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Title:  Coated chewing gum products containing an acid blocker and process of preparing

United States Patent:  6,541,048

Issued:  April 1, 2003

Inventors:  Zyck; Daniel J. (North Riverside, IL); Greenberg; Michael J. (Northbrook, IL); Barkalow; David G. (Deerfield, IL); Marske; Scott W. (LaGrange, IL); Schnell; Philip G. (Downers Grove, IL); Mazzone; Philip (Griffith, IN); Witkewitz; David L. (Bridgeview, IL)

Assignee:  WM. Wrigley Jr. Company (Chicago, IL)

Appl. No.:  748699

Filed:  December 22, 2000

Abstract

A method of making coated chewing gum products containing an acid blocker comprises the steps of providing chewing gum cores; providing a coating syrup comprising a bulk sweetener, providing an acid blocker, applying the coating syrup and acid blocker to the cores and drying the syrup to produce a coating on the cores, the coating containing the acid blocker.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As used herein, the term "chewing gum" includes bubble gum and all other types of chewing gum. Unless specified otherwise, all percentages are weight percentages.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the acid blocker is contained in the coating of chewing gum products, which allows a chewing gum coating to be a carrier for the acid blocker. Accordingly, as the chewing gum is chewed, the acid blocker in the gum coating is released into the saliva and ingested to give relief from gastrointestinal disturbances in the GI tract. The acid blocker releases into the stomach to block or inhibit gastric acid secretion.

Examples of acid blockers are histamine H2 - receptor antagonists and gastric proton pump inhibitors. The histamine H2 - receptor antagonists include cimetidine, used in an over-the-counter (OTC) preparation called TAGAMET; famotidine, used in an OTC preparation called PEPCID; the hydrochloride salt of rantidine, used in ZANTAC; and nizatidine, used in AXID. Gastric proton pump inhibitors include omeprazole, used in PRILOSEC, and rabeprazole. All of these have been used for the treatment of digestive disorders such as gastritis, dyspepsia, gastric hyperacidity, heartburn, gastric oppression and peptic ulcer.

As mentioned above, products made by the present invention may include an antacid, such as calcium carbonate. When included, the antacid will preferably be added as part of the coating syrup used to prepare a coated chewing gum product. A typical syrup may contain a polyol, suspended calcium carbonate, an acid blocker, a binding agent, a high-intensity sweetener and a whitener.

Neutralizing antacids, which are insoluble inorganic salts, are known to neutralize stomach acidity very quickly. As a result, relief from gastrointestinal distress is fast and effective, but does not last long, possibly up to about 30 minutes. The acid blockers, when taken in combination with the antacid, will start to be effective after about 30 minutes, and be most effective after about 3-6 hours, and may last up to about 9-12 hours.

The preferred antacids are generally carbonate or hydroxide salts of calcium, magnesium, aluminum, or bismuth, and are generally very water insoluble. Other antacids such as sodium bicarbonate, magnesium bicarbonate, and other carbonates, silicates, and phosphates are included in this invention.

When these materials are mixed with acids in the GI tract, the acids are readily neutralized to give relief from GI disturbances.

Acid blockers may be added to a chewing gum coating in a number of ways. If water soluble, the acid blocker may be added to the sugar or polyol syrup and applied throughout the coating process. Water insoluble acid blockers may be dissolved or dispersed in a solvent, possibly flavors, and applied at various times during the coating process. Preferably, an acid blocker may be added as a powder after it has been preblended with a dry charge material. This could allow more control of the level of the acid blocker used in the chewing gum product and may reduce any instability problems of the acid blocker that may be associated with moisture.

Acid blockers may be added to both the gum center and coating. A water-soluble acid blocker may be added to the gum center and released during chewing. Acid blockers that are water insoluble may need to be treated so as to allow their release from the chewing gum. These treatments may involve encapsulation, agglomeration, or entrapment of the acid blocker in a water-soluble matrix. Without a water-soluble matrix, the acid blocker may have an affinity for the gum base and not release for its intended effect.

