Food Processing Industry News From around the World.

Bharti Wal-Mart opened Modern Wholesale at Punjab

fter opening its first store in May last year in Amritsar, Bharti Wal-Mart Private Limited – a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Wal-Mart Stores Inc for wholesale, business-to-business, cash-and-carry and back-end supply chain management operations in India – have rolled-out its second Best Price Modern Wholesale cash-and-carry store at Zirakpur, Punjab.

The store, spread over 50,000 square feet, is positioning itself as a one-stop business-to-business store that meets the day-to-day needs of restaurant owners, hoteliers, caterers, fruit and vegetable resellers, kiranas (Mom & Pop-shops), retail store owners, offices and institutions. During 2010, it is planned to open seven stores across India with sizes up to 100,000 square feet.

6,000 items, including a wide range of fresh, frozen and chilled foods, fruits and vegetables, dry groceries, but also personal and home care, hotel and restaurant supplies, clothing, office supplies and other items are would be on stock. The store has the approach to help also small retailers in managing their inventory and capital better and learn from some of the best practices, thus creating a win-win partnership, Rajan Bharti Mittal, chairman, Bharti Wal-Mart Pvt Ltd, said at the opening.

Australia seeks Free Trade Agreement with India

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Australia’s Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, is on an official visit to India from 2-8 May to take the “Australia-India trade relationship to a new level”, his Ministry has informed. He is visiting India for the third time.

On top of his agenda is a meeting with his counterpart, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, in New Delhi, to discuss the finalization of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement Feasibility Study. “The Government has put India in the front rank of our international partnerships,” Crean says.

India has a population of 1.2 billion, is the world’s largest democracy and is Australia’s fastest growing major trade relationship. The visit should strengthen that partnership and lay the groundwork for continued growth in the trade and economic relationship.

While addressing a seminar on “Strengthening India-Australia Trade Relations” which was organized by industry body CII, the minister said that there exists huge convergence of interests in India-Australia relationship that includes multilateral level relations, Doha Round of talks, common approach towards G-20, climate change, regional relationship in Asia and at APEC. He said that the purpose of his visit to India and interactions with the India business community was also to put more substance to the strategic relationship with India.

Crean said that the objective of the ‘bilateral research fund’, which is the largest research fund of Australia, was to explore areas of cooperation in security, investment and research and development. As areas for cooperation between India and Australia, the minister identified agriculture, education, services, mining, water management, urban development and infrastructure.

Though the bilateral trade has reached $13 billion in 2008-09 with an annual growth of 25%, trade barriers still hamper the growth, he said. He called for addressing these barriers sensibly. He also said that free trade agreement, which is being negotiated between the two countries, is going to be a fundamental force to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation.

FICCI, the industry body of Indian chambers of commerce, has pointed out that India could achieve a growth rate in exports of services to Australia of 44% in 2008-09, but despite that, India’s current share in Australia’s total imports of services is - with less than 1.5% - still lower than that of “several competing countries in the Asia-Pacific region”.

Food Inflation falls further to 16.04%

Inflation in food commodity prices in the week ending April 24, 2010 has come down further to 16.04% (year on year). It was to 16.61% in the previous week and 17.65 % in the week before that, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution informs.

The inflation rate was even negative for a few items like vegetables (-5.69%), potatoes (-32.14%) and onions (-25.8%).

As per data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for food articles as on April 24, 2010 declined by 0.1 percent from 292.7 (provisional) to 292.3 (provisional) in the previous week.

Food price inflation had peaked in December 2009 (20.46% in the week ending December 12, 2009) and has shown a declining trend the

The Indian Wine Sector discussed challenges at a national conference Our Bureau

The Indian Grape Processing Board (IGPB) on May 8 in New Delhi organized a national conference on "The Indian Wine Sector - Potential & Challenges" to discuss the potential and challenges of the Indian wine industry. Minister of Food Processing Industries, Subodh Kant Sahai, inaugurated the conference where he was addressing several important topics. The conference was attended by senior Government officials and wine producers, grape growers and delegates from wine growing states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh.

