Marinades may inhibit carcinogens
Marinating adds flavor to foods and tenderizes meat. Now, research suggests that marinating meats may decrease heterocyclic amines, cancer-forming compounds produced during grilling.

Researchers at Kansas State University marinated round beef steaks for one hour in one of three commercially available spice-containing marinade blends (Caribbean, Southwest, or herb). They then grilled the steaks at 204°C. After performing tests to determine the levels of heterocyclic amines, they discovered that the marinades dramatically decreased the formation of the compounds. Steaks marinated in the Caribbean blend had the greatest decrease in heterocyclic amines levels (88%), followed by the herb blend (72%), and then the Southwest blend (57%).

The researchers also treated steaks with a marinade base (the same variety of the marinade blend but without the spices and herbs). They observed a reduction in heterocyclic amines but noted the reduction was not as great as the reduction in those steaks treated with the spice- and herb-containing marinades. Results of tests conducted on the marinades showed that they contained high amounts of the polyphenolic antioxidants carnosic acid, carnosol, and rosmarinic acid.

The study, “Effect of Marinades on the Formation of Heterocyclic Amines in Grilled Beef Steaks,” appeared in the August 2008 issue of Journal of Food Science. The research was supported in part by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, as well as the Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station. For more information, visit, and click on “Publications.”

Microwaves activate enzymes
The same microwave energy we use to heat leftovers or pop popcorn can activate enzymatic reactions, many of which are important in food and beverage processing such as brewing beer.

Researchers from North Carolina State University learned that they could activate hyperthermophilic enzymes—proteins that require very high temperatures for growth—at temperatures less than those normally required for biocatalysis. Heat causes these enzymes to activate chemical reactions, but too-high temperatures could denature the proteins. The resulting reactions can produce unwanted byproducts. By using microwaves as a heat source, the researchers were able to activate the enzymes at a much lower temperature.

“The microwaves will allow us to be much more precise in our ability to induce these reactions and to stop them quickly before denaturing occurs,” said Bob Kelly, Alcoa Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. “Using microwaves means that you are only heating up what you want to heat up. You’re focusing the energy much more specifically and rapidly, and the process can occur at a much lower temperature.”

The article, “Microwave Activation of Enzymatic Catalysis,” appeared in Journal of the American Chemical Society,

Canada sets labeling changes
Tony Clement, Canadian Minister of Health, has announced that the Canadian government introduced new labeling requirements that require food manufacturers to declare all food allergens, gluten sources, and added sulphites contained in prepackaged foods. The regulations will also detail exactly how these allergens, glutens, and sulphites are to be listed on food labels.

The previous regulations exempted components of certain ingredients from required declaration in the list of ingredients. While the Canadian Food Inspection Agency can recall foods exempted from the labeling requirements if a health risk is identified, the new regulations will provide manufacturers with labeling rules for allergens to be followed in a consistent manner.

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FTC urges marketing limits
A new report by the Federal Trade Commission found that food and beverage marketers in 2006 spent $1.6 billion on marketing their products to children age 17 or younger. Much of the advertising is in the form of integrated advertising campaigns that combine traditional media such as television with other forms of marketing such as packaging, Internet, in-store advertising, and sweepstakes.

As a result of this, FTC recommends that all companies that market food and beverage products to children younger than age 12 adopt meaningful, nutrition-based standards for marketing their products.

According to the report, “Marketing Food to Children and Adolescents: A Review of Industry Expenditures, Activities, and Self- Regulation,” food marketers created special limited-edition snacks, cereals, frozen waffles, and candies tied to popular movie characters. In cross-promotional campaigns, television ads and packaging often directed viewers to Web sites where they could enter a sweepstakes or play a game, receive free downloads, or play online video episodes.

The report implores that more media and entertainment companies restrict the licensing of their characters to healthier foods and beverages that are marketed to children and consider limiting ads on child-directed programs to those that promote healthier foods and beverages.

