WITHDRAWAL AND REPLACEMENT OF NITRITES WITH NATURAL PRESERVATIVES

In the food industry there are several sectors in which the chemical additives nitrates and nitrites are commonly used. In the meat or fish sector, for example, nitrates and nitrites are considered necessary to carry out the nitrification process that gives a characteristic colour to the final product as well as protection against anaerobic pathogens and sporogens.

Below we explain why nitrites are used in feed and introduce you to Amerex’s specialist product for the natural replacement of nitrites: Biamex NC.

In the nitrification process, nitrate is reduced to nitrite, from which nitric oxide is produced. Nitric oxide combines with muscle myoglobin to form nitrosomyoglobin, which is responsible for the typical colour of cured meats, e.g. in the meat industry. In the case of cooked meats, the temperature causes this nitrosomioglobin to be transformed into nitrosylhaemochrome, which is responsible for the characteristic pink colour.

Nitrates and nitrites have been considered necessary in the food sector, in addition to the generation of colour that they provide to food, making it more attractive to consumers, because they guarantee certain safety in products by preventing the development of pathogenic bacteria, specifically Clostridium botulinum, which causes the well-known botulism disease.

Like any other additive, nitrites are regulated by Annex II of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and the Annex to Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012. It regulates the maximum dose that can be incorporated in each foodstuff under a specific legislation.

There is increasing talk of replacing nitrites with other types of natural preservatives and of regulating more strictly the permitted dosage in the various foods in which they are used.

The problem is that, although nitrates occur naturally, for example in various vegetables (e.g. lettuce, celery) or even in water, some of them are converted into nitrites during the digestion process, reacting with amino acids in the stomach and giving rise to nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic substances. In the case of foodstuffs from the above-mentioned sectors they are found directly in the form of nitrites. For this reason it is important to find substitutes that avoid the presence of these additives in products that we normally consume.

There are many natural substitutes for nitrites on the market. As mentioned above, they are found naturally in vegetables such as lettuce and celery, and some companies use natural extracts of this type. We must not forget also the risk of sporogen poisoning that can be caused by poor nitrite substitution.

In our case, we have a transparent natural technology for nitrite substitution: the use of starters.

Our product Biamex NC, has a very innovative technology for the generation of the typical colour that nitrifiers would provide. In this way, thanks to a fixation reaction of the meat/fish protein itself, you can achieve an optimum replacement of nitrates, nitrites and/or nitro salts. In addition, this product incorporates another of our strains of ferments specialised in the action against sporogens such as clostridium botulinum.

Biamex NC, as a nitrite substitute, can be applied in any food where a substitution of this chemical additive is necessary.     

It is very common to substitute nitrites in meat products as we have mentioned above. Here is an example of injected turkey:

Another food where the use of nitrites is also common is in various fish. Biamex NC also has experience with this type of food. Here is a test on injected swordfish:

In conclusion, we can state that the use of starters is a very good alternative to nitrites, in particular the use of the Amerex Biamex NC product, as it significantly reduces the appearance of this colour in meat and fish products. In addition, this product includes Amerex’s protective technology to maintain product safety equivalent to the protection provided by nitrites.

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NATURAL PRESERVATIVES FOR FISH

Fish is a great source of protein and fatty acids essential for a balanced and healthy diet. However, its freshness and quality are susceptible to degradation due to various factors, which represents a challenge for the food industry. That’s why natural preservatives are needed for fish.

These challenges include pathogens such as listeria and micro-organisms that can proliferate under optimal conditions and compromise food safety, as well as micro-organisms that affect the organoleptics of the product.

In the following, we will look at the commercial problems associated with fish, the most common pathogens in fish and the solutions offered by the market in the form of natural preservatives.

Among the most common commercial shelf-life problems in fish we can find: the generation of exudates due to bacterial heterofermentations, loss of texture or syneresis and gas generation.

This is due to the fact that fresh fish is highly perishable. Due to its biological composition, it must be kept under good storage conditions throughout its shelf life, which are not always met.

This rapid deterioration of fish can be due to factors such as exposure to air, inadequate temperature, cross-contamination and above all microbial activity. This not only affects the sensory quality of the fish, but also represents a health risk for the consumer and can result in significant economic losses for producers and retailers.

Among the most common pathogenic micro-organisms affecting fish are bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and Vibrio spp. as well as parasites such as Anisakis, which is probably more recognised by consumers. In sectors such as meat, pathogens such as Listeria or Salmonella are well recognised and feared, however they are not so well known by fish consumers.

These organisms can cause foodborne illness if fish is not handled, stored and cooked properly. The presence of these pathogens is a serious problem that requires effective solutions to ensure food safety and product quality.