“The Conference is taking place at a time when the Wine Sector is passing through difficult times due to a number of factors, including the external ones”, the Ministry itself had informed before the conference. The domestic wine industry continues to be significantly untapped, though it grew between 25-28% CAGR per annum for the past few years with the exception of past one and half years.

According to the official figures, the annual grape production in the country is currently estimated to be 1.8 million metric tons, and the area under cultivation to be about 80,000 hectares. Approximately 85% of the total production, irrespective of variety, would be consumed fresh. Of the total grapes produced in the country only around 1.5% is processed into wine. Per capita consumption in India is only 9 ml. of wine, as compared to 9,000 ml. consumed in the U.S.A. But, at the same time there are a number of opportunities, especially with higher spending power that brings about a shift in consumption pattern; also rapid urbanization and growth in the retail sector is expected to sustain the domestic demand for wine.

Minister Sahai said that the wine sector should not be deterred by the lean phase through which the industry is passing, including unsold stock of wines. Wine, which was understood earlier as a “liquor” in a conservative and traditional society like India's, has now been accepted in India, and the Indian wine industry is acknowledged internationally, the minister stated. But now, the Indian wine industry is currently facing problems and challenges due to an over-supply of grapes and large quantities of unsold wine, which the minister addressed as a problem mainly for the farmers in India’s agro-based economy. "Seventy per cent of our population is involved in farming so we need to look into the farmer and grower aspect," he said.

Earlier in 2010, the wine sector in the state of Maharashtra had seen already the closing down of wineries. 32 of the state’s 58 wineries are now either closed down or have stopped producing wine, as media had reported in February. Nearly 2 million litres of wine, which amounts to 25% of India’s total production, would be lying unsold. Many factor seem to have led to this situation, experts were analysing. At the beginning of the winery boom, government incentives were given plenty, like zero excise, no stamp duty and registration and land at subsidized rates were some among other concessions made to the wine sector.

But despite such setbacks, it was commonly acknowledged that there is an immense potential of the Indian wine industry. From the current 1.5 million cases of Indian wine sold, the sale of Indian wine would have the potential to reach 10 million cases, some stated at the conference, which could progress further to 50 million cases and so on.

FSA calls for comments on noni juice approval

The expert scientific committee that advises the UK's FSA on novel foods is calling for comments on its draft opinion of a noni juice product.

The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) has recommended that the product, from Leap of Faith Farms, is 'substantially equivalent' to a previously approved product and so can go on sale in the EU.

An application for noni juice, made under the Novel Foods Regulation (EC) 258/97, was approved on 5 June 2003. This approval applies to the applicant company only but Regulation (EC) 258/97 makes provision for novel foods or ingredients that are substantially equivalent to an existing product to be placed on the market once the applicant has informed the European Commission.

Leap of Faith Farms wants to market its noni juice obtained from noni fruit grown in Panama in four forms: pure fresh juice, fresh juice with 3-15 per cent other fruit juices, fresh juice concentrated and frozen (for transport and subsequent reconstituting), and dried fresh juice (for transport and subsequent reconstituting).

All of these would be sold as ingredients for a pasteurised fruit drink.

Noni juice comes from the fruit commonly known as 'noni'. But it is also known as 'Indian Mulberry' and 'nonu'. It is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and to have been distributed subsequently by ancient voyagers or other means into the Pacific islands, including Tahiti and Hawaii.

Today, it is one of a number of antioxidant fruits, including pomegranate, guarana, mangosteen, goji berries and blueberries, which are increasingly seen by food and beverage makers as up and coming ingredients.

Leatherhead Foods predicts that sales of such heart health foods will rise nearly 60 per cent over the 2004-2009 period to reach nearly $5.7 billion by 2009. Although it said in its recent Heart Benefit Foods report that, until now, juice drinks have tended to have a general health positioning due to their antioxidant content, there are signs that this may be about to change.

The expert committee that advises the agency on novel foods, is a non-statutory, independent body of scientific experts that carries out safety assessments of any novel food or process submitted for approval under the EC novel food regulation.

