Essential oils make easy work for food manufacturers

Botanical Innovations is small company going places. Founder and managing director, Kerry Ferguson, is passionate about her products, which are powder-based commodities such as apple cider vinegar, zero alcohol wine, as well as essential oils, which are ideal for the food, nutraceutical, and health and wellness industries.
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The spice of life – why ingredients are set to take off in 2021

Next year will be a watershed year for Australia’s oldest and largest ingredients’ supplier, Langdon, as it marks its 170th birthday. As with any successful business, passion for the product and constant innovation are keys to keeping a brand relevant and at the cutting edge of its industry. That is why Langdon has unveiled a new look featuring a refreshed brand mark, strapline and vision to deliver “A World of Taste”.

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Top 5 technologies transforming food

Alternative ingredients and digital tools are critical to weathering disruptions in the agrifood value chain. Smaller competitors are using digital tools, novel channels to gain market access, and other innovations to gain share, shaking up the entire agifood value chain. To help guide innovation in this space, Lux Research released its annual report, “Foresight 2021: Top Emerging Technologies to Watch.”

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Olam Food Ingredients acquires chili supplier

Olam Food Ingredients (OFI), the new operating group created after the reorganisation within Olam International Limited (OIL), is expanding its spices portfolio (Olam Spices) to meet the rising demand for authentic flavours with the acquisition of a supplier of premium green chilis, jalapeños and enchilada sauces.

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Beer consumption suffered during lockdown

Across the globe, beer consumption suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic in the early stages of 2020. In some countries – such as South Africa – alcohol consumption was restricted, while others – like Mexico – classified brewing as a non-essential activity and ceased beer production.
“In most countries, consumers faced a lockdown and the on-premise channel was closed, creating varying degrees of pain for nearly all brewers,” according to Francois Sonneville, Senior Analyst – Beverages at Rabobank .
“In North America, the overall market has held up relatively well, helped by its reliance on off-trade sales and stellar e-commerce growth. Brewers large and small have proved surprisingly nimble and adaptable – which may lead to notable changes to the on-premise moving forward,” says Sonneville. Craft brewers, who are more dependent on the on-trade, have so far avoided closures, although the winter might impact those dependent on outdoor seating.
Read More: Food fraud being uncovered
In Europe, on-trade markets have been hit hard, especially in tourist areas, and beer
going stale in kegs has caused additional problems. As new Covid cases are on the
rise and the risk of a second lockdown increases, chain integration might help to
lower costs.
Despite a sharp recovery in China, the loss of summer sales will hang over 2020
Asian beer volumes. As China comprises 70% of total Asian beer consumption, it is
critical to recovery. Thailand and Japan have shown smart recoveries in Q3 2020. For
the rest of Asia, specifically, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam, there are mixed
fortunes.

Nut butter obsession turns into million dollar Coles deal

Nick Sheridan created 99th Monkey in Melbourne in 2013. His aim was to create a nut butter that not only tastes delicious but also that was good for a person’s health and kind to the planet.
“As a former journalist (The Age, Global Coffee Report) living in London and training for my first (and maybe last) marathon in 2012, I became obsessed with peanut butter. When my wife Tracey and I returned to Melbourne, I decided to turn my nut butter obsession into a business,” said Sheridan.

Sheridan started out selling in farmers markets then into local stores and online. At the end of 2017, 99th Monkey was in about 800 independent retailers around Australia.
In 2018, 99th Monkey was one of five Australian businesses that were selected to take part in the Chobani Food Incubator program.
“The program helped me to expand my vision for the business and gave me the contacts and confidence to take the brand to the next level,” said Sheridan
Read More: Australian wine company growing export sales
“2018 was also that year that I finally went all in on the business, leaving my job as editor of a coffee magazine to focus on 99th Monkey full time – it felt like a big leap at the time considering we had a two-year-old daughter and a mortgage.”
The leap paid off and by the end of 2018, 99th Monkey was stocked in Coles’ new format stores, Coles Local. This led to 99th Monkey securing three products stocked in 200 Coles stores in Victoria in 2019.
This past year, 99th Monkey have signed a million dollar deal with Coles. 99th Monkey Natural Almond Butter and Cacao Almond Butter will be stocked in 650 Coles stores nationally.

Harvey Beef announces new ethical meat brand

Western Australian meat processor and packer Harvey Beef has announced a new Rangelands beef brand, targeting consumers interested in animal welfare and hormone-free meat.

