IFT Cosponsors Food Irradiation Conference
The Institute of Food Technologists is cosponsoring the First World Congress on Food Irradiation May 5-7 in Chicago, Ill.

The congress, titled “Meeting the Challenge of International Trade,” will examine and assess the future of food irradiation through a comprehensive program that will examine the global situation and outlook on the use of irradiation as a sanitary and phytosanitary treatment; major markets and market trends; technological developments, including irradiation facilities, new products, value addition, and quality assurance; and investment opportunities. The event will also feature a visit to a commercial food irradiator, as well as business and technical sessions and an irradiated-food exposition.

The conference is organized by the National Food Safety & Toxicology Center in cooperation with the Grocery Manufacturers of America, Food Marketing Institute, International Union of Food Science and Technology, and IFT.

For more information, contact the National Food Safety & Toxicology Center, 165 Food Safety & Toxicology Bldg., Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1302 (phone 517-432-3100, fax 517-432-2310, www.foodsafe.msu.edu).

Study Identifies Beverage Opportunities
Wild Flavors, Inc., held a media event on December 10 in honor of the fifth anniversary of the opening of its research and development facility in Erlanger, Ky.

In addition to a tour of the modern facility and tastings of a wide variety of applications of the company’s flavors, colors, and other ingredients, the event featured a presentation of the findings of a market research study designed to identify new beverage opportunities.

The Drink It™ study was commissioned by Wild Flavors and conducted by Moskowitz Jacobs Inc. and The Understanding & Insight Group (U&I Group). Conducted in September 2002 among more than 6,000 participants, the study determined consumer interest in 29 different beverage categories. It utilized Moskowitz Jacobs’ IdeaMap.net technology, an Internet-based market research tool based on conjoint analysis.

Hollis Ashman of U&I Group presented highlights of the results of the study. Among the findings were the following:
Consumers view beverages in four different ways. They choose a beverage according to the food they are going to eat; they choose a beverage according to the occasion; they choose a “classic” beverage; or they think about new versions of beverages. For example, many alcoholic beverages are connected with occasions, while sports drinks are selected for other reasons, including meal consideration, occasion, or traditional versions of the beverage. The top attribute affecting choice of beverages is taste. Aroma, temperature, flavor, mood, and healthy ingredients are also top attributes that can increase interest in a beverage.

Icy cold, not too sweet, well-blended flavors, variety, sweetness, and aftertaste are the top attributes that can increase refreshment of a beverage.

Beverage drinkers appear to fit into three categories: variety seekers, traditionalists, and impressionables. Variety seekers prefer flavor and texture varieties in beverages; e.g., “Sweet creamy yogurt with lots of flavor and juice . . . so easy to drink” scored higher than “Drinkable yogurt.” Traditionalists prefer descriptors of the basic beverage; e.g., “Fresh ground and brewed coffee” scored higher than “Dark French Roast coffee that is rich, bold, and roasted.” And impressionables like descriptions that use word pictures, emotions, and brands; e.g., “Carbonated, sparkling, lemon-lime beverage . . . just the right amount of taste and bubbles” scored higher than “Traditional lemon-lime soda.”

More information about the study can be obtained from Debby Poskanzer at Wild Flavors (859-342-3670), Hollis Ashman at U&I Group (740-881-0017), or Rachel Katz at Moskowitz Jacobs (914-421-7400).

Science Centers Seek Research Partners
The Science Centers Partners Program seeks partners for its research projects.

The Science Centers were established by international agreements beginning in 1992 in an effort to provide peaceful research opportunities to former weapons scientists and engineers in the former Soviet Union (FSU). The Science Centers Partners Program provides opportunities for private industry, scientific institutions and other governmental or non-governmental organizations to fund research at FSU institutes. The program mitigates the risks of funding research in the region by providing a protective infrastructure and using the Science Centers to monitor and oversee projects.

Becoming a Partner costs nothing and does not obligate an organization to fund a project. Scientists and institutes working in the program are engaged in research and development projects involving chemistry, material science, telecommunications, transportation, biotechnology, environmental science, and more. Depending on its own research and development objectives, a partner may fund a project that has already been registered at one of the centers, or work with an appropriate FSU institute to custom design a project.

Additional information is available at www.istc.ru  or www.stcu.kiev.ua, or by contacting Andy Hood, Science Centers Partners Program, NP/PTR, Room 2428, U.S. Dept. of State, 2201 C St., N.W., Washington, DC 20520.

