Monday, December 5, 2011

Chair's Message - Nov-Jan newsletter

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s a hectic but fun-filled time of shopping, travel and family gatherings with most all of it involving… food!

And what better way to enjoy food than with a glass of a wine, right?

Your Cactus Section is excited to be hosting a special wine tasting on December 6th, presented by the experts at E&J Gallo. Marie Shubin, Director of Consumer Affairs and Jennifer Jo Wiseman, VP Consumer and Product Insights are coming to us all the way from Modesto, CA and will be talking about the science, nature and art of winemaking with a presentation specially directed at our unique group of food science professionals.

In addition to the wine tasting experts, Sharon Kneebone and Anna Kakos from the national IFT office are visiting to share with us the many benefits of IFT membership. Their visit comes soon after we were featured as the Section of the Month for October, so we’re excited to hear and talk about how we can continue to make the most of our membership.

Looking ahead for the coming year, your Board is working to create more opportunities for us to get together, network and share information about our profession. We’re planning to host several events revolving around a diverse set of topics, and to continue to reach out to local professional and academic groups that we can collaborate with. So if you have any ideas or areas of interest to include in the discussion, be sure to let us know!

Meanwhile, stay tuned for what looks to be a great 2012 for the Cactus Section. Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year!

— Tony DeCastro, Cactus IFT Section Chair

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Science of Flavor

Before the World War II, sensory evaluation wasn’t a formal discipline at all. It was just something everybody did haphazardly. A food company would simply figure something either tasted good or bad.

“It’s a fairly young science,” said sensory expert Ken Baseman, Ph.D., of Papa John’s Foods and Grocery, who addressed Cactus IFT on May 18 about the role of sensory evaluation as an integral part of the development of new products in the food industry.

What is sensory evaluation? The standard definition, according to IFT, is the following: “Sensory evaluation is a scientific discipline used to evoke, measure, analyze, and interpret reactions to those characteristics of food and materials as they are perceived by the senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing.”

As Baseman began, he explained that sensory science supports key food industry areas like food safety and quality, product development and manufacturing. In addition, he said, it’s consumer testing where food sensory evaluation really resides.

What do we do with it? Baseman said sensory evaluation is used for shelf life studies, product matching, product mapping, specification and quality control, product reformulation.

Based on sensory evaluation, companies can provide general guidance for the selection, training and monitoring of assessors.

“If I really want to set up a program and I want to talk to my comrades across the world, then we have a set of standards that we can all follow,” Baseman said.

And you can’t talk about flavor without a background in sensory.

So, what are the basic types of sensory stimuli? They include appearance, color, odor, taste, touch, flavor, texture (eyes and mouthfeel). A recent addition is umame, which is a savory profile or more of a synergy of flavors. It’s part of what MSG is, but MSG had such a negativism that now they’ve changed the flavor’s name.

The physiology of taste comprises of sensations perceived through receptors on the tongue. In a classical sensory evaluation format, you would use salty for NACl, sugar for sweet, citric acid for sour, and caffeine for bitter.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tony DeCastro discusses the future of Cactus IFT

Thanks to Brian Giannini's leadership and an outstanding effort by many members this past year, our Cactus IFT Section has a fantastic new foundation with which to engage the food science community here in Arizona. It has been great to see our group re-energized, to reconnect with old friends, and to meet wonderful new people. As the incoming section Chair, I am eager to help continue bringing together food and beverage industry professionals, educators and interested individuals in our local area.

In a similar way, the national IFT organization has been reaching out through their Section Engagement Advisory Panel. And as one of only seven sections invited to participate in their Section Pilot Program, we have a great opportunity to provide input to help increase the value of our section membership.  One great benefit was the recent offer of a free 1-year national membership (a $190 value) for those who aren't currently national members.  By the way, this offer expires August 30th, so "officially" join right away and be sure your section membership is current (for only $10)!

We can all then take full advantage of IFT membership and the informational and networking resources available to members only at

This core group has volunteered to take us through the next twelve months and we are here to serve you. Our goal is to provide a professional, fun and relevant forum for us to gather and share news, insight, and expertise.  We enthusiastically invite your thoughts, event ideas, discussion topics and anything else that could help us enhance your membership.  All of our committees would welcome your participation. Together, we can help provide a valuable and rewarding experience for everyone - thank you for being involved!

