VATIS Update Food Processing . Mar-Apr 2008

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Food Processing Mar-Apr 2008

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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Indian seafood exports suffer major setback

Seafood exports of India have suffered a major setback with volumes and value dropping sharply during April-December 2007, say officials of the Marine Products Export Development Authority. Export volume dropped 19 per cent and their value 14 per cent compared with the corresponding period in 2006. While India exported 392,939 tonnes valued at Rs 57.02 billion in April-December 2007, the comparable figure for the same period in fiscal 2006 stood at 486,895 tonnes valued at Rs 66.52 billion. In dollar terms, the revenue fell by 3 per cent to touch US$1,412.31 million from US$1,463.42 million in the previous period.

Lesser availability of fish, appreciation of the rupee and competition from cheaper sources are the threats faced by Indian exporters. Drop in unit realization coupled with increase in production cost put exporters at disadvantage as compared to other sources. The major losses have come from the United States and Japanese markets while exports to Europe are encouraging, sources say.

Indian exports are unlikely to recoup the losses in the remaining part of the financial year given the disadvantages, sources have said. Cheaper competition from China in farmed shrimp is eating into the exports of black tiger shrimps. It is estimated that Indian shrimp exports to the United States fell by 24.2 per cent in volume and 21.8 per cent in value during January-September 2007 as compared with same period in 2006.


Indonesia to cut raw sugar imports from 2009

Indonesia will gradually cut import of raw sugar, starting with a 20 per cent cut in 2009, and stopping imports altogether by 2014 in a bid to boost local raw sugar production, said Mr. Fahmi Idris, the country’s Industry Minister. The country is expected to import around 1.99 million tonnes of raw sugar this year, up from an estimated 1.58 million tonnes in 2007.

Mr. Idris said that the government plans to turn antiquated sugar mills, which are unable to produce white cane sugar, into raw sugar factories. Indonesia’s industrial sugar factories have an estimated consumption of 2.39 million tonnes of raw sugar a year. “In several years, industrial sugar factories should gradually reduce their dependence on imports of raw sugar. The government plans to gradually reduce permits issued to import raw sugar,” Mr. Idris said.

Indonesia’s industrial sugar producers, who produce white sugar for the food and beverages industry, currently import all their raw sugar since domestic sugar cane production is not sufficient to meet demand from both industry and households. The five industrial sugar producers in the country together have a total installed capacity of 2.18 million tonnes. Sugar production is expected to rise to 2.6-2.8 million tonnes this year.

Last year, the country produced 2.4 million tonnes of sugar from domestic plantations, but consumption was estimated at 2.6 million tonnes. The country imported 450,000 tonnes of white sugar last year. White sugar from domestic plantations, a dietary staple for Indonesia’s 226 million people, is mainly used for household consumption.



Vietnamese seafood sector in high growth curve

Viet Nam’s seafood sector has seen an impressive growth rate over the past ten years. In 2007, the country’s seafood output reached 3.9 million tonnes, earning an export turnover of US$3.75 billion and making the country one of the world’s top ten seafood exporters. Currently, the seafood processing technology of Vietnamese enterprises has kept pace with that of other countries in the region and the world. Of the total 470 frozen seafood processing enterprises, 346 have met the requirements for food hygiene and safety – 245 enterprises are allowed to export to the European Union, while 34 enterprises are permitted to export to Canada and the United States.

The seafood sector can fulfil its set target of earning an export turnover of US$4.25 billion in 2008, if quality standards are maintained. In the development plan for the 2010-2020 period, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) sets a target of earning an export value of US$7 billion. Mr. Luong Le Phuong, Deputy Minister of MARD said that the state will support the sector in many areas. First, the state will invest and upgrade processing establishments to meet the international standards and to develop sustainably. Second, it will help the enterprises follow international regulations on trade and integration. Third, it will provide information and orientation to develop business and production activities for enterprises. Business establishments will also be guided in meeting the needs of the international market and in solving international trade disputes.

Dr. Nguyen Huu Dung, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said competition has become fiercer since Viet Nam joined the WTO. Dr. Dung said the enterprises will have advantages in the international integration process. The state has made many changes in the legal system, creating favourable conditions for exporting enterprises. It is also offering opportunities for enterprises to get more involved in the state policies relating to the business community. Viet Nam’s entry into the WTO will help seek bigger partners. However, Dr. Dung said, it is also important to address shortcomings such as shortages of materials, lack of cooperation between processing and production zones, poor marketing, and lack of management staff and highly skilled workers.

Source: www.english.

Republic of Korea to import GM food corn

Four corn processors in the Republic of Korea will for the first time import genetically modified (GM) supplies of the grain for food use as prices surge for non-altered varieties. The companies – including Daesang Corp., Samyang Genex Co. and ShinDongBang CP Corp. – will import 50,000 tonnes of GM corn from the United States, said an official at the Korea Corn Processing Industry Association (KCPIA).

The four companies, which supply 90 per cent of the local market for starch and syrup, used to import only non-GM corn for processing into ingredients for bread, snacks and beverages in view of consumer concerns about food safety. Prices are soaring as farmers plant fewer acres to non-GM varieties, which are more costly to grow than modified corn. Prices of non-GM corn rose to US$430 a tonne this year from US$150 a tonne in late 2006, while GM corn trades at US$330 a tonne, a KCPIA official said. Supplies of regular corn from China and South America are declining, forcing the companies to rely more on grain from the United States, he added.