According to Harvey Beef, Rangelands beef is backed by accredited animal welfare standards, and promises to be hormone and antibiotic free, as well as grass-fed.

“The beef will be sourced from cattle grown in the vast, open ranges of the Kimberley and Pilbara, where cattle roam as nature intended and feast on the abundance of natural grasses,” the company said in a statement.

The product will come in value-added retail-ready form, with the range including beef mince, sausages and burger patties. The range will not include steak or whole-muscle cuts.

The company is targeting retail initially, but is also interested in supplying to the food service industry.

Pastoralists from the Pilbara and Kimberley who supply for the brand will need to be accredited through the Kimberley and Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association (KPCA). The KPCA has developed specific animal welfare criteria which the pastoralists must adhere to, including a third-party audit program.

“These criteria will give customers confidence in buying a product which not only tastes outstanding, but which has been sustainably raised,” said Harvey Beef in a statement.

“Our dedication to higher animal welfare standards matches Harvey Beef’s passion for the best quality beef, and together we can continue to ensure Western Australia is able to consume ethically-produced beef,” said Catherine Marriott, chief executive of the KPCA.

Red meat: the next product to be revolutionised by 3D printing

 As the hype around 3D printing continues to grow, red meat has been identified as the next product that could benefit substantially from the technology.

 According to experts, 3D printing could result in added value to current secondary cuts, trims and products by developing “meat ink”. For example, the technology could be used in the aged care sector to create high protein and nutritious meals that can be presented in a range of shapes and sizes, and made more appetising than the traditional pureed food.

 One benefit of 3D printing meat is the ability to produce meat in a more sterile environment than traditional meat production, potentially avoiding contamination. It has also been cited as a potential way to boost food production for the world’s growing population.

 Yet experts have cited challenges; it will be difficult to achieve a genuine meat taste and texture, and there may be some reluctance for consumers to accept 3D printed meat.

 Overall however, there is increasing demand from markets who want personalised approaches to nutrients or textures, rather than the current whole muscle product.

 The 3D Food Printing Conference Asia-Pacific will discuss these issues and more, to be held on May 2 in Melbourne.

 

Australia to triple chilled beef exports to China

 A new agreement between China and Australia means the number of processors allowed to send chilled, or refrigerated and cryovaced beef cuts to China will more than triple.

 Specifically, the number of meat processors permitted to export chilled beef to China will increase from 10 to 36, with another 15 expected to have pending approvals fast-tracked. Currently, Australia is the only country in the world with this market access.

 According to David Foote, managing director of Australian Country Choice, the agreement is good news for the industry after Australia’s rights for chilled beef exports to China were restricted in August 2013.

 In 2013, chilled beef accounted for 18 per cent of total beef exports to China, said Foote. Since the restrictions however, it has accounted for only 7 per cent.

 Global mining and agricultural entrepreneur Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest also praised the new agreement.

 “Now that we can export chilled beef to China, it means Australia can really compete as a food supplier, as opposed to just a live animal supplier,” he told Fairfax Media.

 It is expected that the announcement will not lead to an immediate spike in imports due to record low numbers of Australian cattle, however it is expected to create opportunities for producers once cattle numbers recover over the next few years.

 

Australian researchers find way to stop food mould

West Australian researchers led by Dr. Kirsty Bayliss have discovered how to stop mould growing on fresh food.

Dr. Bayliss will be presenting her technology, titled ‘Breaking the Mould’, a chemical-free treatment for fresh produce that increases shelf-life, prevents mould and decay, and reduces food wastage, in the US.

“Our technology will directly address the global food security challenge by reducing food waste and making more food available for more people,” Dr. Bayliss said.

“The technology is based on the most abundant form of matter in the universe– plasma. Plasma kills the moulds that grow on fruit and vegetables, making fresh produce healthier for consumption and increasing shelf-life.”

Dr. Bayliss’s Murdoch University team has been working on preliminary trials for the past 18 months and are now preparing to start scaling up trials to work with commercial production facilities.

Dr. Bayliss said the LAUNCH Food Innovation Challenge was a “huge opportunity.”

“I will be presenting our research to an audience comprising investors, company directors and CEOs, philanthropists and other influential people from organisations such as Fonterra, Walmart, The Gates Foundation, as well as USAID, DFAT and even Google Food.”

“What is really exciting is the potential linkages and networks that I can develop; already NASA are interested in our work,” she said.

In an interview with ABC Online, she said “Food wastage contributes to a lot of the food insecurity as the US and Europe wastes around 100 kilograms of food per person every year.

