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

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Research Roundup
A series of recent research studies highlighted in Journal of Food Science provide insights into emerging naturally derived ingredients that offer food protection benefits.

Garlic extract inhibited the growth of Shigella spp. in hummus (Olaimat et al. 2017) while microencapsulated oregano essential oil controlled the growth of Salmonella Infantis and Brochothrix thermosphacta on fresh pork (Hernández-Hernández et al. 2017). Another antimicrobial derived from an herb—thyme essential oil—helped protect ready-to-eat turkey products from Salmonella Enteritidis contamination during slicing (Possas et al. 2016).

Other researchers are examining plant-based sources that move beyond herbs and spices in their search for effective naturally derived antimicrobials. A phenolic extract in soybean seed coats shows promise as an antimicrobial in poultry products (Abutheraa et al. 2017). Another research team has investigated the potential of fatty acid derivatives from avocado seeds to combat Listeria monocytogenes (Salinas-Salazar et al. 2017). The fruits from Eugenia uniflora L., referred to as Brazilian cherry, are rich in phenolic compounds, and researchers are learning more about the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of these compounds (Rodrigues et al. 2016). An aqueous extract from the bark of the Chilean soapbark tree contains bioactive polyphenols, tannins, and tri-terpenoid saponins that have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity. Researchers report that the extract has the potential to control the spread of some E. coli O157:H7 and the emerging non-O157 shiga toxin-producing E. coli strains (Sewlikar and D’Souza 2017).

Common Foodborne Pathogens
Bacteria are everywhere. Some are responsible for foodborne illness ranging from mild gastroenteritis to life-threatening conditions and even death, often through the toxins that they produce. Here are several of the more common bacteria that can contaminate food.

Bacillus cereus
Campylobacter jejuni
Clostridium botulinum
Clostridium perfringens
Escherichia coli
Listeria monocytogenes
Salmonella enterica
Staphylococcus aureus
Vibrio spp.

BreadIngredient Roundup
For additional ingredients that protect food, consider the following options.

Biotecta 200 P from Bavaria Corp. Intl. increases the shelf life of bread. The ingredient is produced through a triple fermentation process using wheat and probiotic bacteria cultures. The fermented wheat is then filtered and concentrated, which helps make it effective at preventing the growth of spoilage organisms, according to the company. Biotecta Pro D goes through a similar production process. This ingredient is used to increase the shelf life of yogurt and soft cheese.

• Specially designed food cultures from Chr. Hansen promise food protection benefits. FreshQ cultures, which are based on bacteria strains found within lactic acid bacteria species found in dairy products, help protect dairy products against yeast and mold spoilage. Some versions of FreshQ are for use in fresh dairy products while others are for use in cheese applications. BIOSAFE cultures are added to the starter culture of semi-hard and hard cheeses to prevent late blowing defect and off-flavors caused by clostridia present in the milk. The third line of cultures for food protection is SAFEPRO. These cultures help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes in processed meat and poultry, salmon, and ready-to-eat salads. VINIFLORA cultures are for use in wine, where they help to prevent the growth of undesirable flora and protect the flavor potential of the wine during its maturation. The cultures also function as substitutes for some or all added sulfites, which are traditionally used to prevent the growth of microorganisms that can lead to off-flavors.

• At the IFT17 show held earlier this year, Corbion presented its newest shelf-life extender, Verdad Opti Powder N70. The ingredient is effective at controlling the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum, and more in uncured meats. Tests show that the ingredient inhibited spoilage organisms in roasted turkey breast beyond 100 days. The powdered ingredient is easy to incorporate and since it is labeled as cultured sugar and vinegar, it meets clean label demands.

• Delavau Food Partners has developed several ingredients in its Encore line that can keep bread and snacks fresher for longer while providing a high-quality eating experience. What’s more, the ingredients help manufacturers formulate products that meet the clean label demands of consumers. The company has shown that its Encore Fresh, which has antimicrobial properties, extended the shelf life of pita from 10 days to 21 days. Its Encore Soft anti-staling ingredient was shown to extend the quality of fresh-made donuts from 18 hours to 36 hours and of shelf-stable snack cakes from 30 days to 45 days. Delavau Food Partners also offers Encore Soft AM, which combines the capabilities of Encore Fresh and Encore Soft.

