounts on vegetable and fruit imports, totalling US$335 million in 2012 and US$51 million in the first two months of 2013 – up 11.2 per cent on the previous year.

Malaysia cuts palm oil tax to boost exports

Malaysia has decided to allow shipments of crude palm oil at zero duty for another month in February 2013, as the world’s second-largest producer seeks to reduce record stockpiles and boost competition with the top supplier, Indonesia. Stockpiles down to a level below 2 million metric tonnes will be “quite comfortable,” noted Mr. Bernard Dompok, Malaysian Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister.

Inventories in Malaysia rose 2.4 per cent to 2.63 million tonnes in December 2012 from 2.57 million tonnes a month earlier, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board. Palm oil dropped 23 per cent last year, as reserves expanded while slowdowns in Europe and China lowered demand. Indonesia, where the tax rate is set at 7.5 per cent, is considering cutting it to zero, Indonesian Trade Minister Mr. Gita Wirjawan said.

Malaysia may produce 18.9 million tonnes this year, stated Mr. Choo Yuen May, Director-General of the Palm Oil Board. Output in 2012 was 18.78 million tonnes, Mr. Dompok said. Malaysian exports fell 25 per cent to 373,462 tonnes in the first 10 days of January from 499,732 tonnes in the same period in December 2012. Shipments dropped about 34 per cent to 343,081 tonnes, according to Societe Generale de Surveillance.

Thai shrimp problem could be worse than reported

The problem of early mortality syndrome (EMS) in shrimps could be worse in Eastern Thailand than is being reported, according to experts. In the second week of January, an estimated 80 per cent of shrimp ponds in the key production areas of Pattaya, Rayong and Trat Province were dry, reported Mr. Daniel Gruenberg, CEO of shrimp-farming operation Sea Garden Foods. Mr. Gruenberg said that most large, well-run farms should be stocking in the month of January, and expressed concern that they were empty.

Mr. Gruenberg also reported that the three largest hatcheries in eastern Thailand had confirmed EMS was killing broodstock after just 20 or 30 days in the hatchery, news which was not confirmed. He pointed out that this would worsen the problems caused by EMS when some farms try to re-stock in February, only to find broodstock depleted. Mr. Leland Lai, Director of aquaculture feed supplier Bio-Marine Aquafauna, suggested EMS was likely to be an as-yet unidentified virus, a toxin in plankton or a genetic loss caused by inbreeding.

Pakistan to subsidise food processing plants

The Government of Pakistan has decided to provide 50 per cent subsidy for plants and machinery for establishing processing plants for meat, fruits, vegetables, dates and olives in Balochistan, FATA, Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Commerce Minister Mr. Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who announced the Trade Policy (2012-2015), said that a big quantity of fruits and vegetables produced in Gilgit Baltistan is wasted due to lack of processing plants and facilities and the long distance from major urban centres. This wastage reduced income for the farmers of this region, the Minister added.

The Minister said Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of dates of excellent quality, but only 13 per cent of the total produce gets exported. Growing and processing of olives have great potential in the country. Exports of meat and meat preparations have increased significantly in the last few years and stood at US$175 million in 2011-2012, he said. However, more space exists for export of meat to the adjoining countries, he added.


China strengthens legal supervision for food safety

China has strengthened its supervision over food safety in the past five years through legislation and inspection on compliance of relevant laws, said Mr. Wu Bangguo, former Chairman of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC) and the country’s top legislator. To address serious problems of illegal use and misuse of food additives, the Standing Committee of NPC enacted the Law on Food Safety and held two rounds of inspections on compliance with the law, Mr. Wu noted while reviewing the work over the past five years. The Standing Committee has also prompted the State Council, China’s Cabinet, and its relevant departments to improve the mechanism for coordinating food safety work and create a risk monitoring and assessment mechanism for food safety, he said when delivering the work report of the Standing Committee at the first session of the 12th NPC.

Indonesia encourages SMEs in food industry

Large-scale franchise holders in the Indonesian food and beverage industries must soon make way for more small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as a new Trade Ministry regulation has capped the number of branches that franchise holders can own. According to the new regulation, revealed Trade Minister Mr. Gita Wirjawan, franchise holders with more than 250 outlets must share ownership of all new outlets with SMEs. Large franchise holders must also divest a partial stake in any outlets they currently own over 250, so that the number of wholly owned branches does not exceed the new Trade Ministry limit.

The new regulation states that for an outlet requiring start-up capital of more than Rp 10 billion (US$1 million), companies owning more than 250 branches must divest at least 40 per cent of their ownership. For outlets requiring less than Rp 10 billion in start-up capital, they will be obliged to divest 30 per cent of their stake, Mr. Gita said. Franchise holders who already own more than 250 outlets will have five years to comply with the new regulation. An exemption will be provided for opening new outlets in remote areas like Papua.

Mr. Gita argued that the new regulation will help spread the economic benefits from the robust growth of franchises and retailers, with more involvement and empowerment of SMEs. The Minister said that the government crafted the regulation based on sound business considerations, as it allows the franchise holders to have the final say in the business activities as majority owners. An earlier regulation issued in 2012 states that franchisers engaging in mini-market businesses can only establish a maximum of 100 to 150 company-owned outlets.

Viet Nam unveils food-safety labelling system

Vietnamese Deputy Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu has announced recently a series of measures to ensure food safety. Under the plans, four food types – vegetables, fruits, pork and chicken – will soon be sold with green labels to inform consumers that they comply with the standards of the Good Aquaculture Practices (VietGAP) and were produced under the Food and Agricultural Products Quality Development and Control Project (FAQDC). Ms. Thu said the labels would also help ensure the food origin and hygiene, while preventing the appearance of fake VietGAP products. The green-labelled goods will be supplied to schools and retail distributors, and will be accompanied by a large advertising campaign covering mass media, retailers and means of transportation.

