Metal pieces found in chocolate bars

A chocolate brand has had a line pulled from shelves in the UK, over fears it may be contaminated with small pieces of metal.

UK retailer Morrison initiated the recall of its private-label Whole Nut Milk Chocolate following complaints from consumers.

The company is in the midst of investigating how the metal could have ended up in the chocolate and UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issues an official Public Information Recall Notice.

In its notice, the FSA said no other products have been affected, and no injuries have been sustained by customers at this stage.

Food of the future: mass produced chickens without brains

Chickens without their brains could be mass produced for human consumption, if a system developed by a British architecture student takes off.

In the UK, 800 million broiler chickens are grown in sheds which have no natural light, but according to philosopher Paul Thompson from Purdue University, blind chickens are not as stressed by their situation as chickens who are aware of their situation.

The chickens are bred to grow faster than normal and therefore often die from heart and lung failure because the organs cannot keep up with the rapidly growing body.

Thompson says that removing parts of their brain would be a more humane way to treat the animals.

His hypothesis spurred architecture student Andre Ford to develop further on the idea and suggest that removing the cerebral cortex of the chicken would lessen its sensory perceptions so it can be produced in the crowded conditions wand not suffer the heightened distress.

The brain stem for the chicken would remain intact so that it could still grow and Ford also suggest cutting off the feet of the chickens to allow easier packing of up to 1000 chickens.

Electric shocks similar to those used in other lab meat experiments would provide a solution to the lack of muscular stimulation, he says.

Ford has hit back at accusations that the proposal is cruel, arguing it is not any worse than current practises in the food production industry.

"The realities of the existing systems of production are just as shocking but they are hidden behind the sentimental guise of traditional farming scenes that we as consumers hold in our minds and see in our food packaging," he said.

Do you think removing the brains and feet of chickens is more humane? Or is it even crueller?

Food of the future: mass produced chickens without brains

Chickens without their brains could be mass produced for human consumption, if a system developed by a British architecture student takes off.

In the UK, 800 million broiler chickens are grown in sheds which have no natural light, but according to philosopher Paul Thompson from Purdue University, blind chickens are not as stressed by their situation as chickens who are aware of their situation.

The chickens are bred to grow faster than normal and therefore often die from heart and lung failure because the organs cannot keep up with the rapidly growing body.

Thompson says that removing parts of their brain would be a more humane way to treat the animals.

His hypothesis spurred architecture student Andre Ford to develop further on the idea and suggest that removing the cerebral cortex of the chicken would lessen its sensory perceptions so it can be produced in the crowded conditions wand not suffer the heightened distress.

The brain stem for the chicken would remain intact so that it could still grow and Ford also suggest cutting off the feet of the chickens to allow easier packing of up to 1000 chickens.

Electric shocks similar to those used in other lab meat experiments would provide a solution to the lack of muscular stimulation, he says.

Ford has hit back at accusations that the proposal is cruel, arguing it is not any worse than current practises in the food production industry.

"The realities of the existing systems of production are just as shocking but they are hidden behind the sentimental guise of traditional farming scenes that we as consumers hold in our minds and see in our food packaging," he said.

Do you think removing the brains and feet of chickens is more humane? Or is it even crueller?

Food of the future: mass produced chickens without brains

Chickens without their brains could be mass produced for human consumption, if a system developed by a British architecture student takes off.

In the UK, 800 million broiler chickens are grown in sheds which have no natural light, but according to philosopher Paul Thompson from Purdue University, blind chickens are not as stressed by their situation as chickens who are aware of their situation.

The chickens are bred to grow faster than normal and therefore often die from heart and lung failure because the organs cannot keep up with the rapidly growing body.

Thompson says that removing parts of their brain would be a more humane way to treat the animals.

His hypothesis spurred architecture student Andre Ford to develop further on the idea and suggest that removing the cerebral cortex of the chicken would lessen its sensory perceptions so it can be produced in the crowded conditions wand not suffer the heightened distress.

The brain stem for the chicken would remain intact so that it could still grow and Ford also suggest cutting off the feet of the chickens to allow easier packing of up to 1000 chickens.