It is supported in its work by a secretariat provided by the FSA. The secretariat has scientific expertise that enables them to provide Members with comprehensive background information and briefing papers that inform the decision-making processes of the Committee.

Source : http://www.foodnavigator.com/Legislation/FSA-calls-for-comments-on-noni-...

EFSA finds against noni - hepatitis link

EFSA has concluded that case reports questioning the safety of noni juice are unfounded, enabling products to remain in the EU market.

Noni juice, from the fruit of the Morinda citrifolia L. plant was authorised for sale in the European Union under novel foods legislation, but reports from the Austrian authorities raised fears that in some cases it may lead to acute hepatitis. The European Commission asked EFSA to look into the reports.

The conclusion of EFSA's panel on dietetic products, nutrition and allergies (NDA) that "on the basis of the available information, it is unlikely that consumption of noni juice at the observed levels of intake induces adverse human liver effects" will be met with relief by Tahitian Noni, other companies marketing the juice, and loyal consumers.

However EFA strongly emphasised that it did not investigate or evaluate any possible health benefits associated with noni juice, nor look into the scientific validity of any health claims.

Noni juice is reputed to increase energy, reduce allergy symptoms and aid weight loss, but such claims have not been approved by regulatory authorities in the US or Europe.

In addition to looking at four case reports of severe hepatitis in people consuming noni juice, the NDA panel also looked at data from toxicity studies involving humans and animals.

Tahitian Noni did not supply EFSA with data on the number of people consuming the juice in Europe, but it said that 79 per cent of customers purchased four four litre bottes a month, equating to a daily intake of 133ml.

Source : http://www.nutraingredients.com/Regulation/EFSA-finds-against-noni-hepat...

Scientists "substantiate" safety of noni fruit juice

Scientists have reviewed the safety data and case reports of supposed adverse reactions for noni fruit juice, and reached the same conclusions as the EU that the fruit poses no safety risk to consumers.

"The increasing popularity of the juice today has necessitated this review," said the authors.

Noni juice, from the fruit of the Morinda citrifolia L. plant was authorised for sale in the European Union under novel foods legislation, but case reports have continued to surface claiming adverse events after consumption of the juice.

The authors, from Tahitian Noni International in collaboration with the University Medical School of Hamburgs Department of Toxicology, reviewed data from animal studies on toxicology, allergenicity and genotoxicity, and human clinical safety studies. Case reports of adverse events were also analysed.

"This review has drawn together, for the first time, documented food usages and formal safety studies. It appears that noni juice is as safe as other common fruit juices," wrote lead author Brett West in the Institute of Food Technologists' Journal of Food Science (Vol. 71, pp. R100-R105).

The animal data on toxicology found no pathological changes at high doses in any of the 55 animal organs studies, and led the reviewers to determine the no observable adverse effect level (NOAEL) as more than 80 millilitres of juice per kilogram of body weight.

The allergenicity studies, using both rats and guinea pigs, showed that "no positive allergic reactions were noted in any of the animals," said West.

A review of the genotoxicity data also reported a negligible risk for the juice.

Human clinical trials used double-blind, placebo-controlled designs, one of which used Tahitian Noni Juice and the other a noni fruit extract. The first study, said the authors indicated that "drinking up to 750ml of Tahitian Noni Juice per day is safe."

Case reports of potential adverse effects of the juice were described as "disparate" by the reviewers, and, due to confounding factors such as other ingredients in the juice, and people also taking Chinese herbs or prescription drugs, could not establish a direct link between noni juice consumption and potential harm.

"This review article will compensate for the lack of information and context in the published literature, and will thus assist health professionals and scientists in assessing the wholesomeness of noni fruit juice," said the authors.

Noni juice comes from the fruit commonly known as 'noni'. But it is also known as 'Indian Mulberry' and 'nonu'. It is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and to have been distributed subsequently by ancient voyagers or other means into the Pacific islands, including Tahiti and Hawaii.

Today, it is one of a number of antioxidant fruits, including pomegranate, guarana, mangosteen, goji berries and blueberries, which are increasingly seen by food and beverage makers as up and coming ingredients.