The dosage level of acid blocker used in a preferred coated chewing gum product will vary depending on the acid blocker used. The level of histamine H2 -receptor antagonist acid blocker in the coated chewing gum product will preferably provide a twice daily dosage as follows: nizatidine: 75 mg; ranitidine: 75 mg; cimetidine: 200 mg or famotidine: 10 mg. In general, the level of acid blocker will be about 1 mg to about 200 mg, per piece of gum product, preferably in the gum coating, but possibly both in the gum center and coating. This level of acid blocker would also be used if calcium carbonate or another neutralizing antacid is included in the gum coating. The level of calcium carbonate in the gum coating will be about 250 to 800 mg in 1 or 2 pieces of gum product having a weight of about 1.5 to 3 grams each.

A dry pretreated acid blocker may be used that has been treated to give maximum stability. This pretreatment may include encapsulation, agglomeration, entrapment or other physical modification of the acid blocker in a water soluble or water insoluble matrix. This matrix may include materials that may control the release of the acid blockers in the stomach for maximum effectiveness. Stability of the acid blocker will be very important since the gum coating may also contain an effective amount of antacid such as calcium carbonate that will increase the pH of the coating, which may effect the overall stability of the acid blocker.

For antacid chewing gum products, calcium carbonate is the most preferred antacid material. This is mostly due to the fact that the most common inert filler in chewing gum base is calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate, along with talc, which is commonly used in bases for gum products that contain food acids to give tartness to flavors, have been used as fillers in gum base and gum products for many years.

Chewing gum bases that contain calcium carbonate do not readily release their calcium carbonate during chewing. Since calcium carbonate (or in other cases talc) is very water insoluble, it releases from gum either very slowly or over very long extended chewing. As a result, this calcium carbonate is not effective as an antacid. Generally, when calcium carbonate is added to a gum formulation separate from the gum base, calcium carbonate becomes intimately mixed with the base during chewing and also releases slowly. However, when calcium carbonate is used in the coating of the chewing gum, it does become quickly available in the oral cavity and is ingested to be an effective antacid.

Generally, suspension coatings with calcium carbonate for an antacid gum may be made with sugar. Sugar with its naturally sweet taste masks some of the off-taste due to the use of high levels of calcium carbonate. With the advent of new coating technologies using less sweet sugarless polyols instead of sugar, the sweet taste of the coating is significantly reduced. In some coatings where xylitol is used, it is sufficiently sweet as a coating, but other polyols such as maltitol, hydrogenated isomaltulose, sorbitol, or erythritol, are not. When the coating contains high levels of calcium carbonate, the polyols generally lack sufficient sweetness to give a good tasting product. As a result, high-intensity sweeteners are preferably added to the coating containing calcium carbonate to give a high-quality, consumer-acceptable product.

For coated antacid chewing gum type products, the high level of calcium carbonate or other antacid in the coating modifies the taste quality and gum texture. The addition of high-intensity sweeteners to the gum coating improves the taste of the finished product. This also occurs in sugar coated gums as well as polyol coated gums, so aspartame or another high-intensity sweeteners may also be added to sugar coated gums with calcium carbonate or other antacids. If the high-intensity sweeter is subject to degradation, it may preferably by added as part of a different coating syrup from the coating syrup containing the calcium carbonate, as disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/591,256 filled Jun. 9, 2000, hereby incorporated by reference.

Since calcium carbonate is very water insoluble, as are many of the other neutralizing antacids, the reaction rate of the salts with aqueous acids is dependant on the surface area of the neutralizing agent. Neutralizing agents with a large surface area will react faster with acids than those with a small surface area. Many smaller size particles with a combined large surface area neutralize acids faster than fewer large particles with a combined small surface area. However, larger particle sizes of calcium carbonate give longer lasting relief from stomach acidity. When the calcium carbonate particles are suspended in a coating syrup and applied as a gum coating, the particle sizes of calcium carbonate remains essentially the same throughout the process.