Effective September 1, 2011, here are your 2011-2012 Cactus IFT Section Officers and Committee Chairs:

Chair – Tony DeCastro

Chair Elect / Membership Committee Chair – 
Lynn Abarr-Boubelik

Treasurer – Lorraine Hansen

Secretary – Holly Curtis

Past Chair / Nominating Committee Chair - 
Brian Giannini

Member at Large – 
Darrel Swift

Programs Committee Chair – Ken Baseman

Student Committee Chair – Jessica Dykun

Newsletter Committee Chair – David Despain

Chair's Message

Chair’s Message 

The Cactus IFT Section has built a strong infrastructure of dedicated members that is committed to bringing its members strong educational programs and networking events.
By the end of December 2011, we will have had five meetings:

December 9, 2010 – How Recall Information can Enhance your Food Safety Program.
March 3, 2011 – What’s New at IFT and How the Food Safety Modernization Act will Affect the Food Industry.
May 18, 2011 – Using Sensory for New Product Development
August 25, 2011 – SanTan Brewery tour and food pairing networking event

Next Event: December 6, 2011 – E&J Gallo will be coming from Modesto, CA to teach us the art of tasting wine. Marie Shubin, Director of Consumer Affairs and Jennifer Jo Wiseman, VP Consumer and Product Insights at E&J Gallo are planning a fantastic program specifically designed for our group. We will learn about types of wines, how to identify wines you may like and how to talk about wine with confidence. The event will be held at the Fiesta Resort in Tempe, AZ and will include dinner and wine.

Membership in the Cactus IFT section is only $10. If you know of anyone who is interested in joining please have them contact our Membership Chair and incoming Chair Elect Lynn Abarr-Boubelik, her contact information is listed in this newsletter. If you join by August 30, 2011 you will automatically become a member of the National IFT, a $190 value, more details are in this newsletter.

The Cactus Section IFT elections have been completed and submitted to IFT National and I’m proud of all our elected officers and our committee members who have volunteered their time to keep our section strong. Tony DeCastro, VP Innovation and Regulatory Affairs, at Sun Orchard, is our new Chair as of September 1, 2011. Tony has been very instrumental in his participation on the board and I know he can take us to the next level. All of the board members and committee members are listed below please take the time to reach out and thank them for their commitment to our section.

— Brian Giannini, Cactus IFT Section President

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

U. of A. Memorial for Ralph L. Price

A memorial has been started at the University of Arizona Department of Nutritional Sciences to recognize Dr. Ralph Price and his work in food safety and the food industry. Dr. Price was an active member of IFT and known internationally for his work.

Dr. Price had a B.S. from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. from Purdue University. He will be remembered as an extraordinary educator and food scientist and as an advocate of food safety. He specialized in food technology and processing, as a trainer in “Better Process Control School” and “Thermal Processing,” aflatoxin research, and good agricultural practices research for produce.

Dr. Price received college and university awards for excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching. He presented in six foreign countries, served in leadership positions for IFT, was a Fulbright Fellow in Portugal, and retired from University of Arizona in 2005.

He is survived by his wife, Pat, six children, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

If you wish to contribute a donation to the memorial, please make a check payable to “University of Arizona Foundation,” write in the memo line “In Memory of Ralph Price,” then send to the following address: 

CALS Development

Attn: Ralph L. Price

P.O. Box 210036

Tucson, AZ 85721-0036

Monday, May 16, 2011

Who is IFT? We are

IFT is about each one of us. That's the message shared by Erin Carter, our "Section Champion" hailing from the national office in Washington, D.C. at our Cactus IFT Section dinner meeting in March.

IFT has expanded its volunteer task force with 1,614 unique volunteer members. “A new record!” she reports. Membership recruitment efforts are also up with membership exceeding 1 percent for the first time in 15 years. In addition, the organization is doing a lot for its members, which includes the traditional annual meeting and section events.

The Section Engagement Advisory Panel is actively involved in fostering consistent membership experience throughout IFT. They have an outreach program and make visits to different regions across the country. They are also looking for what students can gain from and IFT experience.

The new focus of IFT on members is a brainchild of the Member Value Proposition Panel, who are looking to transform the brand with attributes and behaviors that include collaboration, inclusiveness, scientific integrity, and passion for excellence.

"One of the things we struggle with is a brand disconnect," Carter said, showing us the different types of IFT logos seen throughout the country. "We're trying to gain consistency and relevance."

IFT also launched a new "Web site community” with features like personal profiles and blogs similar to other social media sites like Facebook. Carter guided us through online.

On the Web site, Carter said, a major resource is the IFT publications including a scientific journal, magazines, and weekly newsletters. The newsletters even include a nutraceuticals and functional foods focus.

Resources included "Feeding Tomorrow," a new IFT initiative, and the widely read IFT Magazine, which is free for a limited time.

"You can look through back issues," Carter said. You can even increase the font size of the articles for easier reading.