Leatherhead Foods predicts that sales of such heart health foods will rise nearly 60 per cent over the 2004-2009 period to reach nearly $5.7bn by 2009. Although it said in its recent "Heart Benefit Foods" report that, until now, juice drinks have tended to have a general health positioning due to their antioxidant content, there are signs that this may be about to change.

Source : http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Scientists-substantiate-s...

Goji berries not novel food, says FSA

Goji berry consumption in the UK has been significant for many years, the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) has declared, meaning the berry does not need to be authorised as a novel food.

"In the Agency's opinion, there is sufficient evidence to indicate that goji berries were being consumed to a significant degree in the UK before May 1997," said the FSA in a statement.

"This means that the requirements of the novel food regulations do not apply to this product and goji berries can continue to be sold without the need for authorisation."

Goji berries, also known as Chinese wolfberries, come from the Lycium barbarum plant, a vine that grows in China, Tibet and other areas of Asia.

Understood to be loaded with anti-oxidants and vitamin C, they have shot to popularity in the last couple of years as part of the 'superfruit' trend, which has also seen food and beverage manufacturers catering to consumer demand for pomegranate, cranberries, noni, blackberries, and other exotic produce.

Under the 1997 novel foods regulation, a food is judged to be 'novel' if it was not eaten in substantial quantities in the EU before May 1997.

The FSA started seeking evidence of goji consumption in February with initial reports suggesting the no significant history of consumption before 1997 was evident. This would have meant that the fruit would need to be authorized as a novel food.

In the EU, a food is judged to be novel if it was not eaten in a significant quantity in Europe before May 1997. According to the EU Novel Foods Regulation (EC) 258/97, new foods must be shown to meet three criteria before they can be authorised for sale: they must not be unsafe, their labelling must not be misleading and their nutritional quality must not be inferior to other similar foods that they could replace.

Products containing goji berries are already being sold on the UK market.

Source : http://www.nutraingredients.com/Regulation/Goji-berries-not-novel-food-s...

Pomegranate hailed king of the exotic fruits

Pomegranate, known as the royal fruit because of the 'crown' on top, is also the shining light for how to capitalise on consumers' growing interest in exotic fruits and ensure they offer benefits and not empty hype, say experts.

"Pomegranate is an ideal platform to investigate exotic fruits' impact on human health and disease," said Navindra Seeram from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) at the SupplySide West International Trade Show and Conference.

Increased consumer interest in exotic fruits has seen the likes of acai, goji, noni, mangosteen and pomegranate move in to the mainstream.

Indeed, in Europe the increased popularity of exotic fruit contributed significantly to a growth rate of 26 per cent for the European organic food industry between 2001 and 2004, according to market analyst Datamonitor, with the US market following suit.

Seeram told attendees in Las Vegas however that consumers are frequently confused by a variety of health claims often based on in vitro experiments, which may not necessarily be transferable into in vivo effects.

By following the example of building the science behind pomegranate, the claims behind other exotic fruits could be substantiated.

"The take-home message," said Seeram, "is to take the fruit/ product and plan careful, basic studies combined with clinical studies."

Pomegranate, a rich source of antioxidants , has been linked to improved heart health, but a growing body of science indicates the fruit protect against prostate cancer and slowing cartilage loss in arthritis.

It is these antioxidants, and particularly compounds like punicalagin, which accounts for about half of the fruit's antioxidant ability, that are reportedly behind the proposed health benefits.

Seeram presented old and new data supporting the potential role of pomegranate juice and extracts to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, a disease that is diagnosed in over half a million men worldwide every year. Over 200,000 deaths occur from the disease.

The transition from a healthy prostate to the development of cancer as a result of chronic inflammation can take between 10 and 15 years, he said, making it "ideal for nutritional prevention."

Recapping results from the clinical trial published last year in Clinical Cancer Research, Seeram stated that a daily dose of eight ounces of pomegranate juice was associated with an increase in the doubling time of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) from 15 to 54 months, indicating improved prostate health.

PSA is a marker commonly used to screen for prostate cancer and for tracking the disease after its diagnosis.