Philippines promotes S&T backing for halal food industry

In the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) is exerting efforts to boost the country’s halal industry using scientific and technological innovations, said Dr. Zenaida Laidan, DOST regional director. The “Philippine Science and Technology Programme for the Development of Halal Industry” will be the launched during the three-day 1st National Halal Forum to be held from February 28 to March 1 at General Santos City, South Cotabato. The event will also mark the ceremonial groundbreaking of the first Halal Standards and Testing Laboratory in the country. The P200-million worth lab project, Dr. Laidan said, would be put up in Koronadal City.



Malaysia to set up new council for food exports

The Malaysian Agro-food Export Promotion Council will be set up this year as a joint effort between the government and private sector to market local food abroad. It will focus on fresh and processed food items, especially tropical fruits, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister. The council, however, will stay clear of palm-oil based foods. It will be established this year with 15 appointed members.

According to the Minister the main obstacles to higher exports of Malaysian fruits included lack of aggressive promotion and understanding of the sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, foreign market preferences, and competition from other countries such as Thailand and the Philippines. “Tropical fruits have big prospects overseas but a lot of issues are involved. It is not just a market access question but how to make the fruits last, quality control at farms, and ensuring consistency of supply,” the Minister said after launching a seminar of food exports. “It is no use if we over-promote our fruits but then can’t meet demand,” he added.

Joint studies between the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority and local universities on the marketing of tropical fruits abroad had found that starfruit was a favourite in the Netherlands while mangoes were a hit with the Japanese. Malaysian fruit exports to the Netherlands amounted to M$27.8 million (US$8.72 million) in 2006, of which 80 per cent comprised starfruit. Fruit exports to Japan amounted to RM10.7 million (US$3.35 million), the bulk of which were processed into canned fruit.



Indian chocolate demand fuels domestic cocoa increases

In response to rising demand in the chocolate industry and to reduce dependency on imports, Indian cocoa producers have said that they will increase domestic cocoa production by 60 per cent in the next four years. The Indian market is thought to be worth some €0.25 billion and has been hailed as offering great potential for Western chocolate manufacturers, as the market is still in its early stages.

Firms across the country have revealed plans to step-up domestic production from 10,000 tonnes to 16,000 tonnes, according to Reuters. India’s annual cocoa demand is thought to be around 18,000 tonnes. To secure good quality raw material in the long term, private players like Cadbury India are encouraging cocoa cultivation. “Cocoa requirement is growing around 15 per cent annually and will reach about 30,000 tonnes in the next 5 years,” Cadbury India said to Reuters.

Compared with the highly developed confectionery markets in Western countries, Asian countries are at earlier stages of development, according to the report Chocolate Challenges. For example, the United States market is valued at between US$14 billion and US$17 billion, while India’s chocolate operations are valued at only US$188.6 million. But China, India and Japan have huge potential for chocolate companies, the report said. Chocolate consumption in the region is currently growing at a rate of 25 per cent a year in the Asia-Pacific region.


Viet Nam’s agro and seafood exports hit US$12.5 billion

Viet Nam earned US$12.5 billion from agro-forestry and seafood exports in 2007, a year-on-year increase of 20.6 per cent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In this, agro-forestry exports contributed US$8.7 billion while the remaining US$3.8 billion came from the fisheries sector.

Almost all key export staples recorded rise in both volume and value. Coffee shipments, for instance, hit 1.2 million tonnes in volume and US$1.86 billion in revenue, representing year-on-year rises of 22 per cent and 52 per cent, respectively. Latex exports recorded 719,000 tonnes in volume and US$1.4 billion in turnover (year-on-year increases of 2 per cent and 9 per cent), cashew 153,000 tonnes and US$649 million (20 per cent and 29 per cent), and tea 114,000 tonnes and US$131 million (8 per cent and 18 per cent).

Rice and pepper exports declined in volume but recorded rise in value due to export price hike. The country earned US$1.46 billion from exporting 4.5 million tonnes of rice, up 14 per cent in revenue but down 3 per cent in volume as compared against 2006. Pepper shipment recorded 86,000 tonnes in volume and US$282 million in value, representing a decrease of 27 per cent and increase of 48 per cent year-on-year, respectively.



New process reduces allergens in eggs

Hen’s egg is one of the most frequent causes of adverse reactions to food in children, and this may be carried through into adult life. Egg allergies can cause severe stomach aches, rashes and, in rare cases, even death. In a recent study, chemists from Switzerland and Germany describe a new process to greatly reduce allergens in eggs. The findings could help food manufacturers to produce safer and more specialized food products for egg allergy sufferers.

The scientists describe how during a nine-step process they exposed raw eggs to a combination of high heat and enzymes to break down their main allergens. They then tested the reduced-allergen egg against blood serum collected from people with an egg allergy. The study reports that the modified egg product is 100 times less allergenic than raw egg. In addition, the modified egg does not significantly alter flavour and texture when used in various products.

“Major allergenic egg proteins are ovalbumin, conalbumin, ovomucoid and lysozyme. At least 24 antigenic hen’s egg components are known,” the researchers write in the study. These proteins make up 80 per cent of the total protein content of egg white. The rest are less significant proteins with regard to food allergy. Despite various procedures normally used for food processing, the allergenicity of hen’s egg could not be reduced, while preserving the desired properties, to a level that is suitable for allergic people. This new study may augur a way forward.


