Clean Label Approaches to Food Safety Karen Nachay | November 2017, Volume 71, No.11

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CrackersClean Label Demands Drive Development
Some of the go-to shelf-life extension and food safety ingredients that meet clean and clear label demands are naturally derived, which is attractive to manufacturers working to remove synthetic preservatives from formulations. Sometimes, though, the naturally derived ingredients can introduce their own unique challenges to a formulation, as Schwartz explains about the use of buffered vinegar in protein applications such as meat and poultry. “Recently, there has been a shift within proteins to remove synthetic antimicrobials such as sodium lactate/diacetate. Buffered vinegar is an efficacious, consumer-friendly alternative but can contribute an undesirable amount of sodium to the final matrix. In response, Kemin launched BactoCEASE NV-K, a no-sodium buffered vinegar, which contributes zero sodium to the matrix, allowing manufacturers to meet clean label requests and provide a more healthful product.” The ingredient, which delays the growth of spoilage bacteria, is available in both liquid and dry forms for use in brines, marinades, and spice blends or for direct application to meat products. The liquid version also comes in a certified organic form.

Schwartz adds that it’s been tricky to develop a clean label ingredient like this because it’s more than just finding an efficacious solution. “It is equally if not more challenging to identify a solution that will not impact the sensory attributes of the matrix in which it is used. Consumers are very brand loyal, and even the slightest change in color, flavor, or smell could deter their loyalty.”

Kemin is also drawing on the plant world for sources of antioxidants. Rosemary is the source for a couple of its antioxidant ingredients. FORTIUM R is a line of rosemary extract–based antioxidants that protect against color and flavor degradation and function as replacements for BHA, BHT, or TBHQ. Rosemary extracts are combined with green tea extracts to produce FORTIUM RGT. The extracts work together to provide antioxidant protection without affecting flavor, color, and odor profiles of sauces, dressings, condiments, meat, and poultry.

Instead of being derived from rosemary, FORTIUM A is made from acerola extract, which is high in ascorbic acid, a compound that helps protect the color of food products. In meat products, acerola extract delays the oxidation of the iron ion in the myoglobin molecule, which in turn keeps the color of the meat more stable for a longer time, according to the company. Combining acerola extract with rosemary and green tea extracts extends the flavor and color even longer. These various FORTIUM antioxidant ingredients Kemin offers protect the quality of many types of food products. In meat and poultry, for example, they’ll help delay or prevent lipid oxidation (a contributor to off-flavors and off-aromas) and delay myoglobin oxidation (a contributor to color degradation).

Acerola fruit Plant-Based Solutions
Naturally sourced ingredients are a big part of Kalsec’s ingredient lineup. “Kalsec’s portfolio has always included naturally sourced ingredients, but we have increased our development efforts to expand the inclusion and evaluation of other naturally sourced ingredients beyond rosemary such as green tea, acerola, and vinegar,” says Augustine. The company has expanded its application development to include areas in which the use of artificial preservatives is more prevalent, such as meat and poultry, oils, and dressings, he adds. The emphasis on clean label has led to different types of studies on the effectiveness of some of the company’s spice and herb extracts. “Kalsec also conducted a thermal inactivation study and Salmonella challenge studies with several spices and herbs through the Kalsec extraction process to confirm a greater than 5-log reduction in the finished extracts. A 5-log reduction is an industry target for pathogenic Salmonella in a validated kill step that no longer represents a concern for human illness. This confirmed that Kalsec liquid extracts safely reduce the risks for pathogens in food and beverage products.”

Simply put, Kalsec is leveraging the antioxidant benefits of compounds found in selected spices and herbs. “Natural antioxidants are present in rosemary to protect the plant against oxidative stresses associated with plant growth,” says David Johnson, lead scientist at Kalsec. “The Kalsec extraction process concentrates these natural antioxidants so they can be used in food systems to scavenge free radicals. By decreasing reactive free radicals in foods, these antioxidants extend the shelf life of foods naturally.”

Kalsec’s expertise in deriving food preservation ingredients from plant-based sources results in a range of clean label ingredient options to keep food fresh. “Kalsec Herbalox extracts provide shelf-life preservation with the advantage of a cleaner label than artificial preservatives,” says Augustine. “Herbalox XT rosemary extract provides shelf-life preservation but without all of the objectionable flavors associated with typical naturally sourced ingredients.” Many of the Herbalox ingredients are available in either liquid or dry forms and are standardized based on flavor, solubility (oil versus water solubility), and antioxidant efficacy, he adds. Another option is found in the Duralox Oxidation Management Systems, which combines Herbalox rosemary extract, green tea extract, acerola extract, and/or other ingredients to prevent oxidation in dressings, meat and poultry, oils, sauces, seasonings, and snack foods.

Sandwich with deli meatsQuality Throughout Shelf Life
The demands for clean label certainly affect ingredient and product formulating, but there are several others that shape new ingredient developments in the areas of food safety and food preservation. Customers of DuPont Nutrition & Health want more than just ingredient statements that meet the demand for clean and clear labels. They are also requesting guidance on regulatory issues related to the use of food protection ingredients and validation on effectiveness of the ingredient or process being used for food protection and the associated safety concerns with pathogens, says John Wyatt, regional product manager, food protection. They also seek ways to maintain the quality of the finished product throughout the desired shelf life and overcome abusive handling during distribution and by the end consumer. Finally, he adds that the ingredients must be effective, acceptable for flavor contribution, and have an acceptable cost-in-use.

DuPont Nutrition & Health develops, produces, and supplies an extensive portfolio of ingredients for food safety and food preservation that meet these demands and various food manufacturing requirements. It also focuses on providing effective food protection ingredients that are safe and that meet the requirements of clean and clear label ingredients, adds Wyatt.

Four distinct types of ingredients with properties that provide protection to and extend the shelf life of foods and beverages make up the DuPont Nutrition & Health’s food protection ingredient range. Naturally sourced antioxidants such as mixed tocopherols come in liquid and powered forms for ease of use and application in food processing, while flavor extracts such as rosemary, chamomile, green tea, and acerola provide appropriate flavors for many food products and have naturally occurring antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, says Wyatt. There’s also whole fraction fermentates that are products of biofermentation. “These are well-accepted clean label ingredients that provide an effective wide range of antimicrobial protection, and typically will enhance or contribute a favorable flavor to the finished product,” says Wyatt. “The blending of different fermentates provides products with a wider range for food protection, and there are unique synergies resulting from making these blends.” The last type of ingredient is also a result of biofermentation. Purified antimicrobials like nisin preparation and natamycin, Wyatt explains, are very concentrated and effective antimicrobials that do not contribute flavor due to the fact they are used in small dosages (a small dosage level is all that is required for them to be effective).

As the development of these types of ingredients and others that are even more effective at protecting food (and meet clean label demands) continues, Wyatt adds that there is still work to be done, especially as consumers and government agencies continue to demand and expect a safe food supply. “There is a constant demand for foods to have high quality at the end of an appropriate shelf life. Refrigerated foods are preferred over retorted, dried, or frozen foods, which presents a major challenge and huge opportunities for the food manufacturer to meet these demands.” He adds that developing new types of ingredients that combat oxidation is important. “Oxidation protection is also a growing area of development with the demand for less saturated fats, and the protection of color and other attributes that can spoil or cause defects in foods.” Finally, expect to see new antimicrobial ingredients. “Spoilage microorganisms have the ability to adapt to their environment which will always require new and different antimicrobial hurdles to be developed.”

Next month’s Ingredients section will discuss ingredients used to formulate noodles and pasta.