Electric shocks similar to those used in other lab meat experiments would provide a solution to the lack of muscular stimulation, he says.

Ford has hit back at accusations that the proposal is cruel, arguing it is not any worse than current practises in the food production industry.

"The realities of the existing systems of production are just as shocking but they are hidden behind the sentimental guise of traditional farming scenes that we as consumers hold in our minds and see in our food packaging," he said.

Do you think removing the brains and feet of chickens is more humane? Or is it even crueller?

Nestle warns against hoax job offers

Aspiring European Nestle workers have fallen victim to a hoax job site, which asks applicants to pay money to use the service.

The company posted a message on its Facebook page today, warning people not to pay any money to the recruitment site and instead go through its own to find jobs available.

“We have found out that there are fake job offers circulating on the internet about positions within the Nestlé Group in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom,” the company wrote.

“This is a hoax.

“Please do not respond or give any money.

“Nestlé never asks job applicants to pay money.

“We are requesting that these fake advertisements be removed from recruitment websites as and when they are published.

“The official source for ads for Nestlé jobs is our website.”

Nestle warns against hoax job offers

Aspiring European Nestle workers have fallen victim to a hoax job site, which asks applicants to pay money to use the service.

The company posted a message on its Facebook page today, warning people not to pay any money to the recruitment site and instead go through its own to find jobs available.

“We have found out that there are fake job offers circulating on the internet about positions within the Nestlé Group in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom,” the company wrote.

“This is a hoax.

“Please do not respond or give any money.

“Nestlé never asks job applicants to pay money.

“We are requesting that these fake advertisements be removed from recruitment websites as and when they are published.

“The official source for ads for Nestlé jobs is our website.”

Nestle warns against hoax job offers

Aspiring European Nestle workers have fallen victim to a hoax job site, which asks applicants to pay money to use the service.

The company posted a message on its Facebook page today, warning people not to pay any money to the recruitment site and instead go through its own to find jobs available.

“We have found out that there are fake job offers circulating on the internet about positions within the Nestlé Group in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom,” the company wrote.

“This is a hoax.

“Please do not respond or give any money.

“Nestlé never asks job applicants to pay money.

“We are requesting that these fake advertisements be removed from recruitment websites as and when they are published.

“The official source for ads for Nestlé jobs is our website.”

Kraft releases sustainability report

In a world first, American food company Kraft has made its footprint on climate change, land and water use public.

The project provides initial details of the impact the company is having on the environment, and also included how is validates focus on sustainable agriculture.

Together with Quantis Inc, the company produced the results that were then analysed by the World Wildlife Fund and academics from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment.

"Having the ‘big picture’ of our total footprint, from farm to fork, validates the focus of our sustainability efforts, particularly advancing sustainable agriculture," Roger Zellner, Sustainability Director for Research, Development & Quality said.

"Experts say climate change, land and water use may be among the biggest challenges in feeding a world of 9 billion people in 2050.

“As we continue our sustainability journey, we now have more insight into where we can make the greatest difference."

Dave McLaughlin, vice president of Agriculture at World Wildlife Fund said the research is an example of the impact big business is having on the environment.

"This study shows that in order to make meaningful change and conserve nature’s valuable resources, companies need to work with their suppliers to reduce the impact of producing raw materials," he said.

"This means forging long term partnerships based on shared objectives, creating a transformational supply chain, a key strategy of WWF’s market transformation initiative."

The majority of Kraft Foods’ environmental footprint originates on the farms that grow ingredients for the company’s products, according to the report.

While the company doesn’t own the farms, the survey supports the work of its sustainable agriculture efforts on key commodities to improve crop yields, reduce environmental impacts and improve the lives of many of the farm workers and their families.

Following success with initial introductions, the company is also continuing to improve energy, carbon dioxide, water, waste and packaging reductions.

Off the back of reports Kraft is slashing 200 jobs at British confectionary company Cadbury, which it acquired in 2007, the company plans to include it in the sustainability changes.

While it is spending $AU76 million on the Cadbury business to improve machinery and facilities, the company has copped criticism for the planned job cuts, mostly because it promised not to slash jobs when it acquired the business.