Novel process for acrylamide detection

A new acrylamide detection method, which could help manufacturers identify the potentially harmful chemical in food products, has been launched by Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association Group (CCFRA) in the United Kingdom. CCFRA has combined extraction and liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry processes to separate and identify any potential acrylamide fragments in a sample. Acrylamide is a potential carcinogen that is created when starchy foods are baked, roasted, fried or toasted.

At the start of the CCFRA detection process, the food sample is mixed with a solvent. A second solvent is then added to separate the fat, which forms an oily layer. Once this stage is completed, the acrylamide is separated from the remaining extract using liquid chromatography, and fed into a mass spectrometer, which breaks down the fragment molecules into sub-structures or fragments, whose size depends on what molecule the fragment came from. These can then be compared to a database of patterns to spot if any acrylamide is in the mix. Overall, the detection stage takes less than half an hour to carry out, CCFRA claims.



Live cells used to detect food-borne pathogens

Researchers at Purdue University, the United States, have developed a new technology that can simultaneously screen thousands of samples of food or water for several dangerous food-borne pathogens in one to two hours. The technique, which has potential biosecurity and food safety applications, can also estimate the amount of microbes present and whether they pose an active health risk.

The technology utilizes live mammalian cells that, when harmed, release a measurable amount of a signalling chemical. The cells are suspended in collagen gel, and put into small wells within multi-well plates. Each well can test one sample, so tests can be expanded to quickly analyse as many samples as desired. As the test is for toxins and bacteria that attack cell membranes, the researchers employed cells with high amounts of alkaline phosphatase – the signalling chemical released upon damage to the cell membrane. Samples of food and water are added to the biosensor wells before being incubated for 1-2 hours. To each well, a chemical is added that reacts with the biosensor’s alkaline phosphatase, yielding a yellow product.

Optical equipment and computer software then analyse the quantity to estimate the amount of harmful microbes present. “This is very important,” says Dr. Arun Bhunia, a food science professor. “With many toxins or pathogens, there is an effective dose or threshold you must pass before you have to worry. By providing information on quantity, this technology gives you a higher degree of confidence in the test and what steps must be taken to alleviate the problem.” The technology can recognize very small amounts of Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that kills one in five infected and is the leading cause of food-borne illness. It also recognizes several bacillus species, which are non-fatal but common cause of food-poisoning.

This technology can identify active harmful pathogens, ignoring those that are inactive or harmless. Another advantage to the technique is its mobility and versatility. The multi-well plates, and their contents of gel-suspended mammalian cells, could be efficiently prepared in a central location. When desired, the plates could then be shipped to the test location, like a food processing plant, for onsite analysis.


New process for food waste disposal

A new, convenient food waste treatment system, called the HEROS system, has been developed by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the Republic of Korea. The technology uses advanced filtering to separate sewage from solid food that is shredded by a home garbage disposal machine attached to a kitchen sink. The shredded food waste undergoes a biological treatment process in a compact treatment system, with most of the moisture removed from the solid particles and the biological oxygen demand of the sewage reduced to under 180 mg/l. The suspended solids are also reduced to under 50 mg/l, with the treated sewage and food waste sent out with regular sewage with no risk of causing pollution.

Dr. Chang Ho-nam, a professor of biochemical engineering at KAIST and head of the development team, said tests conducted over a two-year period on 90 households in an apartment complex showed the system effectively treated the outgoing sewage water. HEROS – which stands for hygienic and hands-free, energy-saving, residue-free, odour-free, and space-saving – is the first application of the multi-stage continuous high cell density culture process developed by Dr. Chang. The scientist said the relatively compact system, which can be installed in less than 16 m2 of floor space, is designed to treat food waste and sewage in an eco-friendly manner and is economical to use.


Direct test for detecting E. coli

Japanese biochemists led by Dr. Yasunori Tanji, Department of Bioengineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, have developed a novel direct test needed for detecting the presence of E. coli that enters water and food due to faecal contamination. Current tests do not directly identify E. coli: they detect coliform bacteria, used as indicators for faecal contamination. However, coliform bacteria are not always reliable indicators of faecal contamination, as they can originate from natural sources also. The direct tests for E. coli take a lot of time and are too complex for general use.

The researchers have described a successful use of genetically engineered viruses that infect E. coli to identify a wide range of E. coli strains found in sewage. The viruses were initially created to be harmless to E. coli. Later, the viruses were given genes to produce green fluorescent proteins. The viruses thus produced revealed, under a fluorescent microscope, the presence of E. coli by lighting up and glowing after infecting the bacteria. This test takes only a few hours.


Quickest test available for tetracycline in milk

Neogen Corp., the United States, has expanded its line of products developed for the dairy industry to include the quickest test available for tetracycline residues in milk. The tetracyclines group of dairy antibiotics is used to treat bovine mastitis, and includes tetracycline, chlortetracycline and oxytetracycline.

Neogen’s new TetraStar® dairy antibiotic test for tetracyclines complements the company’s widely used BetaStar® test for the beta-lactam group of dairy antibiotics, including amoxicillin, ampicillin, cephapirin, cloxacillin and penicillin. TetraStar gives clear results in a market-best six minutes and, like BetaStar, is a very simple dipstick test that requires only minimal training and equipment to produce consistently accurate results.




A new fat replacement method

A team at the Centre for Formulation Engineering of University of Birmingham, the United Kingdom, is developing a microstructure – an air-filled emulsion coated in hydrophobin, a protein that comes from mushrooms – which resembles the physical properties of a fat globule. This new structure could replace fat in foods such as salad dressings, mayonnaise, sauces and even spreads and margarines.

