Hello everyone in this new Blog post! With the aim of bringing you closer to Amerex’s products, we want to share with you a short and very schematic conceptual map that summarizes what has been building throughout its 40-year history thanks to its natural products.

As a first reference and taking into account the applicability of our preservatives, we consider as target foods those that are commercially threatened, due to their short shelf-life and their need to be stored refrigerated.

Amerex’s concept of a preservative includes a wide range of natural products that enhance the food safety (from a microbiological perspective) and the shelf-life (referring to the organoleptic characteristics), also reducing the need to use certain treatments or chemical additives, for example.

Bearing in mind the main characteristics of our target Foods and pointing out that our products do not produce colour, odour or taste; we have been broadening and improving our applications to reach all kinds of foods and food sectors for several years.

All these concepts are reflected in the Amerex Applications Map. Contact us and ask for your copy in the following  email.

In addition, we will be happy to attend to your interests, curiosities and needs and to answer any questions you may have. We really hope this document brings you great ideas!

imasd@amerexingredientes.es

Phone number: +34 91 845 42 14

Amerex see you neXt time

Welcome again to Amerex’s Blog!

We have already entered February and it seems like a very busy month, on which we keep receiving many updates from the food industry. Some of them are very inspiring to begin a new season of our wonderful Blog. Let’s check it out!

Year 2020 welcomed us with a new law set up by the USA that forbids vegan and vegetarian companies to label ‘meat’, in the full sense of the word, to products that seem like it. This law, which is called The Real MEAT Act (The Real Marketing Edible Artificials Thruthfully Act of 2019), establishes the definitions for ‘beef’ and ‘beef product’ and require the imitation products to contain the word ‘imitation’ immediately before or after the name. These terms are found to ensure that there is no misunderstanding for the consumer, so they know that the food they eat does not contain meat at all.

The Real MEAT law defines "beef" or "beef product" as any food containing edible meat tissue from domesticated Bos indicus or Bos taurus cattle

The law defines with the term ‘imitation meat food product’ as any product manufactured to appear as a meat food product or any food product, which approximates the aesthetic qualities (primarily texture, flavour and appearance) and/or chemical characteristics, but does not contain any meat, meat food product, or meat by-product ingredients. In addition, it defines the terms ‘imitation meat food product’ and ‘imitation meat by-product’, so that it leaves no room for doubt for the vegetable product companies.

This law has been brought up as a result of the general discontent regarding this matter for a long time. Not only regarding meat products and its by-products, but also with the so-called vegetable ‘milk’.

According to the trends we have been exploring for the last several years for alternatives to the traditional products, vegetable beverages have increased and become highly important. From the beginning, the preferred term was vegetable ‘milks’: soya milk, almond milk, coconut milk…

This matter brought about a very interesting discussion as in the meat industry, that these beverages cannot nutritionally replace original cow’s milk, nor does their components or its nutritional content. Therefore, one cannot substitute the other under any circumstances.

What does the law state? According to the current legislation (Council Regulation (EC) nº 1234/2007), ‘The term ‘milk’ means exclusively the normal mammary secretion obtained from one or more milkings without either addition thereto or extraction therefrom’. However, this shall not apply ‘to the designation of products the exact nature of which is clear from traditional usage and/or when the designations are clearly used to describe a characteristic quality of the product’. The last statement refers to a list of products that appear in the Commission Decision of 20 December 2010, on which almond milk is found to be the only vegetable beverage that can be labelled under this term.

We have already explained the law statements according to the nomenclature of meat products. Nevertheless, what are the consequences of it? These products do not apply to the same food safety and labelling standards as beef. Even though they are named after it, it is true that the ingredient’s legislation is not under control and therefore any additive may be added in their formulations. In other words, companies take advantage of very good marketing, making it look like meat, and what’s more, rules for additives are completely different. Besides, it is important to mention the analytics and inspections carried out in the meat industry, for example with Listeria or other pathogenic microorganisms, which are very strict. These are not so well defined in this type of products.