Volunteers Needed for Farmer-to-Farmer Program
Land O’Lakes seeks volunteers for its Farmer-To-Farmer Program, which provides short-term U.S. agricultural and rural development technical assistance, on a people-to people basis, to developing countries worldwide through the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Volunteers work with farmers, rural entrepreneurs, NGOs, and businesses with hands-on technical assignments. These assignments are designed in response to the host organization’s request for assistance. Travel and lodging arrangements will be handled, and expenses (including travel, meals, lodging, and miscellaneous assignment-related expenses) will be reimbursed. The length of assignments can vary. On average, they require a commitment of 10 days to four weeks.

The program needs individuals with one or more of the following skills: food technology; HACCP planning and implementation; business start-up and development; business marketing plan writing and implementation; market analysis/feasibility study experience; marketing, sales, and distribution logistics; integrated pest management; and fish farming.

In addition to seeking volunteers in these areas, the program specifically needs an expert in sauce development to assist a small agro-processing operation in Jamaica with its line of sauces; an expert in HACCP planning, compliance, and training to help a small agro-processor with its existing HACCP plan; a second expert in sauce development to work with a small processor to expand a line of meat sauces similar to BBQ; and an expert in essential oils to work with a long-standing cooperative in Jamaica that produces 90% of the world’s bay leaves.

Interested individuals should contact Laura Berdan at 651-634-4214 or visit www.landolakesidd.com.

Bunge Ltd. subsidiary Cereol SA agreed in November to sell a majority stake in Lesieur, a French maker of branded bottled vegetable oils, to Saipol, an oilseed processing joint venture between Cereol and Sofiproteol, the financial institution for the French oilseed cooperatives. Cereol will retain a 33.3% interest in both Lesieur and Saipol. Bunge, based in White Plains, N.Y., is an integrated, international agribusiness and food company operating in the farm-to-consumer food chain.

Cargill Sweeteners North America formed a marketing alliance in November with the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative (SMBSC) to sell and distribute its sugar products to food and beverage manufacturers. The agreement will take effect when SMBSC’s current marketing contract with United Sugars Corp. expires, or as soon as an early exit is possible. SMBSC is owned by 588 growers in 17 southern Minnesota counties. Cargill Sweeteners, based in Minneapolis, Minn., supplies a variety of nutritive sweeteners used in beverages, baked goods, candies, cereals, and other prepared foods. SMBSC, based in Renville, Minn., provides receiving, handling, and processing of sugar beets and produces refined sugar, molasses, beet pulp pellets, and betaine syrup for domestic and international markets.

Dean Foods Co. agreed to sell its dairy operations in Puerto Rico to Grupo Gloria, a Peruvian Conglomerate, for a cash purchase price of approximately $122 million. Dean Foods’ Puerto Rico operations consist of five companies, including Suiza Dairy Corp., Suiza Fruit Corp., Neva Plastics Manufacturing Corp., Garrido y Compania LLC, and Garido Alto Grande Corp. Dean Foods, based in Dallas, Tex., produces a line of company branded and private label dairy and dairy-related products, as well as pickles and other specialty food products, juice, juice drinks, and water.

Erie Foods International Inc. opened a new distribution center at its manufacturing facility in Rochelle, Ill. The center utilizes the Union Pacific Intermodal Railport project, also located in Rochelle. Erie will occupy half of the 200,000-sq-ft facility; the remaining 100,000 sq ft will be available for lease to other Intermodal users. Erie Foods is based in Erie, Ill.

Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co. Inc. will acquire the business that manufactures and sells candy under the Now and Later, Intense Fruit Chews, and Mighty Bite brands from Kraft Foods North America. Now and Later, the anchor brand of the business, is a fruit-flavored chewy taffy. All three brands are produced at one facility in Brooklyn, N.Y. In February 2002, Kraft sold its Farley’s and Sathers confectionery businesses to FS Partners, which later renamed it the Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co., Inc. Kraft Foods NA is based in Northfield, Ill. Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co. Inc. is based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Firmenich announced in November the acquisition of Bjøørge Biomarin AS, a European producer of natural seafood extracts. The Norwegian company will continue to be managed by its founders and former owners, Jan and Oddvar Bjøørge, and will operate under the name of Firmenich Bjøørge Biomarin AS. Its main production facility is located in Aalesund, the center of the Norwegian fishing industry. Firmenich, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a privately-held flavor and fragrance company.

GeneScan do Brasil opened a new analytical service laboratory in São Paulo– Itu, Brazil, in November. The state-of-the-art facility offers detection, identification, and quantification of genetically modified organisms in agricultural commodities, ingredients for food and feed, and finished food products. GeneScan do Brasil is part of the GeneScan Group, which operates laboratories in Europe, the U.S., and Brazil, Australia, and Hong Kong.

