VATIS Update Food Processing . May-Jun 2007

Register FREE
for additional services
Food Processing May-Jun 2007

ISSN: 0971-5649

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

Editorial Board
Latest Issues
New and Renewable
VATIS Update Non-conventional Energy Oct-Dec 2017
VATIS Update Biotechnology Oct-Dec 2017
VATIS Update Waste Management Oct-Dec 2016
VATIS Update Food Processing Oct-Dec 2016
Ozone Layer
VATIS Update Ozone Layer Protection Sep-Oct 2016
Asia-Pacific Tech Monitor Oct-Dec 2014




FAO looks to tap coconut water potential

A simple cold preservation process could help increase sales of bottled coconut water, a product that is yet to fully tap the growth of health and energy drinks. The Food and agriculture Organization (FAO), which is promoting the process, wants to boost coconut water commercialization and help small farmers to gain market share. It has published a training guide to this effect. The cold preservation process requires little investment and skills, and it offers small entrepreneurs a chance to enter the market of bottling coconut water of good quality, said Ms. Rosa Rolle of FAOs rural infrastructure and agro-industries division.

Coconut water, the liquid endosperm inside young coconuts, is naturally fat-free and low in food energy (16.7 calories per 100 g), and has potential as a sports drink because of its high potassium and mineral content. Coconut waters potential, however, remains largely untapped. To date, most coconut water is still consumed fresh in tropical countries, largely because, once exposed to air and warm temperatures, it rapidly deteriorates. In addition, sterilizing the product using high temperature and short-time pasteurization destroys some of the nutrients in coconut water and all of the delicate flavour.

The cold preservation process recommended by FAO protects the natural flavour of coconut water. The process involves filtration, bottling and rigorous temperature control. The bottled coconut water stays fresh from 10 days to three weeks. This will help to meet demands from domestic retail markets. The cold preservation technology is not protected by a patent and can be used by anybody.


Indias food products exports unsatisfactory

Indias exports for agricultural and food products constitutes about 1.6 per cent of total global trade, according to the information given by Mr. Subodh Kant Sahai, the Minister of State for Food Processing Industries. A study by Ministry of Food Processing Industries says that although Indias exports of agricultural and food products have been increasing, the small percentage of exports in the global trade is a cause of concern.

Mr. Sahai said that the major reasons for unsatisfactory export performance are non-availability of exportable products in adequate quality and quantity, non-tariff barriers in world markets, inability to achieve and maintain high standards of supply, as well as lack of a brand image for quality, safety and reliability. He said that the government has taken various initiatives by providing financial assistance to entrepreneurs to bring in modern technology and equipment to improve quality, cost-effectiveness and exportability of their products. The minister said that his ministry has been providing assistance for upgrading capacity building in human resource development, R&D and quality assurance. As per the vision 2015 for the food processing sector adopted by the government, India has the potential to achieve 3 per cent share in world trade of agricultural and food products by the year 2015.


China helps boost carbonated beverage growth

China is one of the five nations set to drive massive growth of the carbonated drinks market by 2011, says a new report by consumer analyst Euromonitor. The report found that China, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and the United States would account for 55 per cent of global growth within the sector over the next five years.

China has one of the most dynamic beverage industries in the world, with research by Chinas food industry association finding it had grown by 18 per cent in 2006 to produce almost 40 million metric tonnes. Carbonated beverages currently lead the beverage market, accounting for 23.8 per cent of all sales within the country.

Euromonitor attributes the massive growth to the developing nature of the countries economies, as well growing populations and increasing levels of disposable income. It adds that the market will be shaped by increasing health concerns among the consumers eyeing healthier and lower calorie alternatives.


Malaysian food processing industry turns a new leaf

Consumer demand for processed food continues to grow globally. It is estimated that the present global retail sales of food products total US$3.5 trillion and are expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.8 per cent to US$6.4 trillion in 2020. The Malaysian food processing industry accounts for one-tenth of domestic manufacturing output. In the period of the Second Industrial Master Plan (IMP2) 1996-2005, the contribution of the industry to the total manufacturing output increased to 9.9 per cent in 2005 from 6.1 per cent in 1996.

In terms of numbers, small and medium-sized firms dominate the food industry in Malaysia. The Annual Survey of Manufacturing Industries 2003 by the Statistics Department found that there were more than 2,000 establishments involved in the food processing industry, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) comprised more than 80 per cent of the total number of establishments.
Recognising the importance of developing an efficient and modern food industry, the government has formulated an integrated approach to develop the small-scale food industries. The assistance provided can be generally classified as technical services, training and extension services, financial assistance, and advisory and consultancy services, including the outline of halal concept.

The SMEs need to upgrade their technologies to ensure that their products have reliable, consistent and high quality, which is essential in the competitive global market. A related issue is a lack of raw material supply, and a current issue is whether to provide for it indigenously or to source them overseas. In some areas, the raw materials required for processing are imported due to lack of comparative advantage in production domestically. This often affects the production flow and the marketing set-up.


Pakistan looks to beet to bolster sugar industry

According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL) of Pakistan, the country has 77 sugar mills with a production capacity of 7.1 million tonnes per annum. Sugar cane is the main crop cultivated on about 1,000,000 hectares in Punjab, Sindh and NWFP. However, sugar cane cultivation is becoming uneconomical because it is a high delta crop that requires lots of water, a scarce and expensive resource in the country. Besides, sugar cane is a long-duration crop and takes at least a year to mature. The surplus sugar production in the world, which depresses the sugar prices in the international market, is also harming the sector.