There are currently a number of preservatives and additives on the market that seek to address these challenges, but they have their limitations. Some of the most commonly used options include:

  1. Rosemary Extract: This natural preservative is rich in antioxidants to prolong the freshness of fish.
  2. Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): In addition to its antioxidant properties, ascorbic acid can help prevent lipid oxidation and maintain the sensory quality of fish.
  3. Essential Oils: Some essential oils, such as oregano and thyme, have been shown to have antimicrobial activity and can be used as natural preservatives in fish products.
  4. Sodium Nitrate: Although a widely used preservative, sodium nitrate can also be obtained from natural sources such as sea salt, providing a more natural option for fish preservation.

However, at Amerex we have natural preservatives that will not only protect the food from pathogens as important as listeria, but will also help to reduce chemical additives such as the aforementioned nitrate, and improve the organoleptic properties of the product.

At Amerex we have natural fish preservatives that meet the main challenges of the market. Thanks to Amerex natural preservatives you can:

  • Extend shelf life by controlling heterofermentative lactobacilli in fresh and frozen fish preparations.
  • Prevent pathogens such as listeria.
  • Generate colour by removing nitrites.
  • Decrease the incidence of histamine.
  • Avoid unwanted acidification and syneresis, while maintaining texture.

Amerex preservatives can be applied in different ways depending on the type of fish processing:

  • In batter: for fish patties or surimi.
  • Injected: for emperor, tuna, salmon, swordfish, etc.
  • On the surface: for any type of smoked or marinated fish (sushi). On prawns or cephalopods.

The fish industry faces significant challenges in terms of preserving freshness and food safety. However, by harnessing the benefits of natural ingredients and biotechnology, we can ensure that fish reaches consumers safely. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information!

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DISCOVER THE BEST NATURAL ALTERNATIVES TO CHEMICAL ADDITIVES IN ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS

The search for natural alternatives to chemical additives is one of the main objectives of the food industry. In today’s age, where health and wellbeing are a priority, the food industry is undergoing a revolution in terms of the ingredients and processes they use in food. More and more consumers are demanding less processed and more natural foods, free of artificial additives.

Ultra-processed foods are known for the large number of chemical additives on their labels. These additives are used to improve organoleptic or safety aspects of the food, but are there natural options to replace them?
In today’s blog we bring you a guide to the best natural alternatives to additives in your ultra-processed foods, so you can offer a healthier and microbiologically safer food!

Chemical additives are substances added to foodstuffs for the purpose of improving their taste, texture, colour or durability. They are regulated by Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008, which lists, under the associated E number, all additives permitted in the European Union and their restrictions on use.

The current concern about these additives is due to studies that have suggested that excessive consumption of additives in ultra-processed foods (such as sausages, ready meals, pastries, etc.) could be linked to various health risks: such as allergies, metabolic disorders and adverse effects on gastrointestinal health.

The lack of transparency in product labelling often also makes it difficult for consumers to make informed food choices. This is why consumers are increasingly looking for natural alternatives that are free of artificial additives.

Chemical additives used in ultra-processed

There is a wide variety of natural alternatives to chemical additives in the ingredients market. Ultra-processed foods often need additives to help maintain colour, give a specific flavour or preserve the food for more days than a fresh product, however, natural ingredients can be used to provide the same benefits as artificial additives.

The best known additive substitutes are herbal and spice extracts, fruit or vegetable juices, and other natural extracts that can act as preservatives, colourings and flavour enhancers in a safe and healthy way. They are a good natural and environmentally friendly option. However, there are also other natural ingredients that are more effective as preservatives, such as ferments or lactic acid bacteria.

Starters are groups of lactic acid bacteria that offer an excellent alternative to artificial additives.

It is traditionally known that the way in which starters perform this preservative function is through the maturation of the product. This usually includes an organoleptic change in the food due to acidification, which lowers the pH and modifies the organoleptic characteristics of the matrix. They not only improve the preservation of the food, but also enhance its taste and nutritional value. Traditionally, these starters have been used in the maturation of sausages and cheeses and are well known to manufacturers.

There are, however, ferments that do not produce acidification in the product but do carry out food preservation by different mechanisms such as competition.

Amerex stands out in this case as a supplier of natural preservatives based on ferments, offering innovative and healthy solutions for the food industry as an alternative to chemical additives.

By choosing foods that are free of artificial additives and rich in natural ingredients, you gain a multitude of benefits. Firstly, you are promoting a healthier and more nutritious diet, and by avoiding synthetic additives, you reduce exposure to harmful chemicals and promote a more natural and sustainable lifestyle.

On the other hand, the use of these natural alternatives in ultra-processed foods, such as ferments, allows for the reduction of food processing resulting in a more “homemade” product. Together with the elimination of chemical additives, the consumer will get a more positive image of that food.

As a supplier of natural alternatives to food additives, Amerex has more than 40 years’ experience in providing innovative and sustainable solutions for the food industry.