The Web site is a wealth of information, but should someone seek additional education, Carter shares, there is also a list of online courses ranging from food science to food safety.
The Web site also has a referral program, a member directory, meeting and event information, past meeting resources, and a career center (complete with salary surveys and job boards), and a "Marketplace," which is a directory of food companies.

She tells us, "This is the most important part. I cannot stress this enough." What is she talking about? She says it is the filling out of the personal profile including the “My Interests” section. This allows IFT to know more about how people would like to volunteer within the group.

"You can tell us how you want to be involved," Carter said. "This allows we the staff to know how to contact you, the volunteers."

The information populates the Membership Directory and can open up important contact opportunities such as hiring experienced quality assurance personnel.

“It’s the most powerful tool we have,” she said. “The Web site is great, but this solves your business needs.”

Food Safety Modernization Act

The new FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that recently was passed by Congress is one of the largest changes in food regulations since 1938. That’s more than 70 years, food safety pioneer Gale Prince said. Known as the “dean of recalls,” Prince has an in-depth perspective on how to make the food supply safer globally.

Previously, as featured in the Jan-March issue of Cactus IFT Newsletter, Prince addressed Cactus IFT about food safety. Now for a second time, he spoke – this time via WebX conference – to Cactus IFT members attending a chapter dinner at Fiesta Resort conference center in Tempe, Ariz., about the new act.

As he introduced the subject, Prince explained the FDA is reported to have to write about 50 regulations, guidance documents, and reports to congress in the next two to three years. “You can imagine the burden that is facing FDA,” Prince said.

FDA has divided requirements among 10 different teams. It is a major project. “Every time they pass an act there is a requirement most of the time,” Prince said. There are really three key things in the subject matter: Improving capacity to prevent food safety issues; improving capacity to detect and respond to food safety problems; and improving the safety of imported foods. Prince detailed each one of these in his talk.

There are different effective dates for key sections including the inspection of records, registration of facilities, fees, port shopping, inspection frequency and identification of high risk facilities, mandatory recall authority, authority to require import certification for food, and whistleblower protections.

There was one section that Prince said he wouldn’t go into great detail about and that’s whistleblower protection. But he warned, “If you have an employee that has reported food safety problems within the company or to an agency, there are some restrictions in the law that you have to be aware of because you can’t necessarily fire that individual or you can’t take action against that individual.”

Company executives should evaluate what they are doing within their company, Prince said, to avoid such situations. He recommends providing their employees the opportunity to register complaints internally.

Section 101

Starting off with Section 101 Inspection of Records, Prince said that act allows FDA to use what is deemed as “reasonable belief” for inspection of a facility if there is sufficient evidence that exposure to an article or food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death. They also have access to those records and related products that may have been made on that line.

“You need to think about your procedures and how you handle a regulatory inspection from FDA or one that maybe the state is doing under an FDA contract,” Prince said. “Take a look at your current requirements and think about what’s listed here.”

It’s also a good time to look at your records and how you are keeping records, Prince added, giving some thought as how you may wish to organize and separate them in a way that is different from the way they are currently available to FDA.

Section 102

Moving to Section 102, the Registration of Food Facilities, Prince said that under the Bioterrorism Act it was a one-time event. Now it is subject to renewal on even-numbered years from October to December. One of the new things under this law is that FDA can also suspend registration, Prince said, if there is reasonable probability for causing serious health consequences to humans or animals they can suspend registration.

Under Section 102, they may also amend the definition of what is called “food establishment.” The requirement is a provision allowing for small operations (e.g. roadside stands) to be apart from the FDA model of retail food code. However, it will probably not affect facilities dedicated solely to food manufacturing.

Section 103

According to Prince, “Section 103 [the Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls] will probably be the one that causes all of us the most heartache.”

It’s very detailed. Currently there are HACCP requirements of juice and seafood. This is going to require evaluation the hazards of regular products and how they could be affected. It will also require implementation of preventive controls that will significantly minimize or prevent the occurrence of such hazards providing assurances that the food is not adulterated in its final form.

“This is going to be very demanding and, on top of that, FDA is required to develop some regulations on analysis,” Prince said.

The definition of what hazard analysis is very lengthy. It will have to reasonably foresee hazards such as biological, chemical, physical, radiological, natural toxins, pesticides, drug residues, decomposition, parasites, allergens, additives, and unintentionally introduced hazards.

The Section also includes a novel regulation, intentionally introduced hazards. “This is totally new,” Prince said. Companies will end up likely having to develop a written analysis of hazards that can be introduced intentionally.

“It is a concern and even the regulatory community,” Prince said. “You might end up writing some points that the bad guys might be looking for.”

There are also preventive controls that must be implemented including identifying critical control points and implement preventive controls. The monitoring of effectiveness of prevention and assurance controls need to be effective including corrective actions that will reduce occurrences.