Golden State Foods Corp. and Bunge Foods formed an alliance in November to make and market mayonnaise, salad dressings, and sauces to the foodservice industry. The products will be sold under the Villa Sierra™ label and under restaurant operator and foodservice distributor labels. The alliance will also create custom formulations for customers who need unique products. Golden State Foods, based in Irvine, Calif., processes food products, specializing in liquid products and cooked beef and offering a complete line of condiments, dressings, syrups, toppings, and sauces. Bunge Foods, based in St. Louis, Mo., supplies shortenings and oils to the foodservice and food processor industries in North America, as well as bakery mixes, frozen bakery products, and prepared fruit products.

National Dairy Holdings, LP signed a letter of intent with HP Hood Inc. in November to combine the companies’ dairy processing businesses. The combined company will be the second largest dairy processor in the U.S. National Dairy is based in Dallas, Tex. HP Hood is based in Chelsea, Mass.

National Starch and Chemical Co. acquired the resistant starch business and the worldwide rights to the technology and intellectual property portfolio in high-amylose resistant starch from Penford Australia Ltd. The agreement covers the use of products for general applications, as well as the exclusive rights for products used in human nutrition. The technology platform, made available through a royalty-bearing licensing structure, encompasses resistant starch products for human nutrition, including prebiotic and probiotic effects, colonic health, fat metabolism, glycemic response, weight regulation, body composition, and treatment and prevention of disease. The commercial business acquired includes the supply of hi-maize resistant starch to customers in Australasia and elsewhere. National Starch and Chemical is a member of a member of the ICI Group headquartered in Bridgewater, N.J. Penford Austrialia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Penford Corp., based in Bellevue, Wash.

Tate & Lyle PLC agreed to sell its monosodium glutamate (MSG) production unit in France to Ajinomoto Co. Inc. The transaction will be the sale of the shares in Orsan S.A., held by Amylum France, a subsidiary of Tate & Lyle. These shares represent 80.39% of the issued capital of Orsan. Ajinomoto is the minority shareholder with 19.61% of the shares in issue. Orsan operates the MSG plant adjacent to the Amylum France wheat processing plant in Nesle. The Orsan and Amylum France operations have been fully segregated so Amylum France will not be affected by the sale operationally, although it will continue to provide utilities, feed stock, and other services to Ajinomoto under long-term agreements. The sale excludes Orsan’s 51% shareholding in Orsan Guangzhou Gourmet Powder Company Limited (Orsan China) which produces MSG in China. Tate & Lyle is based in London, England.

Unilever agreed in December to sell its shareholdings in Unipamol Malaysia Sdn. Bhd and Pamol Plantations Sdn Bhd (the Pamol Group) to Palmco of Malaysia, a subsidiary of IOI Corp. The sale includes more than 20,000 hectares of oil palm estates in East and West Malaysia. Unilever is based in London, England, and Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Astaris LLC appointed Paul L. Howes President and Chief Executive Officer. He was previously Vice President and General Manager of the Packaging Division of Flint Ink. Astaris is based in St. Louis, Mo.

Briess Industries Inc. named Richard K. Young Vice President of Sales and Marketing. He will be involved in the preparation of strategic sales and marketing plans and will manage the company’s sales, customer service, and communications departments. He left a private consulting business to join Briess Industries and previously held management positions at national ingredients and food manufacturing companies. Briess Industries is based in Chilton, Wis.

Charkit Chemical Corp. appointed Gary Conte Vice President. He was previously Vice President, Pharmaceutical Intermediates and Custom Manufacturing for Chemical Sales and Marketing with Aceto Corp. Charkit is based in Darien, Conn.

The Guelph Food Technology Centre appointed Carol Zweep Senior Research Scientist. She was previously with Amcor and has 16 years of industry experience. The Guelph Food Technology Centre is based in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Importers Service Corp. promoted Christopher Berliner to Vice President and General Manager. He joined the company in 1994 and was most recently General Manager. The company is based in Jersey City, N.J.

Magnum Systems Inc appointed Lewis “Lew” Ribich Chief Executive Officer. He has 30 years of experience in the bulk materials handling and packaging industries. He was previously CEO of Thermo Sentron Inc. Magnum Systems, based in Kansas City, Kans., is a single-source supplier for bulk material handling and packaging systems for process plants.

MGP Ingredients of Illinois promoted Dick Larson to Manager of Administration and Finance. He has been with the company since 1987. MGP Ingredients of Illinois, based in Pekin, Ill., is a wholly owned subsidiary of MGP Ingredients Inc.