Our natural ferment-based preservatives are an excellent alternative to artificial additives, guaranteeing the quality and safety of your food products without compromising taste or freshness. We have different product ranges, such as the Biamex range of ferments or Safemix natural flavourings, which include preservatives for specific problems, such as protection against Listeria or Salmonella, or for the removal of additives such as nitrite or sorbate.

In short, by choosing natural alternatives free of artificial additives, you are taking a step towards a healthier and more conscious diet. With options such as fermented foods as an alternative to additives and the commitment of companies like Amerex, it is easier than ever to enjoy delicious and nutritious food by offering the best choice to the consumer.

If you would like to know more about these natural options, please contact us for more information:

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FOOD INDUSTRY TRENDS: CLEAN LABEL AND PRESERVATION

It is well known that natural remedies have been used since the beginning of time to improve food preservation and extend their shelf-life. Salt, sugar or vinegar are the most significant examples that are still used today. Nowadays, there is a wide variety of food additives that, in addition to preserving food, help to maintain its organoleptic characteristics such as taste, smell, texture, freshness… and even its nutritional value.

On top of this, consumers are increasingly interested in knowing what they are putting into their bodies. Therefore, the general claim is for traditional additives to evolve into more natural alternatives, and above all for their labelling to be clearer and more understandable. This is why the concept of clean labelling has gained popularity. Stay with us and continue reading to explore what is the exact meaning of the term “clean label” and its importance in food preservation.

The term “clean label” refers to the tendency of food companies to use natural and recognisable ingredients in their products, avoiding artificial additives, colourings and synthetic preservatives. This results into simpler and easier to understand labels for consumers. This initiative responds to consumers’ demands for clear and reliable information on the composition of the food they will ultimately consume. Beyond the simple list of ingredients, the clean label represents a commitment to transparency, quality and health. And above all, that the consumer is able to objectively analyse and evaluate the product to draw conclusions about what they are eating.

The aim is to make it easy for consumers to identify the ingredients used in a product. The clean label model promotes transparency by allowing consumers to easily understand what they are eating. In addition, by providing simpler labels free of unknown ingredients, brands can build trust and loyalty among their clients.

It is a fact that all authorised additives used in the food industry are considered safe, as they are regulated by the competent authorities (EFSA, in the case of Europe), who set acceptable daily intake amounts to set limits on their incorporation in food. On the other hand, clean label foods are usually composed of natural ingredients, which makes them perceived as healthier by avoiding these synthetic ingredients and some additives that are considered potentially harmful. By choosing clean label products, consumers can reduce their exposure to artificial substances and thus promote a healthier lifestyle.

Clean label is also linked to more sustainable agricultural practices by promoting the use of natural and organic ingredients. By using natural and organic ingredients, brands can support responsible agriculture and reduce their environmental impact.

The relationship between food preservation and the term clean label is fundamental to understanding the evolution of the food industry towards healthier and more sustainable practices. Traditionally, food preservation has entailed the use of a variety of additives and artificial preservatives to prolong the shelf-life of products. However, with consumers’ growing interest in transparency and naturalness of food, there is a need to find healthier and cleaner alternatives for preservation.

This is where the concept of clean label comes into play. By prioritising natural and recognisable ingredients, brands can offer products with cleaner labels and free from synthetic additives, while maintaining quality and food safety. This not only responds to consumer demands, but also promotes a more responsible approach to food production, encouraging sustainable agricultural practices and reducing environmental impact.

In the search for natural alternatives for food preservation, the food industry has explored a wide range of ingredients and methods that offer efficacy without compromising the quality or naturalness of products. One of the most prominent alternatives are natural antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and tocopherols (vitamin E), which can prevent food oxidation and thus prolong shelf-life. These antioxidants are widely found in fruits, vegetables and herbs, making them attractive options for manufacturers seeking to preserve their products naturally. Click here for more information regarding these antioxidant additives.

But of course there are also natural preservation alternatives based on biotechnology, such as the use of ferments which through different mechanisms of action can protect against harmful microorganisms, as we have mentioned in previous blog posts.

Clean label is not only a trend in the food industry, but also a response to the demands of health and transparency-conscious consumers. As a company, by adopting clean labelling practices and looking for natural alternatives for food preservation, you can meet your customers’ needs and promote a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.

If you are looking for natural preservation alternatives to embrace clean label for your food products, you have landed in the right place. At Amerex we offer a wide range of natural ingredients for food preservation. Our product selection is designed to meet the needs of the food industry for clean and transparent solutions. For example, the Biamex range of biotechnology-based natural preservatives that target pathogenic microorganisms, as potential substitutes for chemical additives or treatments to make your product cleaner and more accessible to your consumers.

You can check our website to explore our offer and find out how we can help you take your products to the next level with quality ingredients and clean labels. Do not hesitate to contact us!