The hydrophobins used for the new structures have the added advantage of being totally natural. The technique means that up to 50 per cent of the fat would be removed from a product and replaced with the new structure, which is made in such a way that it gives the product the correct texture. The remaining fat carries the fatty flavours and aroma, allowing the consumer to enjoy a healthier food product, but still experience the same fatty taste and texture. The researchers, Professor Ian Norton and Dr. Phil Cox, are now working on alternatives to hydrophobins in order to give food manufacturers a range of alternative natural ingredients that can be used in different product formats and manufacturing processes.


Enzymes for better biscuits

AB Enzymes, a Germany-based subsidiary of ABF ingredients, said that its two new proteases – a type of enzyme that breaks down proteins into peptides or amino acids – can help reduce problems such as browning and cracking. Veron HPP and Veron S50 are designed specifically for the bakery industry, particularly for long-life baked products such a biscuits and crackers.

According to AB Enzymes, the new proteases improve dough extensibility. Dough that is overly handled and stretched – or extended – leads to cracks and tears, so using the protease reduces the number of biscuits that are thrown away due to imperfections, which could save the manufacturer time and money. “The final products have an improved quality, for example a pleasant brown colour, smooth surface, round edges and products of the desired packaging size and weight,” says Mr. Norman Burkadt, sales development manager of AB Enymes. Veron HPP can be used to reduce the time needed for the dough to rest. Veron S50 is cost-effective, as it can be used in conjunction with cheaper, commercially available flours. Besides the cost advantages, Veron S50 offers healthier reformulation options, as it can be used to replace sodium metabisulphite, a food additive linked to allergies such as eczema and asthma.


Buttery alternative to diacetyl

Diacetyl – an artificial butter flavouring used in popcorn, pastries, frozen foods and candies – has been repeatedly linked to the debilitating lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, or ‘popcorn lung’, in workers at popcorn plants. Fears were heightened when it was reported that the disease may also affect consumers. Bell Flavours and Fragrances, the United States, has developed butter flavours that are free from the additive. The replacers provide the same fatty, creamy mouth feel that diacetyl does, and can be used in popcorn, cookie and bakery applications. They are based on chemicals that have FEMA GRAS approval and come in six forms – such as dry, water-soluble and oil-soluble liquid forms – with natural and artificial alternatives.

Source: www.bakery

Micro-encapsulation of flavours

Flavours Inc., the United States, is exploring uses for its new Spun Matrix micro-encapsulation technology in teas and baked goods, and expects to launch a next generation liquid version later this year. The technology has applications in tea products, where granulated flavours are mixed in with the tea. It enables control of the flavour particle size, so that they are evenly spaced within the bag, explained Ms Tara Foster, the company’s sales and marketing director.

In baked goods, the company expects Spun Matrix to help with heat stability, and mask off flavours. While the material used for the encapsulation of flavours is not revealed, the process employs high pressure that allows for 30 per cent loading and is non-thermal, which preserves the delicate but volatile top notes. In plate loading, an alternative flavour technology, a liquid flavour component is dropped onto a powder carrier, such as dextrose, and blended. The maximum flavour load before the carrier becomes wet is only 5 per cent. Spray drying – also considered a mode of encapsulation – requires the temperature to be heated to very high temperatures for 15-20 minutes. This process causes the top notes to be burnt off and lost.


Alginate encapsulation for probiotic applications

Encapsulation of probiotic bacteria in alginate-coated gelatine micro-spheres could protect the friendly bacteria against the harsh conditions of the stomach and upper intestine, allowing for better delivery of these ingredients, suggests new research. The gelatine micro-spheres were found to protect the health-promoting bacteria in simulated gastric and intestinal juices, and led to the recovery of 13-16 per cent more viable cells than observed for the non-encapsulated control, say the researchers from Dalhousie University, Canada.

The research reports the potential of the alginate-coated gelatine micro-spheres to encapsulate Bifidobacterium adolescentis 15703T. The micro-capsules were prepared by cross-linking gelatine micro-spheres with the non-cytotoxic genipin, and then coating them with alginate cross-linked with calcium ions. Exposure of these to simulated gastric juice (pH 2) containing pepsin for two hours and then simulated intestinal juices (pH 7.4) for four hours resulted in significantly higher survival numbers compared with uncoated gelatine micro-spheres and free cells: 7.6 versus 6.7 and 6.4 log colony forming units (cfu) per millilitre, respectively.


New oil to combat fat digestion

In the United Kingdom, Princes Foods and ADM are jointly developing a fat-busting diacylglycerol (DAG) oil that could revolutionize the edible oils category. DAG oil diacylglycerides are metabolised differently by the body than other types of oil. “The body stores less of the DAG oil as fat,” says Mr. Tim Jolly, Princes’ marketing head. The oil can be used as a cooking oil and as an ingredient in spreads, dressings, bakery products, yoghurt, health bars, etc.