These preventive controls must be verified for adequacy and a periodic analysis will need to ensue, Prince said. Record-keeping shall be maintained for no less than two years of monitoring and verification measures.

“You have to have a written plan and documentation,” Prince said.

Preventive controls may include written programs for sanitation, training, environmental monitoring, etc. They will need to be provided promptly if asked for by FDA. There’s also a requirement of reanalysis whenever significant changes are made to a procedure or formulation of a food if there’s a potential of a new hazard, not less than once every three years.

There are exemptions like seafood, juice—which both already have HACCP plans—and for low-acid foods. Small businesses (less than $500,000 in annual sales) also have an exemption, but Prince warns, “If there’s an illness, they end up losing that particular exemption.” This was the part that became very dicey just before Christmas.

In the next 18 months, FDA is to promulgate regulations based on science with minimum standards for conducting hazard analysis and documenting hazard analysis.

“So, that’s section three and may have the biggest impact on industry,” Prince said.

Section 104

Section 104 is on Performance Standards. Every two years FDA will re-evaluate compliance with the regulations. They will issue science-based guidance documents to prevent contamination.

Section 105

Section 105 is about Standards for Produce Safety and will propose rule making to establish flexible, science-based, minimum standards for safe production and harvest of fruits and vegetables, how animals are used in and around the growing areas, as well as water use and irrigation.

The proposed rule making is to establish minimum standards for fruits and vegetables on considering hazards that occur naturally and those that occur unintentionally, as well as intentionally introduced.

“Some crazy individual who intentionally contaminates produce; you’re supposed to anticipate that and how to prevent it,” Prince sad. “It will also provide for coordination of education and enforcements activities by state and local.”

Small businesses have an exemption if $500,000 or 275 miles from the place of harvest. The business must notify consumer with labeling, retailer posting of signs when not packaged.

“You can still have the old personal garden, folks, it’s not regulated yet,” Prince joked.

Section 106

Section 106 is Protection Against Intentional Adulteration. It requires conducting a vulnerability assessment of the food system including biological, chemical, radiological, or other terrorism risk assessments.

“Much of this stuff is classified,” Prince said, making it a tender subject in Congress. “There was a lot of groaning in the room as it was being discussed.”

The rule requires consideration of the best available understanding of uncertainties of risks against intentional adulteration of food at vulnerable points and determining the types of science-based mitigation strategies and measures.

“You need to be looking on to food-defense plans, how well are you defending the food supply, and what is your security in and around the plant,” Prince said. “That is just the beginning.”

It requires promulgation of regulations to protect against the intentional adulteration of food, applies only to high risk of intentional contamination, and shall include foods of short shelf life, bulk, or batch form.

Prince said, “This is going to be mind-boggling and challenging for everybody.”

It does not apply to farms except those that produce milk. “I think you can understand the flavor of that one,” Prince said, alluding to the recent melamine scandal.

Section 107

Section 107 gives Authority to Collect Fees. The section allows for collection of fees when facilities fail an inspection and re-inspection takes place, and following noncompliance.
Fees also apply to those who do not comply with voluntary recall request, which can become very costly given how many FDA personnel it takes to perform a nationwide recall.

“It certainly provides incentive to do a voluntary recall,” Prince said.

Fees may also apply to importers participating in voluntary importer program (such as in the seafood industry) and for export certification to ship food and animal feed.

Section 110

Section 110 is Building Domestic Capacity that includes traceback and surveillance reports.

Section 111

Section 111 is Sanitary Food Transportation of Food. The act was passed several years ago as a free standing act that charts the department of transportation to promulgate regulations on sanitary food transportation. “It was never funded and was sitting,” Prince said. Now it will be rolled out in 18 months by FDA.

“I recall going through this issue in about 1972 or 3 as we were dealing with issues where they were back-hauling trash one way and food another way,” Prince said. “That’s what triggered this. The quality of railcars led to food contamination.”

Section 112

Section 112 is Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management. The main focus is on day care, Head Start and schools. It includes establishment of voluntary food allergy and anaphylaxis management guidelines.

“The big focus will be on bakeries, candy is another idea, but all of you should dust off your food allergen program and make sure it’s in good shape,” Prince said.

Section 115

Section 115 requires FDA to notify Department of Homeland Security in all instances in which the FDA refuses to admit a food into the U.S. at a port so that Customs and Border Control may prevent food contamination by refusing admittance.

“There’s been a practice in recent years where if a product was stopped from coming in Seattle, they may move it to Los Angeles or San Francisco, or may take it to Philadelphia to bring it in,” Prince said. “Now they are trying to get a handle on that.”