• By sending an email to: imasd@amerexingredientes.com
• By calling us: +34 91 845 42 14
• By filling in the form bellow

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VEGAN PRODUCTS AND NATURAL FOOD PRESERVATIVES

Today, the trend towards vegan products has gained significant popularity, but a debate arises over the authenticity of their “naturalness”. Many products labelled as vegan contain chemical additives, which has led to questions about their true nutritional value and their alignment with a healthy lifestyle. It is difficult to find vegan products that are clean label, i.e. that are free from food additives.

The question is, therefore, are products with a long list of chemical additives, such as these foods, really natural, and are there better options for natural preservatives to replace the current chemical additives?

It is clear that obtaining a natural, healthy, microbiologically safe and organoleptically optimal product is no easy task – read on and we’ll tell you more!

The term “Clean Label” means “clean label”, i.e. in the food industry it means a label free of chemical additives.

The term “clean label” has gained prominence in the food industry in recent years. It represents consumer demand for transparency and the search for products with ingredients that are easy to understand and recognise.

Consumers are now more informed about the additives used in foodstuffs and have access to the E-number references on labels.

Additives in vegan products

Food additives are all substances that are added to minimally processed foods to improve their organoleptic properties and to maintain their microbiological safety. All additives permitted in the European Union are regulated by Regulation (EC) 1331/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008.

Vegan foods, in most cases, undergo a high level of processing and various additives are necessary to help them achieve the organoleptic and taste of the animal products they are trying to imitate. In addition, we cannot forget the importance of obtaining a microbiologically safe product as well, so preservatives will also be necessary in that list of ingredients.

This last point is another open debate, why imitate foods of animal origin that involve high processing and the addition of additives, instead of obtaining innovative vegan products.

Whatever the answer, at Amerex we can help by reducing the list of additives as we are specialists in natural preservatives based on biotechnology.

It is essential to educate consumers about the difference between natural preservatives and chemical additives. While additives can raise health concerns, Amerex natural preservatives are obtained from natural sources and are sustainably processed.

Amidst the debate about the authenticity of vegan products, the choice of natural preservatives becomes a crucial factor. Natural preservatives, unlike chemical additives, preserve the freshness of food without compromising quality or adding unwanted components.

Numerous natural preservatives are available for safe and organoleptically acceptable vegan products. As an industry leader, we at Amerex understand the importance of providing effective and safe natural food preservative solutions. Our dedication to biotechnology allows us to develop products that meet clean label standards without sacrificing food preservation efficacy.

We have many success stories in vegan foods for both dairy analogues and meat analogues. For this, the use of preservatives such as the Safemix range of products helps in the reduction of chemical treatments and additives and in the improvement of organoleptics.

Amerex is committed to offering natural preservatives that not only preserve the freshness of food, but also meet clean label standards, providing consumers with an authentic and healthy choice by obtaining the most natural product possible.

Find out how Amerex natural preservatives can improve the quality of your products – contact us today for more information!

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Innovative natural food preservatives

In January, the Council of Ministers approved a draft Law on the Prevention of Food Losses and Waste. The law makes it compulsory for all actors in the food chain to have a loss and waste prevention plan, prioritising human consumption through food donation or redistribution.

The aim is to achieve a 50% reduction in food waste per capita at retail and consumer level, and a 20% reduction in food losses along the production and supply chains by 2030. This has triggered a very deep movement and awareness among retailers and manufacturers on how to avoid and manage their surplus, which corresponds to 1-2% of their annual turnover.

What can food and ingredient manufacturers do to reduce waste and encourage better use? The importance of food preservation and safety is particularly relevant here, with natural preservatives being the future of the world’s food supply. Food with a longer shelf life and which is microbiologically safe will help to avoid food waste.

Natural food preservatives are substances derived from natural sources, such as plants, herbs, spices or microorganisms, which are used to prolong the shelf life of food.

These preservatives are a more sustainable and healthier alternative to synthetic additives, as they do not contain artificial chemicals or ingredients that are harmful to health. Regulation is becoming increasingly stringent in terms of the dosage and use of such chemical additives. In France, for example, legislation was recently amended to reduce the application rates of nitrites in some foods. Natural preservatives are therefore the future of food preservation.

There are numerous examples of natural preservatives used in the food industry.

Some of them are well known and include rosemary extract, vinegar, essential oils, vitamin E (tocopherol), among others. However, we already see among them one example that has recently been included as a food additive, listed in the legislation as E-267, such as fermented vinegar.

Microorganisms are another source of natural preservatives, and thanks to new technologies such as biotechnology, the use of microorganisms such as lactic acid bacteria and thanks to protective fermentation, we can obtain new preservation strategies.

These preservatives not only help to preserve the freshness and quality of food, but can also provide additional health benefits.

