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Food safety

The Gelatin Bump Label – Food Safety Labeling

A new label is set to make a contribution towards reducing the terrifying food loss which is estimated to be one third of what is produced.

The Gelatin Bump Label will give consumers a much more realistic view of the safely of food in the kitchen.

click the image to read the full story

The label works by mimicking the deterioration process with gelatin filled label. The gelatin characteristics and concentration ensure that the gelatin this in parallel with the food leading to the gelatin liquifying at the same time as the food becomes unusable.

Improved measurement of when food is no longer fit for consumption will in turn reduce the amount of usable food that is currently discarded because the consumer is not sure of its state and safety.

This is an ingenious device and along with temperature logging systems that can give a dynamic measure of remaining shelf life during the life cycle of the product and other ingenious measuring and monitoring devices could have a major impact on waste which should in turn reduce costs.

The only losers should be the Freegans whose food supplies will be reduced!

The video features the inventor of the lable explaining the device.

click the image to see the video

This turned out to be an interesting story and was reporting widely. Googling Gelatin Bump Label will introduce you to a range of articles many of which are very good sources.

Will Food Waste Drive New Date Labelling


The last several years have seen a marked change in the understanding of food loss across the complete food value chain which has come as a shock to many. 

Food waste Infographic produced by FutureFood 2050

click the image to view the infographic

Solving the problem is definitely not a simple matter as many factors ranging from improved crops to household meal planning and supermarket shelf management to pest control will impact on the loss.

A recent paper called for a “move toward uniformity in date labeling, thereby decreasing confusion among stakeholders and reducing food waste.”

Applications and Perceptions of Date Labeling of Food Newsome 2014 Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety Wiley Online Library

click the image to view the paper

The report identified Date Labeling Uniformity, Regulatory Enforcement, Consumer Education and Indicator Technologies as important focus areas. The paper presents information from a number of studies, the essence of how well or badly consumers understand date labling of food appears near the end of the infographic at the head of this post.

Screenshot 2014 11 07 14 14

While the technological reasoning behind some of the Indicator Technologies being developed is sound, the work required to get the consumer to understand and use such technologies will need attention. If a temperature logger system is linked to a microbial growth model and used to predict the time to the end of a safe life understanding becomes even more difficult. Too much reliance on what the technology tells them may lead to consumers ignoring more traditional indicators of deterioration like acidity, smell and consistency.

So its an interesting time ahead. This might not be effecting smaller food businesses in sub Saharan Africa, but is interesting and helps the entrepreneur keep an eye on where it will need to move at some time in the future.

A Collection of Sorghum & Millet Information

If you need to get to know about Sorghum or Millet or want to get some of developments, this conference publication could be very useful.

Website presenting papers of the Afripro 2003 Conference

Unfortunately this conference is now 10 years old so doesn’t present the very latest state of the industry, but does contain two good reviews which are always relevant and some of the science of the time around food products, nutrition, plant breeding, sorghum based polymers and consumer preferences.

With international researchers like Professors Belton, Rooney and Taylor one can rest assured that the standard and focus of the work was of the highest standard. The web site presents a wide range of papers as well as the questions arising and the way forward through focus group and a prioritised list of research needs.

This conference was the output of a development funded project, so has no direct project follow up. However, there has surely been more work in the technology areas identified and maybe there were activities in ideas/groups born from the conference. I have not been able to find a collection of this type of information and would be interested to hear about your experiences and share further information here.


Absolute Fundamentals of Food Processing

This is a very unassuming document that came up when I searched on Food Processing Method.

Simple Introduction to Food Processing

click image to download document

It is simply 23 pages of points which were apparently prepared for a lecture or presentation – no images no fancy transitions, just the facts.

It starts off with the seven reasons why we process foods – something I guess we often forget when we are focussing on production and profits.

The points lead into ho we go about achieving the effect we are looking for and often why it works. This leads into simple statements on the Unit Operations required and again the principles of their operation.

if you are new to Food Processing, lots of this will be revealing and useful. If you know Food Processing it will remind you of things you knew but maybe forgot.


Principles For Hygienic Factory Design

Here is a short and very simple article on designing a factory that would meet the FDA's requirements.

click the image to visit the website

I find the well structured approach, via six focus areas, and the simple first person language easy to read and absorb.


Colourants in Food

This article in Food Navigator

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which covered a range of interesting issues in food colouring including the relation between depth of colour and the perception of sweetness, the real danger of some colourants of 100 years ago, the move to natural colours and the fact that colours often need to compensate for the effect of processing on a foods colour also linked to am15 page article in Critical Reviews with a more comprehensive view and a focus on history and regulation.

click image to visit the site

So take some time to get up to date on food coloring with this free online information.

Some Good Data on Sun and Solar Drying

I have always been a promoter of sun and solar drying, because they allow people to convert perishable fruit, often available at low or no cost during the season, into a stable product that can be stored until the next season at almost no or low cost.

This article provides some good information on the drying process, that helps in deciding how to actually dry.

The article is an in depth one and gives some really interesting data on drying rates. It compares theoretical with measured rates and is then able to model the progress of drying with this data. The graph below is a really clear indication of the main difficulty of solar powered systems – they only work for a part of the day.

This is particularly important in drying, were it means that sun drying carries on for 3 days. This is because, as the graph shows, drying actually only carries on for a fraction of the day. This fraction depends on the location. This is obvious, but for me only really became clear when I saw this graph!

This has implications for how you run your drying. First of all, it's no good having a nice social day picking, transporting, washing, selecting and preparing your fruit and getting it out into the sun in the late morning or even worse the afternoon. If you do you are going to need four days to dry. More importantly the fruit will be wetter at the end of drying on the first day and therefore more likely to spoil overnight. So rise early and get the fruit ready for the moment when drying can start. Secondly, because the whole drying period until your fruit is shelf stable is many times longer, the cleanliness and hygiene of the plant become more important to avoid spoilage and loss.

The two images in this post are from the online journal at http://www.ajfand.net/Volume12/No7/Mercer11020.pdf


APV Whitepaper on CIP & Sanitation – Free Online Manual

This 22 page manual provides a wide view of CIP and sanitation and is not really company linked.

CIP & Sanitation

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The manual covers the principles of CIP & Sanitation, plant and piping design, CIP plant design, CIP cleaning parameters, control and automation.


Dairy Processing Introduction – Free Online Information

If you are looking at starting a new dairy business, this is a really good but simple starting point.

Image by Dave Harcourt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Starting with some background and an explanation of shelf life the 8 page pamphlet goes through building, equipment, legislation, cleaning and sanitation, quality assurance, dairy processes, dairy unit operations, suppliers, references and support organisations.

Even if you are a small dairyman, it would be worth reading this just as another view.

Food Studies Journal – Free Online Information

This Journal is worth signing up to and watching. While it does not appear to be large and also covers a wide range of topics it is already a source of useful information.

click image to visit the site

ISEKI_Food Association, is an international peer-reviewed open-access journal featuring scientific articles on the world of Food in Education, Research and Industry. This journal is a forum created specifically to “improve the dissemination of Food Science and Technology knowledge between Education, Research and Industry stakeholders.” Core topics range from raw materials, through food processing, including its effect on the environment, to food safety, nutrition and consumer acceptance. To enrich this forum the journal is also open to other food-related topics such as food policy and food anthropology.