Committed to Security

Industry responds to controversial article suggesting how terrorists could attack the U.S. milk supply.
While a paper published by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) purports to explain how terrorists could contaminate U.S. milk supplies, spokespersons for the dairy industry say such a scenario would be unlikely due to safeguards put in place by processors and dairy farmers.
Over the objections of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), NAS proceeded with publication of a paper that HHS assistant secretary Stewart Simonson describes as a “road map for terrorists.” Researchers Lawrence Wein and Yifan Liu of Stanford University explain how tiny, but extremely deadly, amounts of the botulinum toxin could be introduced into the U.S. milk supply. “Less than 1 gram of toxin is required to cause 100,000 mean casualties (i.e., poisoned individuals), and 10 grams poison the great majority of the 568,000 consumers,” the researchers write.
NAS president Bruce Alberts argues more widely dispersed knowledge such as this offers citizens better protection from this type of attack.
But a responding statement, jointly issued by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), explains that since September 11, 2001, the dairy industry has been working closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and other government agencies to further safeguard the milk supply from a variety of possible threats, including events described in the NAS paper.
“The events described by the Wein paper are highly unlikely or impossible given the safeguards in place by the dairy industry,” the joint statement reads. “Based on a thorough analysis of possible threats to the milk supply, the dairy industry has worked diligently, without fanfare, to implement a wide range of measures to secure facilities and the milk supply. For example, dairy farmers and processors have implemented new standards for sealing milk tankers; any unauthorized opening of a tanker before its delivery to a processing plant is immediately evident. Processors have also implemented additional pasteurizing safeguards which eliminate the botulinum threat that Wein describes.
“In addition, U.S. dairy employers have taken many proactive steps to increase awareness among employees about security measures at the farm and in processing facilities, including increased security of milk storage areas. Dairy plants have secured entry systems, employee screening programs and restricted access on the plant floor. Packaging operations are automated, enclosed and secure. The industry remains committed to security and safety issues and continually evaluates the milk supply chain to make certain America’s milk supply is safe.”
Alberts also took steps to blunt charges that the paper’s publication could lead to disaster. “All of the critical information in this article that could be useful to a terrorist ... [is] immediately accessible on the World Wide Web through a simple Google search,” he says.  
Freeze fest
National Ice Cream Month prompts star-studded campaign.
Hollywood is tied to ice cream much more than you’d ever imagine. In fact, the world’s first hot fudge sundae was made in Hollywood in 1906. And in 1985, the largest-ever ice cream sundae was constructed in Anaheim; the 12-foot tall sundae was made with 4,667 gallons of ice cream and 7,000 pounds of toppings.
And it was one-time actor and former California Gov. Ronald Reagan who declared July as National Ice Cream Month while he was president in 1984.
To celebrate National Ice Cream Month, some celebrities gave the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) the “scoop” on their favorite flavors, including actress Courteney Cox (mint chocolate chip), tennis champ Andy Riddick (cookies & cream) and supermodel Tyra Banks (butter pecan).
According to the CMAB, mix-ins are the latest trend and can be duplicated conveniently at home. So to further the celebration, CMAB offered some ideas:
Mix-in station: Place scoops of softened ice cream on a frozen cookie sheet, sprinkle on toppings and fold in the ingredients; serve in cones or cups as desired.
Ice cream truffles: Roll small scoops of ice cream in cocoa powder, slivered almonds or shredded coconut.
Easy ice cream desserts: Spread softened ice cream into a cookie crumb-lined pie dish or springform pan, top with slices of fruit or chopped nuts, and freeze until firm for an instant ice cream pie.
Rolled ice cream sandwiches: Put a thick layer of ice cream between two cookies, roll sideways in selected toppings.
Parfaits: Alternate packed layers of vanilla ice cream with hot fudge, nuts, fruit or sauces; serve in a clear glass to show off the lovely multi-colored layers.
Topping baked goods: Dish up a warm cookie or pastry and place a large scoop of ice cream on top for a delicious contrast.  
