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How Nanoemulsion Technology Is Drastically Affecting the Food & Beverage Industry

Mish Boyka



Wearable Tech Gives Rise to New Options in Healthcare

PALM BEACH,  Fla., Feb. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In the past several years, there has been a steady increase in the global nanoemulsion in food & beverage market, and many reports continue to project a continued growth pattern in the next several years. The factors driving the market growth are projected to be the rising demand for nanoemulsion technology in the food & beverage industry and the growing trend of nanostructured food ingredients. Nanoemulsions are also widely used in pharmaceutical systems. Nanoemulsion formulation offers several advantages such as delivery of drugs, biological or diagnostic agents. They are an advanced mode of drug delivery system has been developed to overcome the major drawbacks associated with conventional drug delivery systems. The most important application of nanoemulsion is for masking the disagreeable taste of oily liquids. Nanoemulsion may also protect the drugs, which are susceptible to hydrolysis and oxidation. Nowadays, nanoemulsions are used for targeted drug delivery of various anticancer drugs, photo sensitizers or therapeutic agents. Nanoemulsion can also provide prolonged action of the medicaments. Overall all nanoemulsion formulation may be considered as effective, safe and with increased bioavailability. It is expected that further research and development will be carried out in the future regarding nanoemulsion. A report from ReserachAndMarkets projected that the nanoemulsion market size was valued at $2.1 billion in 2018, and is projected to reach $4.9 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 11.5% from 2019 to 2026. In 2018, North America accounted for nearly 41.8% share of the nanoemulsion market, while a report from ASD Reports projected that the global nanoemulsion sub-market for food & beverage market is set to witness a CAGR of 11.86% through 2028. Active companies in the markets this week include: Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO), The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ: KHC), PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP), Beyond Meat, Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND), The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO).

Yet another report from INKWOOD Research said that the key market drivers in the global nanoemulsion in food & beverage market are: “Growing demand for nanoemulsion technology in the food & beverage industry; Emulsifiers such as amphiphilic polysaccharides, small molecule surfactants, amphiphilic proteins, and phospholipids can be used in the food industry to formulate nanoemulsions; Nanoemulsion, one of the most important applications in the food industry, is the encapsulation of lipophilic components such as flavors, nutraceuticals, and vitamins; Moreover, probiotics are produced with the help of nanoemulsion technology. Probiotics are defined as microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amount; and Rising trend of nanostructured food ingredients.”

Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) BREAKING NEWS: Pressure BioSciences and The Ohio State University Announce Food Industry Consortium to Advance Commercialization of PBI’s Ultra Shear TechnologyPressure BioSciences a leader in the development and sale of broadly enabling, pressure-based instruments, consumables, and platform technology solutions to the worldwide biotechnology, biotherapeutics, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, agriculture, and food & beverage industries, today announced it has entered into a wide-ranging agreement with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (“CFAES”) at The Ohio State University (“Ohio State“). Under the Agreement, bench-top and floor model test systems of PBI’s patented Ultra Shear Technology™ (“UST™”) platform for the high shear processing of liquids under controlled temperature and pressure conditions will be set up in the acclaimed Ohio State food pilot plant. To help introduce the potential of the UST platform for strategic innovation to global food companies, PBI and Ohio State have announced the formation of a food industry consortium (the “Consortium”), whose members will have access to the UST test systems in the pilot plant, as well as licensing rights to the UST platform. The Consortium is the result of research initially sponsored by the USDA NIFA for which we gratefully acknowledge their support.

The primary goals of the Consortium are to develop and improve new commercial applications of UST; help develop the scientific support needed to address possible regulatory issues; and to experience first-hand UST product development and pre-commercialization efforts. The Consortium will be open to food companies worldwide. Consortium members will help direct the scientific efforts of Ohio State and PBI across a universe of prospective liquid food & beverage projects. Topics of interest will include spore inactivation and other pathogen and spoilage factor control; enhanced taste, smell, and other sensory qualities; and the formation of highly stable products suitable for ambient temperature storage and distribution.

Research studies suggest that under ultra shear conditions, unique microbiological, textural, sensory, and other benefits are possible. These benefits can lead to safer, higher quality, and more nutritious consumer-friendly “clean-label” (free of unwanted chemical additives) liquid foods and beverages. Consortium members receive a first right to non-exclusively license all new applications for commercial utilization in their own products. PBI has the right to license all new IP to non-members of the consortium worldwide.

Dr. Edmund Y. Ting, Senior VP of Engineering at PBI, and a pioneer in the development of high pressure-based, non-thermal methods to make food and beverages safer, commented: “Over the past two decades, high pressure processing (“HPP”) has emerged as a highly successful, clean-label approach for food safety and improved shelf-life. Products such as juice, guacamole, and deli meats are routinely processed today using HPP. However, HPP does have limitations and drawbacks, particularly the inability to produce high quality, high stability homogeneous liquid products via the combination of fluid shear, brief shear induced heating, and continuous output compatible with modern aseptic packaging.”