“If we could reduce food wastage by a quarter, we could feed 870 million people.”

Dr. Bayliss said the technology also kills bacteria associated with food-borne illness, such as salmonella and listeria.

 

 

New Chilli Beef Pie from Four-N Twenty

 Four-N Twenty is launching its new Chilli Beef Pie, which has been developed for “adventurous eaters who are keen to try a new and exciting flavour”.

 The pie is made from chunks of eight-hour slow-cooked 100 per cent Australian beef, with a spicy chilli gravy, wrapped in a golden pastry.

 “Chilli has been identified as one of the key condiment flavour trends for 2017 and beyond,” said Four’N Twenty marketing manager, Mario Matchado.

 “Creating a spicy chilli version of our eight-hour slow-cooked Real Chunky Pie is sure to prove a winner with pie lovers this winter. So fire up your taste buds, the Four’N Twenty Chilli Beef Pies are hot!”

 The Chilli Beef Pie will be launched in selected petrol and convenience stores nationally from April.

 

 

Bosch Australia partners with Food CRC

While the recently-announced Food Agility CRC will be funded with $50 million over ten years along with $160 million in commitments from 54 partner organisations, Bosch Australia will be a lead technology partner and will apply its agriculture technology expertise and resource to projects in connected agriculture and automation.

The Food Agility CRC will integrate the agile culture and processes of the digital economy through a whole-of-value-chain lens for fresh and processed food.

“Global food production needs to double by 2050 and the opportunity that presents to the Australian food industry is enormous,” says Mike Briers, CEO of the Food Agility CRC and UTS Industry Professor.

Bosch Australia said it is making significant investments in connected agriculture and food automation oriented activities in this region, including direct investment in Australian start-ups.

Most recently ‘The Yield’, an early stage Internet of Things (IoT) company focused on Micro-Climate sensing technology in Agriculture and Aquaculture. “

The Food Agility CRC will have a direct impact on the food and agriculture sector,” said Gavin Smith, Bosch President with responsibility for the region Oceania.
“There’s no better place than Australia to develop digital and automation solutions in food technology.”

Tumeric-rich Arkadia Golden Latte released

Arkadia Beverages has released a blend of high of turmeric, spices and organic panela sugar and called it Arkadia Golden Latte.

This turmeric blend is designed to be ready to drunk with hot or cold milk.

With no added dairy, vegan friendly and gluten and caffeine free, Arkadia Golden Latte is claimed to imbue the natural benefits of turmeric – often referred to as the most powerful herb on the planet for helping to fight a range of diseases.

Bellamy’s investors in class action

A shareholder class action against troubled infant formula supplier Bellamy’s has been filed in Victoria to give investors try try and claw back some of their losses.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn lodged the action in the Federal Court in Melbourne on Tuesday on behalf of aggrieved investors who bought shares between April 14 and December 9 last year.
It will be a new challenge for Bellamy’s brand new chairman, Rodd Peters, who was appointed after most of the board resigned or were dumped in a recent shareholder backlash.
The Tasmanian company has suffered a massive plunge in share price and flagged a significant drop in sales in China, and twice downgraded its full-year earnings forecast.

The rebel shareholders who dumped the board at a fiery meeting on February 28 said a turnaround would be complex.
But they said they had a plan to address problems related to product distribution and pricing in China.
Maurice Blackburn principal Ben Slade said the class action was a chance for investors to seek some justice.
“We’ve put together a comprehensive set of pleadings that we’ve now filed with the court, and we are confident that will give aggrieved shareholders the best chance possible of achieving financial redress for some of their losses,” he said in a statement.

Australian fruit destined for Chinese retailers

Winha Commerce and Trade International, the Australian paddock-to-plate Chinese retailer and wholesale food company, has announced that it will use its participation in a new Australian agricultural research centre to help create new products for the Chinese market.

Last month Winha announced it would be a foundation partner in Ausway College to be created in Deniliquin, which aims to become Australia’s leading agricultural research facility in Australia. Winha hopes to ensure that Australian agricultural producers can develop products that will be sought after by Chinese consumers.

“China is the world’s top fruit consuming nation, but at the moment not all Australian fruit is represented in the country. We need to ensure there are more pears, plums, mangos and other specialised fruits like star fruit created and produced for the Chinese market,’’ said Winha Chairman, Jackie Chung.

“Chinese consumers love the quality of Australian produce, but they also have slightly different tastes and likes to Australian consumers, so we must work with Australian fruits producers to create the right looking and tasting fruit to sell into China,’’ he said.