All these factors together place a negative effect on the total productivity of sugar cane crop and thus leads to higher production costs, which make it difficult to export the commodity. Therefore, sugar beet is being viewed as an alternative sweetener crop to supplement and substitute sugar cane crop, MINFAL sources stated. Sugar beet could enhance farmers profitability as it needs only a third of the water that sugar cane needs, but matures in five months compared with the 12-16 months that sugar cane takes.

Currently, sugar beet is restricted only to NWFP Province where it is grown on about 6,000 ha with an estimated production of about 300,000 tonnes. MINFAL has started a project to conduct trials on sugar beet cultivation in areas other than Peshawar Valley in Punjab, Sindh and southern zone part of NWFP in a non-temperate zone. It has started efforts to persuade the mills to start marketing sugar beet.


Viet Nam looks to more control over food quality

In Viet Nam, work carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) during its action month recently has identified urgent issues that need to be addressed. Mr. Le Van Bam, the deputy head of the Ministrys Department of Science & Technology, said that besides enhancing dissemination to raise awareness on agricultural safety, relevant agencies had tightened inspection of agricultural materials and food processing.
During the month-long campaign, several businesses selling chemicals used to protect plants, fertilizers, animal feed and animal medicine were found to have made violations.

Most violations included businesses operating without licenses or using low-quality and out-of-date materials. A check on the use of chemicals on vegetables and fruits by the Plant Protection Department found some of them had used banned chemicals. Considering the success of the campaign, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Cao Duc Phat, said the action month would be a regular and key task for the sector. MARD would focus on food safety in its agricultural expansion programme, he said.


China to undergo an emulsifier boom

Chinese demand for food emulsifiers is expected to witness strong growth over the next few years as food processors increase their usage to meet growing demand in the country for low-fat foods. A research report from the consultancy firm Frost and Sullivan says that the value of Chinas food emulsifier market is expected to grow to 135 million by 2013 from just 51 million in 2006.

The group found that growing obesity concerns as well as an overall increase in food production throughout the country were making emulsifiers an increasingly important product to processors. Low-fat foods in particular were singled out for driving the trend, due to the applications of emulsifiers in substituting stability and viscosity lost in the process of fat reduction. In order to get the most from these applications, processors have been found to turn increasingly to a variety of different emulsifiers to mimic scientific formulas.

In view of this trend, Frost and Sullivan added that it expected the market to be driven by innovation for multi-functional emulsifiers that can streamline processing time and costs. The group added that companies who hoped to lead the sector were likely to need increased investments in the country to expand and develop its ranges as well as its distribution networks.


SME food industry mentoring programme in Malaysia

In Malaysia, Nestle and the National SMI Consultative Centre (Nasmic) have again teamed up to organize the Nestle-Nasmic SME Food Industry Mentoring Programme to help local companies tap the growing halal food industry. This years programme includes modules on productivity and competitiveness, marketing and sales, as well as technical topics such as ISO 22000, the international standard that specifies the requirements for a food safety management system involving interactive communication, system management, pre-requisite programmes, and health standards.

The modules under the programme are in line with the governments strategies under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, to create competitive, innovation-driven and performance-oriented SMEs in the country, Nestle said in a statement. This years programme also sees the involvement of the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC), which is responsible for steering Malaysia to become a regional halal hub. The programme is expected to begin in mid-April.


Organic standards talks to begin in Australia

The inaugural meeting of a new committee to establish guidelines for domestic and imported organic foods in Australia will take place in May, even without full industry representation, says Mr. Andre Leu, chairperson of the Organic Federation of Australia (OFA). Mr. Leu hopes that nations organic food industry will benefit from the establishment of the Australian Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce that ensure consumer satisfaction both in terms of quality and safety.
Confirmation of the talks came after Standards Australia, the board responsible for setting up the committee, denied media reports that it finalized representatives for the committee. However, Mr. Leu stressed that this would not delay work on the organic standards, which already had sufficient representation from 16 of the 18 short listed parties to begin the discussions.

It was the Australian Government that proposed that an Australian Standard was the correct way to get domestic regulation, said Mr. Leu. A similar standard is already in place for the countrys exports of organic food, and the OFA is keen that domestic market for organic foods too follow suite.



Mind genomics for standard global marketing

Consumers in every market have their own, unique responses to product characteristics such as taste, smell, appearance, packaging and marketing. Understanding such cultural differences is crucial for companies operating on a global scale. The cost of inappropriate product launches can be costly not just in financial terms but also for a brands image in a local market.

Researchers from the Northeastern University in the United States have developed a system for evaluating whether a food product is suitable for marketing to consumers in several different geographical and cultural markets, using an approach known as mind genomics.

The dream of every company is to take their product and package, market and sell it in exactly the same way in every country, says Professor Samuel Rabino of Northeastern. This methodology enables companies to discern between products that lend themselves to a standardized marketing approach and those that dont. Mind genomics involves gathering information, creating a body of knowledge on consumer responses to complex stimuli, and providing a guide to product developers and public health policy-makers on marketing strategies.

Prof. Rabino and his co-investigator Dr. Howard Moskowitz, President of the brand development agency Moskowitz and Jacobs, asked 6,700 consumers in France, Germany and the United Kingdom to evaluate 22 different food and beverage products. The respondents completed a web-based questionnaire on their food and drink consumption habits, and a conjoint analysis stimulus response model was employed to see how they responded to food concepts. This two-track approach allowed the researchers to study a single food in detail and also take a broader view of a set of many foods so as to build up a clearer, holistic view of food habits in an individual country.


New technology offers ultra-fast shelf-life prediction

If a drink is superheated while it is flowing through microscopically small diameter pipes so called microfluidic systems one can emulate its degradation over months and even years in a matter of minutes, claims Mr. Mark Gilligan, who heads the Dolomite Centre, a microfluidic application centre in the United Kingdom.