China mulls over law to ensure food safety

Chinese lawmakers are considering a law to ensure food safety amid increasing incidence of food scandals. The draft law on food safety was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

In 2005, the Legislative Affairs Office had made revisions to the food hygiene law of 1994 and changed the name into draft law on food safety. The draft, which was passed by the State Council in the same year, imposed strict examinations on food imports and exports. It proposed a food safety risk evaluation mechanism, providing a “key basis” for constituting food safety standards and food-born disease control measures. It said that a related supervision system – covering food production, processing, delivery, storage and sales – should be set up to ensure every procedure was under control. It also called for national food safety standards, a labelling system and a food recall system. Severe punishments have been recommended for non-compliance on the part of business establishments and dereliction of duty on the part of officials. (Source:


Tougher approval rule in Malaysia for food makers

In Malaysia, food producers will soon be required to submit their products for Health Ministry’s approval before they can be sold to the public. For starters, the Ministry’s food safety and quality control division will examine how this can be applied to high-risk products such as milk for children, products for senior citizens and perishable goods. “It is still in the planning stage,” said Dr. Abdul Rahim Mohamad, division director.

If the pre-market approval system is put in place, both local and foreign manufacturers would be expected to submit a working paper with details such as their proposed labelling, product contents and nutritional content, Dr. Mohamad said. A product registration number would then be given, similar to what is currently being done for drugs by the Ministry’s pharmaceutical services department. Claims such as a food being able to prevent diabetes or cure cancer will be prohibited.


Philippines to launch guidelines for halal food

The Philippines will launch its first guideline book on making halal food in accordance with international standard, in order to promote the country’s food industry, the Agriculture Secretary Mr. Arthur Yap was reported as saying. Mr. Yap said that as there is a huge international market for halal food, the country must promote the production of the food for both home and foreign consumers. The requirements for halal products across the globe are estimated to be more than US$200 billion annually.

Mr. Yap said the guidelines will provide food processors, traders, exporters and marketing logistic operators with the necessary information in preparing, packing, labelling and handling of halal foods. Hence, people can rely on halal certification as a seal of food safety and quality assurance, he added. Muslim religious scholars and leaders in the Philippines have also formed a board that will accredit halal certifiers to ensure the strict implementation of the Philippine General Guidelines on Halal Food.


Chinese food products to require quality safety label

All Chinese food enterprises will be required to have a QS (quality safety) label on their products to gain market access starting on 1 January 2008, the country’s quality watchdog announced. For food products produced without the stamp before the date, enterprises could negotiate with the individual sellers to keep them on the shelves, said an official with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection & Quarantine (AQSIQ). The country’s market access labelling system was first put into practice in 2002 to guarantee food quality and safety. However, the system had not yet been applied to all food products.




Nanotechnology to keep food from spoiling

GuardIN Fresh, the United States, is preparing for third-party safety tests of its “FreshFit” nanotechnology for retarding food spoilage. The process was invented by Dr. Ajay Malshe, a professor at the University of Arkansas. The idea is simple: silver-coated nanoparticles are applied to plastic bags, containers, films or pallet wrap to absorb the ethylene gas that causes fruit and vegetables to spoil. Dr. Malshe contends that the silver nanoparticle product is safe. He said many people in India put silver on their desserts with no negative health consequences.

GuardIN Fresh’s silver-coated nanoparticles is reported to cost less than the pure silver nanoparticles on the market, said Mr. David Lewis, the company’s CEO. Although company research shows that the product extends vegetable and fruit life, third-party verification is needed before it can pitch it to a manufacturer or retailer, he said.


Unwanted coffee beans offer natural preservatives

Low-grade coffee beans – known to adversely affect the quality of the beverage – may offer extracts with antioxidant potential to extend the shelf-life of food products, says new research from India. “The high antioxidant potential of the methanol extract of low-grade coffee beans is due to the presence of phenolic compounds including chlorogenic acids, which make them more suitable as a source of natural antioxidant and their utility can be explored in food industry,” say scientists from the Spices and Flavour Technology Department at the Central Food Technological Research Institute.

Interest is growing in plant-derived food additives as replacements to synthetic antioxidants like butylhydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) to slow down oxidative deterioration of food. These natural antioxidants could potentially include the extracts from low-grade coffee beans, representing 15-20 per cent of coffee production. The researchers led by Mr. L. Jagan Mohan Rao tested the potential of different solvents (hexane, chloroform, acetone and methanol) to obtain antioxidant-rich extracts from waste coffee beans. They report that the highest yield was obtained by methanol, with 12 per cent, followed by hexane at 8 per cent. The methanol extract also came out on top in terms of radical-scavenging activity, with 92.5 per cent. It also showed antioxidant activity (58 per cent) at 100 ppm concentration, while the acetone, chloroform and hexane extracts exhibited 44, 28, and 14 per cent, respectively, at the same concentration. The methanol extract, the most promising extract, contained 21.9 per cent total phenolics, 34.2 per cent chlorogenic acid, and 8.25 per cent caffeine.



Fish enzymes for food preservation

The bacteria-killing enzyme from salmon can have a new career as a food preservative, according to scientists from Norway. Scientists at Nofima, in collaboration with Norstruct, have carried out research to find the properties of one of salmon’s two types of lysozymes. They found that salmon’s lysozymes eat the cell wall of bacteria at temperatures of 0ºC to 40ºC. “This temperature window covers everything from refrigeration temperature to heat in the sun on a fine summer day,” says senior scientist Mr. Inge W. Nilsen.

The unique feature of this lysozyme is that the high temperature does not damage its ability to kill bacteria. Mr. Nilsen says that what distinguishes the salmon’s lysozyme from such enzymes in humans and other land animals is that proteins, the weapons that bacteria use to fight back, don’t attack this lysozyme. This is a suitable feature for a preserving agent. Mr. Nilsen believes that commercial use of the salmon’s lysozyme is very likely.