Section 201

Section 201 is about targeting of inspection resources for Domestic and Foreign Facilities and Port of Entry.

The FDA must identify high-risk facilities and shall allocate resources to inspect facilities based upon known safety risks, compliance history, effectiveness of facilities, and hazard analysis. Inspections are to increase in frequency of all facilities. Domestic high-risk facilities once every five years, domestic non-high risk once every seven years, foreign not less than 600 facilities every year.

They must identify known safety risks of food imported by countries and regions of origin, compliance history of importer, effectiveness of activities, and evaluate plans for voluntary qualified importers.

Section 202

Section 202 requires Laboratory Accreditation for Analyses of Foods. It requires establishment of a program for the testing of food by accredited labs in two years and publish the publicly available registry of laboratories, recognition of lab accreditation bodies including independent private and government labs and foreign labs.

FDA shall also develop model lab standards for sampling, analytical procedures, and internal quality. They shall reevaluate once every five years and shall promptly revoke the recognition of any body found not to be in compliance.

The results of testing shall be sent to FDA. Nothing in the act limits FDA the ability to review and act upon information from food testing to determine sufficiency of information and testing.

“This has got the laboratory community a little concerned,” said Prince.

Section 204

Section 204 enhances tracking and tracing of food and record keeping. The FDA must establish pilot projects in coordination with food industry to explore and evaluate methods to rapidly and effectively identify recipients of food to prevent or mitigate a food-borne outbreaks and to address credible threats of serious adverse events (SAEs) to humans or animals. It needs to be done in no later than 270 days.

FDA must place particular emphasis on tracking and tracing programs for at least three different types of food that have been subject of outbreaks during last five years preceding 2011. They must establish these programs within the next 18 months and report to Congress.
FDA needs to evaluate domestic and international product tracing practices in commercial use. The FDA shall establish a tracing system to receive info to track and trace foods. They will also publish a notice of proposed record-keeping requirements in the next two years.
Last time Prince talked to Cactus IFT he talked about Pulse Net, which made a major difference in responding to food-borne outbreaks. FDA is making more advances to make investigations even quicker with similar technology.

Section 206

Section 206 is Mandatory Recall Authority, which provides opportunity for voluntary recall when there is reasonable probability that a product is adulterated. But it will impose mandatory recall if firm is unwilling to voluntary recall.

“They no longer have to scare you into it,” Prince said. They can just make you do it after producing evidence that you have a contaminated product in the market place.

Section 207

Section 207 is the Administrative Detention of Food. It requires FDA to issue an interim final rule on detention based upon “reason to believe” that a product “is adulterated or misbranded.”
Prince said that the meaning of “reason to believe” is going to cause “a few gray hairs.”

Other Sections

Prince went through all the other sections rapidly, which proved to be too much information to be all published in this newsletter. Still, there were some cautionary notes worth including here.

Prince warned about the section for Improving the Reportable Food Registry. It will require the FDA to publish a list of conspicuous locations providing consumer-oriented information, grocery notification, consumer notification about recalls within 24 hours.

Another section where he gave a caution was on Section 309 about “Smuggled Food.” The FDA shall develop and implement a strategy to better identify smuggled food and prevent entry.

“Be careful what you have in your pocket when you go through customs these days,” Prince said.
What about funding?
When asked about the funding that will go to FSMA, Prince answered, “At this point it has not been funded. We’ve got to wait and see. What happens if it is not funded? The act is still in place.”

How to get around FSMA?

When asked if there was a way to avoid FSMA by an audience member, Prince answered, “You have to have both below $500,000 and sell within 275 miles [of harvest] to be exempt.”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chair’s Message - May 15, 2011

Brian Giannini
The Cactus IFT Section is building momentum and delivering educational and networking opportunities to help food industry professionals stay up to date with an ever-changing environment.

The Cactus IFT section has a very active Board consisting of nine members who have a variety of expertise in the food industry. We are growing our membership and would truly appreciate your participation.

In December, food safety pioneer Gale Prince presented to our group on recalls and touched on the Food Modernization Law. In March, Erin Carter from the IFT National Office presented on the benefits of being an IFT member. Gale Prince also revisited us via WebEx during the March meeting to update the attendees on how the Food Modernization Law will affect your company and your job.

On May 18th, we are holding another great dinner meeting event at the Fiesta Resort in Tempe. Ken Baseman, Ph.D.,  is an innovative manager with a background in Food Processing, Product Development and Quality Assurance. Ken will discuss how the role of sensory evaluation is integral in the development of new products in the food industry. 
Membership in the Cactus IFT section is only $10. If you know of anyone who is interested in joining please have them contact our membership chair Lynn Abarr-Boubelik, her contact information is listed on Page 6 in this newsletter.

