Category: Packaging & Ingredients

Annatto: A Natural Color Solution

Have you heard the term Annatto before? You’re probably wondering if it’s a fun tropical island you can travel to, or maybe even an article of clothing you can wear, but really, it’s something that is more prevalent in your daily life than you had imagined.

Annatto is a type of food coloring made from the seeds of the achiote tree. It ranges from yellow to red-orange in hue, depending on the application and dosage rate, and is a staple in the food and beverage industry. It is also considered a staple in the dairy industry because it is stable, economical, and comes in a wide variety of forms, including powder, paste, liquid, and essential oils, making it applicable for use in almost any application. A unique fact about annatto is that although it is not well-known, an estimated 70% of natural food colors are derived from it. It also acts as a condiment used to enhance the flavor of dishes due to its slightly sweet and peppery taste.

Annatto also has many possible health benefits associated with it. Annatto contains various plant-based antioxidant properties that are designed to neutralize potentially harmful molecules. If these harmful molecule levels rise too high, they could damage your cells. This means that annatto can help lower your chances of developing a chronic condition such as cancer and heart disease. Research discovered that annatto also encompasses antimicrobial properties that aid in food preservation. This means that its purpose is to further extend the shelf-life for many food products, such as bread. A few other miscellaneous health benefits associated with annatto is that it may promote eye health, aid heart health, and may reduce inflammation in the body.

Overall, it appears that this natural color is generally safe for most individuals. Although still in the early stages of research, the biggest side effect discovered thus far with this seed/food coloring is allergies. This appears to be very minimal for something that has many health benefits associated with it. There still needs to be additional research done to verify if annatto could be a possible recommendation regarding human health reasons.

At Nelson-Jameson, we believe in promoting food safety and offering options that are best suited for company’s to utilize in their industry. That is why we currently offer various annatto color options that are designed to offer natural color solutions for cheese products.

Link to article: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/annatto#bottom-line

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Foam Alone: Mixed in New Quark

While whipping up a quick dinner recently, I decided to use my handy-dandy microwave to get the rice cooking portion of the meal done. Just below, the thrilling smells of cooking vegetables and fish wafted up as I did my best not to burn what was in the pan in front of me on the stove.  Feeling good about my culinary self momentarily, I casually glanced up at the microwave.  Torrents of foam cascaded out of the vessel I had put the rice in…in the end, I had cooked rice and a significant starchy mess to clean up. When on top of a freshly poured beer, a healthy level of foam can bring me great joy; in this instance, it brought me back to Earth in terms of thinking about my talents in the kitchen.  

Now, take that unfortunate incident and think about a food processing facility producing your favorite products. Foam happens in many food industry applications and processes…consider the mess, the waste, and the headache that foam could cause at an industrial level. To decrease waste, increase efficiency and yield, and keep processors focused on the food and not cleaning up huge messes, the food industry (among others) utilizes antifoams and defoamers to keep this pesky presence in check.  

The two products differ, but have similar goals in the food processing environment. For instance, Nelson-Jameson offers Magrabar® food grade antifoams from Munzing that are formulated/added directly to the food product/mixture. Antifoams should be added as a preventative measure, “prior to foam formation at a location and time as close to the foaming problem as possible.” Defoamers, instead, are ideal to take care of existing foam “before tanks or containers overflow.” In the end, these products are here to help food processors: fill containers to capacity, improve pumping and mixing (can be used with CIP processes), prevent product losses, and help to improve safety and housekeeping. 

Whether you are processing potatoes, dairy products, juices, etc., and you are having issues with foam that are hampering getting safe, quality food out of the door, check in with our Product Specialists to learn more about antifoam and defoamer applications in the food industry. In the meantime, I’m going to try heading back into the kitchen to recover my sense of culinary self-worth, but perhaps with a rice cooker in tow.  

 

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Pepper Prerogatives

Do you like things spicy? Are you prone to throw a bit (or a lot) of pepperjack on your sandwich to remind you you’re alive? Maybe the mild burn isn’t enough for you…maybe you want to take your taste buds to the edge, shaking the very fabric of common sense, by combining ghost pepper cheese and that cracker?  For those looking to add a bit of “pep” with your pepper, to those aiming to melt their very consciousnesses, Nelson-Jameson is a progressive enabler of the peppery American palate.  

Working together with another family-owned company, EDCO Food Products, Nelson-Jameson hauls approximately 20 truckloads of peppers up to Wisconsin every month. Those peppers are distributed to food processors throughout the nation, including many cheesemakers. While perennial favorites like jalapeno peppers help to fill those trucks up, the American palate for heat also ensures that plenty of habaneros, jalapeno puree, Bhut Jolokia/ghost peppers (among others) join them for the ride up north to Marshfield, WI to be distributed nationally.

The peppers are grown and processed near Chihuahua, Mexico for maximum taste and freshness. Put into a brine, the pecks and pecks of peppers come in pails, drums, and totes that are then used by food manufacturers in everything from cheese to beverages. Once limited to milder varieties in a select few products, the American consumer is now demanding hotter and hotter products of all different kinds.           

