Resorcix and Gat Foods’ clean label oleoresin solution prevents TAB spoilage in clear beverages
18 Jul 2022 --- Gat Foods, part of International Beer Breweries (IBBL), and Israeli startup Resorcix, have introduced Flavorwatch, a patent-pending botanical ingredient based on natural oleoresin designed to prevent thermophilic acidophilic bacteria (TAB) spoilage in clear, fruit-based beverages.
The TAB bacteria strain – which negatively impacts the quality and organoleptic properties of most categories of still, non-alcoholic beverages – had been confounding beverage bottlers for decades.
“Building a CPG brand leaves zero room for failures in quality control,” says Shachar Shaine, CEO of Gat Foods. “Consumers deserve full transparency and maximum quality throughout the entire shelf life of a beverage.”
“But while TAB-related recalls can damage a company’s image and destroy consumer trust in the brand, we can help bottlers keep their positive brand image.”
Flavorwatch maintains the beverages’ organoleptic characteristics, fully retaining original flavor throughout the shelf life, and delivering a durable sensory experience in clear, high-acid still beverages.
The story of TAB
TAB refers to a group of nonpathogenic microbes belonging to the Alicyclobacillus family and is ubiquitous in still RTD non-alcoholic drinks. The existence of TAB was first documented in 1982 in Germany after a spoilage outbreak in a commercial pasteurized apple juice brand prompted a major recall.
TAB originates from certain ingredients frequently used in beverage preparation, such as sugar, pectin, water and fruit concentrate.
Dr. Lior Sinai, chief technology officer of Resorcix, comments: “Bacteriologists know that spores are almost impossible to eradicate. That's why we were extremely excited to discover natural molecules of plant origin that can eliminate these multi-resistant bacterial spores.”
Good manufacturing practices can reduce TAB but cannot eliminate it entirely. This necessitates periodic batch testing and isolation which is costly and time-consuming, and still not 100% bullet proof.
Pasteurization – one of the common methods used for microbial treatment – for instance, does not eliminate heat-resistant TAB spores. In fact, since pasteurization kills most vegetative bacteria and fungi, it actually eliminates microbial competition and stimulates the outgrowth of TAB.
Keeping tabs on spoilage
Indications of TAB spoilage in beverages include a hazy appearance and, upon opening the bottle, discharge of a smoky, clove-like smell. It also imparts a medicinal off-taste.
The bacteria multiply shortly following the bottling process, especially in warm weather.
Although nonpathogenic, the unpleasant results of TAB contamination typically lead to a large volume of customer complaints and can ultimately trigger a costly recall and shattered reputation.
“The precious rainforest is known to reveal surprising botanical treasures,” shares Yehoshua Maor, PhD, pharmacologist, toxicologist, founder and CSO of Resorcix. “Our FLAVORWATCH solution is based on a botanical oleoresin that naturally possesses anti-TAB spoilage properties.”
Flavorwatch contains natural compounds with a proven bacteriolytic effect, disintegrating TAB cells in the germination phase. This prevents the bacteria from producing off-flavored and unpleasant smelling metabolites.
The new ingredient is classified as a natural flavoring by the Food and Drug Administration (US), European Food Safety Authority (EU), JETRO (Japan), and Israeli Ministry of Health regulations, and appears as such on label.
Its mild herbal flavor is so slight it cannot be sensed in the beverage, as only a minimal amount is necessary to maintain the product’s clear appearance and sensory attributes. It works throughout the shelf life as a clean-label ingredient.
In both pilot and industrial-scale tests supervised by microbiologist Dr. Roni Shapira, of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a Flavorwatch-treated, pineapple-based, RTD beverage showed zero colonies of Alicyclobacillus over a span of six months.
The same beverage continued to maintain its TAB-free status for a further eight months in an independent analysis.
Flavorwatch is suitable for a variety of still, clear, RTD beverages, such as fruit beverages, fruity water and iced tea. It is easy to implement and highly cost effective, readily able to be incorporated into beverage bases or syrups in the preparation phase or added directly to the beverage tank before pasteurization.
It can reduce the need for added flavorings, as it allows for pasteurization at lower temperatures, making it an energy-efficient solution. This, in turn, substantially reduces the number of lab tests required, shortening time-to-market, and minimizing the risk of recalls.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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