But the contract which contained that promise expires in March 2012, and the company will make the changes soon after.

By the end of 2015 Kraft Foods plans to increase sustainable sourcing of agricultural commodities by 25 percent, reduce energy use in manufacturing plants by 15 percent, reduce energy-related CO2 emissions in manufacturing plants by 15 percent and reduce water consumption in manufacturing plants by 15 percent.

It also wants to reduce waste at manufacturing plants by 15 percent, eliminate 50,000 metric tons of packaging material and reduce 80 million km (50 million miles) from its transportation network.
The company has shown progress on its 2005-2010 goals, with water, waste and energy use down in the period.

The report also found more than 90 percent of the carbon footprint is outside its plants and offices, and nearly 60 percent is from farm commodities, about 12 percent of the carbon footprint is from transportation and distribution of products from stores to consumers’ homes and about 5 percent of the carbon footprint is from consumers, mostly in food preparation.

 

UK food industry rejects temperature changes

Proposed changes to temperature regulations of foods being stored and transported in the UK have been met with criticism from the local food industry.

Under the new European Union (EU) rules, all chilled foods would have to be kept at a constant temperature of 2° Celsius during transportation and storage, which the British Retail Consortium (BRC) says is unnecessary, as current rules are “more than adequate.”

A BRC spokesperson told Food Production Daily the changes would place a huge financial burden on companies, for little positive outcome.

“It’s not just a case of them using the fridge you already have and lowering the temperature,” the spokesperson said.

“A lot of them can’t operate at that level and would require new equipment to do that.”

Read the full story at Food Quality News.

Does the Australian industry need similar rules to this? Or do the current regulations work just fine?

Kraft investing $76m, slashing 200 jobs at British Cadbury plants

Kraft Foods, which acquired British confectionary company over a year ago, will invest £50 million (AU$76 million) into boosting production, but also plans to slash 200 jobs.

The American snack food company will make the changes to Cadbury’s English operations over the next two years.

The investment figure will be spread amongst factories in Sheffield, Bournville, Chirk and Marlbrook.

The Sheffield investment, will introduce production of Oreo and BelVita biscuits for the first time in the UK, creating 20 jobs.

Other projects that included in the upgrades will be upgrading infrastructure, accelerating production, reducing waste and boosting energy-efficiency.

Kraft manufacturing director of UK chocolate Neil Chapman said that the company’s’ wants the Bournville, Chirk and Marlbrook plants to be key operations for British Food Manufacturing and Kraft Foods.

"We continue to invest in our people and facilities, so we can increase productivity and transform our business," he said.

The company has also announced plans to slash 200 jobs at its Bournville, Chirk and Marlbrook sites in over two years from March next year.

When Kraft acquired Cadbury, it promised no more plant closures or compulsory redundancies, but that commitment expired March 2012.

Dead bird found in packaged salad

UK supermarket Tesco says it will be conducting a “thorough investigation” to determine how a dead bird ended up in a pre-packaged salad.

Paul Streeter, the unlucky customer, said his girlfriend was sick after the carcass was discovered in a baby leaf and rocket salad bought at Tesco’s Burnham-on-Sea branch, according to the BBC.

"I couldn’t believe my eyes,” he said.

“It was horrific.

“She was seconds away from eating it."

Streeter bought the salad to feed to his girlfriend and children, emptying the salad into a bowl and placing it on the dinner table before returning to the kitchen.

"Suddenly my girlfriend shrieked and couldn’t believe what she’d found on her plate,” he told the BBC.

"She had ladled the salad onto her plate and thought she was cutting into one of the dark leaves and what she found was a dead bird.

"I didn’t know what to think. I was concerned about the health of my family as they had eaten some of the salad."

The bird was "decomposed and skeletal,” he said.

"We take matters of this kind extremely seriously and are very disappointed to learn of this incident," a Tesco person said.

"Ensuring our food is of the highest quality is extremely important to us and we and our suppliers have robust systems in place to prevent foreign objects getting into products.

"We are in contact with the customer and have apologised."

Woman dragged into potato machine

A UK food processing company has been found responsible for injuries suffered by a worker when she was dragged into a potato blanching machine.

