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Today in Food Manufacturing

Daily news and top headlines for food manufacturing professionals

Riddle Me This, Small Business

February 25, 2010 9:17 am | by Mike Rainone, Co-Founder, PCDworks

Many of you reading this column may work for a small business, or perhaps aspire to own one.  Congratulations. According to Henry Paulson, Alan Greenspan and seemingly everyone else along the beltway, small businesses are the key to this nation's recovery. Small businesses account for 52 percent of all the jobs in this country, and conventional wisdom says that if we can just get them to hire more people we can turn this thing around.

A Top Down Approach

February 23, 2010 7:22 am | by Penny Gift, Product Manager, Republic Powdered Metals

The concept of restoration as a cool roof solution is not new. In fact, the energy crisis of the 1970s required facility managers to look for every option possible for reducing energy use within their buildings. Reflective roof restoration became popular not only for extending the roof’s life, but for reducing energy consumption and creating a more comfortable work environment.

From Field To Fork

February 23, 2010 7:21 am

Food traceability has evolved tremendously since the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act of 1930 (PACA) which required the produce industry to provide a documented account of transactions between buyers and sellers.  Today, a perfect storm of influences are making track and trace issues a relevant issue today to both businesses and consumers alike.


Beverage Industry Trends

February 22, 2010 11:39 am

This report is based on approximately 71 interviews with sources at various organizations throughout North America, as seen in the figure below. These interviews were conducted with product manufacturers, wholesalers/distributors, and various trade associations representing beverage packaging across North America.

Q&A with John Ratzenberger, Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs

February 22, 2010 9:51 am | by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

About 2 ½ years ago, I started the Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs foundation based on my discovery that, in America, we’re literally running out of skilled workers—people who know how to use tools, and measure, and bend things and mold things. Because of the traveling I did with my show, "John Ratzenberger’s Made in America" on The Travel Channel, every time I went to a factory, I discovered that their biggest worry was the fact that we’re running out of workers.

I'm Suing You, And You, And You

February 22, 2010 5:13 am | by Joel Hans, Associate Editor, IMPO

We’ve all heard enough talk about Toyota’s recalls and quality control troubles of late, and I’ll do my best to not repeat what’s already been said about the company. Frankly, I’ve grown tired of it, and I’m sure some of you have as well. That said, I heard last week that a Cincinnati couple is starting up a civil class action lawsuit against Toyota for fraud and negligence.

It's Time To Go On The Attack

February 22, 2010 5:11 am | by Mike Collins, author of Saving American Manufacturing

Many economists have characterized stories about the decline of U.S. manufacturing as simply doom and gloom opinions.  Ralph Keller of the Association of Manufacturing Excellence says of American manufacturing: “This is not the story of the death of manufacturing in the United States, just one of change and continuous improvement.

Your Brain Wants Chocolate Cake

February 11, 2010 6:34 am | by Krystal Gabert, Associate Editor

When your eyes dart between the grilled cheese and the salad bar during your lunch break, what are you really thinking about? How do you decide between the real-fruit sorbet and the chocolate cake? We recently ran a video from CBS news , which suggests that the reasons we choose to eat what we choose to eat may be more complicated than they seem at first glance.


Black Market Candy

February 10, 2010 8:37 am | by Karen Langhauser, Editor-in-chief

When associate editor Krystal Gabert sent me a recent New York Times article about Obama's proposed federal ban on junk food in schools, particularly snacks offered in vending machines, I thought for sure it would be another "evil food processors are making children fat" story.

The Private Brand Revolution

February 10, 2010 6:51 am | by George Young, Founding Partner, Kalypso

It’s no secret: the buzz surrounding the trajectory of private, or own, brands has reached a fever pitch. With the growth rate outpacing national brands year over year, the private brand revolution is not only changing how consumers shop, but how retailers stock their shelves.