PACK EXPO/FPME LAS VEGAS
Pack Expo Las Vegas, from September 26 to 28, is expected to attract up to 19,000 people from 60 countries to the Las Vegas Convention Center to see the latest solutions in packaging machinery, converting machinery, materials, packages and containers, and components. The show floor is larger still with an adjacent Food Processing Machinery Expo. Sponsored by the Food Processing Machinery Association, this co-located exhibition will showcase processing, freezing and related technologies for fruit and vegetables, prepared foods, meat, dairy foods and snacks. Sponsored by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), Pack Expo Las Vegas offers even more sights and sounds of the educational variety. A three-day conference features programs on RFID technology, packaging operations, packaging materials, product security, packaging controls, regulatory guidelines and more. Among the meeting’s keynote speakers is Helmut Traitler, vice president of packaging for Nestlé SA’s Nestec Ltd. business. Traitler will speak about “Nestlé’s Quest for Sustainable, Differentiated Packaging: Exceeding Customer Expectations, Improving Performance and Reducing Costs.” More sessions of interest to refrigerated and frozen-food processors include  “New Strategies for Tracking Equipment Maintenance and Repair Costs”; “Engineering Flexibility Into Your Packaging Operations”; “How to Meet RFID Case- and Pallet-Tagging Mandates”; “Real Time Ethernet: Assuring Accurate, Efficient and Timely Packaging Operations Data Transfer”; “Next Generation Stand-Up Pouches”; “Paperboard Innovation and Marketplace Value”; and “RFID: Customer Contracts, Privacy and the Law.”
Back on the show floor, PMMI has established a series of special pavilions to showcase individual technologies and/or issues. These include areas dedicated to RFID, packaging security, contracting packaging and containers and materials. For more information, visit www.packexpo.com.
Image makers
Product and promotion news
Building on its record of winning 21 international awards over the past two years, Polytainers Inc. of Toronto and Kansas City recently won 13 more awards for the printing quality and superior graphics of its containers. The latest awards include two 2004 Gold Medals from the Gallery of Superb Printing for Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Cream Cheese and Yoplait Fieldberry Crème & Fruit Yogurt containers, and a 2004 Gold Medal from the International Gallery of Superb Printing for the Stonyfield Farm All Natural Raspberry Yogurt container. Polytainers has also won six Silver and Bronze Medals and four 2005 Silver Medals form the Packaging Association of Canada. For a complete list and photos of the company’s 2002 to 2005 award-winning packaging, visit www.polytainersinc.com.
SleeveCo, Dawsonville, Ga., was the top choice of Puerto Rico’s Suiza Dairies to provide the visual image and supplier consistency sought for several of its single-serve lines of drinkable yogurt and smoothies in the first half of 2005. For Suiza, speed to market was a critical issue with these products. Equally as important was the print quality of the heat-shrink labels. Using high-impact graphics, Suiza’s packaging literally jumps off the store shelf. The standout design appeals to the on-the-go lifestyles of consumers of all ages.
Crowley Foods, Binghamton, N.Y., has received two Telly Awards for television ads created this year by marketing firm Garrity Communications, Ithaca, N.Y. The award annually honors outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs, showcasing the best work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators and corporate video departments in the world. The two Crowley TV ads each received bronze awards. The commercials were selected from more than 10,000 entries in the 26th annual Telly Awards competition. The competition is a widely known and highly respected national and international competition and receives entries from all 50 states and many foreign countries. Entries do not compete against each other, but against a high standard of excellence.
Athens, Tenn.-based Mayfield Dairy Farms has once again won top honors in a national competition for outstanding fleet graphics. The tractor and trailer design entitled “More Good Stuff” garnered the third-place Day Category award. This category is specifically honored to vehicles designed for daylight visibility. “We like to give the driving public something to crave,” says Mark Stiles, director of fleet, facilities and equipment for Mayfield. “In addition to our classic yellow vehicle design, we like to mix things up with very lively images of delicious ice cream or milk — something that is appealing and fun, a head turner.” The awards, sponsored by Commercial Carrier Journal and the National Private Truck Council (NPTC), are open to all fleets and recognize creative graphic design, color and general appearance.