The Weekly: May 14, 2008

May 14, 2008

Top Stories

Model stomach to investigate digestion kinetics

Knowledge of the disintegration kinetics of food particulates in the human stomach is essential for assessing the bioaccessibility of nutrients in solid foods and understanding stomach emptying.

These researchers developed a model stomach system and to investigate the kinetics of food disintegration. The researchers comment that the system is capable of simulating the stomach by providing a wide range of continuous and periodic forces comparable to those measured in vivo.

They found it to be a good match between the kinetics of food disintegration and in vivo stomach emptying.

For more, see Journal of Food Science

Answers: What do you want to read?

Last week we posted a very informal survey for readers of the IFT Weekly Newsletter to provide us with some feedback on what mix of items you would like to read.

Here are the results so far: 34 (36%) want more science/research news; 31 (33%) say the mix of items in good now; 10 (10%) want more food industry news; 9 (9%) want more analysis/trends; 5 (5%) want more regulatory news; and 4 people submitted some good comments.

So, we will be adding some more breaking food science news; while generally heading in the same direction overall.

If you would like to vote:

Take our survey here >>

Also, feel free to send your comments and story ideas direct to

Research Briefs

Using pulsed UV to decontaminate raspberries and strawberries

strawberryThis group at Penn State looked at pulsed ultraviolet (UV)-light as alternative to current methods used to decontaminate fresh produce.

In the study, pulsed UV-light was applied to strawberries and raspberries at varying UV doses and times. On raspberries, the group was able to obtain reductions of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella between 3.9 and 3.4 log10 CFU/g. On strawberries, maximum reductions were 2.1 and 2.8 log10 CFU/g. There was no observable damage to the fruits at these UV doses. They feel that that pulsed UV-light has the potential to be used as a decontamination method for raspberries and strawberries.

For more, see Journal of Food Science

Avoiding germs at home

The Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) has issued an Advisory Statement "Don’t Spread Germs: Avoiding Cross-Contamination in the Home."

For more, see

Gut bacteria and blood glucose control

Nestlé Researchers have established a link between the composition of bacteria in the gut with blood glucose control. Studies at the Nestlé Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland demonstrate that modulating gut microbiota improves the regulation of glycemic control and reverses the insulin resistance that occurs with obesity.

Obese, diabetic animal models were given antibiotics to appropriately modify their gut microflora. The robust benefit of the modulated microbiota was evidenced by significantly enhanced oral glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, restored hepatic glycogen storage and reduced hepatic fat accumulation. Additionally, results revealed that the modified gut microbiota influenced whole body glucose homeostasis, independent of food intake or obesity.

Gut microbial communities have been shown to play a critical role in the development of innate immunity, production of essential vitamins, and other biological processes. Nestlé scientists took this knowledge a step further to determine that the presence or absence of specific bacteria in the gut may modulate the systemic inflammation which contributes to insulin resistance and obesity.

“Our results strongly support the idea that modulating gut microbiota could be beneficial for improving glycemic control and insulin sensitivity,” said Nestlé Research scientist Dr. Chieh Jason Chou. “The next questions for Nestlé Research to answer are: Is there a gut microbiota profile that lowers the risk of obesity and diabetes development? And can we modulate gut microbiota accordingly, with food-based interventions, to improve metabolic regulation and glucose control?”

Nestlé will continue to work in this area to leverage the potential of gut microbiota regulation as an effective therapeutic strategy for managing type 2 diabetes.

For more, see Nestle press release.

“Super yeasts” produce 300 times more protein

Researchers in California report development of a new kind of genetically modified yeast cell that produces complex proteins up to 300 times more than possible in the past. These “super yeasts” could help boost production and lower prices for a new generation of protein-based drugs that show promise for fighting diabetes, obesity, and other diseases, the researchers suggest. Their study is scheduled for the May 14 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a weekly publication.

In their report, Lei Wang and Qian Wang explain that the yeasts are intended for speeding production of proteins containing so-called “unnatural amino acids” (UAAs). Living things normally use the same basic set of 20 amino acids to make proteins. Scientists have made additional amino acids, the UAAs, which show promise for building new proteins with a broad range of medical and industrial applications. However, researchers had had difficulty in efficiently incorporating these UAAs into useful protein products.

