Gulfood Manufacturing 2014

Bühler: ‘Biological hazards are the game changers of the dry food industry’

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Béatrice Conde-Petit
Béatrice Conde-Petit

Related tags Food safety Food Cereal

Food Safety, in particular biological hazards are the game changers of the dry food industry, according to Bühler.

Béatrice Conde-Petit, group expert, Food Science and Technology, Bühler, will join a panel of speakers at Gulfood Manufacturing 2014 where she will present the big global challenges of the food industry and talk about the value chain focusing on food safety, nutrition and sustainability.

Thermal processing

She and the panel will give examples such as pulses (rediscovering pulses for the western world, pulses as a sustainable protein/less meat more pulses), and food safety (hygienic design which comes with tangible benefits, and upgrading thermal processing like roasting into trusted bacterial inactivation steps).

Speaking to ahead of the show she said: “The fact that bacteria like Salmonella can survive in a dry food environment, are relatively heat resistant and also pose a health risk in plant-based foods - is a relatively new scientific finding​.

At the same time we see more and stricter food safety regulations around the world. The new risk landscape is reshaping the food industry in the sense that much more emphasis is placed on hygienic design, efficient cleaning and thermal process validation​.”

According to Conde-Petit, food safety is part of Bühler’s sustainability agenda, since improved food safety though hygienic plant and equipment design not only mean better end consumer protection, but less post-harvest losses, less out of spec products, less use of water and cleaning chemicals and overall more efficient processing lines.

Food Safety Initiative

Three years ago the company started its Food Safety Initiative, where it listens to customers to understand their pains, needs and desires, and works with food safety experts around the world.

It has developed a number of technology including hygienically designed equipment to minimize the risk of contamination and increase cleaning efficiency, machines for the reduction of mycotoxins in cereal grains such as Aflatoxin on maize, systems for destruction of insect eggs in wheat flour without use of chemicals and upgrading its thermal processing steps such as roasting into validated kill-steps for reduction of bacterial load in nuts.

Most food safety hazards cannot be controlled with one measure alone, but require a risk based approach along the processing chain​,” said Conde-Petit.

One example is the system approach we propose for controlling mycotoxins. These are toxins produced by moulds which grow on raw material like cereals, nuts, etc. In contrast to bacteria, mycotoxins cannot be inactivated by heat​.

The best way forward is to take preventive measures from field to fork based on appropriate post-harvest drying, proper storage and targeted agro-food conversion steps that reduce mycotoxin levels by a combination of mechanical cleaning with optical sorting of grains​. 

Emerging markets

With regards to hygienic design the challenge lies in reconciling food safety needs with other requirements, like operator safety, processing functionality, explosion protection, energy efficiency, manufacturing costs, standardization, food contact material compliance, good ergonomics for operators​.”

She added the emerging markets have basically the same food safety pains and needs as developed markets. Depending on the region the emphasis may be stronger on preventing losses by insects, controlling mycotoxins or preventing food from being contaminated by chemicals.

Bühler has manufacturing in China, India, South Africa and Brazil. It also has service stations across Russia, China, Africa and South America and plans for the Middle East. It currently has a presence in Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Globalization means food quality and safety requirements become international. The countries that export food crops, ingredients or final products are exposed to the same strict regulations and standards​,” said Conde-Petit .

At the same time, food has not only to meet safety, but needs to be affordable, healthy and meet the needs of the local culture​.”

Bühler is exhibiting at stand (A1-A15) at Gulfood Manufacturing (November 9-11) with a conference in Hatta H at 2pm on Monday, November 10.

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