So, the next time you open the fridge to add some spice in your life, know that Nelson-Jameson and EDCO are working closely to ensure you can stay an active citizen in Scoville and beyond. We’ll keep the trucks running so you can keep your sinuses open and your sense of adventure just a slice of cheese away. For companies looking to spice up their offerings with peppers, you can contact one of our ingredient specialists at sales@nelsonjameson.com.


Edible Packaging? Are we ready?

edible burger

Credit: NY Daily News

Back in 1960s, Roald Dahl’s imagination ran away with Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory in Charlie and Chocolate Factory where Willy Wonka, Oompa-Loompas, and the Everlasting Gobstopper were created. In 1971 the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was released into theaters where we watched Willy Wonka drink from a tea cup and then eat it. It has been 45 years since the movie was created, and the age of edible or innovative packaging is becoming a reality.

If we take the time to think about the amount of packaging we use on just one item, we might rethink what we could do differently. For example, as I’m writing this article I am eating a bag of microwave popcorn. The popcorn comes in a bag, the bag is in a cellophane wrapper, and the wrapped popcorn bag was in a box, inside another box that it was shipped in. That’s FOUR layers of packaging to get to the popcorn. According to the EPA based on the 2013 Fact Sheet, Americans alone generated about 254 million TONS of trash and composted over 87 million tons of this material. [See the statistics by clicking here!]   One can easily see that our environment needs a break from the waste that we, as humans create.

Just recently the American Chemical Society introduced a packaging film made of milk protein, casein. According to research leader Peggy Tomasula, D.Sc., “ The protein-based films are powerful oxygen blockers that help prevent food spoilage. When used in packaging, they could prevent food waste during distribution along the food chain.” [Learn more by clicking here.] Currently most food packaging is petroleum-based which puts additional unnecessary stress on our environment, with plastic taking up to 1,000 years to completely decompose. So by the time my kid is a grandparent, the plastic I’m using today still might not be decomposed.

At first the film was hard to handle and would easily dissolve in water too quickly. When citrus pectin was added to the blend the packaging became even stronger. Not only did it become stronger but it was more resistant to humidity and high temperatures. In the future, nutritious additives such as vitamins, probiotics and nutraceuticals could be added. Also, though casein doesn’t have a lot of flavor, flavors could actually be added in the future.  

There are several drawbacks to casein-based packaging along with other edible packaging would require a secondary package to protect the edible packaging from getting wet and dissolving, or getting dirty and contaminated with microbes, becoming unsuitable for consumption. This issue also lies with other edible packaging developments.   Edible packaging also has an uphill battle of overcoming the public’s’ perception of eating the packaging that their food comes in, and trusting what they are consuming is healthy and won’t cause further health concerns like cancer down the road.

Casein is far from being the only player in the edible packaging sphere.   For example, Loliware edible drinking cups; Bob’s Brazilian Hamburger WrapsWikiCells, which are edible bites like yogurt balls by Stonyfield Organic; and Vivos Films are all creations of companies looking to package food with these new delivery methods.    

Just think about it, we already eat apples, peaches, and other fruit and vegetable with the skins on. Those skins are fruits and vegetables own packaging. We eat that so why can’t we eat an environmentally-friendly  cup that is made from sweeteners, filtered water, seaweed, and other natural flavors derived from fruits and vegetables?     Maybe Willy Wonka wasn’t so far off…perhaps we can have our tea, and eat the cup and saucer too…


Arch Deluxe: Nelson-Jameson at IAFP

IAFP 2016 , image courtesy of foodprotection.org

IAFP 2016 , image courtesy of foodprotection.org

In the shadow of the towering Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, Nelson-Jameson will be displaying a host of products and services at the International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting (IAFP)! From July 31st-August 2nd, swing by the Exhibit Hall at the America’s Center Convention Complex to see all we have to offer!   Dayton, Fritz, Amanda, Barb, and Mat will be in attendance to help you check out several of our offerings, and to assist in figuring out how Nelson-Jameson can be of service in supplying your Lab, MRO, Processing, Ingredient, Packaging, and Cleaning Chemical needs!  This year, we’ll be featuring a wide selection of Whirl-Pak bags, 3M Food Safety supplies & instruments, 3M Safety products, Metal Detectable & Color-Coded products, and a host of other quality items.

Each year we look forward to IAFP, as it gives us a chance to connect with customers on the front lines in the fight for food safety. The Exhibit Hall, as well as a remarkable program of presentations, workshops, and meetings bring together an array of resources that continue to propel the industry forward in our new regulatory era. To check out more about IAFP, click here. Be sure to stop by our booth (#619) to find out more about how Nelson-Jameson take care of all of your food safety supply needs and beyond!

In addition, this year we will be featuring an INCREDIBLE drawing for 3M ATP Clean-Trace Luminometer! The 3M Clean-Trace ATP Luminometer is portable, compact, and simple to use for easy testing. The Luminometer is supplied with data trending software that allows plants to filter, sort, and chart your results for easier analysis, making you feel more secure about the decisions that are being made for your plant.

All you have to do to win this beauty is to simply come visit us at Booth #619, and drop off your business card. One winner will be drawn at random, and booth attendance at the time of the drawing is not required. The prize is currently valued at over $3,000, and is not eligible for exchange, return, or credit to Nelson-Jameson or 3M.

See you under the Arch!