We are committed to building our section and getting more food industry professionals to be involved with our section.  Please help us grow our section by distributing this newsletter to your colleagues and encourage them to participate. It’s a great networking opportunity especially in these tough economic times.

Please join us on May 18th for our next meeting and help us help you grow your network of food industry professionals.

— Brian Giannini, Cactus IFT Section President

Saturday, March 5, 2011

New Cactus IFT Newsletter

We have just launched the first issue of our quarterly Cactus IFT newsletter. To view the newsletter in PDF format, click here.

In the newsletter:

- Gale Prince, the Dean of Safety Recalls, and his word on why manufacturers must invest in food safety, establish a food recall system, and be ready for the new FDA Food Modernization Act in 2011 (Pages 1 and 2)
- our new Chair's Message (Page 3)
- Section Officer Bios (Pages 3 and 4)
- a Web Update (Page 4)
- an article about our Sun Orchard Tour  (Page 5)
- and Important Dates and Contacts (Page 6)

Each of these are also posted to this blog. 


Cactus IFT Web Site, Community, and Blog Update

Have you become part of the Cactus IFT community on the national Web site at If not, then please join us! It will become one of the best avenues we have for communicating new events, Cactus IFT news, and hiring opportunities.

We expect to have the Web site up as soon as arrangements can be made with IFT national for putting together a Content Management System for us. At the Web site, we will also be maintaining a blog that will share news similar to this Cactus IFT newsletter. Each blog post will also be shared on social media Web sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogspot, and Twitter.

Learn more at the following link:

Speaking of social media, have you joined our LinkedIn and Facebook groups? Or have you started following our Twitter and blog feeds? If not, then learn more at the following links below:
Facebook: Search for “Cactus IFT” group and “Join” (be sure to “invite” fellow Cactus IFT group members)

LinkedIn: Under “Groups,” search for “Cactus Regional Section Institute of Food Technologists”

Follow us on Twitter: @cactusift

Save the Date!

Ken Baseman will be presenting on sensory analysis, which is sure to be a real treat for us. 

Date: May 18, Wednesday
Time: 5:30 pm to 8pm
Event Preview:

The role of sensory evaluation is integral in the development of new products in the food industry. We will spend a little time reviewing the methods used to evaluate products and perhaps “develop” a product that is designed to fool your sensory perceptions. It’s all in good fun and should allow us to be creative in a short interactive exercise.
Additionally, we will discuss the need to train our taste buds to interpret what we are experiencing as we evaluate the foods we develop.

More information coming soon...

Ken Baseman Bio:

Ken Baseman is an innovative manager with background in Food Processing, Product Development and Quality Assurance. He has extensive experience in product reconfigurations and cost reduction, ingredient substitution, new product introductions, regulatory compliance, Quality Assurance and HACCP protocols. He is experienced in plant reconfiguration, product improvement, aseptic packaging, and process control. He recently moved to the Phoenix area with his wife after spending much of his professional career in on the West Coast. He is presently Director of Food Safety and General Manager of Papa John’s Salads and Produce headquartered in the Phoenix area.

Got something interesting to say?

If it is something you feel your fellow Cactus IFT members would appreciate, then we’d love to publish it in this newsletter. Simply, send an e-mail with your article topic idea to David Despain (me), newsletter committee chair, at

We will certainly welcome any originally written material you’d like to share related to food, food science, food technology, or the food industry. Feel free to also send material about different learning experiences you’ve had in the food industry. Lastly, we are also interested in your stories as you enjoy our events. The more you share, the better -- so don’t be shy!
Please be advised that we cannot publish any content that could be regarded as promotional material offering products or services, although we are definitely interested in sharing your hiring opportunities.

— David Despain

Chair's Message

Brian Giannini

The Cactus IFT Section is challenged to grow our section in Arizona and deliver great educational networking meetings in 2011. We are off to a great start as you can see by this newsletter and the commitment and dedication we have from our officers and committee chairs.
We have expanded our committee chairs this year to include the following committees; a newsletter chair, a student chair, and a programs chair. This will allow us to focus on specific tasks to help grow our section and involve more members to contribute and grow within the section. If you would like to become more involved we would welcome your support.

There are several food industry related companies that are not involved in the Cactus IFT and we need to get the word out and get them to our meetings. Please let your colleagues know about the Cactus IFT section and encourage them to join and share their knowledge with all of us.
Membership in the Cactus IFT section is only $10. If you know of anyone who is interested in joining please have them contact our membership chair Lynn Abarr-Boubelik, her contact information is listed in the newsletter.

