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Over The Horizon

Tasty Research

Many university students flip hamburgers to pay their way through studies, but Fiona Nyhof saw plenty of patties as part of her post-graduate research work with food processing company ANZCO Green Island.

The company enlisted Nyhof's help through Technology New Zealand's Graduates in Industry Fellowships programme to undertake research needed to support new product development. Dr Rob Archibald, R&D Manager for the ANZCO Foods Group, says the company wanted a better understanding of plant capabilities while optimising food safety systems and product throughput.

ANZCO Green Island produces lamb rolls and patties, mainly for Japan, with over 75% of its output exported. The local market is served under the company's "Angel Bay" brand, which won two Gold Awards at the 1998 Sial International Food Fair in Paris.

Nyhof spent more than a year evaluating the patty line, and the way the company prepares its product, both for the fast-growing international convenience food market and the food service market.

"From the research, we now have a much better, and highly specific, understanding of how food hazards can be controlled with the correct thermal regimes. It's also given the company operational specifications to meet the required cooking regime within the variability of their existing equipment," says Nyhof.

"The research allows us to proceed with innovative product developments with the security of scientific knowledge of our cooking systems," Archibald says.