Natural food preservatives

Protective fermentation is a natural process in which beneficial microorganisms, such as lactic acid bacteria or yeasts, are used to ferment foods and create a hostile environment for the growth of undesirable microorganisms, such as pathogenic bacteria. This process not only helps preserve food, but can also improve its taste, texture and nutritional value.

Bio-based natural preservatives often take advantage of the principles of protective fermentation to provide natural and effective food preservation.

Natural food preservatives are increasingly available on the market. It is important to look for reliable suppliers that offer high quality, certified organic products if possible. At Amerex, we have specialised in biotechnology-based natural preservatives for over 40 years and offer a wide range of products designed to meet the needs of the food industry.

Thanks to our natural preservatives, you can extend the shelf life of your food while maintaining optimum organoleptic and safety properties and avoiding food waste. Some of our best-selling products are part of the Biamex range, where we have specialists against listeria, for example, or more general products such as Biamex SP, for the complete preservation of food.

In short, natural food preservatives are an excellent option for those looking for a healthier and more sustainable alternative to synthetic additives. Harnessing the principles of protective fermentation and using biotechnology-based natural preservatives can help ensure food safety and quality, while promoting sustainability and overall wellbeing. Do not hesitate to contact us if you want to know more!

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AGROCHEMICALS AND THEIR ROLE IN THE INDUSTRY

Happy 2024 and welcome back to the Amerex Blog! Today we will take a journey through the history of agrochemicals and explore their evolution over time and their impact on agriculture. Knowing the environment and social context of the industry as a whole is important for our further growth. This Blog entry may seem a little bit out of our standards, but we are sure you will find it very interesting. Here we go!

Only those whose most basic needs, including food supply, are assured, can engage in more complex and enriching activities for the common good.

This premise, which is also a great truth, explains why many empires and civilizations throughout history eventually disappeared, mainly due to the inability to guarantee enough food for the entire population. Well-known civilizations such as the Egyptians, or the Mayans, came to an end with a string of bad harvests that resulted in food shortages.

The post-Enlightenment development made it possible to understand some processes that were unknown, such as pollination, seed growth and plant needs, or the identification of the most effective nutrients. This allowed solutions to be devised to increase crop productivity, and agrochemistry was born.

What is the origin of agrochemicals?

By the end of the 19th century, the first chemical products were developed to improve agricultural productivity. Initially, fertilizers were used to enrich the soil and increase yields. Over time, this practice evolved to include pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, ushering in the era of agrochemicals.

But let’s go back a little bit to the first moments of agriculture more than 10.000 years ago. In the Middle East, where a nomadic lifestyle prevailed, some communities began to settle in certain places, which was the basis for the development of the first civilizations. Sedentary lifestyles began, and early farmers began to cultivate wheat. This cereal was a significant source of protein, allowing them to properly feed themselves and eliminating the need to travel for hunting.

This change posed the beginning of permanent settlements that eventually evolved into complex civilizations. However, the positive impact of growing wheat and other crops was partially limited by the appearance of plagues.

Agrochemical - Meadow bathed by light. Image from Freepik

What is the historical relevance of agrochemicals and how have they influenced society?

– The importance of chemistry in pest control

Throughout different historical periods all over the world, substances that we call “pesticides” have been used with different strategies. For example, in Lower Mesopotamia almost 5 centuries ago, sulfur was used to control insects and mites that threatened crops. In China, during the same period, mercury was used in agriculture. Also ashes, smoke generated by burning straw, dead crabs, animal horns and excrement. The aim was to use pestilence to keep pests away from crops. Meanwhile in the first century, Pliny the Elder in Ancient Rome recommended the use of arsenic as an effective method to exterminate plagues. In addition, the first insecticide based on crushed pyrethrum was developed at that time.

More recently, in the 20th century before World War II, substances such as sulfuric acid, sodium chlorate, gas, naphthalene and creosote were used on farms.

– The use of fertilizers throughout history

Nutrient supply has been a permanent necessity since the earliest days of agriculture. Ensuring global food supply depends on the use of fertilizers to provide essential nutrients and prevent soil depletion.

In the 19th century, soil depletion in Europe led to famines, prompting research into agrochemicals to increase productivity. The chemist Justus Von Liebig then identified nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as essential for plant growth, giving rise to the NPK formula, which today remains as the basis of modern chemical fertilizers. He was thus able to manufacture the first artificial fertilizer, but the lack of nitrogenous elements in its composition limited its success.

Nitrogen fixation was a challenge until Haber and Bosch proposed fixing it as ammonia. Today, we understand that crops require macronutrients and micronutrients, along with biostimulants and helpers to cope with stresses that conventional nutrients do not solve.

What is the environmental impact of agrochemicals?

In the 1960s, during the so-called Green Revolution, agrochemicals played a crucial role in driving increased agricultural production. The introduction of nitrogen fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides enabled farmers to grow larger crops. However, this period also raised concerns about environmental impact and human health.