China to issue new regulation on baby formula

In a bid to guarantee food safety, China will issue a specific regulation on baby formula shortly, said Mr. Zhou Bohua, Director of State Administration for Industry and Commerce. The new regulation will target the entire chain, from production to circulation in the market. A slew of stricter supervisory measures will be adopted to handle the improper conduct of breeders, milk powder producers and salespeople, ensuring access to safe milk powder products, Mr. Zhou added. He admitted that lack of administration and supervision over the dairy industry was to blame for past food safety incidents.


Laser tech to root out counterfeit food

A laser device originally designed to measure carbon on Mars could soon be used here on Earth to root out counterfeits in foods such as honey, olive oil and chocolate. By laser-scanning the carbon dioxide released from burning a few milligrams, a fake honey concocted from sugar could be detected, says Dr. Damien Weidmann, Laser Spectroscopy Team Leader at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) Space, the United Kingdom.

Seven years ago, RAL Space embarked on the space research project ‘Blue Sky’ to develop a laser technique for identifying isotopes in space. Thanks to its small, robust, lightweight, highly accurate lasers, the new laser ‘isotope ratio-meter’ from RAL Space could be sent into space to look for trace amounts of gas in minute samples. “You take a laser, whose optical frequency or ‘colour’ can be continuously adjusted, beam it at a gas sample, and detect the level passing through the gas. As the laser colour changes, the light passes straight through the sample until it reaches a particular frequency, specific to the isotopic gas, that is partially blocked,” said Dr. Weidmann explaining the concept. Each molecule, and each of its isotopic forms as well, has a unique fingerprint spectrum.

Test kit for food toxins

Chinese researchers at Tianjin University of Science and Technology have developed an at-home testing kit that can determine rapidly if a food item is toxic. The kit, which is yet to hit the market, is expected to help consumers identify food products contaminated with pathogenic bacteria as well as excessive drug residues. The kit consists of an indicator paper that changes its colour when it comes into contact with more than 60 chemicals including harmful substances that could be found in food.

Tianjin University’s Professor Wang Shuo noted that food safety testing usually requires complicated machinery and laboratory procedures, meaning that the process is likely expensive and laborious. The new invention, however, can provide test results within a few minutes. Prof. Wang said that his team acquired 13 national patents for the testing kit and that they are looking to conduct future research to reduce the production cost.

New method speeds up food safety tests

In Australia, a team of researchers from University of Queensland (UQ) and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) will leverage a new technology that enables DNA amplification on “microspheres” to detect and identify large numbers of different bacteria fast. This new technology would be able to detect and type Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli, two bacterial species that account for a substantial number of food-borne gastroenteritis. “These quick identification techniques can underpin relevant and sustainable programs to further improve food safety,” says Prof. Ross Barnard, Director of the Biotechnology Programme at the UQ School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences. “The infectious dose for C. jejuni/coli can be very low – around 500 organisms. This means that sensitive, specific and rapid techniques are particularly important for these organisms.”

According to Prof. Barnard, while testing methods for C. jejuni/coli do exist, they had been slow and less effective, so many scientists had turned their focus to leveraging existing “microsphere” technology to a new level. “After five years, we are now able to extend and develop the platform in ways that have not been done before,” he says. The new test enables many typing reactions at once by doing a very large number of DNA amplification reactions at the same time on the surface of the microspheres.

Plasma power to sterilize packaged food

Scientists at the School of Physics and Astronomy of University of Glasgow, the United Kingdom, have harnessed plasma power to develop a new method that makes packaged food safer for consumers, while increasing its shelf-life as well. The prototype system rapidly, safely and temporarily turns some of the oxygen inside the sealed packaging into ozone, which is a very effective germicide. According to the scientists, the product’s effectiveness as a germ-killer extends food’s shelf-life by at least one extra day. The efficacy at prototype level has been proven at leading test labs including Campden BRI. Tests have shown an increase in the shelf-life of products, including bread and muffins, and a significant reduction of many pathogens in poultry, such as Campylobacter, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas.

Plasma generated by a retractable device held briefly against the surface of plastic or glass packaging splits the bonds between oxygen molecules (O2) inside the packaging which then reform as ozone (O3). The ozone naturally returns to its original state after just a couple of hours – more than enough time for any mould, fungi or bacteria on the packaging’s contents to be destroyed without adversely affecting its taste. Anacail, a University spin-out company, is bringing the product to market.

New tests to spot food contamination by packaging

In response to the increased scrutiny and global regulations that surround food safety and packaging, IPS Testing, an independent testing laboratory in the Unites States, has developed a series of methods to perform testing of packaging in direct food contact. These screenings will help companies to monitor food packaging production and ensure compliance. Mr. Bruce Shafer, President of IPS Testing, explains: “Regulations worldwide are now scrutinizing the safety of the inks, adhesives and other chemicals used in manufacturing food packaging.” He said that total extractives and migration testing currently represent the majority of food packaging examination and noted, that these standardized procedures “rely on the use of food simulants to assess the movement of contaminants from the packaging into the food”.

While this type of testing is often required by a client or regulator, the approach itself can be meticulous and time-consuming. The series of new methods that IPS Testing has introduced will deliver faster results at a lower cost. These screenings are designed to evaluate new suppliers and the development of new packaging products and processes. They employ gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) methods to ensure that the products and raw materials utilized in packaging are safe for direct food contact. To further ensure food packaging safety, IPS Testing also performs heavy metal analysis, as certain legislations prohibit manufacturers and suppliers of packaging and packaging materials from introducing heavy metals – lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium – into any component of packaging.

