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17th January 2020

 

Increased investor interest in cell-based meat companies suggests this lab-produced

phenomenon may soon become a commercial reality, says GlobalData.

Backing for Mosa Meat of the Netherlands and US-based New Age Meats in the last few days should help these companies become viable businesses.

Andy Coyne, Food Correspondent at GlobalData, says: “The potential of cell-based or cultured meat has never been in doubt. Creating meat in a lab from animal cells without hurting the animal ticks so many boxes in an era in which animal welfare and world food shortages are major issues.

“However, turning that potential into a market-ready product is arguably an even greater challenge than the incredible scientific work done in the labs.

“What these new investments - from the likes of animal nutrition business Nutreco and US venture-capital fund Lowercarbon Capital - indicate though, is that the money men are no longer early stage supporters of what may become a brave new world but hard-headed backers of what could become a commercial reality within a relatively short period.

“Mosa Meat, for example, is aiming to bring a beef product to the market in the next few years and is in the course of developing its first pilot production plant where the debut commercial products will be grown, while New Age Meats has already developed cell-based sausages and is aiming to have pork products on commercial sale in the same sort of time period.

“There will still be barriers to overcome in terms of regulation and public perception but these companies are increasingly demonstrating they have a viable proposition.

“It is a proposition that could have serious ramifications not just for the food industry but for the planet we live on.”

 
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January 15, 2020

When former British Prime Minister, Teresa May, proclaimed that she wasn’t opposed to scraping off mold from the top of a jar of jam and eating the product underneath, it sparked a conversation about what mouldy foods were safe to eat. Here, group vice president food & beverage at ABB, Darcy Simonis, looks at the advancing methods food producers are using to monitor the safety of their products.

On the whole, eating mouldy food is not an advisable practice – mould is the scourge of the food industry with producers striving to deliver the freshest produce possible to their customers. However, the world of technology is rapidly advancing, with applications making their way into all areas of food production, which is helping manufacturers to combat unnecessary food spoilage and waste.

In an industry where the demands of the customer are ever evolving, it is hard for food manufacturers to keep up with the latest trends. This is where data analytics can come into play, giving a level of insight that is invaluable. The use of data analytics in marketing and customer insight is well known, but its uses can go far wider, helping food producers to keep their products at the pinnacle of quality and freshness.

Over the course of time, the quality and the characteristics of a product can change. Yet, by using integrated data analytics, manufacturers can learn more about the factors that affect the shelf life of their products. This information can then be used to adapt the product or process to increase shelf life, potentially saving the manufacturer money and time, as well as reducing food waste.

Data analytics also has its uses when maintaining and improving the quality of a consumable product. For instance, during the beer brewing process, monitoring alcohol levels is critical and is something that is regularly analyzed. However, it is a time-consuming process and can be disruptive to the production line. As a result, there are new methods coming into play that allow testing to be carried out without disrupting production and data analytics is being used to measure whether these methods are as insightful and effective as the traditional wet chemistry method.

Monitoring and analysis in the food and beverage industry is vital — customers demand that their favorite product tastes the same no matter where they are in the world or where it was manufactured or packaged. The process requires strict control and repeatable standard solutions that can be rolled out across multiple production sites.

Manufacturing Execution System (MES) services from ABB comprise of a wide portfolio of visibility and transparency of the complete end-to-end process, from incoming raw materials to the finished shipped product. The MES incorporates functions such as equipment maintenance management, genealogy tracking from raw material as well as material tracing and tracking management. All these features are designed to support food and beverage manufacturers maximize the performance of their plant.

So, even if your customers tastes are as strange as Teresa May’s, by incorporating rigorous monitoring and data analysis across your manufacturing facility, you can be sure that your product is at its very best when it reaches the customer.

 
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January 10, 2020

SASKATOON —Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) researchers at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) are members of an international consortium of key academic and global seed company leaders from Canada, the United States, Europe and Israel that has successfully sequenced the genome for canola.

The canola consortium is led by Dr. Isobel Parkin (PhD), research scientist from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), and Dr. Andrew Sharpe (PhD), director of genomics and bioinformatics from GIFS at USask. The genome research is essential to enhancing the quality and yield of the major oil crop. The project reached a key milestone in completing the full assembly and mapping the genomes of 10 diverse canola varieties, cultivated in Canada, U.S. and Europe. The genome assembly and complete mapping was done using Israeli-based genomic big data company NRGene’s DeNovoMAGIC technology.

Canola is a major vegetable oil crop farmed on approximately 35 million acres around the world. Canola oil is considered a high-quality vegetable oil and is commonly used in food production and diverse industrial applications, including biofuel. Increasing the productivity of the plant will expand its use for a range of applications, replacing lower quality vegetable oils and diesel fuels.

“Having top quality genomes of rapeseed/canola is crucial for identifying the genes responsible for key commercial traits,” said Parkin. “This will be a foundational resource for basic research that’s required to increase yield and nutritional values of rapeseed/canola.”

In the upcoming weeks, the project will also include the comparative mapping of the full genome sequences into a pangenome. Subsequently, the genomes of other varieties will be incorporated to reveal the broad genetic diversity of canola that is grown around the world. This work will be done using NRGene’s GenoMAGIC big-data toolkit, that is already in use commercially for other key crops such as maize, soybean, cotton, tomato and wheat.

“This was truly a combined effort, made possible with the support and contributions from various parties,” said Sharpe. “The results will advance breeding for rapeseed and canola, benefiting research, industry, producers and consumers. This progress also has immense economic value for Canada, which is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of canola.”

“The broad genomic database we produced provides the fundamental infrastructure needed by every breeding program,” said Dr. Gil Ronen, chief executive officer of NRGene. “Sharing funding resources between multiple commercial and academic entities enables us to build the largest global database of rapeseed/canola to be shared among consortium members and revealing strategic paths in the breeding of elite seeds.”

 

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