Tech Flash Vol. 5 No. 11 Food Engineering's E-Newsletter
BPA is safe ... or is it?
In a public statement, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) agreed with Reps. Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak that an immediate, transparent assessment of the science including all relevant data and scientific studies is welcome and in the public’s best interest.
General consensus in the international community, as reported in FE’s March 2009 Food Safety online news, is that BPA in its current uses does not pose a health risk to children and adults, although
The state of
“If this bill becomes law,” he adds, “it will do nothing to enhance product safety; it will, however, result in reduced product choice for consumers and needlessly more expensive food products.”
The city of
A May 2009 Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) study found that survey participants who drank for a week from polycarbonate bottles (typically hard bottles) showed a two-thirds increase of BPA in their urine. A control group that drank from non-BPA sources showed no increase in urine BPA levels. The study is said to be the first to show that drinking from polycarbonate bottles increased the level of urinary BPA, and thus suggests that drinking containers made with BPA release the chemical into the liquid that people drink in sufficient amounts to increase the level of BPA excreted in human urine.
According to the study’s authors, exposure to BPA has been shown to interfere with reproductive development in animals and has been linked with cardiovascular disease and diabetes in humans. The test was done with cold beverages. “If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher,” said Karin B. Michels, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH and
Industry associations weigh in on FDA overhaul
The measure addresses a number of concerns-from both food industry groups and consumers-about the agency’s jurisdiction and resources. Specifically it would:
· For the first time, provide FDA with mandatory recall authority. Under current law, FDA can only request recalls.
· Require high risk facilities to be inspected at least every six to 18 months. Currently, facilities are inspected once a decade on average.
· Require electronic traceability systems that are able to track identified contaminated food back to its source. All food producers-both foreign and domestic-would be assessed a $1,000 registration fee to help pay for the increased oversight.
“We strongly support in concept many of the proposals in the draft,” said Grocery Manufacturers Association CEO Pamela Bailey, in testimony before the subcommittee.
Bailey said her group is particularly supportive of proposals that give FDA strong enforcement powers to deal with companies in violation of food safety laws, including mandatory recall authority when needed.
“Together, these reforms will prevent contamination, raise the bar for the entire food industry and deter bad actors,” she added. Bailey told the panel, however, that GMA had offered “important modifications” to the draft to committee staff and would continue to work with them to address those provisions.
Another food industry group-the International Dairy Foods Association-took stronger issue with some aspects of the draft. The group says the bill would place increased safety responsibility on the food industry with enhanced ingredient tracking, country of origin labeling and fees for routine FDA inspections. IDFA said it has consistently opposed those measures.
Both IDFA and GMA also oppose the provision requiring all food companies to pay an annual, uncapped registration fee. The fee would be used to increase FDA’s funding by approximately 50 percent.“We believe asking manufacturers to pay the fees associated with routine inspections of their facilities represents a potential conflict of interest,” said Ruth Saunders, IDFA’s senior director of policy and legislative affairs. “However, we would support performance-based fees and fees for accelerated FDA services.”
Study says mid-tier products losing market share to value and premium options
On a unit sales basis, value brands saw more growth in 2009 than 2008, while premium brand sales shrank just over 1% and mid-tier brands shrank nearly 3%. “Several shopper trends have converged to create this dichotomy,” says Thom Blischok, president of IRI Consulting and Innovation. “The most obvious trend is the move to trade down. Shoppers have moved away from their traditional brands to value brands, including both retailers’ private brands as well as economy brands from national brand manufacturers.”
But, shoppers also are focused on premium brands through what IRI has called “sophisticated splurging.” Shoppers are holding onto premium brands they crave but are purchasing them at value stores. Premium brand purchases have grown the most at dollar stores, supercenters and Wal-Mart, while shrinking at grocery, drug, mass merchandise and club stores.
In addition, retailers have dramatically increased the sophistication of their private brand strategies. Many now offer high-end private brands at a lower cost than premium national brands, according to the report.
With the drop in sales for mid-tier brands, processors may be forced to lower prices and production costs. “While many branded products companies are refusing to publicly acknowledge a need to lower prices, many are internally planning to do so,” says Mark Sutcliffe, president of CDC Software’s CDC Factory. “They’re setting targets for productivity improvements, labor, material and energy cost reductions so they are in control of the cost of production,” adds Sutcliffe.
Sutcliffe points out a few strategies that processors need to adopt to stay ahead of the competition:
· Refocus on a “back to basics” performance agenda, driven by the CEO, which highlights core activities from non-core activities;
· Plan margin expansion goals with timelines set against these core priorities for precise decision making;
· Separate genuine constraints from operating assumptions and evaluate operating assets and leverage them, tapping into valuable assets like human capital and plant capacity;
· Employ a player-coach line management style from the senior level all the way down and obsessively manage actionable data to make action unavoidable.