There is no substitute for putting a drink in a cupboard and monitoring what happens to it over time, but being able to accelerate the degradation process can give you a pretty good indication of what its shelf-life might be in the early stages of product development, said Mr. Gilligan. The basic principle of microfluidic systems is that when things are pushed down microscopic tubes, they behave very differently. We can superheat things to 300 degrees and run a series of experiments in quick succession way above the boiling points of these solutions. The fluid enters a microreactor, heats up in a second and cools down immediately. When you are dealing with things on a microscale, their physics change, explained Mr. Gilligan.


Fibre-optics promises improvements in food inspection

Line-scan cameras that record images of objects one line at a time, just as fax machines scan documents on a line-by-line basis, are often used in industrial processes for inspecting foodstuffs and other items. Rapid electronic processors then detect whether there are any problems with the items and instruct mechanical actuators (such as air jets) to separate out unsatisfactory items. The problem is that current line-scan cameras lack ideal light sources to image objects properly.

In the United States, Princeton Lightwave and OFS Labs have introduced a fibre-optics-based solution, which promises to improve the online inspection of food, produce, paper, currency, recyclables and other products. In their design, a bright light source such as a laser sends light through an optical fibre. Along the length of the fibre is an ultraviolet-light-treated region called a fibre grating. The grating deflects the light so that it exits perpendicularly to the length of the fibre as a long, expanding rectangle of light. This optical rectangle is then collimated by a cylindrical lens, such that the rectangle illuminates objects of interest at various distances from the source. The bright rectangle allows line scan cameras to sort products at higher speeds with improved accuracy.

The new fibre-based light source combines all the ideal features necessary for accurate and efficient scanning: uniform, intense illumination over a rectangular region; a directional beam that avoids wasting unused light by only illuminating the rectangle; and a cool source that does not heat up the objects to be imaged. Currently used light sources, such as tungsten halogen lamps or LED arrays, lack at least one of these features. The researchers say that this fibre-based device can be customized for a specific inspection application in 4-6 weeks, then manufactured for it in 16-20 weeks.


New metal separator for the food industry

Quicktron 05 R Touch, from Mesutronic GmbH of Germany, is a unique new metal separator for the food industry. It is a compact metal detector that can be easily installed in production lines. Its simplified features allow the inspection of free-falling products such as flour and powder, eliminating dust and dirt particles with its round eject mechanism. The machine is hygienic and easy to clean due to easy removal of the eject mechanism with the Quick Out System.

The detector coil is enclosed by multiple antistatic layers and integrated interferences shield to ensure immunity from external interferences. Electronic evaluation with automatic product compensation ensures high sensitivity, even for conductive products. A continuous self-monitoring system ensures that all relevant metal detection functions are monitored, and any malfunctions are indicated reliably and immediately, ensuring a safe production line at all times. The machine is available from Perfect Packaging Ltd.

Contact: Perfect Packaging Pty. Ltd., 5/25 Stoddart Road, Prospect, Sydney, NSW 2148, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 9688 3200; Fax: +61 (2) 9688 3211.


New nut allergen test

Food processors are becoming more concerned about nut contaminants in their products due to increasing regulations designed to protect sensitive consumers; a labelling error can result in costly product recalls and loss of consumer trust. Reading Scientific Services (RSSL), the United Kingdom, says that it has developed protein and DNA methods to detect trace amounts to a sensitivity of 100 ppm. Consultancy and training services for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles are available from RSSL to help companies prevent cross contamination. RSSL stresses that testing alone does not guarantee products are allergen-free, but plays an important role in HACCP practice and investigating complaints of suspected contamination.


Procedures to retain bioactives in food samples

According to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture, harsh preparation of food samples can affect the quality of the bioactives present, making results of testing inaccurate and inconsistent. ARS scientists have developed a set of procedures for the extraction, preparation and preservation of food samples to be analysed for their nutrient content, in order to reduce the impact of these processes on the bioactives to be measured.

These procedures govern validation sampling and preservation methods, and recommend the use of modern extraction techniques such as pressurized liquid and ultrasonic radiation. They support optimal extraction of bioactives from different plant sources. They will be important for research laboratories measuring compounds that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. The knock-on effect is that the accurate analysis of plant compounds present in foods can help identify associations between consumption and benefits, informing dietary advice and formulation of healthy food products. Variations reported for bioactive chemicals will continue to exist, but reducing uncertainty introduced by sample preparation would go some way towards improving overall accuracy.



Flavour technology that improves taste

Rudolf Wild GmbH & Co., Germany, claims to have developed flavour technology that improves the taste reception of artificially sweetened products. The firm said that its Resolver technology also neutralizes undesirable off-notes including a bitter, soapy, metallic or burning aftertaste that are associated with sweeteners, cereals, mineral nutrients, vitamins and preserving agents in food production.

Resolver technology is designed to optimize the taste of foods, beverages and other single ingredients. The effectiveness of the ingredient has been approved in numerous products, company claims. The Resolver is based on a combination of natural flavours and flavour extracts. The ingredient is water-soluble and does not contain any genetically modified component. When a particular flavour component is undesired, such as the bitter aftertaste of sweeteners, the Resolver neutralizes the molecular structure by blocking keys and triggers for that molecule in the food or beverage. Thus, the tongues bitter taste receptor is never activated. The product is currently being used in calorie-reduced soft drinks, soy drinks, tea and coffee products, sports drinks, energy drinks, dietary supplements and dietetic products.


Citrus pigment waste could offer cheap sweeteners

Researchers led by Mr. Emanuele Maccarone from the Universit degli Studi di Catania, Italy, have developed a process to produce high purity sugars from citrus processing waste that could offer natural and inexpensive sweeteners for the food and beverage industries. The process, which combines passing the waste through a resin and ultra-filtration, produces a nearly colourless product that can be used as a natural sweetener for food, drinks and fruit nectars, say the researchers.

