16 October 2018

Canada gets access for live cattle exports to key ASEAN markets

The Government of Canada has secured access for its live cattle to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) markets, as well as sheep and goat genetics exports. Canadian farmers will be able to export their live cattle to the Philippines, and sheep and goat genetics to Indonesian and Philippine markets.

Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay said: “Canada is building strong markets around the world, which will benefit our farmers and food processors. These recent market access gains are setting the stage for deeper bilateral economic relations between Canada and the ASEAN region, and will contribute to our government’s goal of reaching AU$75bn ($57bn) in agri-food exports by 2025.”

According to the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association, the export market of live cattle to the Philippines is estimated to be worth C$8m ($6m), while exports of sheep and goat genetics to Indonesia and the Philippines could amount to C$100,000 ($77,051) on an annual basis. The Philippines and Indonesia are said to be important markets for Canadian agri-food exporters and producers. Last year, Canada exported more than C$325m ($250m) worth of agriculture products to the Philippines and imported over C$185m ($142m).

Canada Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr said: “Increasing trade with fast-growing and dynamic markets such as those in the ASEAN region is an important part of our government’s trade diversification strategy. Securing new market access for Canadian businesses of all sizes creates jobs for the middle-class, allowing them to compete and succeed in new markets around the world.”


15 October 2018

UK releases draft review for meat processing industry

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have released a series of recommendations for the meat processing industry following a six-month review. The review was originally announced in February and comes in response to a number of high profile non-compliance issues identified at meat cutting plants. By issuing recommendations, FSA and FSS aim to improve compliance and assurance in the meat processing industry. Food regulators focused on how existing arrangements could work better and address the root causes of common issues, not just the symptoms.

FSA chief executive Jason Feeney said: “We launched this review following a series of high profile events over the last 12 months at a number of meat businesses. These incidents cast a shadow over the whole sector and not just the businesses directly at fault. This challenged consumer confidence and trust in the industry as a whole.

“This in-depth review has identified actions that the meat industry and the regulatory authorities can take to make improvements. There are good reasons why the meat industry has specific controls in place to protect public health and provide assurance about the authenticity of meat products on the market.”

Recommendations include greater industry involvement to produce clearer guidance meeting the needs of food businesses, as well as increased focus on skills and capabilities. In addition, recommendations emphasised the need for greater transparency by sharing information across the industry, as well as with the regulators, effective use of data by regulatory authorities and improved coordination and consistency. Regulators intend to trial the feasibility of using a single organisation to deliver all official controls in one location. Recommendations are subject to approval from each organisation’s board at a meeting in Edinburgh on 17 October.


12 October 2018

Tetra Pak unveils new plant management service

Swiss food packaging company Tetra Pak has launched its new plant management service, Tetra Pak Plant Secure, which is set to deliver profitability improvements for customers. The company claims that its new service has the potential to deliver profitability improvements through a detailed audit of all the equipment and systems across the customer’s value chain.

Tetra Pak Group president and CEO Dennis Jonsson said: “Our investment in Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation and data velocity has enabled us to better support our customers in the digital era. Tetra Pak Plant Secure is a great example of how we use new technology to broaden our perspective and deliver bottom-line benefits for our customers.”

The company added that by combining the analysis with its data on food manufacturing, specialists will be able to identify opportunities and implement improvements across the customer’s entire operation.

Tetra Pak Plant Secure has been launched in Europe and the Americas on a pilot basis. A dairy producer in America is said to have reduced 10% in operational costs during the first year of implementation. Currently, the company is rolling out its Tetra Pak Plant Secure service to all food and beverage companies worldwide. 


12 October 2018

Nutrition company Glanbia to acquire SlimFast for $350m

Nutrition company Glanbia is to buy weight management drinks manufacturer SlimFast for $350m. Glanbia has signed an agreement with KSF Holdings and HNS Intermediate, which collectively own SlimFast and other brands. SlimFast offers weight management products, which are distributed to the food, drug, mass and club (FDMC) channel in US and UK markets. In the last financial year, the unit registered $212m through net sales, and gross assets stood at $136m.

Glanbia group managing director Siobhán Talbot said: “I am pleased to announce that we have agreed to acquire SlimFast, a leading consumer brand in the $8bn weight management nutrition market, an adjacency to the Glanbia Performance Nutrition brand portfolio.

“SlimFast is an established and enduring brand and, along with nutritional supplements brands Healthy Delights and Nu-Therapy, complements our existing portfolio targeting lifestyle consumers. It plays to global consumer trends focused on convenient formats and snacking. The transaction is in line with our strategic ambition to extend the reach of our Glanbia Performance Nutrition portfolio to related consumer needs.”

Glanbia intends to finance the acquisition using its available banking facilities. The deal is subject to the customary completion conditions, agreed closing accounts and regulatory approval, and is expected to be complete by the end of 2018. The final consideration will be dependent on the value of actual working capital at completion. Upon completion of the deal, Glanbia plans to operate SlimFast within its performance nutrition segment.


10 October 2018

IFF expands presence in China with two new facilities

International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) has opened a facility and is set to open another next week in China as part of its long-term strategy to gain a larger share of the Greater Asian market. The company has opened its flavours manufacturing facility in the Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone this week and will open Natural Product Research lab in the Nanjing Life Science Park on 15 October.

IFF chairman and CEO Andreas Fibig said: “China is a critical component of our long-term strategy. The opening of these new sites will support our efforts to be a partner of choice and to grow in this exciting region.”

