Sunday, 20 July 2014

Choosing Right Summer Drink

In summers, soft drinks are commonly used to kill the heat. The consumption of bottled water with all varieties of drinks increases remarkably in summers. Usually consumers are not aware of the meanings of labbeled claims like fruit drink, concentrate, energy drink, sports drinks etc in terms of fruit and sugar content. Here is the soultion of drinks shelf confusion that help you choosing right drink.
Image courtesy: One green planet

According to British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), the term Soft drinks include Carbonated drinks, still and dilutable drinks ( concentrates, squashes, crushes), fruit juices, smoothies and bottled waters, including sports and energy drinks.

BSDA states Carbonates are acidulated ready to drink including draught dispense; home dispense; regular including sparkling juice; low calorie and zero calorie; cola; lemon including lemonade; lemon-lime; mixers including tonic and bitter drinks; orange; shandy; others including other carbonated fruit flavours, energy drinks, sparkling flavoured water, health drinks and herbal drinks. They may be sweetened or unsweetened with salts, fruit and vegetable extracts or artifical flavour. Benzen, a carcinogen may form in very small amount in soft drinks having benzoic acid or benzoate salts and ascorbic acid. Except bottled water, FDA has no standred for benzene in beverages.

Dilutables are Squashes, cordials, powders and other concentrates for dilution to taste by consumers. 4 parts water to 1 part product is added normally. Concentrate has is minimum 40% fruit content. Regular including squashes and cordials have minimum 25% fruit. Term cordial is applied to any clear citrus crush or squash. Dilutables may be low sugar including no added sugar and sugar free. 
Image courtesy:

Drink labbeled with pure juice or 100% juice is 100% fruit content equivalent
High juice drinks have 25-99% fruit content while juice drinks contain 5-25% fruit content. Other still drinks comprises of 0-5% fruit content for instance iced tea, sports drinks, still flavoured water and non-fruit drinks. Ambient or long life juice is mainly from concentrate and pasturized (heat treated) with shelf life of up to 18 months.

Image courtesy:
Sports drinks boost physical performance before, during or after physical/sporting activity. Fluids and electrolytes lost by sweating during sporting activity are replaced by sports drinks. They supply ample amount of carbohydrate. Isotonic sport drinks are fluid, electrolytes and 6 to 8% carbohydrate. Hypotonic sport drinks are fluids, electrolytes and a low level of carbohydrate and hypertonic are high level of carbohydrate. Best time to have a sport drink is after exercise to replace the depleated glycogen level.

Energy drinks are traditional glucose based drinks; functional or stimulation energy drinks which claim a particular energy boost from caffeine, guarana, taurine and ginseng or other herbs or some combination of mentioned ingredients. 

In which category your favourite drink falls?

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Applications of Soy proteins in Meat Extension, Meat Replacement and Structuring Technologies

After water, proteins are the most plentiful substance in our body. Usually meat, eggs and dairy is used to fulfil our protein dietary needs.

Today, a seminar cum workshop was held at Department of Food Science and Technology to introduce a rich, sustainable and economical source of protein i.e. Soy Protein and it's applications. Prof. Dr. Abid Hasnain, Chairman, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Karachi opened the session. He welcomed students, faculty and the speakers Mr. R.S.N Janjua, Country Rep. American Soybean Association (ASA)/ World Initiative for Human Health (WiSHH)/ Pakistan and Mr.Marcus Hamilton, Consultant Soy proteins, ASA/WiSH.