The researchers obtained pigmented orange pulp waste from a local processor and used a neutral polystyrene-divinylbenzene resin to recover flavanones and anthocyanin pigments. The ultrafiltration process, which followed this stage, removed enzymes and micro-organisms and stabilized the product. The final product was found to contain about 250 g/l of sugars (33 per cent glucose, 30 per cent fructose and 37 per cent sucrose), 9 g/l of citric acid and 1 g/l of pectins. It was a transparent liquid of slight amber colour with a very low microbial count, stated the researchers. They stress that, although they focused on an analytical approach, the results have demonstrated the possibility to obtain high-quality sugar syrup employable as food sweeteners.


Colostrum gets into functional beverages

Fonterra, New Zealand, has developed a technique that allows colostrum to be added to ready-to-drink beverages with a longer shelf-life. This opens up opportunities for new kinds of products for colostrum, which is obtained from the first milk produced by a mammal after giving birth and is believed to give a special boost to health thanks to its high level of immunoglobulin (IgG). Fonterra is a major supplier of colostrum.

Until now colostrum has been suitable only for fresh beverages with a short shelf-life. This is because manufacturing techniques to extend shelf-life usually employ heat treatment a process that destroys the bioactive components of colostrum and nullifies its health benefits. Fonterras method uses a standard cold-fill bottling process to create a consumer package. It is then subjected to a second, all-natural process to prevent further spoilage, avoiding use of additives and preservatives so that nutrition, flavour and colour are unaffected. Fonterra uses the technology in its Colostrum Shot beverage, a dairy drink that can be stored for up to six months at ambient temperatures.


Soluble fibre range sweetens low-sugar market

The French ingredients company Roquette has developed a new soluble fibre range suitable for use in low-sugar, low-calorie jellies and gums. Nutriose is a partially hydrolysed starch derived from wheat and maize which contains up to 85 per cent fibre. Roquette claims this high fibre content allows for increased digestive tolerance, calorie management, extended energy release and lower sugar content.

The ingredient has been developed by Roquette to act as an alternative to sugar in breads, biscuits, desserts, dairy products and confectionery. It is suitable for market niches such as sugar-free, tooth-friendly and low-calorie, as its caloric value is up to half that of sugar. Nutriose also allows products to be marketed as rich in fibre. Roquette claims the fibre is easy to store and amenable to industrial processing with low viscosity, unlimited solubility, and stability in terms of heat and acidity.


Modified tapioca as encapsulation material?

Acid-modified tapioca starch may offer significant advantages as an encapsulation material, producing better results than native starch, says new research at Thailands Thammasat University. The study suggests that acid-modified tapioca starch after steam pressure treatment has the potential for use as wall material in place of gum arabic, whey proteins, hydrolysed starches, emulsifying starches, sodium caseinate or gelatine, each of which has some drawback. For instance, cost and lack of assured supply are the biggest stumbling block for materials like gum arabic.

In the new study, a patented method was used to prepare the acid-modified tapioca starch. It involved an initial hydrolysis stage by mixing with sulphuric acid and subsequent neutralization with sodium carbonate, prior to filtering washing and drying. The use of the modified tapioca starch as an encapsulating material was compared with maltodextrin and native tapioca starch. Pure beta-carotene was used to test encapsulation. The modified tapioca starch was found to encapsulate significantly more of the carotenoid (82 per cent) than native starch (68 per cent) and maltodextrin (47 per cent). Its cold-water solubility was higher than native starch when prepared as spray-dried powders. It also produced granules with a wider range of particle sizes, from 5 to 30 microns, compared with the native tapioca starch that had more uniform granules ranging in size from 2 to 18 microns.


A vitamin additive for the brain

The United States Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of Lipogen PS, a product from Israeli, as a food additive. A natural functional food ingredient that improves brain functions in both children and adults, Lipogen PS contains phosphatidylserine (PS) a nutrient found in fish, green leafy vegetables, soybeans and rice which regulates metabolic processes such as neuronal signalling in the brain. Studies have associated the nutrient to improvements in memory and mood, and specifically linked it to delaying symptoms of early-onset Alzheimers disease.

PS is a naturally occurring material within the membranes of the cells in the brain. Generally, the brain produces the required amount of the material, but age as well as the stress of modern life slows down its production, explained Mr. David Rutenberg, the founder and CEO of Lipogen, the company that developed the product. Lipogen PS recuperates the loss of the material in the brain, and is claimed effective for memory functions. Unlike the commercially available PS derived from cows brain, Lipogen PS employs soy lecithin. Lipogen PS has been clinically tested in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. The research showed significant memory and mental improvements in comparison to the placebo groups.


New aromatic cheese culture

The food and agriculture major Cargill Inc., the United States, has developed a new cheese culture capable of generating subtle and sweet fresh fruit notes in all types of rind and mould ripened cheese. Geotrichum fragrans 3 strain was selected by Cargill for its technological characteristics and aromatic qualities. The new cheese culture was developed using a sophisticated cheese media modelling process that enables aromatic profiling. The fungus is inoculated in the milk or on the surface of ripening cheeses. When combined with other microbial flavouring cultures from the Cargill range, it can be successfully applied to all main cheese technologies including soft and hard cheeses.



Viet Nam to set national quality and safety standards

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam is to launch a US$18 million national programme on improving the capacity of controlling the quality of agricultural materials, agro-forestry products and food safety, said Mr. Cao Duc Phat, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. The programme sets a target to develop a large area for clean farm produces to meet regional and world standards.

