Kraft ups whole grains
Kraft Foods has announced plans to more than double the whole grain content in its Nabisco cracker brands.

Over the next three years, products like Wheat Thins, Honey Maid, Premium, and Ritz will include more whole grain. This includes doubling the amount of whole grain in Original Wheat Thins from 11 g to 22 g per serving, more than tripling the amount in Wheat Thins Toasted Chips from 5 g to 17 g per serving, quadrupling the amount in Honey Maid Original Graham Crackers from 5 g to 20 g per serving, and adding whole grain to Premium and Ritz crackers.

To increase the whole grain content in these products, the company will use whole grain wheat flour, which is milled using the entire wheat kernel (bran, endosperm, and germ).

The recommended daily amount of whole grain is 48 g, but most Americans consume far less than this.

Extract affects glucose uptake
Cashew seed extract may have beneficial effects against diabetes, reported researchers at the University of Montreal and the University of Yaounde, Cameroon.

More specifically, they concluded that cashew seed extract and its active component, anacardic acid, activated the adenosine monophosphate- activated protein kinase, which in turn increased plasma membrane glucose transporters, resulting in increased glucose uptake by muscle cells.

In addition to examining cashew seeds, the researchers looked at the leaves, bark, and apple (stalk) and found that these did not have the same effect as seeds.

The study, “Hydro-ethanolic Extract of Cashew Tree (Anacardium occidentale) Nut and its Principal Compound, Anacardic Acid, Stimulate Glucose Uptake in C2C12 Muscle Cells,” appeared online early in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, doi: 10.1002/ mnfr.201000045.

Grupo Bimbo sponsors competition
Grupo Bimbo is accepting applications for its Pan-American Nutrition Awards 2010, which recognize research papers in the fields of human nutrition and food science and technology.

The bi-annual awards are given to both established professionals and young scientists in the United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

The deadline is Oct. 15, 2010. Contestants may submit multiple applications. For more information, visit

Dairy Research Institute opens
Dairy Management Inc. and Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy have formed the Dairy Research Institute™, a non-profit organization that provides technical research to the dairy industry.

Leaders from the dairy industry, scientific community, academia, government, and other organizations plan and fund dairy research in three key areas: nutrition science, product development, and sustainability. More specifically, the institute provides a forum for industry to identify major research needs to support dairy industry innovation as well as to grow sales of dairy ingredients and products.

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Gene keeps tomatoes fresher
Incorporating a yeast gene into tomato plants may help tomatoes stay fresh longer, report researchers from Purdue University.

The gene, spermidine synthasa, is a polyamine that increases the production of spermidine, a compound that can slow aging and microbial decay and reduce shriveling. Fully ripe tomatoes from plants with the gene lasted about eight days longer before shriveling and decay and rot were delayed by about three days, according to research results.

“Shelf life is a major problem for any produce in the world, especially in countries such as in Southeast Asia and Africa that cannot afford controlled-environment storage,” said Autar Mattoo, a research plant physiologist with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and collaborator in the research.

The study, “Overexpression of Yeast Spermidine Synthase Impacts Ripening, Senescence and Decay Symptoms in Tomato,” appeared online early in The Plant Journal, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04286.x.

New fiber source for dairy products
Dairy products fortified with water soluble soybean polysaccharide (SSPS) at levels greater than those available on the market have acceptable texture and sensory properties, according to researchers at University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. If these levels of SSPS are eventually used in commercialized products, it can help consumers increase their soluble dietary fiber intake, they added.

The researchers used SSPS, which is extracted and refined from okara, a byproduct of soy manufacturing, because of its reported health benefits as well as functional benefits such as high solubility in both cold and hot water, low viscosity compared to other gums, and stability in different levels of acid, heat, and salt.

They incorporated it at levels up to 10% as well as κ-carrageenan to prevent phase separation in three dairy-based products: thickened milkshake-style beverages, puddings, and low-fat ice cream.

