U.K. Addresses Sesame Seed Allergies

The European Union has added sesame seeds and sesame oil to the draft list of allergens in a proposed amendment to the EC General Labeling Directive 2000/13/EC, to make sure that these items are declared on a label, even when not normally required.

According to Leatherhead, U.K., sesame allergenicity is increasing and is quite capable of causing anaphylactic reactions.

Sesame seeds appear regularly on hamburger buns, but they are used more now because of the popularity of Chinese and some Middle Eastern foods. Some sesame oils also have been associated with allergic reactions, due to the presence of protein.

Leatherhead offers a food allergen detection service made up of “ELISA techniques based on antibody-antigen interaction, specific for a wide range of individual allergenic proteins. These assays are used in conjunction with specialized extraction procedures, suitable for various types of sample matrices,” states the company.

The company also is trying to establish a collaborative project focusing on enhanced allergen control in food manufacturing plants. The objective is to develop a “best practices” guide and to better assess cleaning strategies. Leatherhead, Fiona Angus, +44 (0) 1372 822217, fangus@lfra.co.uk

Kosher, Low-sodium Beef Base

A meat-first, low-sodium beef base that is kosher and meets federal regulations for “low-sodium” claims has been introduced. This product, Low Sodium Kosher Beef Base, code no. 40-15801, and the company's Low Sodium Chicken Base, contain 140mg of sodium per 8 oz. serving. The kosher beef base is sold in 50-lb. tubs and stays fresh for six months if refrigerated (longer if it is frozen). Eatem Foods Co., Peter Pendola, 800-683-2836, ext. 117

Natural Soy Lowers Cholesterol

A study focusing on the consumption of a new soy protein ingredient showed Alpha™ protein significantly lowered total and LDL cholesterol in hamsters.

Alpha soy protein is minimally processed, so it resembles the way proteins are naturally found in soybeans. Hamsters in the study were fed one of four diets containing 25% protein over a period of six weeks. In the first diet, all the protein came from soy, while all the protein came from casein in the second diet. The protein in the remaining two diets contained either a 25/75 or a 50/50 blend of soy protein and casein.

The studies showed that total and LDL blood cholesterol levels were significantly lower in animals that consumed at least half their protein from soy, when compared to animals that consumed all their protein from casein. Additionally, animals that got all their protein from soy had lower liver cholesterol levels than those who were fed casein.

Alpha soy protein can be used to formulate products to meet the FDA's requirements for soy protein health claims, allowing manufacturers to address consumer demand for functional food products with soy. Central Soya Protein Group, Fort Wayne, Ind., who also sponsored the study, manufactures the protein. Central Soya Protein Group, Greg Paul, 800-348-0960

Cherries

Many agree this year's weather patterns were unusual, and California cherry growers estimated they would harvest nearly 6 million boxes of dark sweet cherries. Unfortunately, weather-related problems have reduced that figure to 3.5 million boxes, a 40% drop.

In Michigan, growers took an even bigger hit when a mid-April warm spell resulted in temperatures as high as 90 degrees, causing trees to blossom too early. It was followed by other unexpected weather changes, resulting in widespread damage. Growers have commented that it is the worst frost-damaged crop since 1945.

Growers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, where more than 70% of the nation's dark-sweet cherries are grown, also suffered from stormy weather, resulting in a loss of 30% of the Northwest crop. However, that crop will still produce about 70,000 tons, a healthy figure, but well below predictions. TreeTop, located in Washington state, forecasts being able to meet most of its customers' requirements. Tree Top Ingredients Division, 800-367-6571, www.treetop.com

Japan Certified

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare recently certified Covance Laboratories Inc.'s labs, permitting the Madison-based company to perform testing on food and dietary supplements to be exported to Japan.

As the demand for healthy products increases, many of the cultural and trade barriers that traditionally hindered worldwide marketing of food and dietary products are being removed, allowing the development of products for a global audience. The company can help those who need knowledge of “harmonized scientific guidelines and diverse regulatory requirements.” In Japan, for example, diet products must undergo the usual nutritional and residue analyses, as well as screening for the presence of sennoside, fenfluramine, n-nitrosefenfluramine, thyroxine and triidothyronine. Please call Covance for more information on its global testing services. Covance Laboratories Inc., 888-COVANCE, www.covance.com.