Mr. Janjua introduced American Soybean Association (ASA) and World Initiative for Human Health (WiSHH) briefly. He told that soy has 38% protein which is more than cereals and seeds crops. Due to its nutritional, functional and industrial benefits soy is cultivation more than 50% among all seeds crops. Soy is being utilized in animal feed (poultry, dairy and aquaculture), food and oil production. Soy is nitrogen fixation crop. Production cost of Soy is much lesser than other protein sources. In food industry soy is being used for production of Soy isolate having approx. 90% protein, Concentrate (55% protein), TVP (textural vegetable protein), tofu (12% protein), Soy milk (4% protein) and oil.
Mr. Marcus Hamliton discussing miracle crop
Mr. Marcus Hamilton highlighted the nutritional, functional and economical facts of Soy protein. Soy protein has PDCAAS (Protein digestibility corrected amino acid score) value 1 just like milk and eggs and it's greater than beaf i.e. 0.92. Mr. Marcus gave comprehensive review of functional properties of Soy proteins important in meat applications. This miracle crop has blend taste that enables it to be incorporated in wide variety of processed meat products and also in chocolate nutritional drinks. Dry powders, dry textured particulates, dry textured fibrous pieces, hydrolyse powders (HVF) and vitamins and minerals fortified powders are available physical forms of Soy protein. These range of soy proteins products can be used with different technologies for economical and sustainable and nutritious proteins rich products production. Mr. Marcus practically demonstrated the extension of meat with Mr. Rehan Saleem, Product Development Manager, United King. At the end of workshop audience tasted the meat and shared their views about it. 

The session ended with group photo and left some seeds of innovation in young minds.
Dr. Abdul Haq, Mr. R.S.N Janjua, Mr. Marcus Hamliton, Prof. Dr. Abid Hasnain, Prof. Dr. Tanveer Abbas with participants (From left to right)

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Exposure trip at PIA Flight Kitchen

Pakistan International Airline (PIA) is Pakistan’s flagship airline, offering international air travel services since 1955. The visit to PIA flight kitchen had been an amazing experience. Manager Material Planning Mr. Syed Nayar Ahmed, Laboratory Assistant Ms. Faiza and Ms. Shehla Nadeem help us exploring each department of flight kitchen. 

The kitchen is spacious and well-equipped, serving culinary joy ranging from scrumptious Pakistani food to delicious Western cuisines to more than 15,000 passengers every day, travelling on national and international flights. They are serving food on basis of nutrition and quality. The kitchen is supported by experienced production and operation teams including skilled food technologists, microbiologist and chefs having diverse experience in international cuisines. 
Chief Baker Mr. Muhammad Ali, 
serving PIA for last 26 year

The production department comprises of sub store, raw material and finished goods cold storage and hot storage area and hot and cold bakery.  They ensure temperature controlled environment to keep the hot food hot and cold food cold. Hot bakery is equipped with large ovens and high speed mixtures. They process approximately 10000 bread rolls daily. Different coloured codes were place on the packed food to specify production time and disposal date. In spite of controlled temperature and assured quality they don’t serve food after 48 hours. From out bound bay the food is carried in a van that transports the food to the plane.

Bread rolls, ready for baking. 

Dosa sheets shaping

The operation area comprises of holding room, control room, foreign handling, cabin setting and preparatory unit. After production the food is held in holding room having temperature -50C. PIA’s Kitchen Control room offers 24 hours services to take notes of requests for special meal like kosher and vegetarian meals, baby food, diabetic and low cholesterol meals. The supervisor told us that cargo & foreign handling departments were the two main source of PIA’s popularity. After foreign handling cabin setting department starts which deals with accessories stocks from pillow to tissues or baby carries etc. Preparatory unit stores a small part that included all the dry products approximately 6000 products like tea bags, coffee sachet, milk powder etc. At In bound bay there is dish washing area consist huge dishwashers. Pre cleaning is done with hot water (78-900C) then detergent and clean water and in the end clean utensils are air dried. 

     At the end they served us delicious delights. 
(Dawoodpotta shortbreads & sandwiches)

We are thankful to PIA’s General Manager Food Mr. Hanif Rana and his teams for making this exposure trip a great learning experience for us. 
In spite of political and privatization issues PIA is working hard to maintain quality services. All it need is to train experienced staff with latest technology trends to preserve their quality services. Epoxy flooring is highly recommended for the kitchen. 

Group of B.S 3rd year students at flight kitchen

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The10th International Plastic, Printing & Packaging Industry Exhibition 2014

The 10th International Plastic, Printing & Packaging industry exhibition concluded today. Concurring event of 3P Plas Print Pack Pakistan is the 10th International Food + Technology Exhibition. The exhibition was business oriented though it provided good insight of current trends and technology used for food and non food packaging. More than 200 National and International companies were there to build and strengthen their business in Pakistan and rest of the world.

The showcase of tools and equipments was interesting for professionals who are eager to learn new technology. Live demonstration of packaging and plastic machinery was incredible.