Rheological tests showed that the maximum percentage of SSPS to give a finished product acceptable texture was 4% in the dairy beverage and 4% in the pudding. A sensory panel gave the highest scores to the dairy beverage with 4% SSPS+0.015% κ -carrageenan, pudding with 4% SSPS+0.1% κ-carrageenan, and lowfat ice cream with 2% SSPS. The panel members also said that they would consume these products if they were available.

The study, “Addition of Soluble Soybean Polysaccharides to Dairy Products as a Source of Dietary Fiber,” appeared online early in Journal of Food Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01688.x.

Reducing pathogen exposure
Removing the stem/calyx from jalapeño peppers can reduce the risk of ingesting foodborne pathogens, according to researchers with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

They concluded this after cultural and stereofluorescence imaging and scanning electron microscopic methods detected more than 90% of Salmonella Saintpaul on the stem/calyx and less than 10% on the fleshy pod. While treating tainted jalapeño peppers with 200 ppm of sodium hypochlorite, acidified sodium chlorite, or peroxacetic acid for 2 min reduced the number of S. Saintpaul on the fleshy pod by 2.1–2.4 logs, it reduced the number of the pathogens on the stem/calyx by only 1.5–1.7 logs. Since the pathogen cells attached to the stem/calyx were more resistant to the sanitizers than the cells attached to the fleshy pods, the jalapeño peppers need to be processed (such as by removing the stem/calyx) to minimize exposure and cross-contamination, reported the researchers.

The study, “Localization, Growth, and Inactivation of Salmonella Saintpaul on Jalapeño Peppers,” appeared in the August 2010 issue of Journal of Food Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01667.x.

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Keeping lettuce safe
Holding packaged fresh-cut leafy green vegetables at 12°C increases product quality deterioration and growth of Escherichia coli O157:H7, and significant growth of the pathogen can occur prior to signs of product quality deterioration, reported researchers with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and Sichuan University, China. This is why, they said, temperature control in the supply chain is important to ensure the safety of these bagged salads. 

The researchers inoculated fresh-cut Romaine and iceburg lettuce salads obtained from both retail and wholesale stores with E. coli O157:H7. They sealed the bags and stored them at 5°C and 12°C until the date listed on the “Best If Used By” stamp, monitoring the microbial counts and product quality periodically. E. coli O157:H7 survived but had limited growth in the salad stored at 5°C, but there was a more than 2.0 log CFU/g increase of the pathogen in the salad stored at 12°C after only three days. Eventually, the visual quality of the lettuces held at 12°C declined, but it still was fully acceptable even when the pathogen growth reached a statistically significant level.

“Maintaining fresh-cut products at 5°C or below is critical for reducing the food safety risks as E. coli O157:H7 grows at a rapid, temperature-dependent rate prior to significant quality deterioration,” reported the researchers.

The study, “Effect of Storage Temperature and Duration on the Behavior of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on Packaged Fresh-Cut Salad Containing Romaine and Iceburg Lettuce,” appeared online early in Journal of Food Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01722.x.

What’s new with food companies
• Batory Foods has won the Environmental Stewardship Award from Orion Energy Systems for its efforts to reduce energy consumption.

• Health Canada recently approved the use of CognisHeart Choice® phytosterols in food.

• Bell Flavors & Fragrances has opened a production facility in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

• BASF has opened a Nutrition Ingredients Innovation Laboratory at its technical center in Tarrytown, N.Y.

• DuPont received U.S. Dept. of Agriculture regulatory approval for its Plenish™ high-oleic soybeans.

• DSM Food Specialties won the 2010 Ringier Technology Innovation prize for its egg white lysozyme-based enzyme Delvozyme.

• Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils has won the 2010 Best New Product Award and the 2010 Company of the Year Award from the Manitoba Food Processors Association for its PRO-70 protein powder.

• Novozymes has received Food Safety System Certification 22000 for a range of food enzymes, including baking enzymes and Acrylaway®.

• SensoryEffects and its Diehl Food Ingredients business have moved into a new headquarters and technical center in Defiance, Ohio.

• Sensient Technologies Corp. will build a 25,000 sq ft naturally derived colorings manufacturing plant at its headquarters site in St. Louis, Mo.

by Karen Nachay,
Associate Editor 
[email protected]