Sara Langen

INDUSTRY NEWS
Diversa and Givaudan to develop new enzyme applications

In January, Diversa Corp. and Givaudan Flavors Corp. agreed to work together to discover and develop novel enzymes and processes for the production of new products for consumer applications.

Under the terms of the agreement, Givaudan will provide undisclosed payments to Diversa for its services. The agreement will allow Givaudan to support innovation and increase its market presence.

Givaudan, based in Switzerland, produces flavors that are added to soft drinks, fruit juices, baked goods, chewing gum, chocolate, ice cream, fresh dairy products, instant desserts, ready meals, snacks, soups, and sauces. Diversa, based in San Diego, Calif., develops and applies proprietary technologies to discover and develop novel genes and gene pathways from diverse sources. 

Kerry acquires ingredients companies
International food ingredients company Kerry Group plc agreed to acquire two ingredient companies for a total of 50 million euros ($44.6 million) in January.

It is purchasing U.S. beverage flavorings group Stearns & Lehman Inc., a branded Italian-style coffee syrups manufacturer with factories in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. It is also acquiring Aromont SA, a French-based maker of ingredients and sauces for the European ready meals and food service industries.

The acquisitions are the most recent in a string of purchases by Kerry. Last October, the company acquired smoke and charcoal flavors manufacturer Hickory Specialties. In August, Kerry Ingredients North America purchased Nebraska-based SPI Foods, which manufactures specialty extruded cereal ingredients for use in ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, health and energy bars, and snack foods.

Kerry Group, based in Tralee, Ireland, produces food ingredients, flavors, and consumer foods worldwide.

Danisco begins antioxidant production in U.S.
To meet increasing demand for antioxidants, Danisco began producing antioxidants in its St. Louis, Mo., facility in January.

The facility produces natural antioxidant blends, vitamin-based antioxidant blends, and traditional antioxidant blends. The decision to expand production in the U.S. was made to better serve clients and to take advantage of increasing demands for extended-shelf-life foods, in which antioxidants are used to help protect flavor and color, and increased use of further refined oils, which contain antioxidants to prevent oxidative rancidity.

Danisco is an international ingredients developer and producer based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Berry extracts may inhibit cancer
Researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Clemson University are investigating an assortment of berries and muscadine grapes for their ability to inhibit the growth of cell lines cultured from breast and cervical tumors.

David E. Wedge, a plant pathologist at ARS Natural Products Utilization Research Unit in Oxford, Miss., and ARS chemist Kumudini Meepagala prepared extracts of the berries using various solvents and different parts of the fruit, such as juice, skin, and seeds. The extracts were then sent to Lyndon L. Larcom, professor of microbiology and molecular medicine at Clemson University in South Carolina, for assays on the cancer cell lines.

The research showed that extracts from muscadine grapes, raspberries and strawberries cut the growth of breast cancer cell lines and cervical cancer cell lines by more than half.

Although the preliminary findings look promising, whether the same results are true for people will have to be established through clinical trials.

COMPANY NEWS
Natural food ingredients company Braes Group acquired natural colors supplier Overseal Foods in November. The £25-million deal will expand Braes’ presence in the natural functional food ingredients market. Both companies are based in London, England.

In December, ConAgra Foods, Inc., purchased the David & Sons sunflower seeds and snack business from Nestlé USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A. David & Sons, based in Fresno, Calif., produces sunflower seeds and related snacks sold primarily through retail and convenience channels under the David’s brand. ConAgra, based in Omaha, Neb., produces and markets packaged food items.

In January, Ecolab purchased Audits International, a food safety audits and food retail quality evaluations provider based in Chicago, Ill. Audits International has been providing food safety services to the foodservice industry since 1982. It will form a new Ecolab service business and operate within the Industrial and Services Sector as a separate business which will provide customers with food safety services including program design, on-site training and certification, audits, and reporting. Ecolab, based in St. Paul, Minn., develops and markets cleaning, sanitizing, pest elimination, maintenance, and repair products and services worldwide.

James Finlay & Co., Inc., purchased Quality Instant Teas, Inc. James Finlay & Co., based in Morristown, N.J., is a division of James Finlay Ltd., an international grower, processor, and seller of tea products. Quality Instant Teas, based in Morris Plains, N.J., supplies instant teas and tea-related products for the beverage, food, nutraceutical, supplement, dairy, and flavor industries.

Kraft Foods Inc. announced that its subsidiary Kraft Foods International has completed its acquisition of the Russian and Polish confectionery businesses of German-based Stollwerck AG. Branded foods and beverages manufacturer Kraft is based in Northfield, Ill.

Paramount Farms purchased nuts and dried fruit processor and distributor Homa Co. in December. The purchase will allow Paramount to increase its retail presence. Paramount, based in Los Angeles, Calif., processes almonds and pistachios. Homa has facilities in California and New Jersey.

SureBeam Corp. opened its new Chicago Service Center in October. The new facility, located in Glendale Heights, Ill., doubles the company’s processing capacity and gives greater processing flexibility. SureBeam, based in San Diego, Calif., produces electron beam and x-ray technologies that remove bacteria from food.

Tate & Lyle, a global manufacturer of carbohydrate ingredients, sold its 20% stake in United Farmers and Industry Co. Ltd. to a subsidiary of the majority shareholder, the Mitr Phol Sugar Corp., in December. UFIC includes two sugar factories and ancillary businesses in Thailand, of which Tate & Lyle was a founding investor and a shareholder. The sale is part of an ongoing effort to divest of non-core businesses and reduce Tate & Lyle’s Asian sugar interests.

SOCIETIES & ASSOCIATIONS
SOCMA presents Responsible Care Awards, appoints VPs
The Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association announced the winners of its first Responsible Care Rewards and Recognition Program, which honors manufacturing facilities’ commitment to practicing Responsible Care, the chemical industry’s voluntary initiative for continuous improvement in environmental, health, and safety performance.

The four facilities honored with Level II Excellence Awards were Anderson Development Co., Adrian, Mich.; Rhodia, Winder, Ga.; Occidental Chemical Corp., Delaware City, Del.; and Albemarle Corp., Magnolia, Ark.

ILSI moves headquarters
The International Life Sciences Institute has moved its headquarters to new offices in Washington, D.C., just two blocks away from the old location.

The new facility allows all members of the institute’s staff to be located on the same floor, unlike the old offices and are also more economical. The new address is One Thomas Circle, Ninth Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005-5802. The phone and fax numbers will remain the same. Delaware City, Del.; and Albemarle Corp., Magnolia, Ark.

SOCMA also presented Level I Achievement Awards to 65 member facilities for implementation accomplishments achieved in 2000. The association plans to make the awards an annual event. A complete list of winners is available at www.socma.com.

The association also recently appointed two new vice presidents. John “Jack” F. Murray was promoted to Vice President, Project Management, where he will lead the operational functions to support the association’s key initiatives. Diane McMahon was promoted to Vice President, Commercial Development, where she will be in charge of accelerating the potential for members’ growth by maximizing commercial and networking opportunities.

SOCMA represents the custom and specialty chemical industry and is based in Washington, D.C.

ELECTIONS & APPOINTMENTS
NMA promotes Frey
The National Meat Association promoted Teresa Frey to Director of Technical Services. She was previously Manager of Technical and Educational Services.

NMA is a meat packers and processors association based in Oakland, Calif.

by SARA LANGEN
Assistant Editor