Analysis of a precipitated calcium carbonate having a median particle size of about 5 microns was done before and after being applied as a coating. Before coating, the sample was analyzed and found to have a median particle size of 5.1 microns. After preparing the sample of calcium carbonate in a suspension and applying it to a gum pellet for an antacid gum product, the particle size of the calcium carbonate was 4.9 microns.

It has been determined in the tests shown below that a calcium carbonate having a median particle size of about 3 microns or greater is sufficient to give longer lasting relief of excess stomach activity. Preferably the median particle size of the of the calcium carbonate in the coating will be between about 3 microns and about 75 microns, and more preferably between about 3 microns and about 15 microns.

In terms of water solubility, larger particles have a tendency to dissolve more slowly in water, and as calcium carbonate dissolves, it neutralizes stomach acidity. Smaller particles of calcium carbonate could react faster, and larger particles would react slower.

In addition to the particle size of calcium carbonate, different crystal structures have an effect on the rate of dissolution and the rate of neutralization. Natural forms of calcium carbonate such as Calcite, Aragonite, and Vaterite are highly crystalline forms of calcium carbonate and could dissolve more slowly to give longer lasting neutralizing effect. Marble, Dolomite, and even Mollusk shells are made of amorphous forms of calcium carbonate, and could dissolve faster and neutralize acidity faster than crystalline forms. Precipitated calcium carbonate, which is purified from natural sources, is a "micro" crystalline form and would dissolve quickly and neutralizes acidity quickly.

Precipitated calcium carbonate materials may be purchased from Specialty Minerals Inc., 260 Columbia Street, Adams, Mass., 01220. Presently preferred are the CalEssence.TM. 300 PCC, CalEssence.TM. 450 PCC and MD-1503 (to be CalEssence.TM. 1500 PCC) grades of precipitated calcium carbonate. These three grades have a median particle size of 3.0, 4.5 and 15.0 microns, respectively; a surface area of 3.0, 2.2 and 2.0 meters2 /gram respectively; and a tapped density of 0.85, 1.10 and 1.45 grams/cc respectively.

In general, a chewing gum composition typically comprises a water-soluble bulk portion, a water-insoluble chewable gum base portion and typically water-insoluble flavoring agents. The water-soluble portion dissipates with a portion of the flavoring agent over a period of time during chewing. The gum base portion is retained in the mouth throughout the chew.

The insoluble gum base generally comprises elastomers, resins, fats and oils, softeners and inorganic fillers. The gum base may or may not include wax. The insoluble gum base can constitute approximately 5% to about 95% by weight of the chewing gum, more commonly the gum base comprises about 10% to about 50% of the gum, and in some preferred embodiments approximately 25% to about 35% by weight, of the chewing gum. In pellet gum center formulations, the level of insoluble gum base may be much higher.

In a preferred embodiment, the chewing gum base of the present invention contains about 20% to about 60% by weight synthetic elastomer, about 0% to about 30% by weight natural elastomer, about 5% to about 55% by weight elastomer plasticizer, about 4% to about 35% by weight filler, about 5% to about 35% by weight softener, and optional minor amounts (about 1% or less by weight) of miscellaneous ingredients such as colorants, antioxidants, etc.

Synthetic elastomers may include, but are not limited to, polyisobutylene with GPC weight average molecular weights of about 10,000 to about 95,000, isobutylene-isoprene copolymer (butyl elastomer), styrene-butadiene, copolymers having styrene-butadiene ratios of about 1:3 to about 3:1, polyvinyl acetate having GPC weight average molecular weights of about 2,000 to about 90,000, polyisoprene, polyethylene, vinyl acetate--vinyl laurate copolymers having vinyl laurate contents of about 5% to about 50% by weight of the copolymer, and combinations thereof. Preferred ranges are: 50,000 to 80,000 GPC weight average molecular weight for polyisobutylene; 1:1 to 1:3 bound styrene-butadiene for styrene-budadiene; 10,000 to 65,000 GPC weight average molecular weight for polyvinyl acetate, with the higher molecular weight polyvinyl acetates typically used in bubble gum base; and a vinyl laurate content of 10-45% for vinyl acetate-vinyl laurate.

