DuPont recognizes packaging achievement
A fully compostable bag for snack foods from Frito-Lay and PET bottles made from a plant-based renewable polymer from Coca-Cola Co. are some of the packaging innovations honored with the 22nd DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation.

The snack food bags developed by Frito-Lay North America for its Sun Chips® brand are made from polylactic acid (PLA) (the outer bag) and a compostable adhesive and inner barrier coating. The materials allow for the bags to be composted rather than put into landfills. Coca-Cola used a PET resin made partially from monoethylene glycol from sugar cane for its PlantBottle plastic bottles for beverages. The bottles can be recycled with other PET bottles, according to the company.

Several other forms of packaging designed for the food industry received awards. Exal Corp. and Alcoa Rigid Packaging developed an aluminum bottle manufacturing technology that produces bottles made with a recyclable aluminum alloy at faster speeds to enable a 40% weight reduction from PET and glass. Copa di Vino, Quart Vin, and Resilux America LLC won for their singleserve plastic wine glass/bottle. Wine is bottled directly into a single-serve barrier plastic wine “glass.” This packaging is said to reduce packaging waste by 50%.

Sealed Air Corp. was honored for its Cryovac Mirabella® anti-fog shrink film for modified atmosphere packaging. The film allows for film-to-meat contact without discoloring the meat. The company also won an award for its Cryovac Grip and Tear® bag that combines the shrink, toughness, and oxygen barrier properties of vacuum shrink bags with an easy-open feature.

Berry Plastics, ConAgra, Rexam, and IDEO designed a package for ConAgra’s Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers where every component serves a function. It is a microwaveable pasta cooker with a built-in strainer. The pasta and sauce are stored in separate microwaveable containers. The user heats the sauce and also cooks the pasta, strains it, and then mixes it with the sauce. Positive Packaging developed an odorless oxygen barrier laminate for cereal liners. Kellogg’s uses the packaging for its cereal sold in India,where high humidity affects the quality of cereal. The metalized film laminate is made from polypropylene, which pulls in oxygen, preventing it from coming into contact with the cereal.

The awards, presented by DuPont since 1986, honor achievement in the areas of innovation, sustainability, and cost/waste reduction.

Aiding stability of probiotics
Probiotics confer health benefits, and so they are being included in many food products, including yogurt, cheese, and beverages. Fruit juice contains acid and preservatives that may kill or inhibit the growth of probiotics, making this application a difficult one in which to add probiotics. However, researchers with Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, found a way to increase the survival of probiotics by adding ingredients that contain high levels of antioxidants, including green tea extract, vitamin C, and grape seed extract.

The researchers incorporated the probiotics into model juice samples made from sucrose, sodium citrate, citric acid powder, and distilled water. The juice was pasteurized before use. The experimental samples included white grape seed extract, green tea extract, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-3, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, or vitamin E, while the control did not contain any of these additives. The researchers measured the viability of the probiotics weekly for six weeks.

The results showed that the probiotics in the model fruit juice sample had minimal survival rates. The ingredients that had the most success in maintaining the viability of the probiotics were white grape seed extract, green tea extract, and vitamin C.

The article, “Improving the Stability of Probiotic Bacteria in Model Fruit Juices Using Vitamins and Antioxidants,” appeared in the June/July 2010 issue of Journal of Food Science.

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Food safety lab to open 
A facility to train scientists from foreign governments and manufacturers on analytical methods to help them meet U.S. food safety standards is slated to open in 2011.

The International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL), located at the University of Maryland, College Park, will offer sciencebased, hands-on training that supports the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety goals.

The Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN), a collaboration between the University of Maryland and FDA will operate the facility. Waters Corp. has made a multi-year commitment to fund IFSTL’s construction, provide analytical systems, and assist JIFSAN in designing training programs.

Irradiation affects phytonutrient content
The concentration of certain phytonutrients in spinach decreased with increasing doses of irradiation, reported researchers from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and the National Atomic Energy Commission, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The scientists grew, harvested, sanitized, and packaged spinach according to industry practices. Then they exposed the spinach to up to 2.0 kGy of radiation in 0.5 kGy increments. USDA has approved doses up to 4 kGy of irradiation for fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce.

After irradiating the spinach, the scientists tested the leaf tissues for concentrations of vitamins C, E, K, and folate and lutein/zeaxanthin, neoxanthin, violoxanthin, and betacarotene. They found that there was little or no change in the concentrations of folate, vitamins E and K, and neoxanthin as the levels of irradiation increased. The concentrations of total ascorbic acid, free ascorbic acid, lutein/zeaxanthin, violaxanthin, and beta-carotene were reduced at the irradiation level of 2.0 kGy.

The study, “γ-Irradiation Dose: Effects on Baby-Leaf Spinach Ascorbic Acid, Carotenoids, Folate, α-Tocopherol, and Phylloquinone Concentrations,” appeared in the April 28, 2010, issue of Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Additional information is available at

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Heart-health claims increase
The number of products that carry a heart-health claim has nearly tripled over the past five years and accounted for nearly 1.5% of total food and drink launches for the 12-month period ending April 2010, according to Innova Market Insights.

Products in the United States and Europe accounted for two-thirds of the total number of these product launches. Bakery and cereals were more than 25% of the total, dairy products were 12%, ready meals and meal components were 10%, and soft drinks were 9%.

There are many other products not included in this research that make implied heart-health claims instead of specific claims. These products often highlight ingredients thought to have heart-health benefits, including omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, oats, and soy.

Detecting viruses using SERS
Scientists looking for a rapid and accurate method for the detection of foodborne and waterborne viruses found that surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) coupled with gold SERS-active substrates was able to rapidly detect and differentiate these viruses.

The researchers at the University of Missouri, Columbia, used seven viruses, including norovirus, adenovirus, parvovirus, rotavirus, coronavirus, paramyxovirus, and herpersvirus.

They purified and dialyzed the virus samples and then further diluted the samples for SERS measurement. SERS spectral data were generated and then analyzed using soft independent modeling of class analogy (SIMCA) and principal component analysis (PCA). The viruses were differentiated with and without envelope to >95% of classification accuracy. The virus detection limit detected by SERS with the gold substrates was a titer of 102.

The article, “Detecting Food- and Waterborne Viruses by Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy,” appeared in the June/July 2010 issue of Journal of Food Science.

What’s new with food companies
• Health Canada has ruled it will allow ADM’s CardioAid® plant sterols to be added to foods.

• Artiste Flavor Essence and Cilione s.r.l. have formed a strategic alliance to build business in the U.S.

• Barry Callebaut has opened a chocolate processing facility in Extrma, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

• BI Nutraceuticals has installed a fifth mill at its 75,000-sq-ft manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China, increasing its milling capacity by 35%.

• Cargill’s U.S. meat business will build a facility to house laboratories, a culinary center, and a pilot plant in Wichita, Kan.

• Cognis has opened a new production facility for alkyl polyglucoside (APG®) surfactants in Jinshan, China.

• ConAgra Foods Inc. has sold its Gilroy Foods & Flavors operations to Olam International.

• Corn Products International has acquired National Starch Food Innovation from AkzoNobel, pending regulatory approval.

• DSM Food Specialties has won the 2010 Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Differentiation Excellence for its PreventASe, an ingredient said to mitigate the formation of acrylamide.

• Symrise AG plans to double its existing production capacity of synthetic menthol by the middle of 2012.

by Karen Nachay,
Associate Editor 
[email protected]