The company’s presence in Zhangjiagang enables it to better serve its Chinese customers and focus on providing differentiated products in the wider Asian market.

Fibig said: “Ever-mindful of the value of naturals for consumers around the world, the output of the new Naturals Lab is not limited by region. It is an opportunity to combine our discoveries with our innovative technologies to create winning solutions for our global customers.”

Spread across 66,800m², the Zhangjiagang site includes a manufacturing building, which is equipped with an odour control system, quality control labs and an ambient warehouse for goods. Initially, the Zhangjiagang site will focus on powder flavour production and will later see the addition of new flavour technologies. The flavours plant is the company’s second facility in China and is expected to support IFF’s existing flavours and manufacturing operations in Guangzhou.

Naturals Lab covers nearly 520m² and will feature new systems to carry out research and development of flavours from natural sources. Once operational, this will be the company’s first facility outside the US. The lab facility is expected to enhance IFF’s capabilities in natural product research and meet the accelerating consumer demand for naturals and clean labels.


9 October 2018

Carrefour joins IBM Food Trust blockchain network

French multinational retailer Carrefour has made efforts to boost traceability and efficiency of its operations through joining IBM’s blockchain-based Cloud network, IBM Food Trust. With 12,000 stores in 22 countries, the retailer plans to use this food chain network to strengthen the trust that customers have in Carrefour-branded products. By 2022, Carrefour intends to expand the solution to all its brands worldwide.

Carrefour general secretary Laurent Vallée said: “Being a founding member of the IBM Food Trust platform is a great opportunity for Carrefour to accelerate and widen the integration of blockchain technology to our products in order to provide our clients with safe and undoubted traceability. This is a decisive step in the roll-out of ‘Act for Food’, our global programme of concrete initiatives in favour of the food transition.”

IBM Food Trust is a blockchain-based Cloud network that provides data from across the food supply chain to providers, growers, suppliers and retailers to offer traceability and transparency. This network is now available following a testing period of 18 months, when millions of food products were tracked by retailers and suppliers. According to IBM, with the use of blockchain for trusted transactions, food products can be quickly traced back to its source in as little as a few seconds rather than waiting for days or weeks.

IBM clients, platforms and blockchain senior vice-president Bridget van Kralingen said: “The currency of trust today is transparency, and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared. That collaborative approach is how the members of IBM Food Trust have shown blockchain can strengthen transparency and drive meaningful enhancements to food traceability. Ultimately that provides business benefits for participants and a better and safer product for consumers.”

Besides Carrefour, firms that are part of IBM Food Trust include Topco Associates, Wakefern, BeefChain, Dennick Fruit Source, Scoular, and Smithfield.


9 October 2018

JBS Tolleson recalls 6.9 million pounds of beef products

US-based meat processor JBS Tolleson has issued a recall of 6.9 million pounds of various raw, non-intact beef products as they may be contaminated with salmonella. The recall was issued by the company on 4 October. According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), 57 people have been infected across 16 states in this latest salmonella outbreak. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 people have been hospitalised and so far no deaths have been reported.

JBS Tolleson said that the raw, non-intact beef items, including ground beef, were produced on various dates from 26 July to 7 September 2018. These products were shipped to retail locations and institutions across the US. The products that are subject to recall bear establishment number EST. 267 inside the USDA mark of inspection. The beef products were sold under the names of Grass Run Farms, ComNor Perfect Choice, Gourmet Burger, Cedar River Farms and Showcase at Walmart, as well as generic packaging.

Consumption of salmonella-contaminated food could lead to salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses, which usually lasts four to seven days. Older adults, infants, and people with weak immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness.

This salmonella outbreak has been classified by FSIS as Class I, which represents a health hazard situation where there are chances of serious, adverse health consequences or even death as a result of the consumption of the products. FSIS is concerned that some products may be in peoples’ freezers and has urged such consumers not to consume them.

Colorado-based JBS USA is is a wholly owned subsidiary of JBS S A, a Brazilian beef producer. It has 36 facilities in Brazil and has annual sales of more than $30bn, with 50% generated from the US unit. Through 25 Pilgrim’s Pride facilities the US unit processes 90,000 hogs, and 6.6 million birds daily.


8 October 2018

IFF completes Frutarom acquisition for $7.1bn

US-based International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) has completed its acquisition of Israeli firm Frutarom in a $7.1bn deal. The agreement secured final antitrust clearance last month, having been originally signed in May. The acquisition will provide opportunities to expand into new and fast-growing categories such as savoury solutions, natural colours, natural food protection and health ingredients.

IFF chairman and CEO Andreas Fibig said: “The coming together of IFF and Frutarom is a momentous achievement. We are excited to be moving forward as one company and pursuing new opportunities that benefit all our stakeholders around the globe. Over the past several months, our integration planning teams have been working to ensure that we capture the best of both companies and create a seamless and efficient transition to achieve both our operational and financial targets for this combination.”

The new IFF company will focus on natural health and wellness, broadening their combined and growing customer base, including small to mid-sized businesses, and establishing an improved platform to deliver sustainable growth. The combined company will be headquartered in New York City and maintain a presence in Israel.

Fibig further added: “Today, we are celebrating the creation of a new IFF with even greater aspirations as a leader in taste, scent and nutrition. On behalf of everyone at IFF, we welcome Frutarom and its talented team, and look forward to working closely with all employees to continue to deliver winning products to our customers and maximising long-term value for our shareholders.”