For 2018, the Breakthrough Award for Dairy Ingredient Innovation, a competition hosted by the Elmhurst, Ill.-based American Dairy Products Institute and Dairy Foods, goes to Caloris Engineering and Lone Star Dairy Products LLC.

A joint venture of Lake Forest, Ill.-based Hoogwegt U.S. and Wichita Falls, Texas-headquartered Lone Star Milk Producers, Lone Star Dairy Products processes approximately 2.5 million pounds of locally sourced milk per day into value-added dairy ingredients at its Canyon, Texas, facility. Like many other dairy processors, Lone Star Dairy Products found itself challenged in achieving consistent daily production of milk powders with low spore counts, according to Bruce Skinner, sales manager for Easton, Md.-based Caloris Engineering. Skinner submitted the entry on behalf of Lone Star Dairy Products and Caloris Engineering.

To address the challenge, the facility initially focused on the farms, minimizing the presence of spores in the incoming raw milk supply. But Lone Star Dairy Products “still faced the critical challenge of exponential growth in the bacterial and spore counts that commonly develops during a daily production cycle, as some processing equipment provides a preferential biofilm growth environment,” Skinner said.

“The feed preheating and initial product concentration sections of the evaporator provide ideal growth conditions on wetted interior surfaces for the biofilms formed by vegetative bacteria, and after a maturing period of approximately 10 hours, those biofilms begin to contaminate the milk for the remainder of the production run,” he explained. “High-temperature short-time (HTST) pasteurization of the milk kills a significant portion of the vegetative bacteria, but does not kill all of the thermoduric and thermophilic spore-formers. Over the course of a typical processing day, these surviving microbes can establish a biofilm which will, upon maturity, release viable spores into the product stream.”

The joint venture ultimately selected the Caloris Low Spore Process from Caloris Engineering. The process performs frequent clean-in-place (CIP) cycles of the evaporator feed preheating, HTST and pre-evaporator process systems.

“Thorough cleaning after only 10 hours of operation on product, just as the biofilms begin to reach maturity, prevents any significant contamination of the product,” Skinner noted. “This also cleans evaporator surfaces before they develop any significant solids fouling, allowing the evaporator to consistently operate at highest energy-efficiency throughout the day, minimizing the soiling of recovered CIP chemicals and requirements for fresh make-up chemicals, and reducing the daily loading of waste solids discharged to the plant waste treatment systems.”

To avoid disruptions to the downstream spray dryer systems related to frequent CIP efforts, the process separates the initial evaporator process systems from the high-concentration evaporator and spray drying systems, he said. The pre-evaporator produces an inventory of condensed milk sufficient to maintain the feed to the spray dryer while the pre-evaporator endures a complete CIP cycle.

The result? Lone Star Dairy Products is able to consistently produce high-quality low-spore milk powders while using straightforward and repeatable standard operating procedures.

The award “helps to validate the vision we embraced when we built our Lone Star Dairy Products plant, said Dalyn Dye, president and CEO of Hoogwegt U.S. Inc. “We selected best-in-class equipment providers like Caloris because we wanted a processing facility with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art capabilities to serve the critical specification needs of our global food, nutritional and infant formula customers.

“The combination of quality milk supplied by our partner, Lone Star Milk Producers, and the processing systems of our plant enables us to produce the highest quality ingredients possible,” he added. “We want to thank ADPI and Dairy Foods magazine for this recognition.”

Jim Baird, president of Lone Star Milk Producers, said his company is excited and honored by the award. “The opening of our joint venture plant has provided substantial benefits to our member-owners, and our entry into the value-added products market promises to benefit our members/producers well into the future,” he said. “The Breakthrough Award and its recognition of our commitment to product quality and marketing innovation is a great testament to the hard work of Hoogwegt and Lone Star Milk Producers in developing this plant and the markets it will serve.”


Honorable mentions

In reviewing this year’s entries, the ADPI and Dairy Foods judges deemed several other entries worthy of honorable mentions. Congratulations to the following companies for their efforts related to dairy ingredient innovation:

  • Glanbia Nutritionals, for its BevEdge particle dispersion technology. An alternative for those looking to formulate without soy lecithin, the protein-based technology can be applied to whey-based, milk-based, casein-based and plant-based ingredients to instantize just the protein component or the entire blend for powdered drink mixes; it also can be used in ready-to-drink applications.
  • Keller Technologies Inc., for its Ultra-Pure Lactose process. The process uses proven membrane technology and an absorption column process to produce a pure-white pharmaceutical-quality lactose product with no turbidity and low bacterial counts.
  • Milk Specialties Global, for its PRObev heat-stable whey protein isolate. It is the first instantized clear whey protein isolate in powder form — and remains clear in solutions over a wide range of pH levels.

The Breakthrough Award for Dairy Ingredient Innovation will be presented on April 30, during the 2018 ADPI/ABI Annual Conference.