To illustrate its intentions to continue to promote Australian food in China, Winha has also announced it will import locally made Crystal Nest, Australia’s finest bird’s nest, into China.

Crystal Nest founder James Liew said: “We are delighted to be associated with Winha and we are excited to take our quality Australian product to China.’’

Chinese families who appreciate the reported health benefits of bird’s nest are willing to pay up to $US60 a bowl for the product – making the raw bird’s nest one of the most expensive food items in the world.

Australian owned and operated Crystal Nest sells its bird’s nest product all around Australia and now with the help of Winha (and its chain of retail outlets and enormous customer reach in China), Crystal Nest has found the perfect distribution channel into China.

Winha congratulates Crystal Nest for the extra care it puts into the handling and cleaning of its bird’s nests, ensuring it exceeds the highest global quality standards.

Bird’s Nest Soup is considered a delicacy amongst the Chinese upper classes.

Mechatronic drive awarded HACCP certification

 Understanding the extremely high standards that Australia’s food and beverage manufacturers work towards to ensure that consumers receive the highest quality products, SEW-EURODRIVE has announced the recent Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification of its mechatronic drive system MOVIGEAR type B, variant for wet areas.

Traditional machine components are not only difficult to clean thoroughly; they also generally require production areas to shut down – at least in part – for cleaning activities to take place. This procedure places strain on production timeframes, contributing to reduced product throughput affecting the overall profitability.

Machine components mounted in production or processing areas are often exposed to harsh cleaning chemicals. The shape of the component, its material composition and the method of substrate protection all play a large role in the cleaning efforts, likelihood of becoming a source of contamination and product longevity.

Designed specifically for the food and beverage industry MOVIGEAR for wet areas has a number of advantages over traditional drive solutions. Up to three core products can be assembled into a “self-draining” and compact housing: gear unit, motor and drive electronics (optional).

Combining the technical and practical advantages of all three drive components leads to an increase in the performance, efficiency and reliability. The MOVIGEAR product range can be easily integrated into most materials handling applications such as conveyor systems.

The smooth housing of the MOVIGEAR for wet areas is finished with a ‘HP200’ treatment which is burned-in-to the surface during the application process. Highly resistant to rigorous cleaning regimes, including chemical and high pressure wash down, the integrity of the surface finish eliminates the possibility of “paint-lift-off” often associated with traditional surface coatings.

The inherent anti-stick properties contribute to a reduction of debris build-up resulting in reduced cleaning efforts and system downtime. Standard inclusion of stainless steel shafts, fasteners and auxiliary fittings further enhances the MOVIGEAR for wet areas anticorrosive properties.

The totally enclosed non-ventilated mechatronic drive system is designed according to the principle of convection cooling, eliminating the need of a motor fan. Motor-fan noise spread of germs and bacteria due to air swirls are a thing of the past with the MOVIGEAR product range.

Compliant with IE4 (Super Premium Efficiency) standards, a major benefit of the MOVIGEAR is the impressive energy savings potential.

 

 

Nanoparticles could be the future of agriculture

MICROSCOPIC particles that have always been considered a pollutant are being studied for a range of agricultural uses.

South Australian researchers are working on a number of novel uses for engineered nanoparticles including efficient fertilisers, agricultural ‘amendments’ and a unique way to clean-up contaminated land.

Engineered nanoparticles are currently used in a range of industrial materials, such as ceramics and advanced polymers, and are also commonly used in the production of household materials, personal care products and clothing.

These particles are considered a pollutant risk if they are able to accumulate in the environment.

With a maximum diameter of just 100 nanometres, it is easy for the particles to be widely dispersed across soil and accumulated by plants.

As a result, nanoparticles have been considered a pollutant and eco-toxicological risk to both plants and wildlife.

But researchers at the University of South Australia have found that the very same nanoparticles could also prove beneficial to the growth of plants.

A glasshouse trial conducted by Dr Elliott Duncan, Dr Gary Owens and Nazanin Nikoo Jamal involved exposing rice plants to titanioum and cerium nanoparticles.

Dr Elliott said that instead of proving toxic to the plants, the nanoparticles aided the growth of the rice plants.

Current laboratory tests have focused on rice plants, but Dr Duncan said the same particles could also be used to benefit other grain crops and horticultural species, with tests expected to begin on wheat later this year.

“There’s a lot of concern in terms of whether engineered nanoparticles are toxic, whether they’re accumulated by plants and what the end effect is for humans and the environment,” he said.