Natural elastomers may include natural rubber such as smoked or liquid latex and guayule, as well as natural gums such as jelutong, lechi caspi, perillo, sorva, massaranduba balata, massaranduba chocolate, nispero, rosindinha, chicle, gutta hang kang, and combinations thereof. The preferred synthetic elastomer and natural elastomer concentrations vary depending on whether the chewing gum in which the base is used is adhesive or conventional, bubble gum or regular gum, as discussed below. Preferred natural elastomers include jelutong, chicle, sorva and massaranduba balata.

Elastomer plasticizers may include, but are not limited to, natural rosin esters such as glycerol esters or partially hydrogenated rosin, glycerol esters of polymerized rosin, glycerol esters of partially dimerized rosin, glycerol esters of rosin, pentaerythritol esters of partially hydrogenated rosin, methyl and partially hydrogenated methyl esters of rosin, pentaerythritol esters of rosin; synthetics such as terpene resins derived from alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, and/or d-limonene; and any suitable combinations of the foregoing. The preferred elastomer plasticizers will also vary depending on the specific application, and on the type of elastomer which is used.

Fillers/texturizers may include magnesium and calcium carbonate, ground limestone, silicate types such as magnesium and aluminum silicate, clay, alumina, talc, titanium oxide, mono-, di- and tri-calcium phosphate, cellulose polymers, such as wood, and combinations thereof.

Softeners/emulsifiers may include tallow, hydrogenated tallow, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, cocoa butter, glycerol monostearate, glycerol triacetate, lecithin, mono-, di- and triglycerides, acetylated monoglycerides, fatty acids (e.g. stearic, palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids), and combinations thereof Colorants and whiteners may include FD&C-type dyes and lakes, fruit and vegetable extracts, titanium dioxide, and combinations thereof.

The base may or may not include wax. An example of a wax-free gum base is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,286,500, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

In addition to a water-insoluble gum base portion, a typical chewing gum composition includes a water-soluble bulk portion and one or more flavoring agents. The water-soluble portion can include bulk sweeteners, high-intensity sweeteners, flavoring agents, softeners, emulsifiers, colors, acidulants, fillers, antioxidants, and other components that provide desired attributes.

Softeners are added to the chewing gum in order to optimize the chewability and mouth feel of the gum. The softeners, which are also known as plasticizers and plasticizing agents, generally constitute between approximately 0.5% to about 15% by weight of the chewing gum. The softeners may include glycerin, lecithin, and combinations thereof. Aqueous sweetener solutions such as those containing sorbitol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, corn syrup and combinations thereof, may also be used as softeners and binding agents in chewing gum.

Bulk sweeteners include both sugar and sugarless components. Bulk sweeteners typically constitute about 5% to about 95% by weight of the chewing gum, more typically, about 20% to about 80% by weight, and more commonly, about 30% to about 60% by weight of the gum. Sugar sweeteners generally include saccharide-containing components commonly known in the chewing gum art, including but not limited to, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, dextrin, dried invert sugar, fructose, galactose, corn syrup solids, and the like, alone or in combination. Sugarless sweeteners include, but are not limited to, sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, maltitol, and the like, alone or in combination.

