Blend familiar with unexpected
Look for new flavor pairings that combine familiar favorites with exotic tastes to bring excitement to consumer food product and culinary applications this year. McCormick & Co. Inc., Hunt Valley, Md., last month released its Flavor Forecast™ 2009, which identified the top 10 emerging flavor pairings. Some of the more-familiar flavors—root beer, dill, and mint—blend with unpredictable or internationally inspired ones like beetroot, sake, and garam masala.

This year’s flavor pairings include toasted sesame and root beer; cayenne pepper and tart cherry; tarragon and beetroot; peppercorn mélange and sake; Chinese five spice and artisan-cured pork; dill and avocado oil; rosemary and fruit preserves; garam masala and pepitas; mint and quinoa; and smoked paprika and agave nectar.

Cryovac packaging lab opens
Sealed Air Corp., Elmwood Park, N.J., and Clemson University have created the Cryovac® Flavour Mark™ Retort Laboratory, a teaching, research, and service facility in the university’s packaging science department. Students will use the laboratory as a hands-on classroom to study food packaging, specifically shelf-stable retort packaging. Sealed Air donated Cryovac-branded equipment to the lab. When not in use by students, the facility will be available on a lease arrangement or fee-for-service basis to allow food processors to create and test a limited number of sample products for market distribution.

Surface affects bacteria survival
How smooth or rough the surfaces of produce are can affect how bacteria survive during surface washing, say a group of researchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Citing a lack of studies about the relationship between surface hydrophobicity and surface roughness for fresh produce, the researchers set out to quantitatively measure the surface roughness of fresh produce using confocal laser scanning microscopy and to examine how surface roughness affects the attachment and removal of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to the surfaces of certain fruits.

They characterized the surface of apples as smooth with few peaks or grooves, oranges and avocados as rough with a few deep valleys, and cantaloupes as very rough with huge cavities and wide valleys. It is in these peaks and valleys where attached bacteria may be protected from washing.

The surfaces of these fruits were inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 and then washed with sterilized deionized water or sanitizers. The results showed that the rougher the surface of the fruit was, the more bacteria survived.

The study, “Effect of Surface Roughness on Retention and Removal of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on Surfaces of Selected Fruits,” was published online early in the Journal of Food Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2008.00998.x.

Virtual field trip debuts
A new virtual “field trip” Web site gives students and educators a front-row view of processing operations—all without leaving their universities.

Developed by IFT Professional Members Joe Regenstein and Syed Rizvi of Cornell University and Daryl Lund and Barbara Ingham of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with the support of a U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Higher Education Challenge Grant, the Web site features short videos showing unit operations and general overviews of food processing facilities. Food processors provide the videos, which are reviewed for content. The Web site has search capabilities, contributor information, and instructional materials that suggest ways instructors can use the site to optimize learning by engaging their students.

Contributions to the site are welcome, and more information will be developed in the future. The site is located at

--- PAGE BREAK ---

Fortifying tortillas for health
Researchers at Brigham Young University have developed a method to fortify corn tortillas with vitamins and minerals, which will help to improve the diets of people in Mexico.

Researchers at Brigham Young University have developed a method to fortify corn tortillas with vitamins and minerals, which will help to improve the diets of people in Mexico.

Corn tortillas represent about half of Mexicans’ daily calories, but they lack key vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and folic acids, say the researchers. So they felt that corn tortillas would be a good delivery system for these nutrients.

Michael Dunn, Associate Professor of Food Science and a Member of IFT, and his research team first tested various forms of powdered and liquid vitamins and minerals to find the type and combination that would survive the milling and baking process. They formulated the micronutrient premix powder so as not to affect the appearance and flavor of the final product.

Then they tested the powder using a method that allowed neighborhood tortilla makers in Mexico to use the powdered mix to fortify the tortillas. That method involved a dosification system that incorporated the powder into the nixtamal grain feed stream as it passed into the grinding stones during milling. The tortillas used in the experiment were made of nixtamal, a grain from which more than half of the tortillas in Mexico are made.

The researchers implemented the method at a mill in Mexico City and another in Guadalajara, and these mills continue to sell the fortified tortillas, which have about three times as much thiamin, niacin, and zinc; four times as much iron and riboflavin; and five times as much folic acid as regular tortillas.

The study, “Commercial Evaluation of a Continuous Micronutrient Fortification Process for Nixtamal Tortillas,” appeared in the November/December 2008 issue of Cereal Chemistry.

Food organizations explore new ventures
Here is an update on some recent activity in the food industry, including expansions, acquisitions, and the opening of new facilities.

ACH Food Companies Inc., Memphis, Tenn., and ADM Co., Decatur, Ill., have partnered to create Stratas Foods LLC, a joint venture for the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of packaged oil products in the United States and Canada. Stratas will produce oil for the foodservice, specialty food ingredient, and retail private label bottled oil markets.

Arizona Instrument LLC recently relocated its headquarters to Chandler, Ariz., 12 miles southeast of its old location. The company also has launched a redesigned Web site at

Aromatech, Grasse, France, announced expansion plans for its headquarters. Once complete, the new facilities will house space for the development and production of flavors.

Barry Callebaut, Zurich, Switzerland, has opened a new Center of Excellence in Dijon, France. The facility, the third of its kind that the company operates in Europe, will focus on research on compounds and fillings and also on the development of new product applications.

GTC Nutrition, Golden, Colo., and Ganeden Biotech Inc., Cleveland, Ohio, have formed a strategic alliance to develop prebiotic and probiotic ingredients for use in products to promote healthy digestive and immune systems.

MGP Ingredients, Atchison, Kan., has consolidated the production of wheat proteins and starches at its facility in Atchison. The decision resulted in the discontinuation of the company’s protein and starch manufacturing operations in Pekin, Ill. MGPI also has formed an agreement with ConAgra Mills, Omaha, Neb., whereby ConAgra will supply wheat flour to MGPI for use in the production of protein and starch ingredients.

Nellson Nutraceutical LLC, Los Angeles, Calif., and Ganeden Biotech Inc., Cleveland, Ohio, have agreed to work together to develop probiotic-enhanced nutrition bars and powdered products.

Nikken Foods USA Inc., St. Louis, Mo., has expanded its Fukuroi, Japan, plant with the installation of a new, state-of-the-art spray drier. The equipment will be used in the production of approximately 90 products.

Premium Waters Inc., Minneapolis, Minn., and Kansas City, Mo., has received the Safe Quality Food Code 2000 Certification from the SQF Institute, a division of the Food Marketing Institute.

Protient Inc., St. Paul, Minn., has opened a new research and applications center in Eagan, Minn. The center has an applications lab, chemical lab, sensory lab, processing room, and sample storage and preparation areas.

Solae Co., St. Louis, Mo., and Novozymes, Copenhagen, Denmark, will partner to develop and market next-generation soy proteins with enhanced flavor, solubility, and nutritional qualities for use in a range of food products such as infant formulas, meal replacement drinks, sports bars, and beverages.

• The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services has opened offices for the Food and Drug Administration in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, China. HHS is working to have an FDA presence in five geographic regions: China, India, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.