Seeram said that the trial is ongoing with new, unpublished results showing the daily glass of pomegranate juice could increase PSA doubling time to 58 months.

He also revealed that pomegranate extracts could produce similar results to the juice, with more unpublished results indicating that equivalent levels of plasma and urinary metabolites were measured as a result of either juice or extract administration, but the maximum effect was delayed from one to two/three hours in subjects receiving the extract. NutraIngredients.com has not seen this data.

Taken in its entirety, Seeram said that the studies allow scientists to look at the "full picture", and called for researchers to follow this example for other exotic fruits.

Source : http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Pomegranate-hailed-king-of-the-...

EFSA approves noni novel tea formulation

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The status of the noni plant as a novel food ingredient has been boosted this week after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved the use of dried roasted leaves from the species in tea infusions.

The tropically-sourced Morinda citrifolia, or noni plant, has already been approved for use in juice products under the bloc’s Novel Foods regulation, despite conflicting research into its safety, in its relatively short time of availability.

However, EFSA has allowed for an extension of the plants use in EU drink formulations at specific intake levels after a manufacturer submitted an application for using dried and roasted noni leaves in tea infusions.

Novel foods

Europe's novel foods regulation (EC No 258/97) was introduced in 1997 and requires any food not commonly consumed in the EU prior to May 1997 to undergo rigorous safety assessment before it can be brought to market.

Proposed amendments to this rule were put out last month by EFSA in a bid to simplify and centralise the novel foods authorisation process to encourage greater product innovation.

Infusion study

As part of scientific testing of the leaves for novel foods approval, EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies said that researchers had looked at tea consumption figures according to UK national diet and nutrition surveys and the compositional qualities of the leaves.

The noni leaf infusions are produced by steeping the 1 gram of the prepared leaves in 240 ml of hot water at about 100 degrees Celsius for ten minutes, according to the applicant.

By assessing average UK tea consumption levels, EFSA said it had looked to determine the potential intake limits of the ingredient.

Researchers then subjected the leaves to standard drying and roasting procedures, which is said did not give rise to safety concerns for the product.

Supplied compositional data on different batches of dried and roasted M. citrifolia leaves sourced from French Polynesia also did not point to detrimental nutritional impacts from consumption in a dried and roasted state.

The panel ruled therefore that the highest recommended intake of the product was a daily dose at 18.4 mg/kg bodyweight (bw) for a 70 kg adult. The same BW figure for males between 15 and 18 years of age was 11.5 mg/kg at a body weight of 60kg, EFSA said.

The panel did stress some concerns at current limitations of using data acquired from animal tests to predict similar allergenicity of human subjects though.

Fruit appeal

The approval of noni leaves in infusions follows on from similar approvals of the plant’s fruit to be used in juice production.

The noni plant is one of a number of antioxidant fruits, including pomegranate, guarana, mangosteen, goji berries and blueberries, which are increasingly seen by food and beverage makers as up and coming ingredients.

Leatherhead Foods predicts that sales of such heart health foods will rise nearly 60 per cent over the 2004-2009 period to reach nearly $5.7bn by 2009. Although it said in its recent "Heart Benefit Foods" report that, until now, juice drinks have tended to have a general health positioning due to their antioxidant content, there are signs that this may be about to change.

Noni juice concerns

Some case reports have surfaced since the decision was made, which link adverse health affects with consumption of the juice.

However, in a review of genotoxicity data on the juice from the Tahitian Noni International in collaboration with the University Medical School of Hamburgs Department of Toxicology, researchers claimed that consuming the product had negligible risk.

The review suggested that reports of potential adverse effects of the juice were "disparate" due to confounding factors such as other ingredients in the juice, and people also taking Chinese herbs or prescription drugs.

"This review has drawn together, for the first time, documented food usages and formal safety studies. It appears that noni juice is as safe as other common fruit juices," wrote lead author Brett West in the Institute of Food Technologists' Journal of Food Science (Vol. 71, pp. R100-R105).

Source : http://www.beveragedaily.com/Markets/EFSA-approves-noni-novel-tea-formul...