Global sourcing is another factor in the safety equation of food packaging. While the practice delivers manufacturers lower costs, it also makes supply chain management more difficult. In the age of global sourcing, companies need to perform due diligence and monitor their vendors. IPS Testing serves as an independent testing laboratory for many industries. IPS Testing combines physical and analytical testing along with interpretive data analysis to offer clients testing services that help improve and ensure product quality. Contact: Mr. Chris Reitmeyer, Integrated Paper Services, 3211 E. Capitol Drive, Appleton, WI 54911, United States of America. Tel: +1 (920) 609 1024; Fax: +1 (920) 609 3046; E-mail:

Rapid moisture analyser

Moisture affects the processability, shelf-life, usability and quality of many products such as foods and pharmaceutical substances. Information on and monitoring of moisture content is therefore important. Mettler-Toledo Inc., with its headquarters in Switzerland, has introduced a moisture analyser for the rapid measurement of moisture content in food production processes. Excellence Moisture Analysers use advanced halogen technology for fast heating and precise temperature control with high precision and reliability in the shortest possible time. The One Click Moisture™ graphical user interface enables fast and smooth operation, featuring real-time drying curves/control charts. Rugged design and the new easy cleaning concept ensure a long service life and disruption-free operation, both on the factory floor and in the laboratory.

The innovative hanging weighing pan concept moves the weighing pan away from the heat of the sample chamber, improving measurement results by eliminating thermal effects on the weighing cell. The high performance MonoBloc weighing cell offers large capacity and high resolution (200 g, 0.1 mg) for the most demanding tasks. The minimized thermal mass of the 2nd generation halogen heating enhances performance with shorter heating/cooling cycles and precise temperature control. The surface underneath the sample pan is flat and sealed, ideal for fast and easy cleaning.


Orange flour by-product for gluten-free bread

During the processing of fruit and vegetables, one third – comprising the core, pips and peel – is discarded as “waste”. Research has shown that a high quantity of nutrients such as dietary fibre and bio-actives are present in this waste by-product. For example, orange pomace, a by-product from the smoothie and juice industry, has proven to have good nutritional attributes: it is low in fat (2 per cent dry matter) and high in dietary fibre (40 per cent dry matter) and has the potential to be used as a food ingredient.

In Ireland, researchers at Teagasc Food Research Centre (TFRC) and University College Cork (UCC) have been looking into possible uses for this discard – for example, as flour in gluten-free bread formulations. Mr. Eimear Gallagher from TFRC explains that developing gluten-free formulations can be challenging for the cereal technologist, as the structure-building protein (gluten) is absent. “Orange pomace proved to be a viable, low-cost food by-product for improving the physical and nutritional characteristics of gluten-free breads,” says Mr. Gallagher.

In their study, the scientists created a response surface design to statistically calculate the optimal level of orange pomace addition, water addition and ideal proofing time to produce an optimal bread formulation. Using response surface methodology as a tool, the researchers successfully created a bread with favourable baking characteristics and enhanced dietary fibre. They investigated the effects of these three factors in different combinations on bread parameters such as loaf volume, crumb structure, crumb colour, texture, microstructure, nutritional and sensory properties and the optimized samples were evaluated by sensory panellists. The panellists scored the bread favourably with respect to appearance, flavour, texture and overall acceptability.

Resistant starch as flour substitute

HI-MAIZE® resistant starch, a natural bioactive ingredient isolated from a special corn that is high in amylose content, may be used to increase the dietary fibre content of certain foods with minimal impact on sensory characteristics, according to a recent study in the United States. Researchers at the Texas Woman’s University conducted the study that showed muffins, focaccia bread and chicken curry can be prepared with HI-MAIZE resistant starch, replacing a portion of the all-purpose flour normally contained in such foods without significantly altering consumer’s acceptability.

The random, double-blind study investigated the sensory characteristics of certain foods containing HI-MAIZE resistant starch on a group of healthy men and women between ages 18 and 60 years. Two formulations of blueberry muffins, herbed focaccia bread and spicy chicken curry were created. The control formulation contained all-purpose flour, while the test formulation replaced a portion or all of the flour with HI-MAIZE resistant starch. The resistant starch contents were 3.2 g/113 g medium-sized muffin, 13.1 g/100 g of bread and 8.8 g/255 g of chicken curry. The sensory characteristics of the three types of food products, with and without resistant starch, were evaluated using a 9-point hedonic scale.

Evaluation participants rated the HI-MAIZE-fortified muffin higher than the control, particularly with regard to moisture content and mouthfeel. It also appeared to be fluffier than the control muffin, and the overall likeability increased by 12 per cent (though not statistically significant). The participants found a denser, darker and firmer crust in the focaccia bread and found the resistant starch containing focaccia bread to be more likeable than the control bread (statistically significant). They liked the chicken curry equally as the control. The researchers concluded that the addition of HI-MAIZE resistant starch may not significantly alter consumer’s acceptability in most food products.

Innovative low-salt microspheres

SODA-LO™ Salt Microspheres – a low-salt ingredient developed by Eminate, a subsidiary company of University of Nottingham, the United Kingdom, and now being marketed by Tate and Lyle – has bagged the “Most Innovative Health Ingredient of the Year” award at the NuW Excellence Awards 2012. The SODA-LO has been created using a technology that converts standard salt crystals into free-flowing crystalline microspheres. These smaller, lower-density crystals efficiently deliver salty taste by maximizing surface area relative to volume, which enables salt content to be reduced in food without any loss of flavour or structure.

The effectiveness of SODA-LO in baked bread led to interest from many major food manufacturers. Further tests have demonstrated that the use of SODA-LO enables salt levels to be reduced by up to 30 per cent in foods such as bread, pizza bases, pastry, savoury pie fillings, cheese and baked snacks, without flavour or structure loss. It also reduces salt levels by 25-50 per cent in various applications including baked food and salty snacks.