The negative consequences of the environmental impact of agrochemicals include soil and water contamination. In addition, overexposure to certain pesticides has been linked to health problems, and loss of biodiversity is another significant concern. These adverse effects underscore the importance of searching for more sustainable alternatives.

What about the current trends regarding agrochemicals?

Today, there is a growing trend towards more sustainable agricultural practices. Farmers and scientists are striving to reduce dependence on agrochemicals by developing pest- and disease-resistant crops and using agro ecological practices. Technology such as precision agriculture is also being introduced to optimize the application of agrochemicals and minimize their environmental impact.

Agrochemicals - Farmer spraying fertilizer in a field. Image from Unsplash

How do companies contribute to agricultural productivity?

It is a fact that throughout history the use of tools of chemical nature to control pests and improve crop productivity has been essential and still is today.

The use of chemicals is essential to ensure the basic nutritional needs of the population and to guarantee sustainable agricultural productivity by protecting crops from uncontrolled pests.

Challenges persist in the most disadvantaged regions of the world. According to FAO, between 20% and 40% of all food crops worldwide are lost due to pests and diseases.

Well aware of this scenario, agrochemical companies have been researching and developing since the 1980s more selective substances capable of attacking specific pests without causing harm to humans. This approach seeks to ensure the maximum safety in agricultural food production.

In many cases, these companies offer substances for the manufacture of pesticides, while also focusing on innovation in the field of fertilizers and nutrient supply, where chemistry plays a crucial role. The aim is to develop substances that are more effective, safer and harmless to humans.

Which other strategies do exist to ensure food safety?

It is good to know the historical context of all issues related to the food industry, which allows us to move forward in the development of new and positive implementations of processes and improvements for the best use of food. But what happens after all this? At Amerex we share the commitment to ensure that food reaches its final destination while maintaining its freshness and safety.

Our product range is designed not only to preserve the organoleptic quality of food, but also to safely extend its shelf-life. By embracing innovation and excellence, we contribute to sustainability and safety in the food chain.

At Amerex we work to provide to the food industry alternatives that not only respect tradition, but also embrace modern technology. If you want our help to assist you in finding those solutions to apply to your products, we would be very happy to do so!

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APPROVAL OF BUFFERED VINEGAR AS FOOD PRESERVATIVE (E-267)

Last September, the European Commission authorised the use of buffered vinegar as a food additive by assigning it the number E-267 in the list of food additives. Through the publication of Commission Regulation (EU) 2023/2086 of 28 September 2023 amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and the Annex to Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012 as regards the use of buffered vinegar as a preservative and acidity regulator.

Below you will find all the information on the inclusion of this food preservative in the list of food additives:

What food preservative is buffered vinegar?

Buffered vinegar is a liquid or powdered product which is prepared by adding buffers to vinegar, according to the above mentioned regulation.

The buffers used for its preparation are sodium/potassium hydroxide (E-524 to E-525) and sodium/potassium carbonate (E-500 to E-501). Buffered vinegar complies with the European standard EN 13188:2000 and has an exclusively agricultural origin (except wood/cellulose) by double fermentation, alcoholic and acetic. The main components are acetic acid and its salts.

Buffered vinegar has been used until now as a clean label alternative to other authorised preservatives or acidity correctors, in particular for the above mentioned acetic acid and its salts, whose numbers are: E-260-263. These food preservatives are mainly used for their power to protect against gram-negative microorganisms, as these types of bacteria are the most difficult to control. Among them we can find the worldwide known Salmonella or E.coli.

How is buffered vinegar included in the list of food preservatives?

Buffered vinegar is included in the list of food preservatives under the number E-267.

Commission Regulation (EU) 2023/2086 of 28 September 2023 amends Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and the Annex to Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012 as regards the use of buffered vinegar as a preservative and acidity regulator.

Following the submission of an application to the Commission in March 2021, authorisation was requested for the use of buffered vinegar as a preservative and as an acidity regulator in a wide variety of food categories. These foods include: Meat preparations as defined in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004), potato gnocchi, fresh and pre-cooked pasta, canned fruit and vegetables, cottage cheese, fresh cheese, except products included in category 16.

Following a safety assessment of buffered vinegar as a food additive for the above mentioned uses, it was concluded that there is no safety concern for the use of buffered vinegar at the maximum use levels proposed in the standard. The corresponding study was carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

What natural food preservatives are available as an alternative to buffered vinegar?

Currently, the natural food preservatives that exist as an alternative to buffered vinegar (E-267) and that are clean label are plant extracts. However, the effectiveness of these food preservatives is not as high as that of buffered vinegar.