Sea buckthorn berries as natural preservative

Extracts from sea buckthorn berries (Hippophae rhamnoides) could inhibit the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids in processed meats, boosting shelf life, suggests new research. The extracts rich in antioxidants were found to be stable after cooking and maintained the quality of chicken and turkey meat after six days of storage, report the scientists from the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonia. “It is safe to say that the processing residue of sea buckthorn juice is a good functional supplement to mechanically deboned meat (MDM) or hand deboned meat (HDM) products, guaranteeing inhibition of the oxidation of fatty acids as well as enriching the meat products with plant-derived health-beneficial polyphenols,” wrote lead author Mr. Tonu Pussa. The optimal two per cent supplement of berry powder does not deteriorate the organoleptic properties like taste, flavour or texture of the patties prepared from the poultry MDM.

The combination of higher levels of haemoproteins and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in MDM increases the chemical and biochemical oxidation of the fatty acids, which can adversely affect the taste and aroma of the meat, and also produce potentially mutagenic and carcinogenic derivatives of PUFAs. Mr. Pussa and co-workers used the juice-free solid residue of sea buckthorn berries to produce extracts for use as preservatives in the meat. The extracts, containing mostly flavonols, were added at 1, 2 and 4 per cent concentrations to MDM chicken and turkey. Using the 2-thiobarbituric acid reactive substances test as oxidation measure, they report a dose-dependent inhibition of the oxidation of PUFAs in both meats. In storage, about half of the antioxidants were lost in the turkey from oxidation, while a much smaller loss was observed in the chicken MDM.



Coffee tasting machine

Scientists at the Nestle Research Centre in Switzerland have developed a coffee-tasting machine that can sip and evaluate a brew almost as well as professional human tasters. The machine takes a sample of the gases produced by a steaming shot of espresso and analyses dozens of ions associated with taste and aroma. Those ions are assigned to categories in a “sensory evaluation dataset.” After crunching the numbers, it spits out words like “flowery,” “woody,” and “butter toffee” to describe its drinking experience. Researchers say machines like this could be efficient monitors of quality control in the food industry.



Separating the chaff and the nuts

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture is in a co-operative research and development agreement with Flory Industries to develop an add-on device to control dust emissions from nut harvesters. ARS researchers and engineers from Flory Industries are testing a prototype device that uses centrifugal force to trap soil and bits of leaves and sticks so that the harvester emits cleaner air. Mechanical shakers grab trees and shake out nuts – mainly walnuts, almonds and pecans. The nuts fall to the ground along with unwanted leaves and twigs, and are swept into windrows. Pick-up machines then scoop up the windrows. Air flowing through the harvester separates the nuts from debris that also includes soil particles. The debris blows out into the air through a side exhaust as the nuts are conveyed into a cart pulled behind the harvester.

The prototype is trapping the debris and some dust, but it needs more work, primarily because of the difficulty presented by the 12,000 cft/min airflow through the harvester and out the exhaust. The device is modelled after the large cyclone dust collectors attached to cotton gin exhausts. But a tree nut harvester can’t afford to have the huge cyclones. Unlike stationary cyclone attached to the outside exhaust of a cotton gin, the nut harvester is driven under the low tree canopies of many orchards.

Source: www.ars.usda. gov

Slicing and cutting machines

Kronen GmbH Nahrungsmitteltechnik, Germany, has introduced Multislicer machine designed for slicing tomatoes, cucumber, mushrooms, apples and citrus fruits. The thickness of the cut slices ranges from 4 mm to 12 mm and the technique ensures a perfect, precise cut. The Multicorer is an innovative cutting and coring machine used to process lettuce, cabbage and sweet peppers. Stalks of a predefined length are removed before the machine divides the vegetable into two, three, six or eight pieces. Cauliflower and broccoli are separated into florets. The manual grid cutter HGW is a wizard when it comes to precision slicing of fruit and vegetables. With more than 200 cutting options, pineapples, peppers, onions, apples, oranges and lemons are quickly, easily and cost-effectively processed. Cutting options range from cubes, diamonds, strips and slices, to triangles, wedges and other unique shapes.


Garlic processing machines

Heng Li Machinery Co., Taiwan, is offering high-efficiency garlic processing and skewer machines. The garlic processing line includes separating, sorting and peeling implements, chapping, filling, and antiseptic treatment equipment, and garlic powder production machinery.

With stainless steel built-in and durable structure design, the garlic separating machine adapts to various size of garlic bulb, as well as protects garlic cloves during splitting by means of an adjustable scrolling device. Garlic sorting machine sorts garlic pieces from stem and skin before peeling. The garlic peeler keeps garlic intact, fresh and dry throughout the peeling process. Its automatic temperature controller and feeder apparatus enable the complete separation of the garlic meats from the outer skins. This machine supports high volume production, saves electricity, and outputs at the rate of 60-170 kg/h. Heng Li provides four models of garlic peeler with different production capacities.

Heng Li has developed skewer machine for the preparation of skewered food such as Kababs, Kantodaki and Satay. Its high-speed food skewer machine is capable of using six skewers at one go, and provides a range of skewer sizes from 12 to 18 cm.