New Technology Helps Manage Energy Costs

February 10, 2010 3:45 am

Application of Nansulate® High Heat on factory heat exchanger to reduce energy use and increase longevity of equipment. Rising energy costs are a huge motivator for any manufacturer to find ways to increase energy efficiency in their processes and plants.

Your Baby Is Ugly

February 9, 2010 11:34 am | by Karen Langhauser, Editor-in-Chief

You've probably all seen the Domino's Pizza® ads at this point. Basically, Domino's pizza tasted terrible; customers complained. Remarkably, Domino's took the criticism to heart, and reinvented its core product, launching a brand new pizza that claims to have crispier crust, tastier sauce, and better (read: real) cheese.

Preemptive Disaster Planning

February 9, 2010 11:33 am | by Allen Melton and Jason Trahan

How would your company respond if your manufacturing plant were flooded? Or hit by a tornado? Or damaged by fire? Your likely response would be to discuss your company's business continuity plan (BCP) for these events … but what about the financial recovery?

Disaster Planning & Response for Food Processors

February 9, 2010 11:33 am | by Wayne Yon, Stephen Blackwell, Daniel Coto & Melvin N. Kramer, EHA Consulting Group, Inc.

Disaster: the word alone congers images of your facility in the worst possible condition; people not understanding what happened, not knowing how to respond to the event or what to tell the media, if anything, and more. But it doesn't have to be that way if you have an emergency plan in place. What is an emergency versus a disaster? By definition, a disaster is any event causing great harm or damage, a catastrophe; while an emergency is an occurrence demanding immediate actions.

Finding Their Comfort Zone

February 9, 2010 11:33 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director

At least that's what Fort Wayne, IN-based Ellison Bakery is hoping after unveiling the first line of cookies to ever carry the 65-year-old bakery's name. The introduction of their Super-Moist line this past summer represents just one of many key decisions the company has made in transforming from humble beginnings in a two-car garage to a 120,000-square-foot operation.

Hydrostatic Load Cells Bear The Weight Of Washdown

February 9, 2010 11:33 am | by Rudi Baisch, Emery Winslow

"We just lost another load cell on mixer scale number three" is not what any Operations or Maintenance Manager wants to hear in a busy food processing facility. When a scale goes down, and accurate weight data is no longer available, it creates a real problem for production.

Pulling The Plug On Vending Machines

February 9, 2010 10:46 am | by Krystal Gabert, Associate Editor

So while the industry may be quieting opposition because beverage companies have diversified their product and will be able to stock vending machines regardless of the beverage restrictions imposed, other groups may sit out this fight for different reasons. I’d venture that most people would agree that if you present a 10 year-old with the option of eating a candy bar or an apple, they’ll eat the candy bar every single time.

Simplifying Food and Beverage Inspection

February 9, 2010 10:45 am | by Mark Lampert, Business Development Manager – Food and Beverage, Banner Engineering

A machine vision inspection has a relatively simple purpose: to input a snapshot of the application, evaluate this snapshot based upon a set of given tolerances and output a “pass” or “fail” signal. This sequence is otherwise known as acquisition, analysis, and determination.

Uncloaking The Food Industry

February 8, 2010 12:09 pm | by Krystal Gabert, Associate Editor

Some American consumers seem to believe that a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with regard to the production of our food is the only thing that keeps Americans eating pre-packaged and processed foods—that if we were exposed to the real processes by which our food made it to the shelf, we’d all fork over the extra dollars and spend the extra hours required to cook fresh produce and free range meat.

Statement On 'Mercy For Animals' Video

February 8, 2010 12:04 pm

While the Animal Agriculture Alliance is disappointed by the images of alleged animal cruelty documented in an undercover video released in January by animal activist group Mercy for Animals (MFA), it is also dismayed that several news organizations have used footage from a single location to denounce the entire dairy industry as inhumane. The video depicts unsatisfactory conditions that are not representative of America's dairy families as a whole.


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