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Historic library aids flavor chemists
Europe’s oldest flavor chemistry library—the Schimmel Bibliothek—has 30,000 rare books and is open to all. It is a food library like no other. Its legacy dates back to 1737 in the form of an 8-volume set of German books with hand-painted illustrations of botanicals.
Surviving many wars, Communist control, and unknowing owners, the Bell Flavors & Fragrances Europe library in Leipzig, Germany, has been preserved as a unique repository of the books and knowledge that are the foundation for modern flavor chemistry technology. And, remarkably, it is open to visitors.
History of the Library
The 175-year-old company and library boast a history that includes the awarding of a Nobel Prize in 1910 and a scope of operations that was so large that it served all of the specialty flavor needs of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe from the end of World War II through the 1990s.
This unique collection, which has now become open to visitors with the opening of Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, is painstakingly cared for in one of the oldest, most innovative and important flavor centers of Europe—Leipzig.
Although only owned by Bell since 1993, the company had its beginnings in 1829 in Leipzig as Schimmel & Co. Over the next 125 years, the company spawned countless innovations and careers that went on to take root in Holzminden, Germany, at Dragoco and Haarmann & Reimer after World War II. The Fritsche family, long-time owners of Schimmel, also had operations in the United States as Fritsche Dodge & Olcott.
The rich history of the Schimmel operations in Leipzig, now owned and operated by Bell Flavors & Fragrances Europe, has undergone tremendous updating and renewal, while still maintaining a number of buildings that have been declared historic landmarks by the German government.
Although now there are fully modern laboratories and operations on the 50-acre site, the rich history has been carefully preserved in the buildings and the library areas. Walking through the restored sections reveals a photograph and description of Otto Wallech, recipient of the 1910 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for ground-breaking work in terpines.
The restoration and rejuvenation have been done under the direction of Raymond (Buzz) Heinz, President of Bell Flavors & Fragrances Europe, who saved the unique library collection when the company was purchased in 1993 during the tumultuous transition of Communism and the reunification of Germany.
A suitably historic setting for the remarkable collection was included in the expansion and reconstitution of the facility, the one-time sole provider of fine flavors for most of the Communist world, including the Soviet Union and Cuba.
Now the facility operates as the primary manufacturing location for Bell Flavors & Fragrances for its European operations and complements its other facilities in North and South America and China. A legacy of the Leipzig facility is the unique technologies for processing unusual botanicals that are now in increasing demand for the natural-products sector. These technologies have been preserved at the Leipzig facility in both actual ongoing operations and in technical expertise.
The title of the oldest set of botanical volumes referenced is Phytanthoza-Iconographia, oder Eigentliche Vorstellung etlicher Tausend, sowohl Einheimisch—als Ausländischer/aus allen vier Welt-Theilen in Verlauf vieler Jahre, . . . gesammelter Pflanzen, Bäume, Stauden, Kräuter, Blumen, Früchten und Schwämme etc. [Phytanthoza-Iconographia, or Presentation of a thousand plants, both local and foreign, from all four world-parts of the world collected in the course of many years…. trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, fruits and sponges] by Johann Wilhelm Weimann, published in 1737–45 by the publishing house of Heinrich Georg Neubauer, Regensburg. It consists of 4 volumes of written text and 4 volumes of hand-painted copper plates.
Other rare volumes include:
Pharmaceutische Waarenkunde oder Handatlas der Pharmakologie [Lore of pharmaceutical goods or hand-atlas of the pharmacology] by Eduard Winkler, published in 1857 by the publishing house of C.F. Winter´scheVerlagshandlung, Leipzig and Heildelberg. It contains illustrations of all important natural pharmaceutical products and raw materials, exact characteristics, and short description with 190 color copper plates.
Sô-Mokou-Zoussets [Herbaceous plants of Japan] by Iinouma Yokoussai, published in 1874 by Ono Motoyoshi in Japan. It is an enlarged and revised edition of the Japanese flora of Tanaka Yosiwo, 1874. It consists of 20 volumes of hand-painted and plants on tissue paper, with text in Japanese and foreward in French.
Getreue Darstellung und Beschreibung der in der Arzneykunde gebräuchlichen Gewächse [Faithful representation and description of plants that are common in the pharmacology] by Friedrich Gottlob Heyne, published in 1805–37 in Berlin. It consists of 12 volumes and a supplement.
Histoire et Culture des Oranges [History and culture of the oranges] by A. Risso and A. Poiteau, published in 1872 by the publishing house of Henri Plon/G. Masson, Paris. It consists of color plates of 110 plants, with text in French.
Notations regarding the books mentioned above were taken from book references contained in the library catalog of Schimmel & Co., dated 1897.
“I am not personally aware of older historical collections,” said Raymond Heinz, “but in September 1999 Bell hosted the 30th International Symposium of Essential Oils together with the University of Leipzig. One of the attendees was Brian Lawrence of R.J. Reynolds, considered one of the world’s foremost experts on essential oils, who spent three days in the Schimmel Bibliothek after the conference. Afterward he said to me that ‘the only other historical collection that might come close to the Schimmel collection is the one at the Smithsonian.’”