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Partnership to market quillaja
National Starch Food Innovation, Bridgewater, N.J., and Desert King International, San Diego, Calif., have announced an agreement whereby Desert King has granted National Starch global exclusive rights to sell quillaja-based products and innovations for stabilization and delivery of a range of actives and ingredients to the food and beverage industry.

Extracts of quillaja come from the soapbark tree (Quillaja saponaria) and are used as food additives. Potential applications include emulsification and encapsulation of flavors, colors, minerals, nutraceuticals, and bioactives. The two companies will jointly develop and bring to market new natural products and innovations.

The first output of this new collaboration is Q-Naturale™ beverage emulsifier, which made its debut at the 2008 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo®. It was featured in a peach-honey-orange blossom-fortified beverage.

What’s in the works from food, ingredient companies
A number of food companies from around the world have announced plans to expand, have opened new facilities, or have invested in research and development of new ingredients, products, and services. Here is an update on some of these projects.

• Bell Aquaculture has broken ground on its corporate headquarters and processing facilities in Redkey, Ind. The 27,000-sq-ft headquarters will house sales and marketing, human resources, accounting, and management, while the processing center will prepare all harvested fish from the farm for sale.

• Chopin Technologies, Villeneuve-la-Garenne Cedex, France, has announced a new distribution network for its quality control devices for flour and cereals processing in North America. The company has partnered with Lab Synergy, Goshen, N.Y., to strengthen it North American sales and after-market efforts, and it will also dedicate an application laboratory to bring better service to its U.S. customers.

• ChromaDex Corp., Irvine, Calif., has entered into a license agreement with the Research Foundation of the State University of New York to produce and market three classes of plant-based ingredients for the nutraceutical, functional food, beverage, natural chemical, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries.

• Farbest Brands, Montvale, N.J., and BioGin Biochemicals, Chengdu, China, have formed an alliance to market BioGin’s line of omega-3 fatty acid ingredients in North America.

• Niro Inc., Hudson, Wis., has changed the company name from Niro Inc. to GEA Process Engineering Inc. The Web site will, for now, remain unchanged.

• Lipid Nutrition, Channahon, Ill., recently received GRAS status for its ClarinolCLA from the Food and Drug Administration. According to the approved petition, the conjugated linoleic acid ingredient can safely be used in fluid and flavored milks, yogurts, milk-based meal replacements, meal replacements bars, soy milk, and fruit juice applications.

• Symrise, Holzminden, Germany, has opened new laboratories at its development center in Mexico City, Mexico. The labs will be dedicated to the development and application of savory and sweet flavorings, beverages, and culinary concepts.

• Tiger Brands Ltd., Johannesburg, South Africa, a branded food and healthcare company, has acquired 74.7% of the shares of consumer chocolate manufacturer Chococam, which is located in Cameroon, from Barry Callebaut, Zurich, Switzerland. The remaining 25.3% of the shares are held by small private shareholders.

• NSF International, Ann Arbor, Mich., has opened a new regional headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, to oversee its operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

• NutraCea, Phoenix, Ariz., had signed an agreement with Bright Food Investment Group, a subsidiary of China-based food conglomerate Bright Food Group, to build a rice bran oil refinery.

• The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service has granted approval to NutraCea for the use of its stabilized rice bran as an “enhancer” to food companies that prepare comminuted meat and poultry products.

• Premium Ingredients International, Carol Stream, Ill., has acquired Bulk Pharmaceuticals Inc., Toronto, Canada.

• Senomyx Inc., San Diego, Calif., has announced a one-year extension of its exclusive collaborative research and license agreement with Cadbury Adams USA LLC, Parsippany, N.J., for the discovery and commercialization of new flavor ingredients in the gum category.

• Unilever, London, UK, recently opened its global R&D Centre of Excellence for Drinks in Colworth, UK. Scientists there will be focused on developing new products that deliver health benefits.

by Karen Nachay,
Assistant Editor 
[email protected]