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PEI Students Help Fix Oyster Industry Problem

From: Food in Canada

Charlottetown, PEI – Students at the University of Prince Edward Island have developed a piece of equipment that will make oyster growing a whole lot less labour intensive.

In a story on the university’s website (“SSDE students flip oyster problem into a business opportunity,” on Oct. 4, 2017), UPEI explains that “farmed oysters, which are grown in cages weighing up to 200 pounds each, need to be turned once to twice per week during the growing months for an average of five years.”

Some farms may have anywhere from 200 cages to thousands of them. So growers look for employees strong enough to handle the job for up to 10 hours per day, says the story. The job of cage turning helps to “discourage mussels, barnacles and algae build-up, which lets water circulate better and more food reach the oysters. This results in more appealing oysters that can garner higher prices.”

The students in the School of Sustainable Design and Engineering (SSDE) at UPEI developed “specially designed equipment that gently guides the oyster cage in a roller coaster-like flip,” says UPEI. The students are Jordan Sampson, Brett McDermott and Dylan MacIssac.

According to UPEI, the industry has welcomed the news of the invention. It removed the “back-breaking labour” from the job; saves time and money; and will help address staff shortages.

An independent PEI-based company, Synapse Inc., has stepped up to help the students turn their invention into a marketable product. The company helps transfer expertise and knowledge from the UPEI into products, services, and insights that offer benefits beyond the university.

The students have filed for patent, start-up funds and will soon incorporate their company.

Soy research fights food poisoning

From Food In Canada

The latest use for soy could fight food poisoning. University of Guelph researchers are using soy extracts – isoflavones and peptides – to prevent the growth of microbial pathogens that cause foodborne illnesses.

Suresh Neethirajan is a University of Guelph engineering professor and director of the BioNano Laboratory. Neethirajan and his research team have found soy extracts can be more effective in fighting against bacteria, including Listeria and Pseudomonas pathogens, than current synthetic chemicals commonly used to preserve foods.

Already consumed in everyday food products, soybean derivatives are can be found in food including baked goods, canned foods, cheese, cooking oils, ice cream, and meat alternatives.

“Studies have shown heavy, continued use of current chemical antimicrobial agents can cause strains of bacteria to become resistant and making them ineffective,” says Neethirajan, explaining they also kill all bacteria – good and bad. “Using this soy alternative in food products will only target pathogenic or bad bacteria, leaving the good, healthy bacteria in foods that aid in digestion and help us properly process the food we eat.”

Because the soy extracts have the ability to selectively inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria compared to beneficial bacteria, some health issues commonly associated to the synthetic-based food preservatives will be eliminated, notes Neethirajan.

This project has received support from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

The right equipment can also reduce the risk of food poisoning. Learn more about Ever-Kleen® technology from Tri-Mach Group here.
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P.E.I. government invests in province’s lobster holding capacity

From The Guardian

There will be more space available in P.E.I. to store live lobsters so they are as fresh as possible when they are processed and sent around the world.

Innovation P.E.I. has contributed more than $224,000 in grants to the Live Lobster Holding Program since it began in March 2015, with the remaining $2.2 million coming from the private sector. The expansions are being made to holding facilities in Evangeline, Acadian Supreme Inc.; Souris, Colville Bay Oyster Co. Ltd.; Tignish, Royal Star Foods Ltd.; Summerside, JMK Fish Mart Co.; and Darnley, Basin View Seafood Inc.

The projects will add more than a half-a-million pounds to the province’s total lobster holding capacity, which is approximately 2.3 million pounds. Being able to hold live lobster for a longer period gives processors more flexibility to adjust their production to meet existing labour supply.

Read the full article here.

Amazon is going to sell its own line of food

From ReCode

Amazon is going to start selling its own brands of snacks, diapers and detergent — a move lots of traditional retailers have already made. But Amazon isn’t a traditional retailer, so this move could be very meaningful for Amazon and its competitors.

The e-commerce powerhouse will soon begin selling its own packaged goods exclusively to Amazon Prime members under brands like Happy Belly and Mama Bear, the Wall Street Journal reports. Recode reported in February that Amazon was testing out the Mama Bear brand name.

Amazon already sells things like electronic accessories, office supplies and even clothing under a variety of its own brand names. Now it’s going all in on groceries and household products.

While some people will point out that so-called “private labeling” is nothing new — grocery stores and big-box retailers have been increasingly pushing their in-house brands — this is a much bigger deal. That’s because the growth in retail is all going to be online, and Amazon owns online. It already accounts for half of all sales growth in U.S. e-commerce.

Read the full article here.

This groundbreaking technology will soon let us see exactly what’s in our food

From the Washington Post

Imagine a scanner the size of a grain of rice, built into your phone. You go to the grocery store and point it at something you want to buy. If it’s an apple, the scanner will tell you what variety it is, how much vitamin C it has and how long it has been in cold storage. If it’s a fish, you’ll learn whether it’s really orange roughy or just tilapia being passed off as something more expensive. If it’s a muffin, the device will tell you whether there’s gluten in it.

Although you won’t be able to do it tomorrow, this isn’t some kind of distant Jetsonian vision of the future. I’ve held the rice-size scanner in my hand; it was built for only a few dollars. I’ve seen bigger, more robust versions of the scanner do the things that your smartphone will be able to do, probably during the administration of the president we’re deciding on right now.

Every substance reflects (and absorbs) light in a different way, and the graph of that reflected light is a kind of optical fingerprint. Except it’s better. Although the whorls and lines in our fingertips don’t say anything inherent about their owner (See that swirl? Doesn’t mean you’re smart.), the peaks and valleys of the optical fingerprint do. That peak there is vitamin C. That other one is sugar. This pattern means gluten.