The Bakkavor Foods plant, located in the English town of Wigan, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) this week, according to Injuries Direct.

The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £2,026, admitting it had breached the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, at Trafford Magistrates’ Court.

The 22-year-old woman, who has not been named, suffered serious injuries when she was dragged into the machine by her arm and caught between a roller and a conveyor belt.

She suffered a dislocated elbow and broken arm from the accident, and was unable to work for eight months.

The machine was unguarded and deemed unsafe by the HSE, who found employees regularly used the machine while it was still rotating.

A HSE spokesperson said during court proceedings that someone sustaining an injury from the machine was inevitable.

The company has since installed safety precautions around the machine.

In reponse to the article, the company provided Food Magazine with the following statement.

“Bakkavör Foods Limited was a defendant in a court case for a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

We can confirm that an ex-member of staff at our Hitchen Foods site was involved in an accident on 28 June 2010 that was subsequently investigated by the Health & Safety Executive. This employee suffered broken bones in her left arm and a dislocated elbow.

As a major food producer, Bakkavör Foods takes health and safety extremely seriously. We strive at all times to ensure that every employee at Bakkavör works in a safe environment and we offer our sincere apologies to this lady for the injury which she sustained to her arm.

 

After the incident a full and thorough investigation of our stringent health and safety processes was carried out and necessary corrective actions and improvements were immediately instigated to prevent anything similar from happening again.

Bakkavör Foods has cooperated fully with the Health and Safety Executive investigation and pleaded guilty to charges made against it at the first available opportunity.

The company has a very robust health and safety record with accident rates well below the industry average. Bakkavör Foods will continue to drive up standards and improve its performance in this area.”
 

SABMiller buys Foster’s for $9.9 billion

SABMiller has bought Foster’s following a three month process of opposition and denials from Australia’s largest brewer that needed help.

Just last week the company chairman urged shareholders to reject the London-based company’s bid.

SABMiller’s chief executive Graham Mackay did not even set foot in Australia before making the purchase.

Instead, Mackay and Fosters Group Chairman David Crawford did the deal at a conference in Istanbul last week, Bloomberg reports.

Crawford has been rejecting the takeover since June, saying SABMiller’s offer of $4.90 per share undervalued the company.

Despite the lowest sales profits in two decades, Fosters said at the time it remained optimistic about the future.

The offer Foster’s agreed to yesterday was $5.10 per share, a total value of almost $10 billion and SABMiller’s largest ever acquisition.

It intends to increase its earnings per share in the first year.

While the process was lengthy and complicated, SABMiller remained confident an agreement could be reached.

"A couple of weeks ago, it became obvious our positions weren’t irreconcilably far apart," Mackay said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

"We’ve thought for awhile that this was an attractive deal at the right price."

Foster’s has not commented on the negotiations, but SABMiller’s Graham Mackay told the ABC’s AM program the takeover came at the right time.

"It was essentially to be able to take advantage of all of the opportunities we saw coming up with the fall of communism, the privatisation of any state run economy, state run businesses and that strategy proved spectacularly successful," he said.

"So we got in early and we established very strong positions and as we did that, we were able to refine our skill set, develop new skills to cope with very different markets that we encountered around the world."
 

 

Manufacturers should abolish sell-by dates: UK govt

The UK government is urging manufacturers to dispose of sell-by dates on food packaging.

The government says such a move would save shoppers money and reduce the £12 billion of edible food thrown away there each year, which the government says is partly due to confusing packaging, the BBC reports.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) says that equates to five million tonnes of edible foods is being discarded by UK households each year, a staggering equivalent of £680 for households with children.

The British Retail Consortium believes a better strategy would be educating consumers about what dates on foods mean.

"Helping consumers understand that food past its best-before date can still be eaten or cooked could contribute to reducing food waste and saving people money," Food Director Andrew Opie said.

"The government should be spreading that message, not focusing on retail practices."

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said confing food labelling is to blame for about responsible for £750m of the £12bn edible-food wastage each year and believes the sell-by dates are no longer relevant.

"We want to end the food labelling confusion and make it clear once and for all when food is good and safe to eat," she said.

She wants all stock rotation information, including sell-by dates, removed from packaging completely.