We are also trying to increase our student membership which is the future of IFT and the food industry. The Cactus section is a great opportunity for students to network with industry professionals and exposure to potential internships with local companies. There is no better way to get a job out of college by networking before you receive your degree.
In the near future not only will you see the continuation of the quarterly newsletter, but we are also working to develop a Web site and have already started a blog site on the national IFT Web site.

— Brian Giannini

New Section Officer Short Bios

With new leadership came the appointment of new section officers. Each new officer was asked to give a short bio to properly introduce him or herself.

Brian Giannini, Chair

Brian Giannini has over 25 years of experience in quality assurance market research, business development, sales and product retrieval and recall services. In 1993 he joined RQA, Inc. which provides international quality assurance services to manufacturers with operations in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Mr. Giannini developed an international product retrieval service delivered through a global network of registered dietitians and healthcare professionals.

In April 2007, Brian joined Stericycle which invested in the RQA retrieval business to enhance the recall services that Stericycle has been providing to the Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Consumer Goods Industries. Stericycle now has the ability to provide a complete recall solution for companies which includes; consulting, notification/communication, retrieval, processing, fulfillment, reimbursement, transportation, storage, destruction and reporting. Brian has maintained his client account responsibility for all product retrieval services, including consumer complaint retrievals, product recall/withdrawal services and product retrievals for new product development and quality assurance purposes.

Mr. Giannini obtained his bachelor’s of science degree in Business Administration at the University of Arizona. He has been a member of SOCAP (Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals) since 1994; served on the SOCAP International Board of Directors from 2002-2004 and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Southwest Regional SOCAP Chapter. He is currently the Secretary of the Southern California Association for Food Protection, the Chair for the Cactus Section of IFT and a member of the Association of Food and Drug Officials.

Tony DeCastro, Chair Elect

Tony is currently Vice President of Product Innovation & Regulatory Affairs at Sun Orchard, Inc. at Tempe, AZ, a national producer and distributor of juices and beverages for the foodservice industry with facilities in Arizona, Florida and California. Tony has been involved with juice and beverage processing and packaging for over 25 years, with responsibilities encompassing product and process development, QA/QC, operations, and legal compliance. Tony earned his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of California at Riverside, is a Professional Member of the Institute of Food Technologists, a Culinology member of the Research Chefs Association, and a former board member of the American Fresh Juice Council. Tony is also a PADI Master Scuba Diver and Dive Master, member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and an avid motorcycle rider.

Lorraine Hansen, Treasurer 

Lorraine Hansen has extensive experience in the food industry. She currently holds the position as Senior Quality Analyst for the Dial Corporation, a Henkel Company. In her role, she is the Lead Auditor of Quality Systems and FDA 21 CFR compliance audits for new and existing manufacturing facilities. She provides cGMP guidance to manufacturers on the FDA regulations 21 CFR. She provides Quality Assurance oversight of company Drug Stability Program. She develops quality assurance sampling/test plans, and quality standards for new and existing products and monitor implementation. She supports start of production on new products and develops, reviews, and approves process standards, test methods, and product formulas to assure adherence to company policy and Federal regulations. She also facilitated and led American Society for Quality certification study sessions that have resulted in 100% certificate attainment. Products and processes she has worked with include antibacterial liquid hand and body soap, hand and body lotion, bar soap, liquid and dry laundry detergent, laundry additives, electric and non-electric air fresheners, retorted low acid canned meats (USDA products), solid surface cleaners, insecticides, and aerosols. Previously, she has worked for Steris Laboratories, a division of Watson Pharmaceuticals as manufacturing services supervisor. She was also a quality assurance and control manager at ConAgra-Rosarita Mexican Foods and at ConAgra-Hunt-Wesson Foods. She also holds a MS in manufacturing management and a B.S. in biology (pre-med).

Lynn Abarr-Boubelik, Membership Committee Chair

Lynn Abarr-Boubelik’s career has been devoted to marketing and sales in the food industry and manufacturing where she has been recognized as a top performer, cultivating strong, long-term customer relations often times from a prospecting basis. Her resume includes employment with Unilever, Bestfoods of NA, Corn Products Company and J.P. Foodservice/Monarch. Lynn grew up in Iowa where she attended college and received her degree in travel and hospitality, where she learned superior customer service skills. Lynn joined the Vivion team in 2008 with enthusiasm and her extensive experience to her role as Account Manager allowing her rapidly expands her markets by targeting customers in all industries throughout Arizona and New Mexico representing Vivion. Lynn is the membership chair for the local Cactus Section IFT in Arizona.

