The Use of Homogenizers in the Food Industry

Today, the food processing industry uses a wide variety of high tech equipment in the processing and production of food and beverages. The benefits of using homogenizers are widely known throughout the food industry. The process of converting two separate immiscible liquids into an emulsion, or of reducing the size of the droplets in a preexisting emulsion, is known as homogenization. Homogenizers provide a more stable product, reduce the use of additives, provide a better shelf life, and give manufacturers the ability to perfect the composition of their products.

The process of homogenization allows the reduction and standardization of the particle size of fluid products such as in the making of sauces, fruit juices, beverages, flavors and more, under conditions of intense pressure, shear, turbulence, and acceleration to make them more stable and have an improved taste and texture. This process is achieved by forcing the product through a homogenizing valve at extreme pressure. Depending on the application, liquid products with suspended particles of varying sizes are processed through a high pressure homogenizer to obtain homogeneous micronized particles that normally range from 0.4 to 1 micron.

High-pressure homogenization is an essential sanitary process stage in the treatment of dairy, food, food ingredients, nutritional products, and much more. The mechanical devices known as homogenizers give manufacturers the technological support for dynamic high pressure homogenization. In the food industry, this process subjects the liquid to intense mechanical agitation. Manufacturers have custom engineered solutions and special versions for specific applications available to them that will meet their specific product needs. As well, these Homogenizers meet the requirements for any industry application.

Homogenization is often essential in preparing foods and is quite often used in the production of dairy and food products such as pastes, oils, animal fats, syrups, milk concentrates, puddings, purees, butters, baby foods, and much more. The actual composition of the product will vary according to the amount of pressure and the type of product. The general rule of thumb is the higher the processing pressure, the smaller the particles that are produced.

The fluid mechanical process known as homogenization involves the use of mechanical device homogenizers for the subdivision of droplets or particles into micron sizes to produce a stable emulsion or dispersion for further processing. After the process of homogenization is complete, the particles are a uniform size which normally ranges from 0.2 to 2 micron, depending on the operating pressure. Homogenizers have a reliable and proven design. For instance, they have accessible packing for simpler and quicker maintenance and they offer pneumatically controlled homogenizing valves.

Homogenizers are engineered to be completely reliable to minimize maintenance servicing and down time. Homogenizers are vital to any manufacturer in the food industry that requires the reduction of particle size for manufacturing of their foods and beverages. These devices are a critical part of any food processing plant and represent an important capital investment for the food and beverage processing markets. Fortunately, there are companies that sell highly efficient homogenizers and high shear mixers that will meet the needs and requirements of the food processing and manufacturing industries.

The Foods You Think Are Healthy, But Aren’t

There are a lot of foods out in the world that have been promoted as healthy, but they actually are not. Certain food products get advertised as healthy to make us believe they are good for us. The reality is that there are many unhealthy foods we perceive as “healthy.” Knowledge is power, so here are some “supposedly good” foods that you should stay away from.

Canned Tomatoes:

Since tomatoes are prominent in many delicious recipes, this is hard to hear. You are better off using fresh, organic tomatoes to make those recipes. Why aren’t canned tomatoes good for you? Most cans contain BPA, which is a toxic chemical that leads to an increased risk of developing prostate or breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or other health problems. Tomatoes are naturally acidic and that causes the BPA to leak into the food. Some cans say that they are BPA-free. Don’t be fooled! Companies started removing BPA from products after severe pressure from the public, but they started using another product called BPS, which is just as bad. Avoid cans and go for glass jars.

Salad Dressings:

We like eating salads with different flavors. Our taste buds have become used to salad dressings, but most all of them are unhealthy and counteract the nutrients of the vegetables. Most salad dressings are full of sugar, vegetable oils, artificial chemicals, and trans fats. A great way to get the proper nutrients from salads is to make your own dressings. Apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil are the two best ingredients for salad dressings. Add the spices or herbs of your choice, or try this recipe.

Vegan Junk Food:

It doesn’t mean it’s good just because it has the word vegan in it. It’s still junk food, which means it’s processed. Case in point.

Pre-made Smoothies or Juices:

Those pre-made or store bought smoothies and juices aren’t as healthy as you think they are. These smoothies are not the best kept health secret. They are actually loaded with sugar and can contain 680-1,000 calories. The high sugar content in these can cause blood sugar levels to spike or drop, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Even those bottled green drinks aren’t giving you the healthy nutrients you think you’re getting. There can be as many as 50 grams of sugar in one of those bottles. You are way better off making your own smoothies or juices to actually get the nutrients from fresh fruits and veggies.

Trail Mix:

Trail mix is a great snack, if you make it right. Most people like the ease of grabbing a handful or a small bag of trail mix to snack on. The reality is that most trail mixes are high in calories, contain high amounts of sodium and sugar, have chocolate or candy-coated pieces, or have dried fruit, which contains sulfur dioxide and sugar. Most trail mixes are full of trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and simple sugars. Look for trail mixes that have unsalted nuts and no sugar. Better yet, make your own using raw, unsalted nuts and seeds and freshly dehydrated fruits.

Soy Protein Isolate & Unfermented Soy Products:

The health facts you have come to believe about soy are lies. The number one problem with soy is that 90-95% of soybeans, from which soy is derived, grown in the US are genetically engineered. Most soybeans are designed to be “Roundup ready,” meaning they are supposed to survive lethal herbicides. The primary ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, can disrupt the female reproductive cycle. Whether or not you eat soy milk or tofu, you have to pay attention to labels because there are many names for soy additives. You can be eating genetically modified foods without even knowing it. In addition to soy protein isolate, you should avoid all unfermented soy products. You should only eat soy products if it is organic and has been properly fermented. Other than that, stay away from soy.