Dr. Ting continued: “Our UST platform uniquely combines the benefits of HPP with extreme liquid shearing forces and controlled temperature to accomplish results such as inactivation of food-borne bacteria and modifications leading to improved stability, texture, taste, and nutrition. The ability to modify structure through physical stress will create many new opportunities in the commercialization of liquid foods and beverages, as well as in nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals.” CONTINUED. Read this full release and more news for Pressure BioSciences at: 

Other recent developments in the markets include:

The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ: KHC) recently announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its nuts business to Hormel Foods Corporation in a cash transaction for $3.35 billion. The proposed transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2021, subject to regulatory review and approval.

The transaction includes most products sold under the Planters brand, including single variety and mixed nuts, trail mix, Nut-rition products, Cheez Balls, and Cheez Curls, as well as Corn Nuts branded products. The transaction also includes global intellectual property rights to the Planters brand, subject to existing third-party licenses in certain international jurisdictions, and to the Corn Nuts brand.

PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) and Beyond Meat, Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND) recently announced they will form The PLANeT Partnership, LLC (TPP), a joint venture to develop, produce and market innovative snack and beverage products made from plant-based protein. The joint venture will leverage Beyond Meat’s leading technology in plant-based protein development and PepsiCo’s world-class marketing and commercial capabilities to create and scale new snack and beverage options. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed. Joint venture operations will be managed through the newly created entity The PLANeT Partnership, LLC (TPP).

“Plant-based proteins represent an exciting growth opportunity for us, a new frontier in our efforts to build a more sustainable food system and be a positive force for people and the planet, while meeting consumer demand for an expanded portfolio of more nutritious products,” said Ram Krishnan, PepsiCo Global Chief Commercial Officer. “Beyond Meat is a cutting-edge innovator in this rapidly growing category, and we look forward to combining their unparalleled expertise with our world-class capabilities in brand-building, consumer insights and distribution to deliver exciting new options.”

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) recently announced in the United States the introduction of a new 13.2oz bottle made from 100% recycled plastic material (rPET)*. This new bottle will be available first in the company’s biggest and most iconic brand: Coca-Cola®. In addition, the company announced today in the U.S. the transition to bottles made from 100% recycled plastic material* across a selection of brands in the portfolio, including DASANI® and smartwater®, which will be available in various package sizes this year. The moves are a substantial step in addressing plastic waste, among the top environmental concerns globally, reducing the company’s use of new plastic by more than 20% across the portfolio in North America compared to 2018.

Starting this month in select states in the Northeast, Florida and California, Coca-Cola Trademark (Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Flavors) will roll out the all-new, 13.2oz bottle made from 100% rPET*. The new bottle is conveniently sized in a more sippable package and reduces the use of new plastic. This summer, the 13.2oz, 100% rPET* bottle will roll out across additional sparkling beverage brands nationwide.

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Vermont Health Connect had 10 data breaches last winter





Vermont Health Connect had 10 data breaches last winter
Vermont Health Connect has set up a special enrollment period in response to the coronavirus outbreak. VHC photo

In mid-December, a Vermont Health Connect user was logging in when the names of two strangers popped up in the newly created account.

The individual, who was trying to sign up for health insurance, deleted the information that had suddenly appeared.

“It was super unsettling to think that someone is filing in my account with my information,” the person, whose name is redacted in records, wrote in a complaint to the Department of Vermont Health Access. “Just seems like the whole thing needs a big overhaul.”

It was one of 10 instances between November and February when Vermont Health Connect users reported logging to find someone else’s information on their account.

The data breaches included names of other applicants and, in some cases, their children’s names, birth dates, citizenship information, annual income, health care plans, and once, the last four digits of a Social Security number, according to nearly 900 pages of public records obtained by VTDigger. On Dec. 22, the department’s staff shut down the site to try to diagnose the problem.

While officials say the glitches have been resolved, it’s the most recent mishap for a system that has historically been plagued by security and technical issues. The breaches could be even more widespread: Administrators of Vermont Health Connect can’t tell if other, similar breaches went unreported.

“We don’t know what we don’t know,” said Jon Rajewski, a managing director at the cybersecurity response company Stroz Friedberg. Regardless of whether there are legal ramifications for the incidents, they should be taken “very seriously,” he said.

“If my data was being stored on a website that was personal, — maybe it contains names or my Social Security number, like my status of insurance… — I would expect that website to secure it and keep it safe,” he said.

“I wouldn’t want someone else to access my personal information.”

Andrea De La Bruere, executive director of the Agency of Human Services, called the data breaches “unfortunate.” But she downplayed the severity of the issues. Between November and December, 75,000 people visited the Vermont Health Connect website for a total of 330,000 page views, she said. The 10 incidents? “It’s a very uncommon thing to have happen,” she said.

De La Bruere said the issue was fixed on Feb. 17, and users had reported no similar problems since. The information that was shared was not protected health information, she added, and the breaches didn’t violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

“No matter what the law says technically, whether it’s HIPAA-related or just one’s personal information, it’s really concerning,” said Health Care Advocate Mike Fisher.