According to Sutcliffe, “Companies need to move forward carefully, but they need a plan to take action. Doing nothing is not a cost-free option, and in fact, it’s the worst of all responses.”Mark Sutcliffe of CDC Factory, CDC Software can be reached at 770-351-9600.
Yesterday's chip bags become today's reusable tote
Frito-Lay is asking consumers to form “chip bag brigades;” for every bag a brigade sends to TerraCycle, Frito-Lay will donate two cents to its favorite charity. Initially, 1,000 collection sites are planned and more will be added during the year. The goal of the program is to engage at least 150,000 people and divert more than 5 million bags from landfills. Consumers can learn more about forming chip bag brigades at a special Frito-Lay Web site.
Frito-Lay has made packaging initiatives a priority over the past few years. For example, the company reduced the amount of plastic in its packaging by 10% and in the last five years eliminated 12 million pounds of materials used to make snack bags. In 2010, Frito-Lay’s SunChips brand will use a fully compostable bag made from plant-based renewable material.
TerraCycle was founded in 2001 by a
AIB claims mass media left out important information
32nd Annual Plant Construction Survey
View Food Engineering’s 2009 Construction Survey. (PDF)
Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference report
The flexible facility: Yoga for manufacturers
People, Plant and Industry News
Dean Foods Company agreed to acquire the Alpro division of Vandemoortele N.V., Belgium’s largest privately-held food company, at a cost of approximately euro 325 million. The sale is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.
Cargill opened a new plant dedicated to chocolate coatings and fillings in
Danone Waters of
Campbell Soup Co.’s board of directors elected William Perez, former chief executive officer of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., to the board.
John B. Sanfilippo & Son appointed Robert J. Sarlls as vice president, strategy and business development.
Tate & Lyle appointed Javed Ahmed as its new chief executive, effective November 15, 2009. Iain Ferguson, current CEO, will remain until Ahmed’s arrival.
The Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. completed its acquisition of Better Beverages Ltd., a Pepsi-Cola and Dr Pepper franchised bottler that serves portions of central
Nestlé S.A. launched its first Japan-based research unit for nutrition and health. The unit is located at the
Butterball achieved its newest worker safety milestone when its
Divya Prakash joins Matrix Technologies as its director of manufacturing execution systems (MES) implementation. Prakash will formalize and expand the company’s MES and manufacturing intelligence programs.
The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) began testing candidates who wish to pursue the new LEED Green Associate credential or the LEED Accredited Professional (AP) operations and maintenance (O+M) credential.
Netherlands-based EBI Food Safety, provider of LISTEX bacteriophage to fight Listeria, formed a partnership with
Emerson Climate Technologies, a business of Emerson, acquired Vilter Manufacturing LLC, a privately held compressor manufacturer based in
Haskell has expanded its process services capabilities through ownership in PTS Engineering, an Atlanta, GA-based process engineering company specializing in the food and beverage industries.
The Associated Builders and Contractors will honor Stellar, a design, engineering, construction and mechanical services firm, with a National Safety Merit Award on June 24. The award recognizes companies whose safety performance and programs are exemplary and exhibit a lasting commitment to jobsite safety.
Qualtia Alimentos (a division of Xignux, S.A. de C.V.) selected Hixson to design and engineer a large food processing facility in
OMAC appointed Rick VanDyke of Frito-Lay to its board of directors.
Ecolab Inc. was named a 2009 recipient of the IFT Food Expo Innovation Award for the development of the first peroxyacetic acid-based commercial sterilant system registered with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use against the highly resistant pathogen, Bacillus cereus.
Apple International, a food processing equipment supplier headquartered in
Alex Chu joined Microbia Inc. (formerly Microbia Precision Engineering), a producer of sustainable, specialty ingredients and biomaterials. He will serve as vice president of process development.
Barry-Wehmiller International Resources (BWIR) signed a letter of understanding with think3 (
Technology Group International (TGI), an ERP systems provider to small and mid-market manufacturing and distribution companies, created its new ERP Insights blog. ERP Insights will serve as a forum for individuals in manufacturing, distribution, ERP selection, and IT consulting to interact with TGI representatives and discuss a variety of ERP industry-related topics.
Joachim Guhe was appointed as vice president of operations of the Parker Seal Group Europe.
EMS Technologies appointed Stephen Newell as general manager of LXE Inc., the company’s rugged mobile computer business.
Reiser has begun construction of a 6,600 sq.-ft. state-of-the-industry customer center at its
ESE Inc. has become a Rockwell Automation qualified process solutions provider program company. The Rockwell program has to date recognized 15 companies in this status.