Wang and Wang are reporting a solution to that problem. They inserted parts of the simple but highly efficient protein-making machinery of E. coli bacteria into the advanced but inefficient protein-making machinery of yeast cells. The result was a best-of-both world’s creation: A genetically-engineered yeast cell that produces complex proteins containing UAAs at levels 300 times higher than normal yeast cells. -- MTS

“New Methods Enabling Efficient Incorporation of Unnatural Amino Acids in Yeast”
Journal of the American Chemical Society

Genes linked to sugary food consumption

A new study finds that individuals with a specific genetic variation consistently consume more sugary foods. The study offers the first evidence of the role that a variation in the GLUT2 gene – a gene that controls sugar entry into the cells – has on sugar intake, and may help explain individual preferences for foods high in sugar.

The study was conducted by a group at the Dept. of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

For more, see “Genetic Variant in the Glucose Transporter Type 2 (GLUT 2) is Associated with Higher Intakes of Sugars” in Physiological Genomics

Additional research news

Dairy and weight loss hypothesis: an evaluation of the clinical trials

Plants do more than nutrition

Improved analytical methods for study of bitter orange

Nitrates in vegetables may aid in gastric mucosal defense

Company News

D.D. Williamson introduces new caramel color

D.D. Williamson, a manufacturer of caramel color, announced the introduction of Caramel Color 570 to the North American marketplace. The colorant measures 35% higher in color intensity than D.D. Williamson’s Class One liquid caramel in North America. Caramel Color 570 is the darkest Class One (“Plain”) liquid caramel color in D.D. Williamson’s portfolio.

The company transferred the technology for Caramel Color 570 to its Louisville plant from its manufacturing operation in Europe, where the colorant is widely used in alcoholic beverages. According to the World Health Organization, there are four classes of caramel color. Class One (“Plain”) caramel colors are generally not suited for applications that require stability in salt or very low pH. Applications for Caramel Color 570 in North America include flavors, cooked meat/poultry, breakfast cereals, bakery/dessert toppings, and other food applications.

Penford Food Ingredients and CP Kelco announce alliance

Penford Food Ingredients, a manufacturer of food ingredients, and CP Kelco, a producer of specialty hydrocolloids, announced that they have entered into an agreement covering GENU® PLUS Carrageenan.

Under the agreement Penford has the exclusive privilege to sell CP Kelco's specialty line of carrageenan to the meat, poultry and seafood industry in the United States. “By combining Penford's application knowledge and technical sales support with CP Kelco's technology and supply capabilities, we are creating a strong market partnership,” says Jane Schulenburg, Market Manager Americas.

Naturex partners with French nutrition company

Naturex has announced today a partnership with Scalime Nutrition, a French company also based in Avignon. The purpose of this agreement is to accelerate the marketing, commercial and technical development of Scalime Nutrition’s polyphenolic extracts. This range includes extracts of onion and lettuce standardized to polyphenols, with high antioxidant activity, for the nutraceutical, cosmetic and food industries.

The extracts will be sold in Europe, the Americas and Asia through the Naturex worldwide sales network. A complete acquisition by Naturex is expected in the near future. Scalime Nutrition’s current clients, suppliers and industrial partners will keep their usual contacts, notably Julien Cases who is already in charge of this activity, currently operates within the Naturex environment.

Naturex develops, manufactures and markets natural ingredients for the food, dietary supplement and nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. Headquartered in Avignon, France, the group employs 550 people and has an international reach.

Glanbia presents company outlook

Glanbia plc, the international cheese and nutritional ingredients group, has announced the company’s outlook for 2008.

The company expects a satisfactory half year performance from its consumer foods division with recovery of the significant raw material cost increases experienced in 2007.

Overall Food Ingredients & Nutritionals is having a strong performance in the first half. Food Ingredients Ireland is forecast to deliver an improved performance for the first six months, with the overall outcome for the year expected to be broadly similar to 2007. Food Ingredients USA is performing strongly, with increased demand and volume growth forecast. Good progress is being made in organic development in Nutritionals, with a number of new product and solution innovations launched. In addition, the minerals and vitamins pre mix businesses are performing well and we expect a good result from this segment in the first half.