Then, what should we do? For now, this is the situation and that means for many companies to search for solutions for enhancing shelf-life and safety, such as the ones we provide at Amerex. Our technology is based on microorganisms that fit any nomenclatures and legislations, for every final product. And why are we so certain? Because we know that manufacturers have healthy foods on the market with consumer-oriented labels and Amerex as their provider of natural safety solutions.

Would you like to know more? Contact us and we will help you with everything you need.

See you soon and we will keep you updated!

imasd@amerexingredientes.es

Phone number: +34 91 845 42 14

Amerex see you neXt time

Hello everyone and welcome again to our Amerex Blog!

As we have mentioned in our previous Blog posts, Listeria monocytogenes, a common bacteria found in the food industry as well as the disease it causes -listeriosis-, are back in the spotlight. As per the information gathered in the last few months, even though it is related to the meat industry, it poses a threat to many other sectors as well.

Therefore, the objective of this Blog post is to ensure that everyone is conscious of another battlefield when it comes to Listeria: dairy industry. Specifically, and as a case study, we would like to explain a very interesting situation that happened at Amerex. Let’s have a look!

Feta cheese is a Greek origin cheese made mainly from goat milk. It is considered a “ready-to-eat meal” by the AESAN as it doesn’t require any cooking or processing to reduce or eliminate the presence of Listeria monocytogenes to bring it within the acceptable range. This is the main reason behind the prevalence of this type of bacteria in this cheese. Furthermore, according to integrated mathematical models in ComBase, an online tool created by a collaboration between Tasmania University and the USDA-ARS for quantitative food microbiology, feta cheese is classified as a food where the growth of Listeria monocytogenes is possible due to its pH, aW and lactic-acid concentration.

Feta cheese, a food where the growth of Listeria monocytogenes is possible

Nevertheless, numerous research papers published in major scientific journals proved that feta cheese, in particular, prevents the development of this family of bacteria and, in addition, leads to a progressive inactivation of microorganisms. These researches fool the industry into believing that feta cheese meets the necessary food safety requirements of food safety for Listeria monocytogenes for its entire shelf-life, however, it is important to bear in mind the significance of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), such as: contamination level of raw materials, specific processing conditions, etc… All of these are included in the barriers we discussed in the previous post from our Blog.

In fact, these HACCP guidelines contradict the information in the aforementioned scientific journals. The moment any raw material, mainly pasteurized milk, is contaminated during fermentation, it provides ideal conditions for the proliferation of the infectious agent within the first two days. Considering this growth, under certain circumstances, some strains of Listeria monocytogenes can survive a standard pasteurization process; this could be a cause of alarm for human health safety.

It should be noted that the low temperature and low pH conditions during storage provide an ideal environment for the stabilization of the bacteria in high concentrations. In addition, even in temperatures starting 1.7 ºC and above, it cannot be guaranteed that the cheese is free of pathogens. In addition, the regulation parameters specify that, in order to prove that Listeria monocytogenes does not grow in a product, it would have to meet one of the following requirements: pH≤4.4, or aW≤0.92, or a combination of both parameters: pH≤5.0 and aW≤0.94.

Since feta cheese has a pH of 4.4-4.6 and aW of 0.94-0.95, it barely fits within these parameters and it is likely to exceed in some batches. Therefore, taking into account the temperature mentioned above, we could be facing potential threats.

Following this explanation and the previous post from our blog, it is key to try to manufacture a 100% safe food item. It is clear that there is no single formula for achieving this level of absolute safety. However, the more barriers between the pathogen and our product, the better.

This is a problem that affects not only meat and dairy industry, but also other sectors of the food industry that are normally considered exempt for this threat.

There is always something to be done for improving safety. We invite you to share your own concerns, whatever industry you belong to, and we will provide personalized assistance to boost your confidence regarding the launch of products.

Here at Amerex we design our preservatives with specialized technology and are constantly developing our know-how, to achieve one of our main objectives: building a set of barriers that are unbreakable for any harmful microorganism.

Once again… Here we are!

imasd@amerexingredientes.es

Phone number: +34 91 845 42 14

Amerex see you neXt time

Welcome again to our blog as we say goodbye to summer! In today’s Blog, we will discuss one of the hottest issues in food industry at present-ensuring food safety against Listeria.