High-intensity artificial sweeteners can also be used, alone or in combination, with the above. Preferred sweeteners include, but are not limited to, sucralose, aspartame, N-substituted APM derivatives such as neotame, salts of acesulfame, alitame, saccharin and its salts, cyclamic acid and its salts, glycyrrhizin, dihydrochalcones, thaumatin, monellin, and the like, alone or in combination. In order to provide longer lasting sweetness and flavor perception, it may be desirable to encapsulate or otherwise control the release of at least a portion of the artificial sweetener. Such techniques as wet granulation, wax granulation, spray drying, spray chilling, fluid bed coating, coacervation, and fiber extrusion may be used to achieve the desired release characteristics.

Combinations of sugar and/or sugarless sweeteners may be used in chewing gum. Additionally, the softener may also provide additional sweetness such as with aqueous sugar or alditol solutions.

If a low calorie gum is desired, a low caloric bulking agent can be used. Examples of low caloric bulking agents include: polydextrose; oligofructose (Raftilose); inulin (Raftilin); fructooligosaccharides (NutraFlora); palatinose oligosaccharide; guar gum hydrolysate (BeneFiber); or indigestible dextrin (Fibersol). However, other low calorie bulking agents can be used.

A variety of flavoring agents can also be used, if desired. The flavor can be used in amounts of about 0.1 to about 15 weight percent of the gum, and preferably, about 0.2% to about 5% by weight. Flavoring agents may include essential oils, synthetic flavors or mixtures thereof including, but not limited to, oils derived from plants and fruits such as citrus oils, fruit essences, peppermint oil, spearmint oil, other mint oils, clove oil, oil of wintergreen, anise and the like. Artificial flavoring agents and components may also be used. Natural and artificial flavoring agents may be combined in any sensorially acceptable fashion.

In general, chewing gum is manufactured by sequentially adding the various chewing gum ingredients to a commercially available mixer known in the art. After the ingredients have been thoroughly mixed, the gum mass is discharged from the mixer and shaped into the desired form, such as rolling into sheets and cutting into sticks, extruding into chunks or casting into pellets, which are then coated or panned.

Generally, the ingredients are mixed by first melting the gum base and adding it to the running mixer. The base may also be melted in the mixer itself. Color or emulsifiers may also be added at this time. A softener such as glycerin may also be added at this time, along with syrup and a portion of the bulking agent. Further parts of the bulking agent are added to the mixer. Flavoring agents are typically added with the final portion of the bulking agent. Other optional ingredients are added to the batch in a typical fashion, well known to those of ordinary skill in the art.

The entire mixing procedure typically takes from five to fifteen minutes, but longer mixing times may sometimes be required. Those skilled in the art will recognize that many variations of the above described procedure may be followed.

After the ingredients are mixed, the gum mass is formed into pellets or balls. Pellet or ball gum is prepared as conventional chewing gum but formed into pellets that are pillow shaped, or into balls. The pellets/balls are used as cores for the coated product. The cores can be sugar or polyol coated or panned by conventional panning techniques to make a unique coated pellet gum. The weight of the coating may be about 20% to about 50% of the weight of the finished product, but may be as much as 75% of the total gum product.

Conventional panning procedures generally coat with sucrose, but recent advances in panning have allowed use of other carbohydrate materials to be used in place of sucrose. Some of these materials include, but are not limited to, sugars such as dextrose, maltose, isomaltulose, and tagatose, or sugarless bulk sweeteners such as xylitol, sorbitol, lactitol, hydrogenated isomaltulose, erythritol, maltitol, and other new polyols (also referred to as alditols) or combinations thereof. The coating is preferably sugarless. A preferred coating comprises about 30% to about 75% maltitol. These materials may be blended with panning modifiers including, but not limited to, gum arabic, gum talha, maltodextrins, corn syrup, gelatin, cellulose type materials like carboxymethyl cellulose or hydroxymethyl cellulose, starch and modified starches, vegetables gums like alginates, locust bean gum, guar gum, and gum tragacanth. Antitack agents may also be added as panning modifiers, which allow the use of a variety of carbohydrates and sugar alcohols. Flavors may also be added with the sugar or sugarless coating to yield unique product characteristics.