John Moloney, Group Managing Director said, “We are having a good first half with individual divisional performances broadly as we would expect - recovery of margins in Consumer Foods, stable performance from Agribusiness, margin maintenance in Food Ingredients Ireland, strong growth in Food Ingredients USA, good organic growth in Nutritionals and an improved contribution from International Joint Ventures.”

Nestlé Science & Research and GE to collaborate

Nestlé Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland and GE Global Research, the General Electric Company’s centralized research and development organization, announced a collaboration to scientifically assess associations between body composition, metabolic status, diet and lifestyle habits.

The relationship brings together the competencies of the Nestlé Research Center, experts in metabolism, nutrition and health research, and GE’s extensive knowledge in diagnostic technologies. A primary goal of the collaboration is to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between body composition, metabolic profile and health.

GE Healthcare’s Lunar iDXA system, an imaging technology, will be used by Nestlé scientists to measure subjects’ body fat, muscle and bone mineral density, extending beyond the limited measures of body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip-ratio. Researchers will study the correlations between lifestyle habits, body composition measurements and metabolic data to better understand the biological drivers of individuals’ metabolism and health.

“Through this collaboration with GE we have the opportunity to use cutting-edge diagnostic tools to increase our understanding of how nutrition and lifestyle choices impact body composition and metabolic health,” said Prof. Peter van Bladeren, Head of Nestlé Science and Research. “With this knowledge, Nestlé can continue to deliver science-based nutritional products to improve and enhance the quality of peoples’ lives.”

For more, see Nestle press release

Starbucks to offer extra boost to drinks

Seattle-based coffee vendor, Starbucks will offer customers the option of adding an "+Energy" addition to any drink. The new energy formula contains B-vitamins, guarana, and ginseng.

For more, see

Extra credit reading

What is worrying ADM CEO Woertz

Kraft CEO: Company will increase prices

Coca-Cola president: high commodity prices here to stay

Inflation pressures ease despite food price jump

Seoul hounds meat vendors for cleaner chow

Regulatory News

Brown rice may bear label health claim

Brown rice, joins the ranks of healthful whole grains, according to an announcement this week from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that will allow brown rice food labels to bear the whole grain health claim. Brown rice may labeled with the FDA whole grain health claim: "Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers."

Under the 1999 health claim notification about the consumption of whole grain foods and a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers ( foods are eligible to bear the claim if they contain 51% or more whole grain ingredient by weight or reference amount.

The FDA letter about the claim should be posted soon to Docket No. FDA-2008-Q-0270.

USDA reports on EU biotech policies

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service has posted on report, "Germany - Biotechnology: Discussion Paper of German Ag-Industry about EU Biotech Policy Implications; 2008."

The report claims that German food and feed industry associations are highly concerned that the EU policy on biotechnology will cause significant supply problems for Germany. The concern is heightened by the prospect of new biotech events, such as the second generation Roundup Ready soybeans, being introduced in the U.S. and other major soybean producing countries.

For more,

Meeting News

Conference focuses on food safety

Food safety has come a long way since cook Mary Mallon inadvertently infected dozens of New Yorkers with typhoid fever a century ago, but major challenges to assuring a safe food supply still exist, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln food safety specialist said Monday.

UNL Extension's Harshavardhan Thippareddi used the story of Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary, to outline the history of food safety during the first day of an international conference on food safety and risk analysis, being held on UNL's East Campus.

The first person confirmed to be a healthy carrier of typhoid fever, Mallon infected more than 40 people, three of whom died. Typhoid fever is spread by ingesting water or food which has been contaminated during handling by a human carrier.

"That's when we started to realize food can be a carrier of illness or death," Thippareddi said. "We have made significant progress from that day ... We have better ways of tracking, better ways of controlling" foodborne illness.

However, that progress is not equally spread, said Ricardo Molins, director of agricultural health and food safety of the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

Parts of Latin America "are very behind in food safety," Molins told conference attendees. "We need to make a greater effort."

Molins and Rolando Flores, head of UNL's Department of Food Science and Technology, said they hope this week's conference, which brings together scientists from UNL with influential personnel in agricultural policy making from countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Argentina and Chile, can help close that gap. Among the attendees are 15 staff members of the Ministry of Agriculture in Costa Rica.

"We want to develop collaborative links that can assist us in the future," Flores said.