The quality control systems of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and the International Standardization Organization (ISO) will be applied to 80-85 per cent of the countrys food processing and storage establishments by 2010. In addition, the agriculture sector will promulgate standards for clean farm produces. The Ministry will also invest in building four standards centres to analyse agricultural products and veterinary medicines in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Can Tho.


Indias Health Ministry to appoint Food Commissioner

With a view to set standards for food safety in the country, the Health Ministry of India will soon appoint a commissioner, under the Food Safety and Standards Act, who will frame rules to regulate the sector and ensure consumers get safe and healthy products. The Food Commissioner will frame regulations, which will include stringent punishments and penalties, said Health Minister Mr. Anbumani Ramadoss at the first International Food Regulatory Summit 2007. The Act consolidates eight laws governing the food sector and establishes the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSA) to regulate the sector. It will be a body manned by professionals, with 21 personnel, three to five members being permanent.

Water will be included in the definition of food in line with packaged drinking water, and will be labelled as a food item soon. From August it will be mandatory for all manufacturers to put food label in their products and to mention nutrition value and ingredients. Under the Act, unsafe food will be considered to be one that is injurious to health and will include food as primary food (a produce of agriculture or horticulture or animal or dairy), genetically-modified food, infant food, packaged drinking water, alcoholic drinks and water used in manufacture of food. In order to strengthen laboratories that will test the products, Mr. Ramadoss said the Ministry, with the support of World Bank, was investing approximately US$ 100 million for their modernization.


Hong Kongs preservative rules to meet world standards

The Hong Kong government will table in the Legislative Council its proposed amendments to the regulations for food preservatives by the end of the year. This decision follows discussions by lawmakers at a Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene Panel on the results of a public consultation exercise conducted last November.

The lawmakers felt one year would allow food traders sufficient time to sell existing inventory after the new law is introduced. The government will change its existing routine food surveillance pattern to a more comprehensive mode so that improvements can be made along the entire food production chain. The new three-tier approach will include concurrent routine surveillance, targeted food surveillance to monitor specific food hazards in both locally produced and imported food, and seasonal surveillance of festive food items.



Superchilling to keep fish fresh for longer

Conventional storage of fish requires crushed ice, which adds to the weight being transported besides forming large ice crystals that damage muscle structure. Further, melting ice can result in an increased risk of contamination spreading. Scientists at the Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (SINTEF) claim that superchilling fish or meat between -1C and -3C helps the products to stay fresher for longer time.

Superchilling salmon fillets extended the shelf-life by up to five days, against conventional refrigeration, while up to 26 days were added to shelf-life of pork chops, according to tests. Dr. Anne Karin Torstveit Hemmingsen, SINTEFs superchill researcher leader, said the technology is partly a matter of freezing, but the low ice content ensures the food stays tasting fresh. Superchilling also makes it less likely that the products will disintegrate during the production and packing processes, she stated.

Fast and controlled superchilling just below freezing point will only freeze the loose-bound water of fish, claims SINTEF. The amount of ice crystals that form will depend on the product type and conditions, but below a critical level. SINTEF scientists have tested cold air tunnels to superchill food. Depending on the volume of products and other factors, food can be superchilled in minutes to hours. Research is being conducted to find the optimum method of superchilling different products within different environments. Food stays fresher for longer if the post-superchilled temperature is kept constant and therefore, the ice structure remains unchanged for longer.


Combined organic acids for plant product shelf-life

Plant products are not exempt from microbial food spoilage despite the use of pasteurization or the addition of preservatives. Spontaneous fermentation or the uncontrolled growth of micro-organisms or lactic acid bacteria in vegetables cause gas formation and organoleptic changes, which diminish product quality.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has introduced a biological control process that employs a mixture of organic acids, such as propionic acid, to stabilize and standardize processed plant products.


This process entails the development of stabilizing agents to respond to the problem of spontaneous or secondary fermentation or inadequate lactic acid fermentation. Optimal quantities of a mixture of organic acids, at specific incubation temperatures and pH, will inhibit food spoilage micro-organisms. The targeted products must be acidic, such as lacto-fermented products or products to which acidic fruit juice is added.

This controlled process improves product stability, prolongs shelf-life of refrigerated vegetables and reduces production losses owing to contamination by acid-resistant yeasts. The organic acid mixture and its use as a preservative have been developed to a pilot scale that processes several thousand kilograms of products per year.

Contact: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Sir John Carling Building, No. 930 Carling Avenue, Ottawa K1A 07C, Canada. Tel: +1 (613) 759 1000; Fax: +1 (613) 759 7977



Fruit and vegetable preservative

Citrus Sensation Ltd., Australia, has received a United States patent on a process that employs a flavonoid compound a polyphenol compound having at least two aromatic rings to preserve minimally processed fruits and vegetables. Presence of flavonoids inhibits the enzymatic and bacterial action that leads to discolouration and spoilage.

In the process, primarily processed (peeled, cut, cored, etc.) fruits or vegetables are sprayed or dipped in a solution containing a flavonoid and an anti-oxidant such as ascorbic acid, erythorbic acid or alpha lipoic acid. These compounds act synergistically with the flavonoid compounds to inhibit oxidation of the minimally processed fruits and vegetables. Some fruits and vegetables have an adequate content of ascorbic acid and addition of a flavonoid is sufficient in such cases.

The fruits to which this invention is applicable include oranges, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, pineapple, mango, apricots, different berries, cherry, grapes, fig, peach, pear, guava and apple. Nuts such as chestnut may also be treated. The vegetables that can be treated include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, capsicum, chilli, beans, cauliflower, peas, pumpkin, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, etc. After treatment, excess solution is removed from the surfaces and the products are packaged in the usual way. Fruit juices can also be preserved by the addition of flavonoids to either the pulp (preferred) or the clear juice before the two are recombined to form the juice.