As noted above, the coating may contain ingredients such as flavoring agents, as well as dispersing agents, coloring agents, film formers and binding agents. Flavoring agents contemplated by the present invention include those commonly known in the art such as essential oils, synthetic flavors or mixtures thereof, including but not limited to oils derived from plants and fruits such as citrus oils, fruit essences, peppermint oil, spearmint oil, other mint oils, clove oil, oil of wintergreen, anise and the like. The flavoring agents may be used in an amount such that the coating will contain from about 0.2% to about 3% flavoring agent, and preferably from about 0.7% to about 2.0% flavoring agent.

High-intensity sweeteners contemplated for use in the coating include but are not limited to synthetic substances, such as saccharin, thaumatin, alitame, saccharin salts, aspartame, N-substituted APM derivatives such as neotame, sucralose, cyclamic acid and its salts, glycyrrhizin, dihydrochalcones, monellin and acesulfame-K or other salts of acesulfame. The high-intensity sweetener may be added to the coating syrup in an amount such that the coating will contain from about 0.01% to about 2.0%, and preferably from about 0.1% to about 1.0% high-intensity sweetener. Preferably the high-intensity sweetener is not encapsulated.

Dispersing agents are often added to syrup coatings for the purpose of whitening and tack reduction. Dispersing agents contemplated by the present invention to be employed in the coating syrup include titanium dioxide, talc, or any other antistick compound. Titanium dioxide is a presently preferred dispersing agent of the present invention. The dispersing agent may be added to the coating syrup in amounts such that the coating will contain from about 0.1 % to about 1.0%, and preferably from about 0.3% to about 0.6% of the agent.

When high amounts of calcium carbonate or other antacid is used, the calcium carbonate is dispersed or suspended in the coating syrup that contains the sugar or polyol, thus making a syrup suspension. Generally, as the level of calcium carbonate is increased, the level of sugar or polyol is decreased. Levels of calcium carbonate used may be as low as 25% of the total solids or as high as 50% of the total solids in the syrup, and more preferably will comprise about 30% to about 40% of the total solids. In preferred embodiments, the calcium carbonate will comprise about 25% to about 50% of the gum coating, and more preferably about 30% to about 40% of the gum coating.

Coloring agents are preferably added directly to the syrup suspension in the dye or lake form. Coloring agents contemplated by the present invention include food quality dyes. Film formers preferably added to the syrup include methyl cellulose, gelatins, hydroxypropyl cellulose, ethyl cellulose, hydroxyethyl cellulose, carboxymethyl cellulose and the like and combinations thereof. Binding agents may be added either as an initial coating on the chewing gum center or may be added directly into the syrup. Binding agents contemplated by the present invention include gum arabic, gum talha, guar gum, karaya gum, locust bean gum, alginate gums, xanthan gum, arabinogalactan, various cellulose derivatives, vegetable gums, gelatin and mixtures thereof, with gum arabic being preferred. The binding agent is preferably used at a level of at least about 2% of the coating syrup.

The coating is initially present as a liquid syrup which contains from about 30% to about 80% of the coating ingredients previously described herein, and from about 20% to about 70% of a solvent such as water. In general, the coating process is carried out in a rotating pan. Sugar or sugarless gum center tablets to be coated are placed into the rotating pan to form a moving mass. The material or syrup suspension which will eventually form the coating is applied or distributed over the gum center tablets. Flavoring agents may be added before, during and after applying the syrup suspension to the gum centers. Once the coating has dried to form a hard surface, additional syrup additions can be made to produce a plurality of coatings or multiple layers of hard coating.

In a hard coating panning procedure, syrup is added to the gum center tablets at a temperature range of from about 100oF. (38o C.) to about 240oF. (116oC.). Preferably, the syrup temperature is from about 130oF. (54oC.) to about 200oF. (94oC.) throughout the process in order to prevent the polyol or sugar in the syrup suspension from crystallizing. The syrup suspension may be mixed with, sprayed upon, poured over, or added to the gum center tablets in any way known to those skilled in the art.