At Amerex, we are always on the lookout for important issues that concern major sectors of the food industry. Particularly, in recent months, various health problems caused by Listeria monocytogenes have surged, so let’s look into this in detail to find out more. For example, heat is not a deterrent to the growth of this bacteria, many products that are manufactured using various heat treatments, like fermented sausage (“chorizo”), cooked blood sausage (“morcilla”), roasted meat (“carne mechada”), or any other product strongly treated by heat, might still be affected by the growth of Listeria. There is a common tendency to rely these heat treatments followed by the refrigeration processes to eliminate the presence of these bacteria entirely but, ultimately, these act only as barriers. We believe that each barrier, though beneficial, works as an additional wall to prevent contamination. Therefore, the more barriers, the better the safety.

List of protective barriers: moisture and pH, packaging, chemical additives, atmosphere control. storage, HACCP systems and heat treatment

The need to protect meat products like the ones mentioned before against the harmful effects of Listeria is a serious issue that the food industry deals with currently. In case of the meat, there are two barriers: the heat treatment, which is the former barrier, followed by the refrigerated storage, which acts as the latter. Specifically related to the storage, we would like to cite this article from El Mundo: Listeria: Crece la amenaza de la bacteria que sobrevive en tu nevera (“Listeria: The threat of the bacteria that survives in your fridge grows”). This article describes the occurrence, development and consequences of the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in food and the measures to be taken for preventing its appearance and growth. However, heat treatment and refrigeration, combined with control of the product’s initial microbial load and hygiene, are sometimes taken into consideration while at other times, overlooked.

As companies in the meat sector, you may think that by controlling the above-mentioned barriers, you have already controlled the presence of Listeria, but sometimes, things are not that simple. In addition to all possible barriers, out of which heat treatment, refrigeration and hygiene are the most significant to consider when it comes to safety control, there exist further barriers like the preservative solutions provided by Amerex. One of our top sales, Fermitrat® Export, would act as an additional barrier by itself.

Image showing the effect of Fermitrat-Export, one of our preservatives, against Listeria sp. inoculated in foie. You can see how both dosages of Fermitrat control growth better, practically eliminating this bacteria at a dosage of 1.5 g/Kg of the preservative
Image showing the effect of Fermitrat-Export, one of our preservatives, against three strains of Listeria sp. inoculated into sliced ​​turkey. At a dosage of 1.5 g/Kg of Fermitrat, a bacteriostatic effect is produced, preventing the growth of the bacteria which is three logarithmic units lower than the sample without the preservative

Among the barriers, we can find references in the legislation about microbiological criteria, which includes pH and aW criteria. Therefore, once these two parameters are met, there is no further requirement to ensure safety.

Extract from the legislation about microbiological criteria, which establishes that products with less or equal to 4.4 pH levels and less or equal to 0.92 water activity, or products with with less or equal to 5 pH levels and less or equal to 0.94 water activity, cannot support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes

You may think that by abiding to the legislative parameters and maintaining adequate supervision pf certain other parameters, you are free from danger against Listeria. However, if you aim to create higher quality, more desirable products, you could even lower the pH and aW requirements by adding a protector in your manufacturing process.

The choice is in your hands, we are available round the clock to clarify your doubts and uncertainties and to provide you the necessary assistance to meet your requirements.

imasd@amerexingredientes.es

Phone number: +34 91 845 42 14

Amerex see you neXt time

Welcome again to our latest blog post! This post will be the first of many in our brand new section called ‘Seen for Ourselves’, as this section is all about empirical results of trials carried out in the pilot plant of Amerex facilities. You will get to know first-hand the experiences at our plant, how things work there and how each day we get a step closer to our goal of creating fully clean label products. Let’s dive in:

Last month we carried out a number of such trials with a common element: one of our starters specially designed to generate colour on the final product without the presence of nitrites. In food industry, particularly in the meat sector, nitrates and nitrites are considered necessary to start the nitrification process that imparts a characteristic colour to the final product. Here is a simple explanation of what happens during this process:

Metabolic reaction from nitrate to nitrosomyoglobin, generating colour in meat products
Nitrate is reduced to nitrite, which is further reduced to produce nitric oxide. This nitric oxide combines with myoglobin in muscles to form nitrosomyoglobin, which is responsible for the typical colour of cured meat. In case of cooked meat, temperature causes this nitrosomyoglobin to be transformed into nitrosylhemochrome, responsible for its characteristic pink colour.