Whenever you buy food, be it organic or locally grown, look for the highest quality product you can get. Avoid foods that have been grown with pesticides, genetically modified organisms, and have added growth hormones. Seek out your local farmer’s market or organic grocery store to get the best foods you can. Places to get actual healthy food are more abundant and closer to you than you think.

The UK Needs a Strategy for Farming and Future Food Production

The UK’s largest manufacturing industry is food production is but the final report from the soon-to-be-abolished Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) released in late March has criticised the lack of Government plans for its future.

Its review of the last decade argues that the Government must be actively involved in promoting sustainable food production and feeding growing populations healthily from locally grown food in order to meet the rising challenge of food poverty rather than relying on a “leave it to the market” approach.

The NFU (UK National Farmers’ Union) had also highlighted the issue of a lack of Government involvement at its annual conference in February 2011, where NFU president Peter Kendall, argued that the country needs a properly thought-through food strategy.

Otherwise the country will depend more and more on food imports, he said,.

Escalating prices since 2008 have affected not only consumers but also farmers, who are having to pay more for both animal feed and fuel. Farmers also consistently complain about the pressure from the major superstore retailers driving down prices to unsustainably low levels, where the return to farmers is lower than the cost of producing foods.

Key areas for action highlighted in the SDC report include reducing food waste to landfill to zero by 2015, reflecting the cost of a nutritious and sustainable diet in benefit and minimum wage levels and ensuring schools include cooking skills in the curriculum.

It also stresses that the decline in UK food production and helping to expand sustainable production of vegetable and fruit crops needs to be reversed.

Boosting production to meet the population growth at the same time as protecting the environment are the major challenges for food producers now and in the future and arguably need direct government involvement.

The EU has already introduced some initiatives to withdraw the older generation of pesticides, some of which have been shown to be harmful to both the land and to human health. However, this has led to fears among UK growers of crops, vegetables and fruit, that there are currently few alternatives licensed and available to them.

There are more environmentally friendly low-chem agricultural products, including biopesticides, biofungicides and yield enhancers in the pipeline from the biopesticides developers but they are very expensive to get through the trial, registration and licensing processes and it can take several years.

This is just one instance of where a properly -funded, planned and government-driven food strategy can make a difference, not least if it were possible to get a common agreement between governments on the licencing criteria, rather than the country by country approach to regulation that can hamper efforts to get new, more environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural products out to the producers who need to use them to increase productivity, protect their yield from wastage that results from attacks by pests and diseases, protect their land’s fertility and to be able to bring healthier, residue free produce to consumers looking for healthy foods at a price they can afford.

Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers

Food Products to Avoid During Pregnancy

There are certain food products which should be avoided or taken in limited quantities during pregnancy to prevent harm to the unborn baby. Here is the list of food products, vitamins and minerals which should not be taken in excess quantities or completely avoided.

Raw meat, eggs and milk – During pregnancy expecting mothers should be careful to avoid food which can cause food poisoning. There are certain bacteria such as Campylobacter and salmonella which can cause food poisoning. Campylobacter is found in raw meat, and salmonella is found in raw meat, raw eggs and unpasteurized milk. One should avoid unpasteurized dairy products and extra care should be taken while buying sausages and burgers.

Food which is given in parties, barbecued meats and buffets are not prepared cautiously and it can contain harmful bacteria. Pate should not be taken as it can contain bacteria listeria. Hot dogs and deli meats can be dangerous and one should cook eggs until the white yolk and yellow surface gets hard. High amount of listeria is found in some cheese products.

Caffeine – High quantities of caffeine can raise the risk of miscarriage. Caffeine reduces fluids from the body and it can result in dehydration and loss of calcium. One should drink a good amount of water and take fruit juices instead of caffeinated drinks. One can take milk to meet the need for calcium.

Harmful raw vegetables – One should always wash hands before eating and clean fruits and vegetables carefully with water. Vegetables also contain certain bacteria which can be harmful to the unborn baby. Raw sprouts such as clover, mung bean, radish and alfalfa should not be taken.

Herbal teas without recommendations – One should not take any herbs or herbal tea until it has been suggested to be safe by the physician. There are certain herbal teas such as the raspberry leaf tea which can lead to contractions and complications.

Alcohol – Avoid alcohol as it can cause deformities in the new born baby. It is directly related to low birth weight issue in babies.

Vitamin A – One should not take access amount of vitamin A because it can harm the unborn baby. One should avoid intake of liver because it contains a good amount of vitamin A. Vitamin A is found in carrots and green leafy vegetables. Restricted quantities of vitamin A can be taken.

Untested Fish – Intake of certain kind of fishes can be harmful because certain fish contain pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins. Tuna is a type of fish which contains a good amount of mercury that can be harmful for the nervous system of the fetus. One should not eat shark, marlin and swordfish. There are certain fishes which are exposed to industrial pollutants and it should be avoided. Fish from lakes and rivers can be exposed to high quantities of polychlorinated biphenyls and undercooked shellfish such as oysters and mussels is also harmful for the unborn baby. One can meet the local fish advisories to know if the fish is safe for intake of not.