A “Tough” Modified Food Starch

A modified food starch has been designed with the necessary stability for manufacturing foods with high-acid formulations and either high-shear and/or high-temperature processes. PURE-GEL® B994 has excellent freeze/thaw stability and is offered by Grain Processing Corporation. Samples and technical information are available upon request. Grain Processing Corporation, Bob Bahn, 563-264-4265, sales@grainprocessing.com

Bland-Tasting Soy Protein Isolate

This new high-gelling, high-viscosity soy protein isolate can be formulated to produce excellent meat substitutes that have a meat-like texture. Cargill Soy Protein Solutions' bland-flavored isolate also allows meat processors greater choice in meat raw material for their products, potentially reducing formulation costs. Cargill Soy Protein Solutions, 866-SOY-PROT, www.cargillsoyprotein.com

New Powdered Chicken

This new addition to International Dehydrated Foods' (IDF) line of powdered chicken broths provides a roasted, savory flavor along with a smooth savory flavored finish. Powdered Chicken Broth #3542 offers agglomerated texture for optimum stability, no lumps and bursts with the flavor and aroma of cooked chicken. Applications include chicken soups and bases, dry gravy mixes, marinades, injection solutions and poultry seasonings. The company also offers a variety of spray-dried meat and fat powders, frozen concentrated and shelf-stable concentrated chicken broths, and liquid poultry fats. IDF (customer service), 800-641-6509, customerservice@idf.com

Kiwi Adds Unique Flavor

The kiwifruit has quickly developed into one the world's most popular fruits. Available year-round, kiwis are popular in juice drinks and yogurt blends; another serving suggestion is to pair them with lemonade. Ottens Flavors presents a new kiwi flavor line, “with its fresh, intense green character and nuances of strawberry, pineapple and, even, as some say, nectarine,” in a series of new flavors designed to make formulator's creations unique. New Kiwi Flavors are available as liquids in Natural WONF forms. Ottens Flavors, 215-365-7800

Analysis of Liquid Color

A new instrument specifically designed for automatic color analysis of mineral oils and other liquids is available in the form of Petrolab Company's new Grabner Auto Color instrument. The meter offers objective and reliable color data according to all major industry scales and is highly accurate. It is suited to provide precise results for water analysis, raw materials testing and final products in the food industry. The Auto Color series provides automated color analysis according to AOCS, Tintometer, ASTM D1500 Color, D6045 Tristimulus and other measurements. Petrolab Co., Angel Schell, 518-783-5133, sales@petrolab.com, www.petrolab.com

FOS Products Recognized as Functional Fiber

The National Academies of Science recommends a daily intake level of fiber for men of 38g and 25g for women. Previously, the definition of fiber used by the FDA and USDA did not recognize fructooligosaccharides (FOS), but this has changed recently. GTC Nutrition LLC offers NutraFlorat scFOSe, commercially produced through a natural enzymatic manufacturing process. The fiber can be used as a nutritional and functional ingredient in many food and beverage products, such as bars; meal replacement beverages; protein drinks and mixes; energy drinks; diet products; diabetic products; dairy, yogurt and soy products; confections; cereals; pet foods and animal feed. GTC Nutrition, 303-216-2489, www.gtcnutrition.com

Scientists Unlock Acrylamide Secret

Two separate teams of scientists published research in the U.K. journal Nature, explaining how acrylamide, a potentially carcinogenic substance, is formed in some cooked potato products.

When starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures—such as in frying—the Maillard reaction takes place, and an amino acid called asparagine reacts with sugars to produce acrylamide. Asparagine is found in potatoes, cereals, and many other foods.

Earlier this year, Swedish scientists reported that high levels of acrylamide are responsible for nerve damage in lab animals. In the U.S., the FDA will be testing a variety of foods, such as cookies, baby food, meat, cereals and crackers, for acrylamide. Scientists continue to do research on the substance to gain more concrete information.

The Good Taste and Healthfulness of Cranberries

Cranberries help make many foods more interesting and flavorful. They contain bacteria-blocking compounds that help prevent urinary tract infections, and scientists now believe the fruit may be helpful in blocking the bacteria responsible for ulcers and certain oral bacteria that can lead to gum disease. To enjoy the health benefits of cranberries, one needs to ingest approximately 10 oz. of 27% cranberry juice cocktail daily. Other forms include 1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries; 1 oz. of dried, sweetened cranberries and 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce. Cranberry Marketing Committee, 508-291-1510, www.uscranberries.com