Buffered vinegar has so far been used as an effective alternative to other authorised preservatives or acidity regulators, in particular acetic acid and its salts (E 260-263). As it did not have an E-number assigned to it until now, it was declared as natural flavouring or buffered vinegar. These preservatives are known to be very effective against gram-negative bacteria, whose problem lies in the cell wall that covers them and makes them more resistant to preservatives. Nowadays, natural spice or vegetable extracts cannot match this efficacy.

What clean label food preservatives does Amerex offer?

At Amerex we are experts in clean label food preservatives and we have a wide range of products with different functionalities, from protective action against pathogens to elimination of chemical additives.

For this purpose, we have preservatives that combine different technologies. Our experience is based on the use of protective fermentation. This microbial technology is totally natural and clean label. Within this category we have products such as the Biamex range, which cover a wide range of action.

There are also products that combine protective fermentation with chemical additives. Food preservatives that include buffered vinegar include Safemix AV or Biamex Aroma Global. They are highly effective against bacteria such as E.coli or enterobacteria, and the low recommended dosage (between 0.1%-10%) favours a natural and homemade organoleptic.

Among the Amerex products that use the synergy between protective fermentation and chemical additive, the following also stands out: Fermitrat FS. This solution uses a combination of microorganism strains together with acetic acid technology to maximise food protection against Gram-negative bacteria such as enterobacteria in general, as well as pathogenic microorganisms such as Salmonella and E. coli, which are a common concern in the food industry due to the risks associated with food safety and product quality.

These strains of microorganisms act in synergy with additives to enhance their antimicrobial properties, without negatively altering the taste, aroma or texture of the food.

If you are looking to improve the quality of your food by ensuring optimum preservation and organoleptic properties, do not hesitate to contact us! We have different ranges of products to meet the specific needs of our customers.

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EMERGING FOOD-BORNE PATHOGENS: CAMPYLOBACTER

In the world of food safety, the emergence of emerging pathogens poses constant challenges. Among them, Campylobacter has emerged as a disturbing player in the food safety equation.

 As we explore the complexities of this microorganism and its impact on a variety of foods, we will discover how Amerex, a leader in biotechnology-based natural food preservatives, is at the forefront of finding innovative solutions.

Join us in this blog to understand and address the challenge presented by Campylobacter in our food chain.

Pathogenic microorganisms in food. What do we know about Campylobacter?

In the constant quest to ensure food safety, we are faced with a number of challenges, one of which is the emergence of new emerging pathogens in food.

The Campylobacter bacterium has recently captured the attention of the scientific community. Campylobacter belongs to the family Campylobacteraceae. Species of this genus are Gram-negative, comma-shaped, motile bacilli and have proven to be a growing risk in the food chain due to the food poisoning they cause.

Combating Gram-negative bacteria is one of the main challenges for the food industry, as there are not many food additives that are really effective against these pathogens due to the protection afforded by their cell wall. To a lesser extent, we can even find natural food preservatives that are clean-label and really effective in keeping this type of microorganisms at bay.

Which foods are contaminated by the emerging pathogen Campylobacter?

The prevalence of pathogenic microorganisms in food, such as Campylobacter, poses a serious threat to public health as it can cause campylobacteriosis (a common cause of intestinal infection). These bacteria are also one of the many causes of traveller’s diarrhoea or food poisoning.

These bacteria can contaminate a wide range of foods, from poultry to dairy products to raw vegetables, similar to contamination by the world-renowned Salmonella. People are almost always infected by eating contaminated food.

Emerging pathogens

Understanding how these emerging pathogens affect our food chain is essential to implement effective safety measures, both at the production level in the food industry and good food handling practices by consumers at home.

What are the most common types of food additives against Campylobacter?

In the quest to ensure food safety, it is crucial to know which are the most common and effective types of food additives against Gram-negative pathogens such as Campylobacter.

The group of Gram-negative bacteria are among the most difficult to combat in the food industry, including pathogens such as the aforementioned Salmonella and Campylobacter, or E. coli within the group of enterobacteria. All of them can cause diseases of particular relevance to humans as a result of consuming food that has developed them.

The most common types of food additives against these bacteria is the use of acids, such as acetic acid. Acetic acid is widely used in the industry and has been assigned the E number E-260, and also all its salts such as sodium diacetate, the latter being the additive with number E-262ii. Even with this specific activity, acetic acid often requires synergies with other preservatives of different origins to control its occurrence.

Are there natural food preservatives against Gram-negative bacteria?

Amerex, through its use of biotechnology, has developed natural food preservatives that not only extend the shelf life of food, but also act as effective barriers against these unwanted microorganisms.

The combination of technologies in the food industry has become an innovative and effective strategy to improve product safety and quality. At Amerex we have products based on the synergy of acetic acid and protective fermentation, such as Fermitrat Fs, which is a prime example of this highly effective combination.