Natural compounds that enhance sweetness feel

Professor of Community Dentistry and Behavioural Science Ms. Linda Bartoshuk and her colleagues at University of Florida (UF), the United States, have identified a group of naturally occurring compounds that enhance the way people perceive sweetness, and believe that those compounds can be used to make foods taste sweeter using far less sugar and no artificial sweetener. Prof. Bartoshuk has been working for several years on flavour- and aroma-related research studies with scientists led by eminent scientist Prof. Harry Klee from UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The natural sweetener discovery was made during the group’s work to break down the chemistry behind the complex flavours in tomato. During that research, genes and biochemical pathways responsible for producing the volatile chemicals that give fresh tomatoes their characteristic flavour and aroma were chronicled. Nearly 100 tomato varieties were then used in taste tests by 13 panels of 100 people who rated each tomato’s taste. The scientists knew that there are two ways humans evaluate smell: orthonasal, or through the nostrils, and retronasal, behind the palate while eating. In retronasal olfaction, smell and taste interact.

Following the tomato taste tests, to discern which factors were playing the biggest roles in people’s tomato-taste preferences, Prof. Bartoshuk used statistics to examine how the fruit’s sweetness was explained both by flavour ratings and sugar content. “If the sweetness is all due to sugar, then that is the only variable that would have been significant,” she said. “But flavour was highly significant. So suddenly we knew that the volatiles were making independent contributions to the perceived sweetness.” The UF team’s findings were solidified by similar analysis following a study of taste in strawberries.

New ingredient delivery technology patented

Unistraw Holdings Pte. Ltd., Singapore, has received a United States patent on its ingredient delivery technology. Called “Drink Flavouring Straw”, the patent broadly covers straws containing spherical pellets that dissolve gradually, thereby continually releasing active ingredients throughout the drinking process.

For example, in a glass of regular milk, the drinker would taste chocolate throughout the entire glass, not just in the first few sips or in a clogged mass at the bottom of the container. The technology can be used to deliver not only flavourings, but nutritional and therapeutic compositions such as probiotics and medications as well. Unistraw was designed in Australia in 1996 by Mr. Peter Baron who developed a prototype bead-in-straw delivery device utilizing a woman’s stocking as he was searching for a better way to encourage his grandchildren to drink milk.

Water-soluble chitosan for flavour microencapsulation

Ms. Berta Maria Abreu Nogueiro Estevinho and colleagues at the Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto, Portugal, have studied the possibility of producing flavour microparticles using water-soluble chitosan, and examined the advantages of this natural polymer with or without the use of tripolyphosphate (TPP) as cross-linking agent. The researchers considered aspects such as biodegradability, biocompatibility, anti-cholesterolemic property and non-toxicity. microparticles were prepared by spray-drying and characterized by their particle size, surface morphology and zeta potential. Structural analysis of the surface of the particles was performed by scanning electron microscopy.

Significant differences were found in the surface structure of the particles that were cross-linked and not cross-linked. Chemical characterization of the microparticles was performed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The results were significant and proved the success of flavour microencapsulation. This work showed that it is possible to encapsulate peach flavours using water-soluble chitosan, via a spray-drying process. Contact: Ms. Maria Arminda Costa Alves, LEPÆ, Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal. +351 (2) 25081883, 25081449; E-mail:


Consumers and shelf-life of fresh juice

High-pressure processing (HPP) and pulsed electric field processing (PEF) are new technologies that can prolong the shelf-life of juices. At the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries & Aquaculture Research (Nofima), researchers have looked at consumer attitudes towards new and unknown food technologies. While the food producers focus on technological innovation and applaud new scientific developments, consumers tend to be more conservative and sceptical.

The most common cause of consumer scepticism is that the people are uncertain whether the food products are safe. This is a well-known phenomenon called the halo effect. The more often a product is demonstrated, the better people like it. This effect might have roots in evolution: if you eat something new and survive, you are less afraid of eating it again. “The halo effect should make food producers careful about promoting all aspects of new technologies, especially the ones that could lead to uncertainty in the consumers. If they start to use HPP and PEF, it is better to say how much the new technologies improve flavour, rather than the juice being processed in a new way,” says Ms. Nina Veflen Olsen, Nofima research scientist who headed the study.

Consumers can be divided into segments based on their basic values. Two value segments in particular stood out in this study: hedonism – those who are more concerned about well-being and enjoyment than anything else; and benevolence – those who are concerned about the welfare of their family and friends. “Not surprisingly, the hedonists were most interested in a better flavour and preferred arguments such as ‘an apple juice that tastes and smells like fresh apples’ and ‘keeps the natural flavours’. The benevolent consumers, on the other hand, are more concerned about health and environmental considerations. The important arguments for them are ‘uses less water and energy’, ‘careful processing’, ‘no additives’ and ‘high in vitamins’”.

“People say they want information, but the more we talk about new technology, the less they want to buy. The information draws attention to areas they had not originally thought about,” explains Ms. Veflen Olsen. The solution is to emphasise the products’ positive qualities and to give consumers the chance to try them. Food producers who want to convince consumers that their product is better should let people try it. If people like the way it tastes, many of the doubts will disappear. Contact: Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries & Aquaculture Research, Muninbakken 9-13, Breivika, P.O. Box 6122, NO-9291 Tromsø, Norway. Tel: +47 77629000; Fax: +47 77629100; E-mail:

Increased food shelf-life through polymer technology

South Africa’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has invented a way to keep food and beverages stay fresher and last longer. New polymer systems with special properties that the CSIR’s Encapsulation & Delivery Research group created led researcher Dr. Philip Labuschagne and his team to discover a new use specifically meant for the food and beverages industries. The patented oxygen barrier technology has the potential to considerably lengthen the shelf-life of food and beverages stored in plastic containers.