• Hawkins offers antimicrobials and functional blends that address the challenges of maintaining shelf life such as its NatBind line of blends that help slow the rate of oxidation and the e(Lm)inate line of buffered vinegar ingredients that inhibit the growth of pathogens in fresh and ready-to-eat meat, poultry, and seafood products.

DefenStat from Newly Weds Foods can inhibit the growth of pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. Made from vinegar, spice extracts, and flavors, the ingredient enhances the pathogen’s susceptibility to heat. Manufacturers can easily add the liquid ingredient directly to ground meat products and to marinades for whole muscle meats, and it will not affect the finished product color, texture, flavor, or overall quality.

• A flavor system ingredient line provides food protection benefits in a way that appeals to consumers seeking foods with simple labels. PhytoShield from PLT Health Solutions is referred to as “a natural flavor technology” that provides broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties. According to the company, PhytoShield “is a synergistic effect created by the reaction of bioflavonoids, flavor components, polyphenols, and other organic acids.” The flavor systems are said to be effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, molds, and yeast. They’re also stable in a wide range of pH levels (2–10) and at temperatures up to 130°C. The company also offers another type of clean label preservative, rosemary extracts. The extracts, rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid, work to prevent lipid peroxidation of unsaturated fats and oils, which helps protect against rancidity and color and flavor degradation.

IFT Learn Online
Explore the key issues concerning food safety, identify food safety hazards and control measures, and deepen your understanding about Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) considerations, quality management systems, and other food safety practices with IFT’s online course, “Incorporating Food Safety in Product Development.” Another food safety learning opportunity is IFT’s on-demand webcast, “Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Foods.” This interactive webcast facilitates a better understanding of U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines that encourage companies to create food safety programs that seek and destroy Listeria within their operations using appropriate testing and follow-up strategies. Visit for more information.
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Karen NachayKaren Nachay,
Senior Associate Editor


Abutheraa, R., N. Hettiarachchy, G. Kumar-Phillips, et al. 2017. “Antimicrobial Activities of Phenolic Extracts Derived from Seed Coats of Selected Soybean Varieties.” J. Food Sci. 82(3): 731–737.

Hernández-Hernández, E., C. Y. Lira-Moreno, I. Guerrero-Legarreta, et al. 2017. “Effect of Nanoemulsified and Microencapsulated Mexican Oregano (Lippia graveolens Kunth) Essential Oil Coatings on Quality of Fresh Pork Meat.” J. Food Sci. 82(6): 1423–1432.

Olaimat, A. N., M. A. Al-Holy, M. H. Abu-Ghoush, T. M. Osaili, A. A. Al-Nabulsi, and B. A. Rasco. 2017. “Inhibition of Shigella sonnei and Shigella flexneri in Hummus Using Citric Acid and Garlic Extract.” 2017. J. Food Sci. 82(8): 1908–1915.

Possas, A. M. M., G. D. Posada-Izquierdo, F. Pérez-Rodríguez, and R. M García-Gimeno. 2016. “Modeling the Transfer of Salmonella Enteritidis during Slicing of Ready-To-Eat Turkey Products Treated with Thyme Essential Oil.” 2016. J. Food Sci. 81(11): M2770–M2775.

Rodrigues, A. C., F. G. Zola, B. D. Oliveira, et al. 2016. “Quorum Quenching and Microbial Control through Phenolic Extract of Eugenia Uniflora Fruits.” J. Food Sci. 81(10): M2538–M2544.

Salinas-Salazar, C., C. Hernández-Brenes, D. G. Rodríguez-Sánchez, E. C. Castillo, J. M. Navarro-Silva, and A. Pacheco. 2017. “Inhibitory Activity of Avocado Seed Fatty Acid Derivatives (Acetogenins) Against Listeria Monocytogenes.” J. Food Sci. 82(1): 134–144.

Swelikar, S., and D. H. D’Souza. 2017. “Antimicrobial Effects of Quillaja saponaria Extract Against Escherichia coli O157:H7 and the Emerging Non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli.” J. Food Sci. 82(5): 1171–1177.