Tocopherols as flavour antioxidant in citrus juice

Tropicana Products Inc., the United States, has patented a process that employs tocopherols to preserve the flavour of citrus juice beverages. A tocopherol other than alpha-tocopherol, added to a citrus juice beverage as antioxidant, preserves the flavour sensory attributes without deteriorating the initial flavour sensory attributes of the juice. The process is applicable to juices from citrus fruits such as orange, grapefruit, tangerine and lemon, as well as their combinations.


Preferably, the tocopherol composition must be in liquid form and comprise one or more tocopherol other than alpha-tocopherol. The tocopherol composition is incorporated into the citrus juice at a level of at least about 40 ppm tocopherol and not more than 1,300 ppm. Preferably, it should be between 50 ppm and 500 ppm, and most preferably between 100 ppm and 200 ppm.


Dehydration of food without quality loss

Manufacturers of dried foods often find it tough to balance quality with cost control. The Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (SINTEF) has developed a technique, which will dehydrate food to near vacuum freeze-dry quality at lower costs. The technique uses a patented combination of a fluidized drying bed with a heat pump system.

According to Professor Ingvald Strommen, who is behind the new procedure, the first stage uses an upward gas flow to dry the product at sub-zero temperatures. The second stage uses two dryers, one above and one below, one cold and the other warm, so that the humid air from the warm dryer condenses on the cool surface. The air is dehumidified and then heated again on the warm surface, which operates at 30 to 40 C. Although warm, this temperature is significantly cooler than the 60 to 80 C found in traditional dehydrating operations.

The heat pump operates in a closed cycle, says Prof. Strommen. So there is much lower energy consumption than is used in typical vacuum processes. But the advantage is, by drying at temperatures below freezing, the shrinkage is quite low in comparison to traditional methods. Early assessments indicate that the quality could even exceed that of vacuum freezing, while providing a significantly more cost-effective process. With the traditional technique of drying on a belt, the reduction in the ability to rehydrate the product is really quite considerable, Prof. Strommen says. In comparison, this new technique keeps the food porous and easy to rehydrate quickly.


Drying process for blueberries

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has developed a continuous dehydration process for drying wild or cultivated blueberries. The process consists in soaking fresh or frozen blueberries in an osmotic solution with a continuous system. This solution is recovered during the process. The soaking stage is followed by rinsing, blanching with steam and then hot air drying.
This process yields superior quality raisin-style dried fruits that can be dried to different moisture levels, depending on the target markets. The dried berries will reportedly keep for several months at room temperature. The technology was developed to pilot scale and licensed to a Canadian company, Bleuets Bussire Inc.

Contact: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Sir John Carling Building, No. 930 Carling Avenue, Ottawa K1A 07C, Canada. Tel: +1 (613) 759 1000; Fax: +1 (613) 759 7977




Enzymatic modification to boost vegetable protein gelling

In Germany, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging, the Technical University Munich, and Hohenheim University claim that modifying vegetable protein with transglutaminase (TGase) enzymes improves the gelling properties. This result may offer value-added solutions for a wide range of food products.

The researchers investigated the cross-linking of microbial transglutaminase (MTG) on two commercial vegetable proteins, one derived from soybeans and the other from peas. They report that the TGase enzyme substantially modified the vegetable protein, and gel strengths were found to increase significantly during incubation with MTG. The soy gel strength increased by 155 per cent, while pea protein gel strength increased by 300 per cent. Superior gel firmness of PPI samples may not exclusively be attributed to the higher concentration of pea protein (18 per cent), which exceeded that of the soy protein by four per cent, wrote the researchers. It is more likely that different positions of lysine cross-links, generated in PPI, have a greater impact on gelation than in the case of SPI.

The researchers concluded that MTG-induced formation of lysine cross-links greatly enhanced the gelation of pea and soy protein isolates in the food model used. Currently there is only a limited selection of cross-linking enzymes on the market, with MTG being the most widely employed enzyme for modifying the structure of food.


Enzymes boost ethanol production efficiency

Affordable, plentiful and easy to work with, corn is currently the feedstock of choice in the United States for ethanol production. Scientists at the Eastern Regional Research Centre (ERRC) of the Agricultural Research Service are investigating ways to avoid overburdening the corn market as ethanol production expands. Mr. David Johnston, a food technologist in the ERRCs Crop Conversion Science and Engineering Research Unit, is investigating new processes using protease enzymes from microbial and fungal sources to make ethanol more efficiently. He has found that the enzymes make more nutrients available for the yeast, expediting fermentation of sugars. Protease enzymes can also facilitate the process of dewatering the solids that remain after ethanol has been extracted.

Working with Mr. Vijay Singh, an agricultural engineer at the University of Illinois, Mr. Johnston conducted a field trial at a small wet-milling facility in Penang, Malaysia. They soaked corn in water for several hours and then applied the enzymes. The scientists found that adding enzymes during processing increased starch recovery, just as it had in laboratory trials. Economic analysis will be the next step, and the researchers are planning to replicate the trial at several more commercial facilities.


Lactococcus strain may end food allergies

Non-pathogenic gut bacteria, bio-engineered to produce a compound that regulates immune response in the gut, may offer significant potential for beating food allergies in humans. Dr. Christophe Frossard and Dr. Philippe Eigenmann from the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland, collaborated with Dr. Lothar Steidler from University College Cork, Ireland, to bio-engineer a strain of Lactococcus lactis to produce anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 (IL-10), a potential regulator for food tolerance.

Dr. Frossard reported that oral administration of this non-pathogenic strain effectively reduced food-induced anaphylaxis (severe allergic response) in mice and suppressed the production of an antibody capable of initiating the most powerful immune reactions. This opens potential options in humans for the prevention of allergies elicited through sensitization in the gut.