Dr. Labuschagne explains how the invention happened: “We regularly use a process called inter-polymer complexation in our drug delivery research. The result is a polymeric product with unique properties – one of which is that the polymer has a high density, or a close-knit polymer network formed by hydrogen bonds. This property led us to investigate its effect on the permeability of gases.” His group did several trials on various inter-polymer complexation systems until a system was found that reduces oxygen permeability by a factor of about 20 (for polyester-based plastics) and by a factor of around 150 (for polyolefin-based plastics), he says. The consequence is that the shelf-life of any oxygen-sensitive beverage in plastic containers can be increased by up to 150 times. Another advantage of this technology is that it is a polymer solution that can be applied on a plastic surface, such as a beverage container, easily using a simple dip-coating process.

The polymers used are completely non-toxic. Beverages that are typically sensitive to oxygen include beer and cider, juices, and any tomato-based product. Traditionally these products are stored in glass containers to ensure sufficient shelf-life. However, with this barrier technology, new opportunities for plastic packaging are possible. “The coating is applied on the outside of the container using a dip-coating process. Because it has some degree of moisture susceptibility, a second protective ultraviolet-curable overcoat is applied over the barrier coating,” Dr. Labuschagne states. Cost-wise, the barrier technology compares favourably to other barrier technologies, but is superior to them in certain aspects. For example, metal oxide coatings are brittle, oxygen scavenger technology has a limited life span, and multi-layer technology products are prone to delamination and difficult to recycle. Contact: Dr. Sean Moolman, Group Manager, CSIR Licensing & Ventures Office, Building 34, CSIR Campus, Meiring Naude Road, Brummeria, Pretoria, South Africa. Tel: +27 (12) 8414212.

Absorbing ethylene to quadruple shelf-life

Fresh Pod Ltd., the United Kingdom, has introduced Fresh Pod, a product that absorbs ethylene gas, consequently prolonging the shelf-life of fruit and vegetable. “With this product, a lettuce can have up to three times a longer shelf-life; in the case of broccolis, shelf-life can be quadrupled,” explains Ms. Rocío Jiménez, Fresh Pod’s Commercial Manager in Spain. The product consists of small balls with a natural chemical formulation. These small balls are in bags of 5 g, 8 g and 28 g, which are in turn covered by a protective package. The natural formulation they contain interacts with ethylene gas, turning it into manganese dioxide. “This way, once the product has been used, it becomes a natural fertilizer, so it generates no waste at all,” she explains.

The product was developed and patented by University of California, Davis, the United States. According to Ms. Jiménez, one of Fresh Pod’s advantages is its price, which is cheaper than other products in the market considering that it can also be used as fertilizer. Fresh Pod is suitable for use in refrigerators, as well as for transportation by air, road and sea. Contact: Ms. Rocío Jiménez, Fresh Pod Ltd., 34a Yarmouth Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR7 0E, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1603) 702374; E-mail:; Website:

MAP system extends shelf-life naturally

MAPAX, the modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) solution developed by Linde North America, the United States, extends the shelf-life of consumer packaged foods in a natural way – using a combination of food-grade nitrogen, carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or oxygen. The gases keep sealed products fresh longer when stored under appropriate conditions, helping to reduce returns due to spoilage. With MAPAX, the shelf-life of cakes can be extended from several weeks to up to one year, pizza from 7-10 days to 2-4 weeks, and raw red meat from 2-4 days to 5-8 days (at <3°C).

The MAPAX solution includes on-site gas supply and delivery as well as metering and control systems matched to a plant’s existing food packaging system. Gases can be precisely metered for high-efficiency inerting and preservation of a range of bagged, trayed, canned and bottled products, from potato chips to nuts. Linde designs a MAPAX-gas solution for many types of packaging equipment including: deep draw machines, tray sealers, vertical-flow packs, bag-in-box bag sealing machines, horizontal flow packs, and vacuum-chamber machines. Its gas control systems are designed for maximizing cryogen efficiency. Contact: Linde North America, 575 Mountain Avenue, Murray Hill, NJ, 07974, United States of America. Tel: +1 (908) 771 1491; Fax: +1 (908) 771 1460.

Edible coating to extend shelf-life of fruit

Scientists from the National Institute of Food Science & Technology (NIFSAT) of University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), Pakistan, have developed an innovative edible coating technology under the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan-United States joint project to extend the shelf-life of different fruits by using various types of edible coating materials. “The core objective of the project is to curtail the post-harvest losses and improve the nutritional attributes of various fruits,” said Principal Investigator of the project Dr. Masood Sadiq Butt.

Dr. Butt explained that the process of edible films involves the development of edible coating materials with desired attributes and their application on the fruits by dipping, spraying, etc. The coatings act as a barrier towards the weight loss due to evaporation of water from the fruit, and protects the fruit from other detrimental environmental factors, he said. The coating materials developed by the project are based on different edible materials such as chitosan, whey protein, starch, alginate and soy protein. Research is being conducted at present on different kinds of fruits like apple, mango, apricot and strawberry, all coated with different coatings, Dr. Butt added. Increased shelf-life will help fetch better returns for farmers.


Cold-brewed teas

Harmless Harvest from the United States has utilized high-pressure processing (HPP), instead of pasteurization, as a means to deliver not only a safe product, but one that retains the flavour profile and nutrients of the liquid closer to its original form – an innovative line of organic, cold-brewed tea drinks. Harmless Harvest 100 per cent Raw Tea is reported as a successful attempt at “re-imagining what a tea drink can look and taste like”.