Silliker Inc. named Randall L. Fleener Laboratory Director of its Chicago Heights, Ill., testing facility. He is responsible for scientific operations, quality systems, and staff. He joined the facility in 1987. Silliker is based in Homewood, Ill.

SPI Polyols Inc. appointed Tom Moreno Director, Global Accounts for the Polyols group. He will be responsible for global sales efforts at major international food and confectionery accounts. He has more than 15 years of experience in sales to the food, pharmaceutical, nutritional, and personal care industries. The company is based in New Castle, Del.

Strasburger and Siegel Inc. promoted Toni Manning to Director of Consulting. She will be responsible for the operation of the Consulting Dept. and the management of the marketing activities of the company. She joined the company in 2000 and has more than 25 years of experience in the food industry in both technical and manufacturing environments. She is a Certified Food Safety Professional and an instructor for the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe food safety training program. She is also Past Chair of IFT’s Committee on Sections and Divisions, Eastern Food Science Conference, and the Maryland Section. Strasburger & Siegel, based in Hanover, Md., is an independent food analytical laboratory.

PEF Awards Scholarship

The Packaging Education Forum (PEF), based in Arlington, Va., presented its first Scott-Hogue Scholarship Award to Sara M. Damon, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and Emma Hollander, a sophomore at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The PEF Scott-Hogue Scholarship identifies and supports two top packaging undergraduate students. Sponsored by Kraft Foods, the scholarship is named after James E. Scott, Director of Packaging Engineering and Graphics Design at Eastman-Kodak Co., and Tom Hogue, retired director of packaging markets at DuPont Co. The award was created in 2001 in recognition of their “leadership in bringing the PEF programs and services under the management of the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) leadership.”

Scholarship recipients are judged on several criteria, including academic achievement, leadership, diversity, and financial need. Scholarship winners are eligible to participate in a summer cooperative or internship program within the Kraft Foods organization.

Damon has served as a packaging lab assistant, including her current position as assistant to the Packaging Materials class. She has declared Food Packaging as her technical emphasis and recently won PEF’s Sarah Lee Gerrish Communications Award.

Hollander is a member of the RIT Packaging Club, a member of the Western New York Chapter of the Institute of Packaging Professionals and is the Director of Special Interest House.

CRA Presents Paper and Poster Awards
The Corn Refiners Association, based in Washington, D.C., named Xian-Zhong Han of Purdue University winner of its Outstanding Paper Award and Marie-Astrid Ottenhof of the University of Nottingham, Loughborough, United Kingdom, winner of its Outstanding Poster Award.

The winners were selected during the American Association of Cereal Chemists’ annual meeting in Montréal, Québec, Canada, in October. More than 440 papers and posters were presented at the organization’s annual meeting, with 50 focusing specifically on the corn refining process or its end products. The awards provide recognition to outstanding researchers for their efforts to understand and improve the corn refining industry.

Han’s paper, “Detection of proteins in starch granule channels,” is the first report of the existence of proteins in channels found in starch granules. These channels are portals for the infusion of water, enzymes, and chemicals into the granule interior to promote gelatinization and enzymatic or chemical modification of granule structure. Proteins in these channels are potential barriers to the action of these agents. Accordingly, information about their size and structure can lead to improved processes for modifying starch properties.

Ottenhof’s poster, “A Multi-Technique Study of the Processes Occurring During Amylopectin Retrogradation,” is aimed at understanding the molecular basis for the starch-reordering process know as retrogradation. The techniques measure long-range molecular ordering, or crystallization, and its effects, as well as prior short-range ordering.

Larry Cope, President of Clear Springs Foods, Buhl, Idaho, was elected Chairman of the National Fisheries Institute.

He succeeds Jack Kilgore of Rich-SeaPak, St. Simons Island, Ga., as NFI chairman effective January 1, 2003.

Other officers elected were Wally Pereyra, President of Arctic Storm Management Co., Seattle, Wash., Vice-Chairman; Barney White, Corporate Vice-President, Omega Protein, Houston, Tex., Treasurer; and Jimmie Johnson, Sales Manager, Sea Safari Ltd., Bellhaven, N.C., Secretary.

Elected as Regional Vice-Presidents were Bob Redar, Sea Watch International Ltd., Easton, Md.; Claude Schoeffer, Chairman/Director of Sales, ExPack International in Woodbridge, N.J.; Jeff Stern, Vice President/Purchasing, Central Seaway Company, Inc., Northfield, Ill.; David Nicholson, Fishking Processors, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif.; and Travis Larkin, Vice President, The Seafood Exchange of Florida, Coconut Grove, Fla.

NFI, based in Arlington, Va., is a non-profit trade association representing companies in the fish and seafood industry.

Assistant Editor