The researchers used a mouse model of food allergy to test their hypothesis that oral administration of L. lactis bio-engineered to secrete murine IL-10 could inhibit and/or stop sensitization. The mice sensitized to beta-lactoglobulin in the presence of cholera toxin were given the L. lactis IL-10-secreting strain. The research team found anaphylaxis reduced significantly, while blood levels of antigen-specific immunoglobulin E an antibody sub-class capable of initiating the most powerful immune reactions were also significantly reduced. Further research is ongoing, now on patients with inflammatory colitis in whom the micro-organism is well tolerated (phase I trial).


Enzyme for vegetable oil processing

AB Enzymes, Germany, has introduced a new addition to their line of enzymes for the processing of vegetable oils. Rohalase OS can be applied at room temperature and simply be sprayed on to the seeds. The formulation of the enzyme is tailored for use as such, without any dilution or formulation steps. Rohalase OS makes it possible to extract oil from seeds such as canola, sunflower and soybean with reduced need for chemicals, while delivering a higher yield. Heat stable up to 80-85C, the use of Rohalase OS results in higher yields, reduced amount of oil in the press cake, lower temperature at the press head and reduced energy costs.


Bacteria as food additive

A researcher at the Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, Sweden, has investigated bacteria that can substitute additives from animals in food products. The researcher Ms. Emma rskld has found a way to increase the production of expopolysaccharides a polymer that increases the thickness of fluids in two different acid lactic bacteria, Lactobacillus reuteri and Pediococcus parvulus. She has identified the optimum conditions for lactic acid bacteria growth, and has also optimized a production process. The growth that she has achieved is reported to be substantial enough to open up commercial possibilities. Liquid or semi-liquid food products can be given a creamy texture and a good taste without additives, while the products would have health benefits for the consumers.



Baking system improves product quality

Bakers could benefit from new technology developed to ensure high standards of product quality and appearance are met along with maximum efficiency, lower costs and reduced waste. The prototype of Senbak system was developed under a European Union project with experts from the Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association collaborating with TTZ Bremerhaven and Imix Vision Support Systems.

The Senbak system allows for multi-sensor inspection of durable baked goods such as hard biscuits, waffles, crackers, crispbreads and rusks. The single automated system is used on the production line to monitor weight, moisture content, colour and physical dimensions in one simple, self-contained instrument. Senbak can monitor products singly or as part of an on-line system, without any sample preparation. The technology is designed to be particularly user-friendly and allows for easy changeovers and adjustments.


New aseptic sterilization process

Germany-based Krones AG has a new sterilization process for the aseptic filling of sensitive beverages. An advantage of using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) combined with dry sterilization is the significantly reduced use of water. As the bottles and closures sterilized with this method need not be rinsed with sterile water, effluent levels are also lowered. The new concept is designed for fruit-juice filling, the company said.

Krones employs dry sterilization method, as a means of using hot air with H2O2 content. In this, the bottles are first pre-warmed to the treatment temperature of 50-60C, and then sterilized internally by means of hot air containing H2O2 while preventing any condensation.


Chocolate depositor promises efficient, accurate moulding

OPM Chocolate, Italy, has developed a new chocolate depositor, which boosts efficiency levels on moulding lines while delivering on accuracy. The Universal Chocolate Depositor is designed for the manufacture of hollow or one-shot chocolate products, for those filled with solid ingredients. The machinery incorporates shell forming technology to ensure shell shapes remain even and constant. After moulding, the products are passed through cooling boxes for shaping.

According to OPM, the fully automated machine is highly reliable with mechanical synchronization remotely operated by a computer system, which allows auto-reset of servomotors on process interruption. The depositing machine has a 15 min changeover time, a smooth design that facilitates easy cleaning, and a special feature that deals with the problem of chocolate dust efficiently to prevent contamination of the cables and circuits.


Cereal snack processing

According to Endress+Hauser, a multi-national cereal snack manufacturer, it has installed instrumentation that has pushed plant performance levels to optimum and helped plants meet the stringent demands of the clients HACCP system.

Endress+Hausers new Levelflex M guide radar, used in conjunction with a Cerabar M food-grade pressure sensor, will monitor bin levels to 34.7 m and keep pressure within silo specifications. It will also close down filling systems and shut valves if dangerous levels are achieved, even during filling.

Once the snack leaves the washers, peelers and extruders, it is blown along flexible pipes into storage hoppers, where it is fed into drying ovens. Accurate temperature zone control is achieved in the dryers using temperature sensors, which output data to a secure Memograph S visual data manager, which help prevent over-cooking. From the triple deck ovens, the snacks go to the flavour dosing system. The flavours are pre-weighed or continuously weighed and mixed with a preset volume of oil and pumped under pressure to the flavour drums. Endress+Hausers stainless steel Proline Promass 80 Coriolis mass flow meters will ratio the raw oil and dose the slurries in the product tumblers accurately, from 2.27 kg/s to 222 kg/s, at flow rates up to 10 m/s at temperatures of up to 200C.

The excess hot slurry flows out of the tumblers into reservoirs and waste tanks for removal and recycling. The Liquiphant M vibrating fork point level switches are immune to oily product build-up and can prevent any messy and costly overflows and spills. The product goes from flavour drums straight up a bucket elevator, onto the distribution system to feed the multi-head weighers and packers, before final distribution to the stores and supermarkets.