Beginning with organic tea leaves, the product goes through a rather complex process to reach its final form. While most other tea products are made with dried or dehydrated leaves, Harmless Harvest quickly freezes its raw leaves after harvest as a way to retain as much of their original flavour as possible. The leaves are then pulverized, blended with water, and cold-brewed. The process is completed with the liquid run through an HPP machine, which along with making the product safe to drink, has a secondary function: the pressurized processing ruptures the cell membranes of the plant leaves, which releases additional oils and extracts.

Nutraceutical fermented beverage

In Brazil, researchers from Federal University of Paraná, Positivo University and Incorpore Foods have studied the feasibility of developing an innovative, non-dairy, functional, probiotic, fermented beverage using the extract of herbal mate (Ilex paraguariensis A.St.-Hil.) as a natural ingredient. Considering the properties of herbal mate, such a beverage would also be hypocholesterolemic and hepatoprotective. Herbal mate leaves are traditionally used for their stimulant, antioxidant, antimicrobial and diuretic activity, presenting as principal components polyphenolic compounds.

The researchers led by Ms. Isabela Ferrari Pereira Lima of Federal University of Paraná selected Lactobacillus acidophilus from among different bacterial strains, as the best for fermentation. The addition of honey positively affected the development of L. acidophilus and the formulated beverage maintained microbial stability during its shelf-life. Key ingredients in the extract included xanthines, polyphenols and other antioxidants with potential health benefits for the consumer. Caffeine levels and antioxidant activity were also studied. Acceptable levels of caffeine and large antioxidant capacity were observed for the formulation as compared with other antioxidant beverages. Sensorial analysis showed that the beverage had good consumer acceptance in comparison to two other similar commercial beverages. Therefore, this beverage could be used as a non-dairy probiotic, especially by lactose intolerant consumers and vegetarians. Contact: Mr. Carlos Ricardo Soccol, Bioprocess Engineering and Biotechnology Division, Chemical Engineering Department, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, PR 81531-991, Brazil.

Production of fruity, alcoholic drink

Pernod Ricard, a French company that produces distilled beverages, and five inventors have jointly patented a method of producing via fermentation an alcoholic beverage with the flavour and taste of passion fruit and grapefruit. While the alcoholic beverage obtainable by the method can be chosen from the group constituted by wines, beers and spirits, a Sauvignon Blanc wine would be the most preferable. In wines, volatile thiols like 3-mercaptohexan-1-ol (3MH) 3-mercaptohexyl acetate (3MHA) and are some of the most potent aroma compounds. The current invention aims to provide a technology for producing a fruity-flavoured alcoholic beverage, with a better control of the level of the aromas in the alcoholic beverage than other known methods of producing alcoholic beverages.

In the method, hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas stream is bubbled into the grape juice, preferably two days before adding yeast and continued until half way through the fermentation. This enables sufficient time for the H2S to react with volatile thiol precursors in the grape juice, and avoids potential H2S spoilage of the finished wine. The produced alcoholic beverage has higher levels of 3MH and 3MHA in comparison to another alcoholic beverage obtained without the bubbling of an H2S gas stream. Preferably, the produced alcoholic beverage will contain at least 1.5- fold higher levels of 3MH and 3MHA in comparison with an alcoholic beverage obtained without the bubbling of H2S gas stream. The H2S content in the gas stream may vary from 6 ppm to 13 ppm, but is preferably maintained at ~10 ppm.

The bubbling of the H2S gas stream is carried out using sintered gas spargers. The spargers are porous and produce fine bubbles, which have a high surface area to volume ratio. A pressure relief valve at the gas supply tank is required to prevent over pressurization. The volume of gas and the flow rate are determined by the rate of fermentation and the volume of the supplying ferment. Contact: Pernod Ricard, 12 place des Etats-Unis, Paris, F-75116, France.


Insect-resistant food packaging film

In the Republic of Korea, scientists from Seoul Women’s University, Sungkyunkwan University, Korea University, Seoul National University and Chung-Ang University have jointly developed insect-resistant food packaging films using microencapsulation technologies. The films contain cinnamon oil (CO) as the insect-repelling agent encapsulated with gum arabic, whey protein isolate (WPI)/maltodextrin (MD) or poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), to protect food products from the Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella). A low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film was coated with an ink or a polypropylene (PP) solution that incorporated the microcapsules. The encapsulation efficiencies obtained with gum arabic, WPI/MD, and PVA were 90.4 per cent, 94.6 per cent, and 80.7 per cent, respectively.

The films containing a microcapsule emulsion of PVA and CO or incorporating a microcapsule powder of WPI/MD and CO were the most effective (P <0.05) at repelling moth larvae. The release rate of cinnamaldehyde, an active repellent of cinnamaldehyde, in the PP was 23 times lower when cinnamaldehyde was microencapsulated. Coating with the microcapsules did not alter the tensile properties of the films. The invasion of larvae was prevented by the insect-repellent films, demonstrating potential for the films in insect-resistant packaging for food products.

The insect-repelling effect of CO incorporated into LDPE films was more effective with microencapsulation. The system developed in this research with LDPE film may also be extended to other food-packaging films where the same coating platform can be used. This platform is interchangeable and easy to use for delivering insect-repelling agents. The films can protect a wide variety of food products from invasion by the Indian meal moth. Contact: Mr. Sea C. Min, Department of Food Science & Technology, Seoul Women’s University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. E-mail:

Disposable food packaging from beets

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and their collaborators from Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, the United States, have developed a biodegradable plastic that could be used in disposable food containers. To make the plastic, USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists incorporated biodegradable sugar beet pulp, which is the leftover residue from sugar extraction, with a biodegradable polymer. The result is thermoplastic composites that retain mechanical properties similar to polystyrene and polypropylene, used to make the spongy, white food packages.