Live production of plastic sac rolls

This event provided absolute opportunity to interact and network. These kinds of events are required to opens trade doors in Pakistan. The active participation of International players has proved there is a huge market for investors and buyers.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Bread Shelf Confusion

Should I pick brown or white bread?
Source: WikiCommons

Most of us face this confusion everyday at bread shelf. Health concious fellows may pick the brown one as natural brown or dark brown colour relates to the presence of whole grain; which is dense in nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals.

This colour impression is missleading. There is a diffrence between brown and bran or whole grain bread. Brown colour bread may contain caramalized suagr or some colouring agent giving characterstic colour of whole wheat bread. 

Whole grain bread is made up of whole wheat flour having grem, bran and starchy endosperm. Have a look at structure of whole grain.
Source: Jovinacookitalian

For white bread production refined flour is used. The refining process sift out nutrient rich bran and germ, leaving the starchy endosperm. White bread lacks nutrients of bran and germs like Fiber, vitamin E and B, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. Also, white bread and brown colour bread contains large proportion of high glycemic index carbohydrates. 

So next time when you are facing the bread shelf, read the ingredients list at the label to make the right choice. 

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Field Trip at Matco Rice Processing

Field trips are always exciting. They let us experience where and how science is applied. In the mid of December, I arranged a field trip for B.S 3rd year students of Department of Food Science andTechnology, University of Karachi for their Cereal Technology course at Matco Rice Processing (PVT) LTD.

Matco is one of the largest rice exporters in Pakistan. It is an ISO 9001:2000, HACCP, KOSHER, BRC (British Retail Consortium), WQA (WOOLWORTHS QUALITY ASSURANCE STANDARD) certified company. Falak rice is their flagship product. I know the product name has sparked your interest in this review!

Our Matco coordinators explained the major theories, methodologies, techniques are being used at Matco for rice processing. We observed how dehulled paddy is converted into white polished rice we purchase from market. We can say rice processing is cleaning of rice with different methods at every step. In pre-cleaning stage, the dust and impurities are removed including threads, papers. After pre-cleaning, rice moved into paddy separators which separates the paddy from the rice.  There are heavy de-stoners to remove small stones left during the pre-cleaning step.

Now, rice is fed into polishing machines in which it is whitened or polished. No chemicals are used for polishing but it is done through the use of water spray and air.

Length grading

After polishing, rice comes in thickness grader. Then, it passes through the length graders. Length graders separate the broken rice from head rice. There are holes inside the graders which hold the rice having no heads or are broken than the desired head of the grain.The rice processing machine also have color sorter, an emergent machine equipped with CCD or sensors which detects the difference in color. It processes the grain image and separates the grain on the basis of color. It can also detect the aged grains.

Stacked rice sacks
Now, the rice is ready to be packed. The packaged bags are checked through the metal detectors.The rice is fumigated before and after processing. The
Packages ready to despatch
number of fumigation cycles depends upon the final destination and required shelf life of the product.Quality is assured at every step to produce premium quality rice.

I am thankful to Mr. Kaukab Alam Siddiqui, the Q.A Manager at Matco Rice Processing and his team for making the exposure trip a great learning experience for us. 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Rahber Moments

Hello team foodie,

Today's post is not about food safety or nutrition but healthy minds and happy society. I am sharing with you my experience of being a Rahber (mentor) of seven school girls. I have just completed Rahber cycle 14. It is the most inspiring, exciting and joyous experience of my life. Rahber progamme by The Citizens Foundation-TCF is life transforming not only for students but mentors as well. I joined this programme to pay back to the society but instead mentees helped me develop grateful attitude. In just seven saturdays, I have met two real life heros, many friends, re-lived my childhood, learned the recipe of life and loads more. 

Because pictures say more than words, I am sharing glimpse of my Rahber journey with mentees, co-mentors and coordinators.

Exposure trip at IBA
Recipe of life

Discussing the importance of balance in life with the help of birynai ingredients.

What else you can expect from a food technologist! :)
Pledge activity
Hands made gifts by my mentees

If you want to mentor young children in need of some guidance, register for Rahbar sessions today.


Photo credits: Mind Vision Artwork & NK Photography