Contact: Endress+Hauser Australia Pty. Ltd., Unit 12, 277 Lane Cove Road, North RydeLink Business Park, North Ryde, NSW 2113, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 8877 7000; Fax: +61 (2) 8877 7099



Compact convection ovens

Leading international baking technology group, Auto-Bake, has launched a new variant to its range of compact Serpentine convection ovens. The new oven presents is claimed to be ideal for products that require an all-over finish, colour or texture such as cakes, pastries and cookies. The pervasive nature of convective heat enables products to be baked from all angles top, bottom and sides. Auto-Bakes convection oven does not need an intermediate heat transfer medium. It uses direct flame-to-air heat transfer technology, which provides an immediate and effective heat. The Serpentine ovens have a footprint of just one-tenth that of an equivalent tunnel oven.

Trays are conveyed through the ovens multiple levels in a vertical S-shape. A direct-fired burner and fan system delivers heated air to the baking chamber via thermal-insulated ducting. The ducting is linked to a number of perforated plenums that span the width and length of the oven and distribute the heated air into the various levels of the baking chamber.

Contact: Auto-Bake Asia Pacific, 29-33 King Road, Hornsby, NSW 2077, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 9476 1144; Fax: +61 (2) 9482 1074




Safe packaging for food

Bottles, juice cartons and plastic films contain additives to make them strong and durable, but these additives can migrate into the foods. A new mathematical model determines how many of these are later present in the food. The system was developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (IVV), together with nine industrial enterprises.

It is often not possible to draw conclusions about solid foods on the basis of results obtained with liquid food simulants, says Dr. Roland Franz, IVV project coordinator. The researchers based their mathematical model on investigations of genuine foods rather than food simulants. The analyses were performed by all the ten enterprises involved resulting in the worlds only systematic collection of such data. Various models were then developed on the basis of these data. One shows how the additives move in the plastic, another shows how many of these substances migrate from the plastic packaging material into the food, while third model describes how the migrants disperse in the food itself.

The researchers devised a formula to summarize these models. It takes into account not only the structure of the foodstuff, such as its fat content and consistency, but also the type of packaging material used, the various additives as well as the average quantity of this foodstuff actually eaten by consumers. The same formula can thus be used with different products at costs much lower than for a laboratory test, and the results are far more accurate.

Contact: Dr. Roland Franz, Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, Giggenhauser Strae 35, 85354 Freising, Germany. Tel: +49 (8161) 491 746; Fax: +49 (8161) 491 777.


High-speed flow wrapper

FP095 from Tecno Pack, Italy, is a high-speed, full-servo, horizontal flow wrapper that produces pillow-packs from heat-sealable wrapping material. The machine has solid construction with heavy-duty steel fabricated frame and compact cantilevered design that makes cleaning easy. FP095 is fully electronic, reliable and easy to operate via a control software.

The high-speed (up to 120 cycles per minute) flow wrapper features a full-colour touch interface with a hundred-products memory. It automatically adjusts the bag length, print registration position, crimpers position, dwell and wrapping speed. The sealing temperatures of centre seal rollers and the end seal are adjustable. FP095 comes with twin, triple and quadruple (500 ppm) jaws. The machine is available from Perfect Packaging Limited in Australia.

Contact: Perfect Packaging Pty. Ltd., 5/25 Stoddart Road, Prospect, Sydney, NSW 2148, Australia. Tel: +61 (2) 9688 3200; Fax: +61 (2) 9688 3211.


Heat sealing reduces salad packaging and spoilage

A new a way to seal flexible film packaging has been found to reduce the amount of material required and extend the shelf-life of products. Trials run in the United Kingdom funded by Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found that heat-sealing of film-packaged salads cut the amount of material required by up to 10 per cent compared with conventional crimping. The project results indicated that a 1 mm wide weld also extended the shelf-life of some salads from five days to eight, according to WRAP.

The new seal also improves appearance of salad packaging, which consumers found looked neater than crimped packaging, according to WRAP. Mr. Andrew Parry, WRAP project manager, said the new technology could be applied across a wide range of product packs, including salad and snack bags. It reduces the amount of material used for each bag, can keep products fresher for longer, and therefore saves a substantial amount of packaging material and food waste from ending up in landfill sites. The technology was developed by International Food Partners (IFP), Ceetak and Tilmanstone Salads. A full technical report and case study on the trials is being produced by WRAP to demonstrate to other potential applications for the packaging seal. The retail chain Marks & Spencer intends to roll out heat-sealed packaged salads in its stores by the end of the summer.



Cereal and Tuber Starches: Their Nature and Performance in Food

This CCFRA Review No. 51 is new handbook on starches. It is divided into seven chapters that describe starch itself, how basic forms are produced, usage of dry milling and wet milling for cereals and tubers, production of different modified starch types by chemical methods and heat processes, determination of starch and its physical and chemical properties, and the performance of starch-based materials in fluid, semi-moist and hard brittle foods. The publication covers specific aspects of starch technology, in particular the performance and role of starch and its derivatives, and their selection for product categories.

Contact: CCFRA Technology Limited, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL 6LD, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (1386) 842000; Fax: +44 (1386) 842100


Prebiotics: Development and Application

This is the first book to consolidate research in this emerging area of functional food study. The book takes a broad view approach to prebiotics, from the conceptual stage, definition, production, evaluation of individual food products and their effect on microbial flora, and their potential relation to diseases. It starts with an introduction to the prebiotics and their development, proceeds to consider the synthesis, manufacture and testing of prebiotics, and then considers different forms of prebiotics (e.g. fructans, galactans, lactulose, etc). The book then looks at prebiotic intervention for improving health and closes by considering the sectors for prebiotic, development and commercialisation issues, and future developments.

Contact: John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Ltd., 2, Clementi Loop, 02-01 LogisHub@Clementi, Singapore 129809. Tel: +65 6463 2400; Fax: +65 6463 4604



This website is optimized for IE 8.0 with screen resolution 1024 x 768
For queries regarding this website, contact us
Copyright © 2010 APCTT | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Feedback