A heat process innovation

Microthermics, a United States-based manufacturer of heat processing machines for dairy and beverage sector, has unveiled two new machines: the group’s latest steam and electric-based ultra-heat treatment (UHT) and high-temperature-short-time (HTST) processors. These processors are claimed to allow manufacturers greater flexibility during the production of dairy and beverage products, ranging from milk-based drinks and juices, to ice cream, puddings and yoghurts.

Both the steam injection and the electric versions of the processors are designed with either or both tubular and plate heat exchangers. The design also includes a 1.8 m cabinet to hold the five internal holding tubes, which according to the manufacturer can offer from the standard flow rate of 1 l/min up to 3 l/min. The system can additionally be linked up with in-line homogenizers, sample port coolers and steam injection processors to meet individual production needs.



Heat exchanger for food products

Bulkflow Technologies Inc., Canada, has introduced its fully enclosed and totally sealed heat exchanger to the food industry. The Bulkflow heat exchanger indirectly heats or cools free-flowing powder and bulk solids such as sugar or salt. It does not require fans or large volumes of air to operate and lets gravity do the work. It thus combines zero air emission, lower energy use and lower capital cost with exceptional results.

The heat exchanger consists of a series of many closely spaced hollow, welded heat exchanger plates. The food product moves slowly by gravity between the plates in mass flow. Cooling or heating media circulates internally between the plates’ dimples and counter-current to product flow for higher thermal efficiency. A mass flow discharge feeder controls the product flow rate and regulates throughput. Other benefits of the technology include modular construction a compact design. The gentle improved product flow prevents product attrition, the potential for caking in storage and improved packaging.

Food industry applications include uniformly cooling salt leaving a drying operation, more uniformly warming salt for stronger pellets, and cooling sugar crystals before storage and packaging. In the sugar industry, it can also be used as a primary or secondary cooler. Both sugar and salt applications are readily adaptable to plant retrofits. Other applications in the food industry include heating or cooling starch, dextrose, vitamins, rice, cocoa products, corn products, wheat, coffee, oats, pet and animal food, soybeans and oilseed.




Enzymes designed to improve berry juice use

A new range of enzymes is designed to improve the juice volume and vitamin yield of blackcurrants for beverage use, its manufacturer says. Biocatalysts, the United Kingdom, claims its three latest products – TP777L, TP778L and TP776L – offer tailored benefits for berry processors in the beverage industry.

To tap into this growing demand from processors, Biocatalysts identified three key factors that manufacturers most require from berries, which are: an increased juice yield; a higher presence of anthocyanins, the anti-oxidants, and vitamin C; and the colour of the extract. The company claims that its TP77L enzyme offers the best all-round solution for manufacturers compared with commercially available alternatives, granting a high vitamin C yield, along with high juice and dissolved solid rates. The TP778L can be used to obtain a high level of vitamin C from the Ben Gairn blackcurrant variety. The TP776L can be used for both the Ben Alder and Ben Tirran varieties of blackcurrants to obtain a high level of anthocyanins and juice.



Antioxidant benefits of pomegranate juice

A recent study in the United States led by Dr. David Heber at the Centre for Human Nutrition, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, found that juice from a California-grown variety of pomegranate is the leader in the healthy beverage category. The variety demonstrated the most complete free radical scavenging activity, greater protection of LDL-cholesterol from oxidation, and the highest polyphenol content.

The study found that POM Wonderful 100 per cent pomegranate juice tested higher in overall phenolic content and antioxidant activity than red wine and Concord grape, blueberry and orange juices. The product even ranked higher than other beverages claimed to contain superior levels of antioxidants such as acai juice, and white and green teas. Unlike all previous studies that only included one test against these other types of beverages, Dr. Heber’s study conducted a series of seven tests on all the beverages, resulting in a novel and more accurate methodology. Results of the study showed that the product had the greatest free radical fighting ability. The antioxidant potency composite index was at least 20 per cent greater than any other beverage included in the study.



Beverage dispensing with cold carbonation

Lancer Partnership Ltd., the United States, has patented a method and related apparatus for cold carbonation and dispensing of beverages. The dispenser includes a cold source (such as a cold plate or an ice/water bath) and a carbonator, which has a toroidal tank, a water inlet, a carbon dioxide inlet, and a sensor for measuring water level in the tank. A key technical advantage claimed for the invention is that it greatly improves carbonation efficiency by including a carbonator integrally formed with a cold plate. Other technical advantages are the use of carbonation tank segments that provide efficient carbonation in small spaces, and integrated pre- and/or post-carbonation cooling circuits.



Innovative packing for dispensing hot fast food

Over 25 fast food eateries in Mumbai, India, have tested and accepted an innovative packing for dispensing hot fast food items hygienically, effectively and economically. This special food-grade bag for dispensing fast foods, including coffee, tea, curries and soups was developed by Trend Plast PouchPack, a leading innovative packaging solution provider based in India. This paper bag is waterproof and oil proof, and ideal to be used for hot snacks and drinks with limited shelf life. Customers can hold the bags despite the heat of food packed inside. The bags are available in different sizes, with printing options. They are 50 microns thick, recyclable and do not cause any clogging of drainage.


New technology for delicate product packaging

Bosch, world’s largest supplier of packaging technology, has designed a new range of packaging and processing solutions designed specifically for handling delicate products such as tray-baked goods, biscuits and chocolate confectionery. One such machine is the LDM Monopacker particularly meant for packing products such as biscuits into trays. The company has also developed a range of vertical form-fill-and-seal machines that can bag smaller bakery and confectionery products into packaging at speeds of up to 120 bags per minute. The SVE 2510 QR and the SVE 1800 MR sort biscuits and snacks into a variety of packaging formats such as stand up pouches, pillow bags or block-bottomed bags.



