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STABLE MICRO SYSTEMS UNVEILS NEW TEST FOR CHEESE AT FIE 2007

Stable Micro Systems, North Hall, stand E55, Food ingredients Europe, 30 October - 1 November, ExCel, London, UK

OCTOBER 2007

Cheese Extensibility Rig

Stable Micro Systems, the leading manufacturer of texture analysis instrumentation, will launch its new Cheese Extensibility Rig at this year's Food ingredients Europe. Designed to scientifically evaluate the stretchability of cheese, such as mozzarella, this Community Registered Design helps food manufacturers gauge the consumer appeal of cheese used in toppings, sauces and snack foods.

The extensibility of cheese is an important textural characteristic in a wide range of food applications - in particular, pizza. Freezing, shredding, thawing and even cooking cheese can have a significant impact on its textural characteristics. Reduced-fat products also display very different characteristics compared to full-fat versions. All of this may result in a texture with undesirable mouthfeel. Previously, one of the most common ways to test the stretchability of cheese was to manually lift it with a fork and assess the force required to stretch it, as well as the length to which it stretches. This method is inherently subjective and unreliable.

Responding to the need for an objective, repeatable test method for cheese, Stable Micro Systems developed its Cheese Extensibility Rig. Used in conjunction with a TA.XTplus texture analyser, the rig comprises a microwavable vessel, sample retainer and double-sided fork probe. The cheese is cut into small cubes and then microwaved in the vessel until molten. The sample retainer is slotted into the vessel, which is securely fastened to the base of the texture analyser. After the fork probe is attached, the arm of the texture analyser pulls the fork upwards through the molten cheese and Exponent software measures the force required to stretch the cheese and the distance to breakpoint. Typical results show that the longer the distance, the stretchier the cheese.

For repeatability and replication of consumer experience, a PT100 temperature probe may be used to monitor the temperature of a sample. The test can then be programmed to start when a chosen target temperature is attained.

The innovative components of the rig have been produced using new rapid prototyping techniques, which uses advanced direct laser sintering technologies that quickly generate complex three-dimensional objects directly from computer-based models devised by Computer Aided Design (CAD). This method is particularly useful for the creation of complex or customer-specific components and results in robust, high-quality fixtures that can be produced rapidly according to need.

Stable Micro Systems' Cheese Extensibility Rig is the latest addition to the company's comprehensive range of texture analysis instrumentation for the food industry. Other tests include the analysis of bread softness, dough stickiness, yoghurt consistency and the spreadability of fats. Experts will be on stand to demonstrate the capabilities of the company's testing instrumentation and discuss the wide possibilities for tailor-made texture analysis solutions.

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