“But we found these particles may actually provide some benefits for the plants, and, if we could harness those, this could be a big deal for the agriculture industry.”

The experiment demonstrated that some nanoparticles had the potential to be used as an agricultural supplement, although Dr Duncan said it was still unclear how exactly these particles helped the growth of plants.

“The mechanisms behind it and predicting whether it is going to occur and how best to harness it is still unknown,” he said.

His team will continue with glasshouse experiments to test the safety and effect of the nanoparticles.

Dr Duncan said there was also the potential for specially designed nanoparticles to be used as a way to delivery fertiliser more efficiently.

“With current fertilisers, a lot of the nutrient isn’t available to the plants – essentially the plant can only use 30 to 50 per cent, so up to 70 per cent of the fertiliser expense is just wasted,” he said,

“The idea would be that if we can improve that, you can get away with applying a lot less, which then has benefits for the economics of the farm and the environment.

“This stems from the fact that the nanoparticles are small, which means they’re quite mobile in the environment so they should be able to interact with plants a lot better than more traditional bulk fertilisers.”

The size of nanoparticles also means they possess unique properties such as a high surface-area to volume ratio, which could also make them effective for cleaning up contaminated land.

Dr Duncan is also researching the effectiveness of nanoparticles in binding to toxic chemicals such as lead and arsenic.

“To remediate a site is often quite destructive, you cause quite a big change to the environment if you’ve got to say dig it up, it’s quite labour intensive and so on,” he said.

“So this could be a faster, simpler way to remediate a site than current technologies, so we want to see whether these particles can reduce the bio-availability of contaminants, which should reduce how much is available to plants and also how much is lost into water-sources.”

Dr Duncan said more understanding was still needed around the ease with which nanoparticles could move into soil, plants or wildlife, and that long-term toxicity was also an important safety factor to evaluate.

However, if his research continues to yield positive results, he said there was the potential for a commercial product for the agriculture industry.

“We need to do it in an Australian context to see how it’s going to potentially impact our industry,” Dr Duncan said.

“We’re aware that there are risks involved with nanoparticles, but the reward could also be great too.”

 

From The Lead

Love Beets juice comes in two flavours

Love Beets’ Beet Juice is a new range of drinks available in two flavours – Natural Beet and Cherry Berry Beet. Both can be used as a base in smoothies, dressings, summer drinks or straight from the bottle for the ultimate veggie hit!

A fresh and convenient addition to local green grocers and markets, Love Beets Beet Juices can be merchandised for on-shelf display (refrigeration required after opening).

OneHarvest Marketing and Innovation Manager Helen Warren said consumers’ interest in wholefoods was at an all time high.

“As wellness and wholefoods continue to be front of mind for many consumers, the demand for convenient healthy options continues to grow,” said Warren. “Our two new juices give our customers a tasty and convenient healthy juice option to drink straight from the bottle or get creative and add to a variety of recipes.”

Like the complimentary Love Beets range, these juices offer consumers a fuss-free way to boost smoothies and summer drinks. With three beets per 250ml bottle, both varieties are gluten free with no added sugar and have all the power house health benefits of beetroot. Being full of antioxidants and nitrates, regular consumption of beetroot can help promote a healthy heart and boost stamina and endurance.

More sausages for Foodbank

In a collaboration which stretches from the cattle in the paddock to sausages on the plate, more essential protein is on the menu for Australians in need thanks to a new partnership between Foodbank and MDH, a family-owned beef cattle enterprise.

MDH has agreed to donate 1 tonne of beef trim each month which will turn into 220,000 sausages annually to form the backbone of nutritious meals for struggling Australians who might otherwise go without.

Thanks to an innovative meat program, which involves the support of many companies in the supply chain, fortnightly deliveries of sausages go from the factory of Primo Smallgoods, a Foodbank manufacturing partner, to distribution centres around Australia. MDH will be joining existing partners, Thomas Foods International and Fletcher International, which are also family-owned rural enterprises.

Foodbank is Australia’s largest food relief organisation, providing food for 166,000 meals a day to over 2,400 charities and 1,500 schools for distribution to people seeking food relief. Foodbank achieves this by working with the Australian food and grocery industry which provides surplus and donated product. It also collaborates with farmers, manufacturers, suppliers and the government to produce key staple foods such as breakfast cereals, pasta, canned foods and sausages.