ARS chemist Mr. Lin Shu Liu and plant physiologist Mr. Arland Hotchkiss, both at the ARS Eastern Regional Research Centre, and their colleagues have found a variety of new uses for sugar beet pulp. The scientists, collaborating with WSU professor Mr. Jinwen Zhang and his colleagues, developed the thermoplastic, which is manufactured from both sugar beet pulp and a biodegradable polymer called polylactic acid (PLA) using a twin-screw extruder. Commercial PLA is derived from the sugars in corn, sugar beet, sugarcane, switchgrass and other plants – all renewable feedstocks. The researchers showed that up to 50 per cent sugar beet pulp can be incorporated with PLA to produce biodegradable thermoplastic composites that are similar to the petrochemical compounds used to make disposable food packages. The new thermoplastic is cost-competitive with commonly used petrochemical plastics, say the scientists.

Coating for food packaging from seaweed

Working as part of a European Union research consortium, the Paint Research Association (PRA) has developed PlantPack, a food packaging coating product, which can replace current packaging coatings based on petrochemicals that are bad for the environment. The eco-friendly PlantPack is made from seaweed extracts and starch, and can spray-coated onto paper and cardboard. Mr. Ian Claris, Director of PRA says: “PlantPack is a real breakthrough for packing technology, as it means at last there is a cost-effective, sustainable alternative to petroleum-derived coating products. And because it is a biodegradable product, it can be composted and recycled easily. So it is better for the environment and performs at least as well as the existing products.”

Seaweed extracts have been used previously to develop sustainable barrier materials for food and pharmaceuticals products, but they have never been applied as a coating for packaging products, as they have not been as flexible or strong. To overcome these physical limitations, the scientists working on the project blended seaweed extracts with starch and starch derivatives (which have good flexibility and strength) so that it could be applied to paper packaging.

Edible packaging for food and beverage

In 2012, Mr. David Edwards, a bioengineer at Harvard University in the United States, launched WikiCell, which makes edible packaging for everything from yogurt to coffee to alcoholic drinks. “We can basically surround any food or beverage with a skin like a grape skin that is fully edible, and then consume it,” he says. Inspired by the way a biological cell carries water, Mr. Edwards set out to design a similar vessel for food and drink. WikiCell’s products keep food fresh for about as long as conventional packaging by using natural skins like apples and grapes with insoluble particles that keep out bacteria and other microbes. Instead of skin cells, it makes its protective membrane out of a mix of particles from such foods as chocolate and orange, binding them with carbohydrates. Mr. Edwards is also looking for other applications in the developing world, including a skin-like liquid containment system made with coconut flakes that can keep water fresh for days, he says. Later this year, WikiCell will launch its first commercial products: GoYum Ice Cream Grapes and Frozen Yogurt Grapes, with sturdy flavoured skins designed to hang in grocery freezers in biodegradable cellophane and last for six months.

A slippery coating for containers

Some product waste that has been previously thought of as unavoidable may not be so with LiquiGlide, a new technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the United States, by five students and their guide Professor Kripa Varanasi. The coating is made from non-toxic materials and is easily applied to food packaging. When applied to the inside of a bottle, the walls become so lubricated that sauces that would have normally stuck to the insides almost fall out. According to PhD candidate Mr. Dave Smith, the material is almost a structured liquid, because it is both rigid like a solid, yet lubricates like a liquid.

LiquiGlide is officially described as: “Liquid-impregnated surfaces are a patent-pending, super-slippery surface technology that comprises a composite of solid and liquid materials, where the solid holds the liquid tightly at the surface and the liquid provides the lubricity.” It reportedly involves “surfaces containing pockets of a lubricating liquid rather than of air. Stabilized by the capillary forces that arise from the microscopic texture, the lubricant lets the droplet above it move with remarkable ease.” It also is stated that such non-wetting surfaces can provide self-cleaning properties. The initial application was reportedly aimed at coating car windshields, but it works equally well on many surfaces from airplane wings to containers made of glass, plastic, metal and ceramic, which covers a lot of ground in packaging for foods and other products. The coating can be engineered to control the speed that the object, liquid or material slide over the surface by changing the materials or structure of the coating. Thus, LiquiGlide can be tailored for the container type as well as for the product that the customer wants to have slide more easily out of the container.

Coffee comes in compostable pack

McCullagh Coffee, a United States coffee roasting company, has introduced a compostable pack, for its Ecoverde Coffee, using cellulose-based, NatureFlex™ from Innovia Films Limited, the United Kingdom. NatureFlex films offer advantages for packing and converting such as inherent deadfold and anti-static properties, high gloss and resistance to grease and oil, good barrier to gases, aromas and mineral oils and a wide range of heat-seal. The pack is constructed using transparent, heat-sealable NatureFlex NE, which is surface-printed using a videojet machine.

NatureFlex films are certified to meet the American ASTM D6400, European EN 13432 and Australian AS 4736 standards for compostable packaging. The wood pulp is comes from managed plantations. The renewable biobased content of Nature Flex films is typically 95 per cent by weight of material according to ASTM D6866. The film begins life as wood and breaks down at the end of its lifecycle in a compost bin within a matter of weeks. It is also confirmed as suitable for emerging ‘waste to energy’ techniques such as anaerobic digestion.


Food-testing circuit could eliminate waste

Plastic electronics can test whether food is safe to eat and thus greatly reduce food waste worldwide, say researchers in the Netherlands. Millions of tonnes of food are thrown away each year because the “sell by” date has passed. However, the listed date is a cautious estimate, which means a lot of edible food is thrown away, scientists at Eindhoven University of Technology point out. Working with European colleagues, they have developed a plastic analog-digital converter (ADC) circuit that could make in-package food testing possible.