A Valuable Resource
“Bell Flavors & Fragrances is very proud to be the caretaker of this important historical information,” Heinz added, “ and hopes that it serves as the foundation for future innovations in the industry.”
The library is open to all academics and historians working in the flavor, fragrance, aroma chemical, botanical, and essential oil industries, including food scientists and technologists. It is also open to the general public upon written request. For more information, contact Raymond Heinz, President, Bell Flavors & Fragrances Europe, Schimmel-Strasse 1, 04205 Leipzig (Miltitz), Germany (phone +49 (0) 341-945 12 10, fax 49 (0) 341-9 41 1669, [email protected]).
Bell Flavors & Fragrances manufactures extracts and aroma chemicals for the food, beverage, and cosmetic industries. The company has operations in the United States, Canada, China, Germany, and Mexico.
—Roy G. Hlavacek, IFT Vice-President, Communications
New to Food Expo: Global New Products Trends Showcase
Attendees at IFT’s FOOD EXPO® in Las Vegas, Nev., on July 13-16, 2004, will be exposed to the latest new product trends from around the world, courtesy of a new interactive event that will be staged on the exhibit floor each day.
The event, a cooperative project of IFT and Mintel—an independent market research organization with more than 30 years of experience in analyzing consumer and product trends—will feature presentations by Mintel analysts plus a new product display and tasting session.
Mintel analysts will discuss new and emerging product trends in three areas—Health & Wellness Ingredients, Ethnic Flavors, and Convenience & Packaging—in the context of U.S. consumer attitudes and preferences as revealed in Mintel’s exclusive consumer research report series.
Mintel will also display, and have available for attendees to sample, more than 50 outstanding retail food and beverage products that were recently launched in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
The “element of theater” presentation space will be divided into two areas—half for the presentation and half for the product tasting. There will be three sessions each day, each consisting of a discussion outlining global trends, with a review of specific new products from around the world to demonstrate the trends, followed by a tasting session.
This event is one of two exciting new events that will be part of Food Expo. The other, announced last month (see p. 71 of the January issue), is the “New Product Development Pavilion” presented by IFT and the Research Chefs Association and designed to demonstrate the benefits of blending culinary arts and food science. On each of the three days, there will be two sessions in which top industry chefs from diverse market segments will work side by side with food technologists to create a new, unique culinary dish right in the middle of the exhibit.
Watch for more information about both of these events at this year’s IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo.
Kraft changes global organizational structure
Northfield, Ill.–based Kraft Foods, Inc. on January 8 announced several changes to its global organizational structure to help the company sustain growth in the global market. Betsy Holden has been named President, Global Marketing & Category Development. She will remain a member of the Kraft Board of Directors and head the Global Marketing Resources, Health & Wellness, and New Product Development areas. Her group will help Kraft expand its operations around the world. Holden previously served as Co-CEO of Kraft Foods and President and CEO of Kraft Foods North America.
Kraft has grouped its geographic-based commercial units into North America Commercial and International Commercial; David Johnson has been named President, North America Commercial, and Hugh Roberts has been named President, International Commercial. These groups will be responsible for marketing and sales in individual countries, paying particular attention to local consumers and trends.
Kraft also appointed the following individuals to lead key global positions: Franz-Josef Vogelsang, Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain; Jean Spence, Executive Vice President, Global Technology & Quality; James Dollive, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer; Terry Falk, Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources; Marc Firestone, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary; Alene Korby, Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer; Michael Mudd, Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs; and David Owens, Executive Vice President, Global Strategy & Business Development.
SureBeam closes, files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
SureBeam Corp., the San Diego, Calif.–based maker of electron-beam food irradiation systems, on January 16 ceased all operations, terminated its 77 employees, and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The actions are in response to the company’s failure to reach a restructuring agreement with defense contractor Titan Corp., its senior secured lender, and its inability to raise additional funds to pay its debt and continue operations. Titan spun off SureBeam in 2001. SureBeam faces class-action lawsuits from investors and shareholders and informal investigations from the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged improper accounting practices. SureBeam’s irradiation technology uses an electron beam to kill or reduce the level of various spoilage and illness-causing bacteria in meats and produce, thereby reducing spoilage and increasing shelf life.
SureBeam had entered into a 10-year, $10-million strategic alliance with Texas A&M’s Institute of Food Science & Engineering (IFSE) in 2001, and in March 2002 the two parties dedicated a new 16,000-sq-ft research facility based on SureBeam’s electron-beam and x-ray technology on the Texas A&M campus in College Station. The facility included two linear accelerators for e-beam treatment of foods and food ingredients to kill microorganisms and a third for high-energy x-ray treatment, which provides deeper penetration into products.
Mark McLellan, Director of IFSE and Past President of IFT, on January 16 told Food Technology that the university owns the $4.5-million facility—SureBeam built it and titled it to the university—but the accelerators are owned by Sure Beam, which causes a dilemma. Texas A&M intends to retain ownership of the facility, he said, and will ask the bankruptcy court for relief consideration to acquire ownership of the accelerators so that system will remain intact and IFSE can fulfill its federal and private contracts.
“We want to keep the dream alive for technologies like this that can keep foods such as ground beef, ready-to-eat meats, and shellfish safe and high in quality,” McLellan said.
by KAREN BANASIAK