In general, a plurality of layers is obtained by applying single coats, allowing the layers to dry, and then repeating the process. The amount of solids added by each coating step depends chiefly on the concentration of the coating syrup suspension. Any number of coats may be applied to the gum center tablet. Preferably, no more than about 75-100 coats are applied to the gum center tablets. The present invention contemplates applying an amount of syrup sufficient to yield a coated comestible containing about 20% to about 75% coating.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that in order to obtain a plurality of coated layers, a plurality of premeasured aliquots of coating syrup suspension may be applied to the gum center tablets. It is contemplated, however, that the volume of aliquots of syrup suspension applied to the gum center tablets may vary throughout the coating procedure.

Once a coating is applied to the gum center tablets, the present invention contemplates drying the wet syrup suspension in an inert medium. A preferred drying medium comprises air. Preferably, forced drying air contacts the wet syrup coating in a temperature range of from about 70oF. (21oC.) to about 115oF. (46oC.). More preferably, the drying air is in the temperature range of from about 80oF. (27oC.) to about 100oF. (38oC.). The invention also contemplates that the drying air possess a relative humidity of less than about 15 percent. Preferably, the relative humidity of the drying air is less than about 8 percent.

The drying air may be passed over and admixed with the syrup coated gum centers in any way commonly known in the art. Preferably, the drying air is blown over and around or through the bed of the syrup coated gum centers at a flow rate, for large scale operations, of about 2800 cubic feet per minute. If lower quantities of material are being processed, or if smaller equipment is used, lower flow rates would be used.

The present invention also contemplates the application of powder material after applying an aliquot of coating syrup to help build up the coating.

In addition to applying a plurality of liquid layers and drying with air, a dry charge material may be added to dry the coating applications. This is especially useful when coating with some sugars and polyols, such as dextrose, sorbitol, maltitol, and hydrogenated isomaltulose. A liquid addition of coating syrup is made in the coating process and after a specified time to allow the liquid to spread evenly over the pieces, a dry powder material is applied. This also helps to dry the liquid coating. This is referred to as dry charging and is commonly used in "soft" panning operations and is commonly known by those skilled in the art. The dry charge material may consist mostly of the sugar or polyol used in the liquid coating, but may also contain other additives such as gums, dispersing agents, and antitack agents. The acid blocker could be preblended with the dry charge material and applied in about 3 to 12 dry charge applications. After a dry charge application, 2 to 4 liquid applications are made to cover the dry charge material.

When flavors are added to a sugar or sugarless coating of pellet gum to enhance the overall flavor of gum, the flavors are generally preblended with the coating syrup just prior to applying it to the core or added together to the core in one or more coating applications in a revolving pan containing the cores. Generally, the coating syrup is very hot, about 130oF. (54oC.) to 200oF. (93oC.), and the flavor may volatilize if preblended with the coating syrup too early.

The coating syrup is preferably applied to the gum cores as a hot liquid, the sugar or polyol allowed to crystallize, and the coating then dried with warm, dry air. Aliquots of syrups are preferably applied in about 30 to 80 applications to obtain a hard shell coated product having an increased weight gain of about 20% to 75%. A flavor is applied with one, two, three or even four or more of these coating applications. Each time flavor is added, several non-flavored coatings are applied to cover the flavor before the next flavor coat is applied. This reduces volatilization of the flavor during the coating process.

For mint flavors such spearmint, peppermint and wintergreen, some of the flavor components are volatilized, but sufficient flavor remains to give a product having a strong, high impact flavor. Fruit flavors, that may contain esters, are more easily volatilized and may be flammable and/or explosive and therefore, generally these type of fruit flavors are not used in coatings.

Claim 1 of 42 Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A coated chewing gum product comprising:

a) a chewing gum core; and

b) a coating on said core, the coating comprising an acid blocker.

 


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