Ken Baseman, Programs Committee Chair 

Ken Baseman is an innovative manager with background in Food Processing, Product Development and Quality Assurance. He has extensive experience in product reconfigurations and cost reduction, ingredient substitution, new product introductions, regulatory compliance, Quality Assurance and HACCP protocols. He is experienced in plant reconfiguration, product improvement, aseptic packaging, and process control. He recently moved to the Phoenix area with his wife after spending much of his professional career in on the West Coast. He is presently Director of Food Safety and General Manager of Papa John’s Salads and Produce headquartered in the Phoenix area.

Holly Curtis, Secretary

Holly Curtis has more than 18 years of experience in the Nutritional Supplement Industry working in a wide range of areas including Formulations, R&D, Brand Management and Web Fulfillment. Her education includes a BS in Food Science from the University of Arizona, an MS in Food Science from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Utah.

Jessica Dykun, Student Committee Chair

Jessica Dykun is a Microbiologist in the Quality Assurance Division at Daisy Brand, LLC in Casa Grande, AZ. Jessica’s past work experience has included positions as the Sr. Research Scientist for XND Technologies, where she formulated nutritional water beverages, and as a Research Technician in the Research and Development Division at the H.J. Heinz Innovation Center. Jessica’s research has included areas of viscosity and rheological profile studies on sauces and condiments and the effects of chlorination and incubation times on Coliform growth. Jessica has also worked on developing a patented aseptic-cold fill process for the production of beverages without the need for heat pasteurization. Jessica received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently completing a graduate degree in Food Science with a concentration in Food Microbiology and Food Safety at the Food Science Institute at Kansas State University. Jessica has been an active member in IFT and the Society for Applied Microbiology since 2007. Jessica was recently nominated as the Student Outreach Chair for the IFT Cactus Section in 2011. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys brewing her own beer and jogging.

Darrel Swift, Member at Large

Darrel Swift has more than 15 years of experience working for the food industry in several capacities of Quality Assurance. He has mainly dealt with the quality control of food, dietary supplements and cosmetics. Darrel has a bachelor’s of science degree in Zoology from Arizona State University and an MBA in management from Western International University. He has worked for three and a half years at Isagenix International, LLC as a Quality Control Release Coordinator and Auditor.

David Despain, Newsletter Committee Chair

David Despain, MS, is a science writer and nutritionist. He earned a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in 2011. Previously, he earned a BA in English from University of Illinois at Springfield in 2004. At Isagenix International, LLC, a company that sells nutraceuticals, he currently holds the position as Senior Manager of Science Communications in Research and Science. He also works part-time as a freelance science writer for various avenues such as news Web sites and blogs. In the little spare time he has, David enjoys spending time with his family, reading, or exploring nature. He finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.

An Afternoon at Sun Orchard

The foundation for juice quality is a combination of freshness of the fruit, careful inspection and sanitization, extraction and gentle pasteurization, and management of shelf life.

“Try not thinking of peeling an orange. Try not imagining the juice running down your fingers, the soft inner part of the peel. The smell. Try and you can't. The brain doesn't process negatives.”
— Doug Coupland

Sun Orchard has been in the business of creating fresh-squeezed citrus juices for more than 25 years. On Sept. 24, Cactus IFT enjoyed a tour of the citrus-juice and fruit-processing facility, as well as a few glasses of delicious OJ.

Tony DeCastro, Sun Orchard’s vice president of product innovation and regulatory affairs, was our tour guide for the afternoon and gave us an overview of how everything worked at the facility.

First, he gave us some of the history about the place and how Sun Orchard found its niche in the marketplace dominated by giant corporations. They achieved success by becoming a full-service nationwide distributor for supplying fresh-squeezed juice beverages and bar mixes like margaritas mixes to restaurants.

We then walked into the receiving center where the fruit is inspected, then scrubbed, washed and sanitized. The fruit is then sent through an extraction process.

The extractors squeeze the juice freshly as anyone would in their own home. When we arrived, the entire area was being sprayed down with water for its regular cleaning between shifts. It gave us the time to look at the machines unimpeded and without bothering production.

Then, we were guided through rooms that featured a series of pipes and tanks. We learned that it was through these pipes that Sun Orchard performed gentle pasteurization and ensuring the safety of the product. The pasteurization delivers shelf life to the product, but has no effect on the quality or flavor of the end product.

Citrus flavor actually depends quite a bit on the content of lemon oil in the product and concentration of the volatile compound called d-limonene, DeCastro explained to us. He told us that lemon oil is also pressed out of the rinds of the fruit because of its high value on the market.

We entered the room where product blending and customization of juice is performed and DeCastro shared how different levels of volatile compounds are needed depending on the proprietary mix.
Lastly, we came to where the juice was bottled and packaged. That’s when thirst came over us and DeCastro let us enjoy some of those delicious volatile compounds in a glass.

— David Despain