Speaking on the announcement by MDH, Brianna Casey, CEO of Foodbank Australia, said: “The sausage program is our latest initiative that reaches back along the food chain to fill a supply gap. The success of this program reflects the willingness of our primary producers to help as much as they can.” 

“It has long been a goal of Foodbank to have a significant and sustainable meat program because of the vital role protein plays in a balanced diet and the relative difficulty we experience in obtaining it through our traditional rescue channels. MDH’s generosity is helping us to realise this dream.”

Julie McDonald of MDH said: “As a family, and a business, we are so pleased to be associated with Foodbank as a supplier of beef trimmings. Foodbank is such an inspirational organisation and, were it not for the selfless people working within this ‘charity behind the charities’, many more Australians would be waking up to hunger each and every day. Playing a small part in helping others through our commitment of donations to Foodbank is a truly humbling position to be in, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to help through such a well-structured and efficient organisation.”

Does my brain really freeze when I eat ice cream?

It’s a long, hot summer’s day and you’re looking forward to an ice cream. But within seconds of your first bite, you feel a headache coming on: a brain freeze.

What’s going on?

Your brain isn’t literally freezing, or even sensing cold. It can’t sense cold or pain because it lacks its own internal sensory receptors. In fact, surgeons usually perform brain surgery on conscious, sedated patients with the only pain coming from the scalp, skull and underlying tissues, not from the brain itself.

An international team of neurologists classifies brain freeze or ice cream headache as a:

headache attributed to ingestion or inhalation of a cold stimulus.

Anything cold (solid, liquid or gas) that passes over the roof of the mouth (the hard palate) and/or the back of the throat (posterior pharyngeal wall) can trigger a brain freeze headache.

Pain can be to the front of the head or the temples and while short lasting, can be intense, though not debilitating. People who have these headaches usually do not seek treatment, so there has been very little research into how brain freeze occurs.

The transient nature of these headaches means common “treatments”, like putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth, are unlikely to have any major effect.

People most likely to have brain freeze also tend to suffer from migraines, suggesting a common underlying mechanism for both.

One study compared how common brain freeze was in people with migraine alongside those with tension type headaches. When an ice cube was placed on the hard palate of their mouths for 90 seconds, 74% of migraine sufferers reported pain along their temples versus 32% of those with a history of primary headache disorders (headaches that do not have an underlying or identifiable cause).

Only 12% of volunteers without a history of primary headache disorder experienced brain freeze headache with the same stimulus. These observations are robust and have been replicated.

What causes brain freeze?

An old fashioned idea about the cause of migraine suggested excessive blood flow through the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain caused the pain. However, this vascular hypothesis for migraine, although still popular, is now largely discredited.

Just like migraines, brain freeze headaches are accompanied by changes in blood flow through the arteries of the brain. The link between pain associated with altered brain artery blood flow has led some to speculate the blood flow changes may actually cause the pain. But an association between blood flow and pain doesn’t necessarily mean one causes the other.

Another theory about what causes migraine relates to altered excitability of neuronal pathways that detect and transmit the sensation and pain in the head via the trigeminal system, the major nerve that transmits sensory information from the head to the central nervous system.

Ordinarily the cold sensation is not painful. However, if the trigeminal system is prone to over-excitability in people with migraine, pain kicks in at lower level (a lower threshold). If an over-excitable trigeminal system also applies to people with brain freeze, then the threshold may be low enough to activate pain after only a brief exposure to ice cream.

Zenobia Ahmed / The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Researchers are studying what causes hyper-excitability of the trigeminal system. The effects of a specific chemical signalling molecule CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) released by trigeminal neurons are a necessary component of migraine pain.

In genetically inherited migraine, the cellular processes that result in the release of CGRP from trigeminal neurons has been altered. These same mechanisms may explain the hypersensitivity to cold stimulus in ice cream headaches.

It seems likely that all headaches are the result of changes in activity in the trigeminal system, although why we perceive them in the front of the head and at the temples in particular is a mystery.

Is there anything I can do to stop brain freeze?

While we do not know exactly what causes brain freeze, there may be a simple way to reduce your chances of having one this summer.

Research shows how long brain freeze headaches last relates to the surface area of the mouth that comes into contact with the cold stimulus. So, if you want to reduce your chance of a brain freeze, you may want to avoid gulping down your ice cream all at once. Take small nibbles instead.

The Conversation

Yossi Rathner, Lecturer in Human Physiology, Swinburne University of Technology and Mark Schier, Senior Lecturer in Physiology, Swinburne University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.