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January 6, 2006
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Old fashioned know-how aids processing

In 1955, when companies were unveiling high-tech marvels such as microwave ovens and wireless television remotes, Tom and C. Scott Mayfield were investing in a lesser-known technology that would become the cornerstone of their small dairy's modern day success.

The Mayfields banked on a promising new vacuum heat technology guaranteed to yield a better tasting milk. Five years after mortgaging the family farm to build the Southeast's first modern milk processing plant, the Mayfields, purchased the nation's first vacreator-a vacuum processor used to remove unwanted flavors and odors from milk.

"The taste of onions and other strong flavors in a cow's diet alter the taste of milk," said President Scottie Mayfield, the fourth generation of the Mayfield family to be directly involved in the dairy's operation. "When we first began using the vacreator to remove unwanted flavors, it was instant success. Sales jumped 25 percent that year."

The vacreator injects dry steam into the milk, raising the temperature from 160°F to 168°F. The milk then enters the vacuum chamber where it boils. As it boils, the vapors containing the unwanted flavors and odors are removed and the temperature is reduced back to approximately 158°F. Conventional pasteurization is then resumed on the vacuum-treated milk.

Today Mayfield is the only dairy in the country that still uses a vacuum heat process to pasteurize milk. Many in the industry have used the technology only to abandon it in search of less costly processing solutions.



Manufacturing economy on steady growth path

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in December for the 31st consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 50th consecutive month, according to supply executives polled in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business. The report, issued by the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, says 2005 was an excellent year overall for the manufacturing sector, including the food and beverage industry.



Hong Kong opens door to US beef exports

Trade is expected to quickly begin now that Hong Kong's government has allowed the US to export boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months of age to Hong Kong under the Beef Export Verification Program. This agreement follows Hong Kong's determination that US control measures effectively ensure the safety of its beef. In 2003, the US exported $90 million worth of beef and beef products to Hong Kong, making it the fifth largest market for US beef products. Since the closing of many US export markets in December 2003, the US has recovered access to markets valued at more than $2.8 billion, or 74 percent of the 2003 export value of $3.9 billion.



RFID spending expected to surpass $3 billion by decade's end

As the adoption of RFID continues to gather momentum, hardware and software spending will accelerate in late 2006 and 2007 as true benefits are documented, according to Gartner, Inc., a provider of research and analysis on the global information technology industry. View the full story.



Food manufacturers ignite innovation

Unless food processors invest in new products and breakthrough technology, they are doomed to take a defensive, reactive approach to a changing marketplace.View the full story.



Machine control: Still islands of automation?

While smaller, smarter and simpler describes the evolution of machine control for the food industry, producers are increasingly aware that they need "connected" machines that are capable of archiving data and passing it onto upper-level systems. View the full story.



Spill-proof bottle for kids' beverage

Combining a spill-proof, plastic, travel-ready bottle with a healthy alternative to sugar-filled juice drinks, Waddajuice appeals to parents of toddlers and preschoolers. View the full story.



Plant excellence, by the numbers

Metrics, in tandem with continuous improvement and cost reduction programs, can improve plant efficiency. View the full story.



People, Plant & Industry News

Tyson Foods is preparing to open its new meat production plant in Sherman, TX. Following the conversion of the former Oscar Mayer plant into a case-ready beef and pork operation, the company will begin the first phase of production in February.

William Smith has been named as assistant administrator for the Office of Program Evaluation, Enforcement and Review and Dr. Kenneth Petersen has been named assistant administrator for the Office of Field Operations at the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Frankford Candy & Chocolate Co. invested $23 million in a new factory and headquarters in Philadelphia, PA. The company consolidated three locations into one 500,000 sq. ft. facility in the city's Frankford section.

Chef John Folse is in the process of signing a contract with Panera Bread to become the company's soup supplier. The $2 billion company has agreed to use four soups at a quantity of five million pounds into early spring, which equates to $10 million in sales.

Longtime Dapec employee Ken Dillard died at the age of 57. During his 34 years in the poultry industry, Dillard was involved in the founding of Dapec, where he held positions in research and development, parts, warehouse, and shipping and receiving.

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