Such circuits could cost less than a penny each, the scientists said, making them economically viable as a food testing aid. For example, food producers could include an electronic sensor circuit in packaging to monitor the acidity level of the food. Such sensor circuits could be read with a scanner or with a mobile phone to show whether the food is fresh or it was defrosted. “In principle that is already possible, using standard silicon integrated circuits (ICs),” Eindhoven researcher Mr. Eugenio Cantatore said. “The only problem is that they are too expensive.” Their cost is uneconomical for their incorporation into, for example, a bag of crisps that is expected to be sold at 1 euro.

The Eidhoven University scientists and their colleagues are developing electronic devices that are made from plastic rather than silicon. The advantage is that these plastic ICs could be included in plastic packaging easily and economically. The plastic semiconductor can even be printed on all kinds of flexible surfaces making them cheaper to use, Mr. Cantatore said.

X-ray tech for glass-in-glass inspection

The InspireX R50G introduced by Mettler Toledo Safeline, the United States, offers manufacturers high detection levels across the entire container to meet stringent food safety standards. InspireX R50G X-ray inspection system enhances glass foreign body detection in glass packaging at very high throughput speeds. It is deal for inspecting small to large diameter glass jars containing a broad range of food products. The InspireX R50G can accurately inspect up to 1,200 containers per minute, optimizing production line efficiency for food manufacturers.

Traditionally, the base of glass jars has presented a challenge for X-ray inspection systems, as the thicker glass in the base absorbs more X-rays than the thinner wall, masking foreign bodies. The InspireX R50G, however, features an angled search head, enabling a single X-ray beam to inspect blind spots at the base, as well as in the body, maximizing the likelihood of detection. The body, neck and cap are all fully imaged on the X-ray detector. The automated reject device ensures that only contaminated products are removed without the need to slow down production. The data logging and X-ray image library of the machine include automatic time stamps for rejected products, enabling manufacturers to guarantee products that conform to the highest food safety standards. The InspireX R50G has a 15-inch touch screen display with multi-language capabilities for ease of use.

Clarifier for sugarcane juice

The clarifiers that sugarcane mills have used for decades are expensive to operate and are inefficient. “When you introduce liquid into a clarifier, it creates a turbulent jet, and this jet mixes it all up and prevents it from settling,” says Prof. Vadim Kochergin, a chemical engineer at Louisiana State University (LSU) AgCentre, the United States, who works with the sugarcane industry and knows how ineffective clarifiers could be at allowing the solids to settle in the liquid. In conventional clarifiers, the liquid travels horizontally outwards, which slows throughput and creates a circular motion inside the clarifier. Multiple studies have revealed that inefficiencies in traditional types of clarifiers are caused by the presence of large-scale eddies caused by horizontal flows.

Prof. Kochergin saw the need for reduction or elimination of these flows to optimize the clarification process. So he developed a turbulence reduction device that solves some of the problems of a conventional clarifier. Working with a graduate student, he created a working model, a system that he calls Louisiana Low Turbulence Clarifier, which reduces the scale of turbulence within a clarification vessel by minimizing the momentum of the liquid jets at the entry into the clarifier. A few sugarcane mills in Louisiana have put the device to commercial use and report that they lose less sucrose in the clarification process. The new model is also about 35-40 per cent of the cost of traditional clarifiers and is more energy efficient. The device could be used in other industries as well. Contact: Ms. Linda Benedict, Associate Director and Professor, Communications Department, LSU AgCentre, 115A Knapp Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, United States of America. Tel: +1 (225) 578 2937; E-mail:


Nanotechnology Research Methods for Food and Bioproducts

The expansion witnessed in the field of food nanotechnology is based on the advent of new technologies for nanostructure characterization, visualization and construction. Nanotechnology Research Methods for Food and Bioproducts introduces the reader to a selection of the most widely used techniques in food and bioproducts nanotechnology. This book focuses on state-of-the-art equipment and contains a description of the essential tool kit for a nanotechnologist. Targeted at researchers as well as product development teams, this book serves as a quick reference and a guide in the selection of nanotechnology experimental research tools.

Contact: John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd., CWT Commodity Hub, 24 Penjuru Road, #08-01, Singapore 609128. Tel: +65 6302 9838; Fax: +65 6265 1782; E-mail:

Formulation Engineering of Foods

Formulation Engineering of Foods takes an in-depth look at formulation engineering approaches to food processing and the development of healthier, higher-performance food products. The use of eye-catching examples makes the book at once easy to relate to and innovative. Presenting new methods and techniques for engineering food products, the book forms a cutting edge and timely publication in the field of food formulation.

Contact: John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd., CWT Commodity Hub, 24 Penjuru Road, #08-01, Singapore 609128. Tel: +65 6302 9838; Fax: +65 6265 1782; E-mail:

Food Microbiology - Fundamentals and Frontiers

The fourth edition of this essential reference emphasizes the molecular and mechanistic aspects of food microbiology in one comprehensive volume. It addresses the field’s major concerns, including spoilage, pathogenic bacteria, mycotoxigenic molds, viruses, prions, parasites, preservation methods, fermentation, beneficial microorganisms, and food safety. The book details the latest scientific knowledge and concerns of food microbiology, and offers a description of the latest and most advanced techniques for detecting, analysing, tracking, and controlling microbiological risks in food. It is a key reference book for those who conduct research, teach food microbiology courses, analyse food samples and craft food safety policies.

Contact: John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd., CWT Commodity Hub, 24 Penjuru Road, #08-01, Singapore 609128. Tel: +65 6302 9838; Fax: +65 6265 1782; E-mail:


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