New PET multilayer food jar

The first of its kind, clear PET multilayer plastic jar with a wide-mouth finish and barrier properties suitable for hot-packed food products such as pasta sauces, salsas, fruits, and other popular hot-fill products has been developed by Graham Packaging Company, the United States. These products were previously available only in glass because of the need to prevent oxygen ingress. The new container also works well in protecting dry-packed or cold-processed products that are oxygen-sensitive. The container is claimed to extend shelf life of certain products up to 18 months.

The package combines two proprietary technologies: SurShotTM multilayer technology and jar blow-moulding technology, both employed in the packaging industry for more than 10 years. The containers can be designed in all common configurations and specialty shapes, with wide-mouth finishes up to 82 mm. The PET jars can be hot-filled in a temperature range of 90-95ºC.


Novel film lid for reducing waste

Paragon Flexibles, the United Kingdom, has introduced a new flexible film lid called i-lid, designed to reduce the need for packaging materials and ensure food freshness. The lid can be heat-sealed onto a range of tray types and is suitable for ambient, chilled or frozen applications. In addition, the i-lid can be coated with specific barrier properties or perforated to deliver optimum pack conditions for a variety of food products.

The company says that the i-lid will reduce the amount of packaging needed to seal products such as fresh fruit salads and will make them longer lasting and less likely to be thrown out. This is done in two ways. First, by printing directly onto the i-lid so that the need for additional carton wrappers is reduced. The lid can be flexo-printed in up to 8 colours. Second, through measuring food respiration rates so that package permeability can be determined to help ensure optimal shelf life and product quality. The company has developed the Respirocomp software to speed up respiration rate determination. Customers can benefit from a database programmed with pack, atmosphere and product variables, which determine a perforation configuration without extensive trialling.


Powder filling systems

Together with its subsidiary companies Behn + Bates and Feige Filling, the multinational Haver Technology Group presents a growing versatility in filling systems for almost every application. “The Adams” and “The Benjamin” are filling systems for packing powder-type products into air-tight PE bags made from a tubular film roll. The advantages of these form-fill-seal systems include more product protection, greater transport stability and longer shelf lives. Compact sizes and high flexibility are the distinguishing features of these machines. Depending on the production outputs and the level of compaction required for the fine-powder products, The Benjamin may be equipped with 1 to 4 filling modules, and The Adams with 8 or 10 spouts. “The Cyrus” is the latest offering in this line, for powder-type, loose materials with particle sizes ranging from 20 to 300 and for coarse products with dust content. It is designed for bag sizes ranging form 6 dm3 to 50 dm3 and weights between 5 kg and 50 kg.

Compactness, user friendliness and reliability are the features that characterize the Haver-Integra system for valve bags. This fully automatic compact system includes an automatic bag applicator, a filling system, valve sealing unit, control unit, operator’s terminal and a discharge belt, all inside a dust-free housing. This system uses the Plug+ Pack concept and fills bulk materials with speeds of up to 700 bags/hour with 1, 2 or 3 filling spouts.

Haver subsidiary Behn+Bates is offering two new products. One is the Orbis open-bag system, which is an extended development of the Topline system introduced in 2005. This new rotating filling system for open pre-manufactured bags assures an efficient and hygienic product filling and a high machine speed of up to 600 bags/hour. It is ideal for packing flour, baking powders, or powdered sugar or milk. It can work with all conventional types of bags made of paper, PE, woven PP or material combinations, and may be equipped with 3, 4 or 5 separate filling spouts.

The technical expertise of Feige Filling, another subsidiary of Haver, is in filling liquid and pasty products. Such filling can be done using the fully automatic Model 34 Plug+Fill system for buckets and canisters. The system uses a patented product flow control system, which in combination with the product pump reduces filling times to a minimum. Feige is also presenting the Model 33 drum filling machine, with an automatic shutting station, for filling steel and plastic drums.



Food Engineering Aspects of Baking Sweet Goods

This publication, addressing the engineering and science elements often ignored in current baking books, explores important topics in understanding the baking process and reviews recent technological advances. It covers the rheology of cake batter and cookie dough, cake emulsions, the physical and thermal properties of sweet goods, and heat and mass transfer during baking. It also presents the science of soft wheat products, including the quality of soft wheat, the functions of ingredients in the baking of sweet goods, and the chemical reactions during processing.

Taking an engineering approach to the field, this volume delineates the complex food process of baking, from ingredients to production to finished product. The book also examines the nutritional issues of consuming fats and sugars and presents general strategies for substituting fats and sugars.

Advances in Food Dehydration

A traditional food preservation method, dehydration has advanced significantly in past decades as a result of new technologies, sophisticated analytical techniques, and improved mathematical modelling. Advances in Food Dehydration provides a practical understanding of dehydration and the latest developments in the food industry. It explains the structural and physico-chemical changes that food undergoes during dehydration and discusses ways to optimize natural resources. The book describes non-convectional heating sources such as microwaves, infrared, and radio frequency are described. The text also examines the stresses on micro-organisms during drying.

For the above two publications, contact: CRC Press UK, Albert House, 4th Floor, 1-4 Singer Street, London EC2A 4BQ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1264) 343070; Fax: +44 (1264) 343005; E-mail:


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