Identifying a food and its characteristics based on the scan is a twofold job: First, you simply match the optical reading to a library of known objects; second, you read the topography of the graph to zero in on specific characteristics. The two together can tell you an awful lot about what you’re scanning.

Read the full article here.

Food processors get a kick start with Food Starter

From Food In Canada

With nearly 20,000 new food products introduced to the market each year, consumers have a lot of choice. Each new product represents countless hours of hard work perfecting the product, conducting market research, meeting regulatory requirements and making critical business decisions.

Food Starter is a new venture that provides a launch pad for the discovery, creation and success of new food products and companies in Toronto.

Launched in 2015, Food Starter is a hands-on incubator program for entrepreneurs who want make a breakthrough in the food market. The 20,000 square foot facility provides access to shared production and packaging facilities, business advisory services and a structured training program to help entrepreneurs build and grow their food processing business.

“Food Starter focuses on helping early-stage food processors commercialize and scale the development of their food products so they can become successful in the marketplace and create sustainable jobs,” says Dana McCauley, Food Starter Executive Director. “Our programs bring together all the necessary pieces and people to develop a successful, saleable food.”

McCauley and her team provide clients with customized services including essential business skills, access to commercial and industrial equipment and assistance fielding the regulatory landscape.

Read the full article here.

Seafood plants able to hire more temporary foreign workers this year

From the CBC

The federal government has removed restrictions on the number of temporary foreign workers seasonal employers can hire in 2016. The previous Conservative government had placed a cap on the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers employers could hire. The current cap is 20 per cent of an employer’s workforce, dropping to 10 per cent on July 1, 2016.

But last month the new Liberal government provided an exemption to the cap for all seasonal industries which employ workers for a maximum of 180 days. Those employers still have to undergo a labour market assessment for each position to confirm the job cannot be filled locally, but for 2016 there’s no limit to the number of foreign workers they can bring in under the program.

“We’ve heard from groups across Canada that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program needs to change, including from businesses. A small number of businesses in certain sectors tell us they need more flexibility to meet their workforce needs,” said a written statement from Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk.

Atlantic seafood processors were lobbying government to allow them to hire more foreign workers. Dennis King, executive director of the P.E.I. Seafood Processors Association, said a deal was reached at the end of last month after the Maritime Seafood Coalition met with officials in Ottawa.

Read the full article here.

Parts of Canada, U.S. brand themselves ‘protein highway’

From the Toronto Star

Officials in three Canadian provinces and six northern U.S. states are launching an effort to brand the region as the potential provider of protein to the world. The “Protein Highway” project aims to encourage scientists to work together and share information on protein-rich crops, said Kevin Kephart, South Dakota State University’s vice-president for research and economic development. That could lead to research that would aid farmers and also help entrepreneurs take new food products to market, he said.

Canadian researchers David Gauthier and Larry Sernyk estimate the demand for animal protein will double by 2040 as the world’s population increases. That should result in more demand for high-protein plant products to feed the animals being raised for meat. More people also likely will need to get their protein from plants and fish.

High-protein crops such as lentils, dry beans and dry peas have great potential throughout the “Protein Highway” region, which encompasses Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta north of the border and the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Montana and Iowa south of the border, the Canadian researchers said.

To learn more about protein processing solutions from Tri-Mach Group, visit our Meat/Poultry, Bakery, and Snack industry webpages.
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Report Card on Ontario Food and Beverage Processing Industry Innovation Tells the Story

From Newswire.ca

Food and Beverage Ontario has released two reports on innovation in the Ontario food and beverage processing industry. Reports have indicated that there are several value-creating physical and on-line innovation resources available in Ontario to processor businesses across the province but coordination and communication continue to be key to uptake.

Complementary on-line innovation resources are also available and are largely concerned with information on government programs and funding and advisory services for businesses. Report highlights:

  • Processors cite product innovation as their top innovation priority, however they rank innovation technology and methods as the overall industry priority.
  • The greatest challenge limiting a company’s ability to innovate was identified by over 50 per cent of the respondents as financial resources and time.
  • Companies that seek out external support equally prefer both in-person contact and websites.
  • Processors are asking for innovation resources to be better coordinated, easy to navigate and to access.

“We have been working hard for the last year mapping resources and building a provincial innovation network with key stakeholders,” said Norm Beal, CEO, Food and Beverage Ontario. “Now it’s time for FBO to implement a coordinated plan that will make it easy for Ontario’s 3,000 plus processor businesses to locate exactly the innovation support they need to be more competitive.”

Read the full article here.

North America Expected to Have the Highest Food Processing Equipment Market Share by 2020

From Digital Journal

Persistence Market Research Pvt. Ltd is released new forthcoming report on title “Food Processing Equipment Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast to 2020”. The report finds that Asia Pacific is one of the fastest growing markets for food processing equipment. The market is driven by increasing demand of processed food products in emerging and developing countries including India, China, Indonesia and Thailand. In Asia Pacific region, China accounts for the largest market in food processing equipment. According to Italian Trade Commission, the total market size of the Indian food processing industry is expected to be reaching around USD 330.0 billion by 2014-15.

In North America region, the U.S. accounts for the largest market in food processing equipment. Growing awareness level regarding new food products, rising economy, investment on research and development over food processing equipment are some of key reason, which drive the food processing market in European region. Global food processing equipment market is expected to grow in single digit growth during forecasted period 2014- 2020.

Learn more about Tri-Mach Group’s sanitary Ever-Kleen® line of processing equipment here.

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