Citrus increases catechins in tea
Researchers at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., discovered that citrus juices help more of green tea’s antioxidants remain after simulated digestion. They examined the effects of different beverage additives on catechins, antioxidants that are found in tea. The results showed that complementing green tea with either citrus juices or vitamin C may increase the amount of catechins available for the body to absorb.

Catechins may be responsible for some of green tea’s health benefits, such as reduced risk of cancer, heart attack, and stroke. The problem is that they are unstable in non-acidic environments, such as the intestines, and less than 20% of the total remains after digestion, said Mario Ferruzzi, Assistant Professor of Food Science and the study’s lead author.

“Off the bat, you are eliminating a large majority of the catechins from plain green tea,” said Ferruzzi. “We have to address this fact if we want to improve bodily absorption.”

The researchers put juices, creamers, and other additives that are either commonly added to fresh-brewed tea or used to make ready-to-drink tea products through a model simulating gastric and small-intestinal digestion. They found that citrus juices increased recovered catechin levels by more than five times. Ascorbic acid—used to enhance shelf life in ready-to-drink products—increased recovered levels of the two most abundant catechins by sixfold and 13-fold, respectively; lemon juice caused 80% of tea’s catechins to remain.

To bolster catechin absorption, Ferruzzi suggested adding some citrus juice to freshly brewed tea or purchasing ready-to-drink teas formulated with ascorbic acid.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and appeared in the September 2007 issue of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.

Senomyx, Firmenich collaborate
Senomyx Inc., San Diego, Calif., and Firmenich SA, Geneva, Switzerland, have entered into a three-year collaborative research, development, commercialization, and license agreement for novel flavor ingredients intended to provide a cooling taste effect.

Senomyx will use its proprietary screening technologies to develop novel compounds that may be used by Firmenich on an exclusive basis as ingredients that impart a cool taste in various products, including confections, foods, and beverages.

Silliker acquires JR Laboratories
Silliker Inc., Homewood, Ill., has acquired 70% of JR Laboratories, a food testing and technical consulting laboratory located in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. The company will be renamed Silliker JR Laboratories ULC and will serve many of Canada’s major food, beverage, natural health, and pharmaceutical companies.

Campbell sells Godiva to Yildiz
Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J., will sell its Godiva Chocolatier to Yildiz Holding A.S., the owner of Ülker Group, a diversified food company based in Istanbul, Turkey.

In August 2007, Campbell announced that Godiva did not fit with its strategic focus on simple meals, baked snacks, and vegetable-based beverages. Godiva products are sold through company-owned and franchised retail stores; wholesale distribution points, including specialty retailers and finer department stores; and on the Internet.

The transaction will close pending regulatory approval.

Index ranks antioxidant levels
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have determined that relative antioxidant capacity index (RACI) provides a reasonably accurate ranking of antioxidant capacity among foods compared with other methods, making it useful in evaluating food antioxidant capacity.

RACI is the mean value of standard scores transformed from the initial data generated with different methods for each food item.

The different methods used to measure the antioxidant capacity of foods—such as oxygen radical absorbance capacity, total radical-trapping antioxidant parameter, and inhibition of auto-oxidation of induced low-density lipoprotein—have limitations, and a benefit of RACI is that it allows for integrating several chemical assays and helps to standardize methods.

The researchers compared the antioxidant values of 20 vegetables measured using seven different chemical methods with values obtained using RACI and found that RACI correlated strongly with each method. According to the researchers, the most advantageous aspect of RACI is that it is a numerical scale integrating multiple chemical methods, allowing comparison of antioxidant capacity of a large number of foods.

The study, “An Integrated Approach to Evaluate Food Antioxidant Capacity,” appeared in the November/December 2007 issue of Journal of Food Science. For more information, visit, and click on “Publications.”

PepsiCo forms alliances
PepsiCo, Purchase, N.Y., has entered into business agreements with several companies.

A new partnership with Strauss Group Ltd., Ramat Gan, Israel, will operate Sabra, which manufactures hummus and had sales of about $56 million through September 2007. Under the agreement, Sabra will produce and sell fresh dips and spreads in the United States and Canada. The partnership also will expand the role of PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America division in providing healthier snack options, and it highlights the company’s commitment to the on-trend fresh category.

The International Coffee Partnership, a joint venture between PepsiCo and Starbucks Corp., Seattle, Wash., recently introduced Starbucks® bottled Frappuccino® ready-to-drink coffee beverages in the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong. The partnership will help PepsiCo leverage its established beverage distribution channels, as well as create new opportunities for developing China’s premium ready-to-drink coffee market.

Finally, the company and Unilever, London, UK, agreed to expand their international partnership for the marketing and distribution of ready-to-drink tea products under the Lipton brand. The agreement adds 11 countries—Germany, Italy, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Korea, Taiwan, and South Africa—to the partnership’s existing Lipton ready-to-drink tea business.

Sundlof named director of CFSAN
Stephen F. Sundlof has been named Director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. He previously served as Director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, where he oversaw the regulation of animal feed—including food additives—and drugs. Sundlof also has experience in the food safety and protection arena, including providing input into the development of FDA’s Food Protection Plan and establishing animal feed programs designed to prevent bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, from entering the U.S. feed system.

FDA adds assessment tool
The Food and Drug Administration recently added the Carver + Shock Food Industry Vulnerability Assessment Tool software to its Web site. The software is a targeting prioritization tool adapted from the military version (Carver) for use by manufacturers and processors of all food products. It can be used to assess the vulnerabilities to attack within a system, and it allows the user to think like an attacker in order to identify the most attractive targets for an attack. Users who conduct a Carver + Shock assessment of a food production or processing facility can determine where their systems are most at risk of intentional contamination.

The software can be downloaded at no cost from

Robertet expands facility
Robertet Flavors Inc., Piscataway, N.J., recently broke ground on a 60,000-sq-ft expansion of its U.S. flavors facility in Piscataway. The facility will greatly expand the company’s large-scale liquid production capacities, including juice blending and high-volume homogenization and will further increase its refrigerated, frozen, and ambient warehouse storage and high-speed packaging capabilities. The building is expected to be operational by the end of this year.

Jamba boosts brand awareness
Jamba Inc., Emeryville, Calif., and Nestlé Inc., Glendale, Calif., have formed a worldwide licensing agreement to produce and distribute a line of healthy ready-to-drink beverages under the Jamba brand name. Jamba, which operates Jamba Juice outlets, is a blender of fruit and other healthy ingredients. These new beverages represent the first Jamba products available outside the Jamba Juice outlets.

The two distinct products developed for this agreement include Smoothies and Juices, and they will launch in the United States during the second quarter of this year. These products, which have been under development for more than a year, will include Jamba’s line of vitamin and mineral boosts.

Partnership monitors food security
Cargill, Minneapolis, Minn., has partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to support global efforts to examine health links among humans, livestock, and wildlife and to monitor for avian influenza and other diseases shared between humans and animals.

“Food security begins with healthy animals,” said Mike Robach, Vice President of Global Food Safety, Cargill. “We believe that the health of wildlife and livestock are interconnected and will require a multi-disciplinary approach in order to develop safe and effective food systems.”

Cargill will provide $1.5 million for two initiatives spearheaded by WCS: expanding a global surveillance network for avian influenza in Indonesia and Vietnam and introducing a grants program for animal health projects in Brazil.

by Karen Nachay,
Assistant Editor 
[email protected]