"There are products that have several dates on them; use by, best before.

"Sometimes it says ‘display until’, which is not relevant at all by the time it’s sitting in your fridge," Spelman told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

"So I can understand when people – particularly young people starting out with shopping – look at these dates and say ‘I’m not sure about this; better throw it away’."

While compliance with the new guidance is not required by law, DEFRA says businesses are legally required to label food with either a use-by or best-before date.

The foods likely to require a use-by date, those that could become dangerous to eat, include soft cheese, ready-prepared meals and smoked fish, DEFRA says.

But other foods like biscuits, jams, crisps and tinned foods, which may lost quality but not be unsafe, only require a best before date.

But the Food Standards Agency (FSA) maintains the new advise is relevant.

"We always emphasise that use-by dates are the most important, as these relate to food safety," head of hygiene and microbiology, Liz Redmond said.

The UK appears to be playing a game of catch up, as Food Standards Australia New Zealand spokesperson Lorraine Belanger told Food Magazine.

“We already have system they’re talking about in place,” she said.

“Essentially, for most foods, there is a use by or best before, unless they have a shelf life of more than two years so they don’t have to have a date on them.”

“If it is a best before date, retailers can still sell a product, but its up to them to make sure its safe.”

“Anything unsafe, like dairy or other animal products, cannot legally be sold past their use by date.”

 

 

Tna acquires Arcall, boosting seasoning portfolio

Packaging company tna has entered the food seasoning market with the acquisition of Arcall.

Tna Director of Business Development, Bob Fritz, said: “Seasoning is an integral part of the manufacturing process and finding an effective seasoning system is vital for the success of any production line. Our acquisition of Arcall has given tna access to market-leading seasoning technology and now positions us as the only supplier of seasoning solutions for the whole production line – from the end of fryers or ovens right through to packing.”

Arcall develops seasoning systems for wet and dry applications. Its machines for wet applications feature a cross band, spinning disc systems, which can apply a wide variety of liquids to products such as biscuits, crackers, confectionary, pizza, fish, meat/poultry and baked goods. The machines can apply various liquids to these products, including oils, slurries, egg , syrups and barrier fats.

The acquisition, which is effective immediately, comes after many years of effective collaboration between the two companies, says tna.
 

Image: getloans.com

Nestlé partners with UK researchers to find food, gene links

Posted by Rita Mu

Nestlé has partnered with a UK university to investigate how changes to diet and exercise may affect human gene expression and health over time – an area also known as nutrigenomics.

The six-month research project between the Nestlé Research Centre in Switzerland and King’s College London is set to begin later this year.

According to Nestlé, details of the research project will include looking at how our genes and their encoded proteins determine bodily functions, such as metabolism and immunity.

King’s College Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics academic, Dr Franca Fraternali, and colleagues, will have access to the Nestlé Research Centre’s bioinformatics facilities in Lausanne, Switzerland, while Senior Scientist, Dr James Holzwarth, of the Nestlé Research Centre, will spend time in the King’s College laboratories learning new techniques used to analyse protein-protein interactions developed at the university.
 

Dr Holzwarth said academia-industry partnerships were critical for innovations in the food and public health sectors.

“No one can work in isolation. Industry might be more advanced in one area, while academia might be more advanced in another. By pooling relevant resources, we can help to guide each other’s work,” he said.

The partnership is funded by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Interchange program.

Image: A scientist at work at the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, Source: nestle.com

Bakels makes a quantum leap with new bread enhancers

Posted by Rita Mu

Bakels’ Australian-based researchers have developed a new range of bread enhancers called Quantum.

The new ingredient absorbs between two and four per cent more water than traditional dough, providing bakers with easier-to-handle dough and increasing batch yield, says Bakels.

Researchers spent three years developing the Quantum range, which includes two enhancers: the Quantum Improver (usage 0.5 – 1 per cent) and the Quantum Rustique (usage 2 to 4 per cent).

According to the company, both products are emulsifier-free, and the Rustique enhancer includes a natural dried ferment for enhanced flavour.

Bakels’ National Sales Manager, Pauline Ferrol, said the new product would help the company to maintain its technological edge over competitors.