However, there are other fully clean-label solutions that allow acetic acid to be removed from the equation, resulting in natural food preservatives. Thanks to the use of protective fermentation, the mixture of different strains allows us to obtain products that tackle these types of pathogens, such as Safemix AV.

In summary, the challenge of dealing with emerging food pathogens requires a combination of awareness, research and innovative solutions. Amerex is committed to providing natural food preservatives that not only meet these challenges, but also raise food safety standards in the industry.

Our team of experts is at your disposal to advise you on customised solutions for your specific needs in the food industry to improve the safety, quality and durability of your food products.

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ALTERNATIVE TO POTASSIUM SORBATE AS A FOOD PRESERVATIVE IN SAUCES

Refrigerated sauces are a delicious addition to a wide variety of dishes, from salads to fast foods and snacks. These foods offer great convenience and taste, but also pose challenges in terms of shelf life and food safety due to the pathogenic microorganisms that thrive in them.

In this blog, we will explore the types of refrigerated sauces along with the microbiological problems they face and the most common pathogenic microorganisms, potassium sorbate as a food preservative (it is one of the most commonly used chemical food preservatives) and finally, a clean label alternative to these chemical food preservatives currently on the market.

What types of refrigerated sauces are there?

There are many types of refrigerated sauces that can be found in a wide variety of flavours and textures. Some common examples include mayonnaise sauce, mustard sauce, guacamole and many others. These sauces are popular because of their freshness and taste, but that same freshness also makes them susceptible to the growth of microorganisms.

We could classify the types of sauces according to the processes they have undergone:

  • Fresh
  • HPP
  • Pasteurised

Each of them suffers from a specific shelf-life problem, the freshest sauces spoil in a short time and are more vulnerable to pathogenic microorganisms, while the most treated products (HPP or pasteurised) lose their organoleptic freshness over time, which is why different food preservatives are used.

What are the microbiological problems with refrigerated sauces?

Refrigerated sauces, which include classics such as mayonnaise and guacamole sauce, face similar microbiological problems. These sauces often contain fresh ingredients such as avocado, tomato or onion that may be contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms such as Salmonella or E. coli. Cross-contamination is a real risk during the handling and preparation of these ingredients, increasing the risk of foodborne illness. In addition, the high moisture and water content in these sauces provides a favourable environment for the growth of moulds and yeasts.

This can lead to problems such as the proliferation of harmful microorganisms, affecting both food safety and product quality, necessitating the use of food preservatives such as potassium sorbate by manufacturers to ensure product safety.

What are the microbiological problems with guacamole sauce?

In particular, guacamole sauce presents a specific set of challenges.

– Discolouration and browning: Guacamole is prone to discolouration and browning due to oxidation of the avocado components. While this is not a microbiological problem in the food safety sense, it can negatively affect the quality and appearance of the product.

Mould and bacterial growth: The high humidity and water content in guacamole sauce provides an environment conducive to bacterial and mould growth. Microorganisms such as Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli can proliferate if the sauce is not kept at the proper temperature and stored for long periods.

Texture and Consistency: Unwanted microorganisms can affect the texture and consistency of guacamole sauce, causing it to become runny or take on an unpleasant texture. This can lead to consumer dissatisfaction.

What chemical preservatives are used in refrigerated sauces?

To combat these microbiological problems, the industry has traditionally relied on chemical food preservatives. These chemical preservatives can include potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate and other ingredients that extend the shelf life of refrigerated sauces. While these food preservatives have been effective, some consumers are concerned about their impact on health and prefer to avoid chemical additives.

These food preservatives can be identified on food labels by the following numbers:

  • E202 Potassium sorbate – is a derivative of sorbic acid (E200).
  • E211 Sodium benzoate – is obtained industrially by reaction of sodium hydroxide (E254) and benzoic acid (E210).

What Clean Label alternatives to potassium sorbate are available for refrigerated sauces?

There are clean label alternatives to potassium sorbate to combat these microbiological problems in sauces.

Amerex offers a natural alternative to potassium sorbate called Biamex YM or Biamex Aroma Global, a biotechnology-based natural preservative. This product is particularly effective in the fight against moulds and yeasts, two of the main microbiological challenges in refrigerated sauces and in guacamole sauce in particular. Biamex is not only a safe and effective option, but also meets the demands of consumers concerned about the absence of chemical preservatives in food. This makes it a truly clean label alternative also for manufacturers looking to remove E numbers such as potassium sorbate from their food labels, while maintaining food safety.

In summary, both refrigerated sauces and guacamole sauce are delicious and very common in gastronomy, but their microbiological problems can affect both food safety and quality. Instead of resorting to chemical food preservatives, Amerex’s alternative to potassium sorbate, Biamex YM or Biamex Aroma Global, offers a natural and effective clean label option to combat these problems, while ensuring the satisfaction of both consumers and food producers.

If you want to know more, contact us!

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