The timing of the issue is less than ideal, he added. Thousands of Vermonters will be logging into Vermont Health Connect in the coming weeks to take advantage of discounts granted by the American Rescue Plan. “It’s super important that people can access the system, and that it’s safe and secure,” Fisher said.

A ‘major issue

The issues first arose on Nov, 12, when at least two Vermonters logged in and found information about another user, according to records obtained by VTDigger.

Department of Vermont Health Access workers flagged it as a “major issue” for their boss, Kristine Fortier, a business application support specialist for the department.

Similar incidents also occurred on Nov. 17 and 18, and later on multiple days in December.

Department of Vermont Health Access staff members appeared alarmed at the issues, and IT staff escalated the tickets to “URGENT.”

“YIKES,” wrote a staff member Brittney Richardson. While the people affected were notified, the data breaches were never made public.

State workers pressed OptumInsights, a national health care tech company that hosts and manages Vermont Health Connect, for answers. The state has contracted with the company since 2014. It has paid about $11 million a year for the past four years for maintenance and operations, with more added in “discretionary funds.”

Optum appeared unable to figure out the glitch. “It is hard to find root cause of issue,” wrote Yogi Singh, service delivery manager for Optum on Dec. 10. Optum representatives referred comments on the issues to the state.

By Dec. 14, Grant Steffens, IT manager for the department, raised the alarm. “I’m concerned on the growing number of these reports,” he wrote in an email to Optum.

The company halted the creation of new accounts on Dec, 14, and shut down the site entirely on Dec, 22 to install a temporary fix. “It’s a very complex interplay of many many pieces of software on the back end,” said Darin Prail, agency director of digital services. The complexity made it challenging to identify the problem, and to fix it without introducing any new issues, he said.

In spite of the fixes, a caller reported a similar incident on Jan. 13.

On Feb. 8, a mother logged in to find that she could see her daughter’s information. When she logged into her daughter’s account, the insurance information had been replaced by her own.

“Very weird,” the mother wrote in an emailed complaint.

Optum completed a permanent fix on Feb. 17, according to Prail. Vermont Health Connect has not had a problem since, he said.

Prail said the state had reported the issues to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services as required, and had undergone a regular audit in February that had no findings. The state “persistently pressured Optum to determine the root cause and correct the issue expeditiously but at the same time, cautiously, so as to not introduce additional issues/problems,” he wrote in an email to VTDigger.

“We take reported issues like this very seriously,” he said.

A history of glitches

The state’s health exchange has been replete with problems, including significant security issues and privacy violations, since it was built in 2012 at a cost of $200 million.

The state fired its first contractor, CGI Technology Systems, in 2014. A subcontractor, Exeter, went out of business in 2015. Optum took over for CGI, and continued to provide maintenance and tech support for the system.

Don Turner
Don Turner, right, then the House minority leader, speaks in 2016 about the need to fix the state’s glitch-ridden Vermont Health Connect website. With him are Phil Scott, left, then the lieutenant governor, and Sen. Joe Benning. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger

In 2018, when Vermont Health Connect was less than 6 years old, a report dubbed the exchange outdated and “obsolete.”

Officials reported similar privacy breaches in 2013, when Vermonters saw other people’s information.

An auditor’s report in 2016 found a slew of cybersecurity flaws, and officials raised concerns again during a  2018 email breach.

It wasn’t the first time that Vermont Health Connect users had been able to view other people’s personal information. Three times since October 2019, individuals had logged in to see another individual’s insurance documents. Prail attributed those incidents to human error, not to system glitch; a staff member uploaded documents to the wrong site, he said.

In spite of the issues, Prail said he and other state officials have been happy with Optum. After years of technical challenges with Vermont Health Connect, “Optum has really picked up the ball and improved it and been running it pretty well,” he said.

Glitches are inevitable, he added, and Optum has addressed them quickly. “They took a really difficult-to-manage site and made it work pretty well,” he said. “Optum is generally quite responsive to any issues we have.”

“I find any privacy breach to be concerning,” said Scott Carbee, chief information security officer for the state. He noted that the state uses “hundreds of software systems.” “While the scope of the breaches can be mitigated, true prevention is a difficult task,” he wrote in an email to VTDigger.

Optum spokesperson Gwen Moore Holliday referred comments to the state, but said the company was “honored” to work with Vermont Health Connect “to support the health care needs of Vermont residents.”

Prail said the Agency of Human Services had no plans to halt its contract with the company. “I don’t have a complaint about Optum,” he said. “They took a really difficult-to-manage site and made it work pretty well.”

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Filed under:

Health Care

Tags: data breaches, Optum, Vermont Health Connect

Katie Jickling

About Katie

Katie Jickling covers health care for VTDigger. She previously reported on Burlington city politics for Seven Days. She has freelanced and interned for half a dozen news organizations, including Vermont Public Radio, the Valley News, Northern Woodlands, Eating Well magazine and the Herald of Randolph. She is a graduate of Hamilton College and a native of Brookfield.