“This technology now means that Bakels offers bakers the complete ‘one-stop shop’ when it comes to bread ingredients,” she said.

The Quantum range is suitable for all types of mixers for the production of bread, rolls and morning goods, such as wholemeal.

Bakels was the first company to introduce data esters in 1958. Forty years down the track in 1998, the company went on to develop the first branded liquid improvers.

More information on the company’s Quantum bread enhancer range is available HERE.

Image: dimaskitchen.blogspot.com

Nestlé recalls Milkybar Buttons after rubber contamination

Nestlé UK is recalling a range of products in its Milkybar Buttons range after discovering that they could contain pieces of rubber.

The products recalled include:

  • Milkybar Buttons 30g bag with best before dates: October, November and December 2011
  • Milkybar Buttons multipack 4 x standard 20g bags with best before date: November 2011
  • Milkybar Buttons Giant 150g: Best Before Date November and December 2011
  • Nestlé Treatsize bag 310g (containing Milkybar Buttons) with best before dates: August and September 2011

Nestlé UK recommends that the above recalled products should not consumed and disposed of.

A refund for any of the recalled products can be obtained by sending wrappers (with best before dates) to: 

MILKYBAR Recall
PO Box 205
FREEPOST 1374
York, YO91 1XY

Image: wisechoiceuk.com

Britain to scrap “best-before” dates on foods

Posted by Rita Mu

Britain plans to scrap the “best-before” dates on foods in a move to reduce the 5.3 million tonnes of edible food ending up in landfills each year – an amount equivalent to 4,700 Olympic sized swimming pools.

According to the Daily Mail, Britain’s Ministers also plan to withdraw “sell-by” and “display-until” stickers to reduce food wastage, which costs each family around £700 (~ AU $1000) a year. Only “use-by” dates will be kept.

New labels highlighting the health risks of leaving food on the shelf or in the fridge for a long period could be introduced, according to the Daily Mail.

While Australian households waste a staggering $5 billion of food each year, experts have said educating people about food labels is a better strategy to reducing food wastage.

”We can’t just keep going back to regulators asking them to change labelling because we are throwing out more food,” Juliana Madden, the executive officer of the Food Safety Information Council in Australia, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

”What we need to do is take some personal responsibility and be better organised with our shopping, as well as provide better education about the differences between ”use-by” and ”best-before”.”

According to food security expert Professor Geoffrey Lawrence at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute, cosmetic perceptions and expectations of foods contribute to unnecessary food wastage.

"Supermarkets do have very strict who can supply them and therefore a lot of food is wasted before it gets on the shelves.” he said. “Consumers seem to be told by the supermarkets and others providing those foods that we should look for perfection.”

Earlier this year, Australian governments, public health groups and the food and beverage industry released the Labelling Logic report, which made several recommendations to the country’s food labelling law and policy.

Recommendations included the introduction of traffic light front-of-pack labelling and codes of practice to enable consumers to readily identify additives, as well as changes to the Nutrition Information Panel to include information on fibre and trans-fat content.

Image: genericlabels.co.uk

Cargill acquires Dutch alcohol business

Posted by Rita Mu

Food producer Cargill has acquired Dutch-based Royal Nedalco’s alcohol business from its parent company Royal Cosun.

The acquisition, which was completed on Friday, includes Nedalco’s production sites in Sas van Gent, the Netherlands and in Manchester, the United Kingdom.

The two plants produce around one million hectolitres of potable and industrial alcohol per annum and employ approximately 100 people.

According to Cargill, Nedalco’s alcohol business will become an “integral part” of the company’s starches and sweeteners business in Europe.

"We are looking forward to building on Nedalco’s market-leading position at the high end of the potable and industrial alcohol market in Europe, by tapping into its excellent reputation and the expertise of its employees," said Peter van Deursen, Head of Cargill’s starches and sweeteners European division.

"In addition, Nedalco’s customers will receive access to Cargill’s product offering and international services."

Nedalco’s alcohol is used in multiple industrial applications in the spirit, food, pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetics industries.

Image: Royal Nedalco’s Manchester plant, Source: allaboutmanchester.com