Nitrates and nitrites have been considered a requisite in the food industry not only for their ability to generate colour, but also because they guarantee certain safety in the products by preventing the development of pathogenic bacteria, especially Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism disease. In addition, the corresponding authority regulates the maximum dosage that can be incorporated into each food under specific legislation. It is apparent that we need to be cautious when it comes to nitrates because even though they are found naturally, for example in various vegetables such as lettuce, celery or even in water, a part of them is transformed into nitrites during the digestion process. These nitrites, in turn react with the stomach amino acids forming nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic substances. Finding nitrites directly in food is even more dangerous. For this reason, it is necessary to find substitutes to evade the presence of these harmful additives in products that we usually consume.

This has led us to conducting numerous trails throughout February using one of our main starters, capable of performing this nitrification reaction sans a natural or artificial source of nitrates or nitrites. Let’s look at one of our trials to see the difference between using nitrites and one of our cultures selected from a wide array of starters. We selected a specific starter for this trial involving a cooked pork loin as the final product.

For these trials, we used fresh pork loins of about 250 – 300 g, which we injected with different brines. Here is a description of each sample:

  • Sample 1: Control sample
  • Brine 2: Starter at 0.2 g/Kg
  • Brine 3: Substrate at 4 g/Kg
  • Brine 4: Starter at 0.2 g/Kg + Substrate at 4 g/Kg
  • Brine 5: 15 ppm of nitrites
  • Brine 6: Starter at 0.2 g/Kg + 2 ppm of nitrites

The amount of brine corresponding to the weight of each loin was injected. The results of storing them for 48 hours at a temperature of 0-4ºC and afterthe subsequent cooking were the following ones:

Comparison between sample 1 cooked loin and brine 3 cooked loin (substrate). Both look pale due to not using nitrites or starters
Image 1. Comparison between Control sample and Brine 3
Comparison between brine 2 cooked loin (starter) and brine 4 cooked loin (starter + substrate). Both look pink since the starter causes the nitrification and this is enhanced thanks to using an additional substrate
Image 2. Comparison between Brines 2 and 4
Comparison between brine 5 cooked loin (nitrites) and brine 6 cooked loin (starter + nitrites). Both look pink thanks to the starter and nitrites which trigger the nitrification reaction.
Image 3. Comparison between Brines 5 and 6

To start describing the results of the trial, in the first picture we can see that the Control sample and Brine 3 look practically the same. The substrate of Brine 3 is made up of components that enhance the growth of the starters. It can be observed that just by itself, i.e. without the addition of a starter, it does not produce any change in the loin’s colour.

Brine 2 and 4 have undergone a noticeable transition to the characteristic pink colour of cooked products. Even within Brine 2 and 4, the latter seems to display a brighter tone of pink as it is made up of the starter plus the substrate. Therefore, we can definitely conclude that the starter culture is key in this type of application and in the final product for the much-needed generation of the colour as required by the food industry.

The final comparison between Brines 5 and 6 shows that the presence of nitrites at a certain dosage also generates the typical pink colour, perhaps brighter than in the other loins. The result of Brine 6 loins is remarkable as they possess an extremely striking colour appealing to consumers even though they contain only a minute dosage of nitrite (the maximum dosage allowed under regulations is 100ppm).

To sum up, we have demonstrated that the use of starters is a very good alternative to nitrites in cooked products, since it causes the appearance of a characteristic colour that is of real interest for the food industry. When complemented with substrate or nitrites, somehow the intensity of that colour is further augmented.

Subsequently we will show you the results of using the same starter on other final products… Do you want to find out more? Stay tuned!

If you are interested in knowing more about this star culture, please contact us on the following email or phone number for a personalized advice:

imasde@amerexingredientes.es

Phone number: +34 91 845 42 14

Amerex see you neXt time