One challenge is that the "issues of one country can be completely different from issues of another country," Thippareddi said.

Another challenge is that it's easier to mandate and enforce food safety standards at the processor level than at the producer level.

"You cannot expect the processor to clean up everything that comes through from the farm," Molins said.

Presented in both English and Spanish, the conference, at Chase Hall, is addressing a variety of issues, including food safety requirements placed upon internationally traded food products, assessment of risk in food processing systems, identification of and protection against common contaminants, and good manufacturing practices in the food processing industry.

The conference is sponsored by UNL's Food Processing Center and Department of Food Science and Technology, both part of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

Register for a Pre-Annual Meeting Short Course

Friday, June 27 – Saturday, June 28
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Hilton New Orleans Riverside

What is your organization doing to help prevent recalls, and how would you handle the situation should one occur? Are you new to food safety but required to execute food safety regulations? Are the products your company produces in compliance with all labeling requirements? Take a proactive step toward minimizing the risks your organization may face in the future. Register for one of the following Short Courses by the May 30 early-bird deadline, and save $100 on the registration fee!

  • Recalls: Best Practices in Prevention, Management, and Crisis Communications
  • Food Safety for the Non-Food Scientist
  • Labeling Requirements and Implications for Foods Marketed in the U.S.
  • Food Science for the Non-Food Scientist
  • Microencapsulation in Food Applications
  • Ingredient Applications for Product Innovation and Consumer Health
  • Concept to Commercialization - Blending Culinary Arts & Food Science
  • Sensory and Consumer Research in Food Product Development

These Short Courses offer you the collective experience of expert faculty, combined with the opportunity to exchange best practices with peers. You'll learn about the latest trends, applications, and techniques. You'll also be part of a growing network of IFT Knowledge & Learning participants who have formed new personal connections for sharing ideas, expertise, and best practices long after the course has ended.

Remember, the connections you make will not only expand your contact base, but can also help you expand your knowledge base. These courses have been designed to give you the concepts and skills that will pay off immediately back at the office.

For more information, and to register, visit When registering, please enter this market code: 0508EM1193

Missed the Food Technology Presents Conference, but Still Need to Identify Marketplace Opportunities?

Nearly 70% of the attendees at the Food Technology Presents conference reported that they have identified new business and marketplace opportunities as a result of attending. They have also learned how to effectively develop and market healthful products. If you missed the conference, but still want to tap into the rich content that was delivered there, now you can! IFT's on-demand library includes all 23 sessions from the conference, so you can listen to the sessions when it's convenient for you. For IFT education on-the-go, download both audio and PowerPoint presentations for playback on your MP3 player. And don't miss other IFT on-demand webcasts, offering rich content on key industry topics.

Visit for more information.

Achieving Global Food, Drug and Device Protection through Partnerships -- June 7-11, 2008 - Crowne Plaza Resort Hotel, Anaheim, California

The Association of Food and Drug Officials’ (AFDO) 112th Annual Educational Conference will feature keynote addresses by federal, state and international food safety leaders. This event includes wide-ranging agenda topics featuring:

  • panel discussion on produce safety
  • potential merits of a single food safety agency
  • communication efforts to improve outbreak detection, as well as investigation and reporting
  • introduction of new foodborne illness outbreak investigation procedures
  • tribal community food safety issues, and import safety initiatives

Drug and Device break-out session topics will address the expansive topic of import safety, including interagency efforts, Custom’s cooperative endeavors, and Canada’s recent initiatives. This event is a must for food safety professionals!

Food Pathogens and Recalls – Challenges Old and New (pre-conference workshop) - June 7, 2008

Acrylamide, botulism, campylobacter, diacetyl and E. coli - with more potential food safety risks than letters in the alphabet – collaboration across all sectors of the food industry is increasingly critical. The morning session focuses on what the industry is doing to manage food safety risks. Additionally, the past two years have seen both increasing and larger recalls than ever before. How can regulatory officials better manage recalls to improve the speed and reliability for removing adulterated foods from commerce? What should be the role of the states in Federal recalls? How can we institute the coordination and acceptance of state lab analyses and recalls by our federal partners for state-initiated recalls? Leading experts will attempt to answer these questions and more in the afternoon session.

For more information, visit:

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