Award honors packaging innovation
Several packaging developments specifically for food and beverage products were recognized in the 23rd DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation. The awards are based on innovation, sustainability, and cost/waste reduction.

H.J. Heinz Co. and Multivac Co. won for a dual-function package for Heinz® Dip & Squeeze Ketchup. Consumers can tear off the top for squeezing or peel the top of the package off for dipping. The package provides three times more ketchup than the 9-gram sachets and uses less packaging. Stonyfield Farm, Clear Lam Packaging Inc., and Arcil won for using 93% polylactic acid (PLA) in a high-volume dairy application, Stonyfield’s YoBaby Whole Milk Yogurt. Using the plant-based material results in 48% lower greenhouse gas emissions than using polystyrene. In addition, compression strength increased by 15–20%, reducing the amount of products damaged during transit.

Plastipak Packaging and Tescor HR won for ThermoShapeTM production technology, which manufactures and designs lightweight polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers for hot-fill beverages. The containers use 20% less material without the use of vacuum panels or impact on the container’s performance. The Coca-Cola Co. Japan redesigned the bottle for its I Lohas mineral water by reducing PET bottle weight by 40% and incorporating up to 30% plant-based material. The lighter and smaller size reduces transport cost. Once the water is consumed, the bottle can be twisted and crushed to a small size. Positive Packaging Industries Ltd. designed thermoformed, single-use bottles made of flexible laminate to replace large glass bottles for Nestlé Maggi Arome seasoning liquid. The new packaging maintains brand recognition, provides consumers with convenience and ease of use, and offers easier shipping and handling. 

Two share World Food Prize
Two former presidents who put into practice government policies to reduce hunger and poverty in their countries have won the 2011 World Food Prize. 

John Agyekum Kufuor, former president of Ghana, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil, dedicated their administrations to developing ways to help empower the poor and increase access to food. 

Kufuor set out to improve food security and reduce poverty through public- and private-sector initiatives. During his presidency (2001–2009), the poverty rate dropped from 51.7% in 1991 to 26.5% in 2008 and hunger decreased from 34% in 1990 to 9% in 2004. He prioritized national agricultural policies to increase the quality and quantity of food for Ghanaians, enhance farmers’ incomes, and improve child nutrition through a nationwide feeding program. 

Before he even took office as president of Brazil in 2003, Lula da Silva said that fighting hunger and poverty would be a top priority. When he took office, he formed Zero Hunger, a group of more than 10 government agencies that helped to empower the poor by providing greater access to food, supporting family farms and rural incomes, and increasing primary school enrollment. His initiatives led to 93% of children and 82% of adults eating three meals a day and poverty decreasing from 12% in 2003 to 4.8% in 2009.

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Reducing pathogens in beef
Using gamma irradiation in combination with modified atmosphere packaging can maintain the quality and safety of seasoned ground beef, according to researchers with Istanbul Technical University, Turkey. 

The researchers mixed ground beef with spices and inoculated it with Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella enteritidis before packaging samples in modified atmosphere (3% oxygen + 50% carbon dioxide + 47% nitrogen) or aerobic conditions. They irradiated the packaged samples at 0.75, 1.5, and 3 kGy doses and stored them at 4°C for 21 days. They analyzed survival of the pathogens, total plate count, lipid oxidation, color change, and sensory quality. The results showed that irradiating the samples in modified atmosphere packaging at 3 kGy significantly reduced the amount of the pathogens without adversely affecting the chemical, physical, and sensory qualities of the meat. 

The study, “Maintenance of Safety and Quality of Refrigerated Ready-to-Cook Seasoned Ground  Beef Product (Meatball) by Combining Gamma Irradiation with Modified Atmosphere Packaging,” appeared online early in Journal of Food Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02244.x. 

Essential oils may control pathogens
Citrus essential oils can control foodborne pathogens on beef carcasses at the chilling stage, reported researchers from Colorado State University and University of Arkansas. 

The researchers spot inoculated brisket flats with a cocktail of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. and sprayed the surface of the briskets with citrus essential oils extracted from orange peel at concentrations of 3% and 6% at a rate of 3.79 L/min. The results showed that both concentrations were effective against the pathogens. 

The study, “Activity of Citrus Essential Oils against Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. and Effects on Beef Subprimal Cuts under Refrigeration,” appeared online early in Journal of Food Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02253.x. 

Tang sales skyrocket
The fruit-flavored drink mix that rocketed to fame on NASA manned space missions during the early 1960s is the latest billion dollar brand for Kraft Foods Inc., thanks in large part to sales growth in developing markets. 

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Tang had sales growth of about 20% in each of the past two years in markets such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines, and the Middle East, according to the company, which also counts Oreo cookies, Milka and Cadbury chocolates, and Trident gum as some of its other brands to reach the billion dollar status. 

The popularity of Tang around the world is linked to the fact that Kraft customizes the formulation and packaging for local markets. It sells local flavors of Tang such as mango in the Philippines, soursop in Brazil, horchata in Mexico, and pineapple in the Middle East. Tang is fortified with vitamins, but in markets where children are deficient in iron, the product is also fortified with iron. The company redesigned packaging to be smaller and lighter in markets where the traditional canisters are considered too large, and it designed a package that includes a free sample of a new flavor, which is used on 28 Tang lines around the world. 

Report calls for food safety changes
Coalitions of international regulators and increased data sharing are part of a larger strategy to help ensure safety and quality of imported products, including food regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as detailed in a new report issued by the FDA. 

“In order to cope with the fundamental global shifts on the horizon, the FDA will have to substantially and fundamentally revise our approach to global product safety,” said John M. Taylor, Acting Principal Deputy Commissioner of Food and Drugs. “We can no longer rely on historical tools, activities, and approaches."

More specifically, the report, “Pathway to Global Product Safety and Quality,” calls for regulators from the FDA and its counterparts around the world to partner to develop international data information systems and to share data and regulatory resources; requires the FDA to develop additional information gathering and analysis resources that focus on risk analytics and information technology; and requires the FDA to monitor the efforts of public and private third parties and industry and to allot FDA resources based on risk. 

To view the executive summary and download the report, visit

What’s new with food companies

• Aker BioMarine™ Antarctic has received a “no objection” statement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its Superba™ krill oil.

• Bio Springer has opened a new plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

• Biothera’s distribution center in Eagan, Minn., has received a “superior” rating from the American Institute of Baking.

• Frutarom Industries Ltd. will acquire the savory ingredients portfolio and assets of Chr. Hansen Italy pending regulatory approval.

• GEA Process Engineering will build a whole milk powder plant for Fonterra in New Zealand.

• Kraft Foods has licensed novel bioactive ingredients from Medisyn Technologies.

• Malt Products Corp.’s production facility in Dayton, Ohio, has received a “superior” food safety rating from the American Institute of Baking.

• The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has approved MicreosListex™ as an antimicrobial processing aid against Listeria monocytogenes.

• Nestlé Health Science will acquire Prometheus Laboratories Inc. pending regulatory approval.

• Stone Brewing Co. will expand its facility in Escondido, Calif.

• Symrise has opened a new plant in Hamburg, Germany, that will utilize its SymTrap® technology.

• Takasago Americas will renovate a newly purchased flavor and fragrance facility in Vinhedo, Brazil.


Karen Nachay,
Associate Editor
[email protected]