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Investment in heat treat systems

23 June 2010

Whitworths is investing £1 million in specialist heat treating equipment to reduce the microbiological risks associated with nuts and seeds and to improve product quality

The heat treatment system, which involves applying heat up to 100°C, is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK. It will be commissioned in August and will minimise the risk of harmful micro-organisms such as Salmonella, Listeria and E.coli.

"The investment will enable us to mitigate against the risks associated with processing nuts and seeds which are imported into the UK from numerous sources around the world, with inherent microbiological issues," says Whitworths Technical Director John McAughtrie.

In addition to improving product security relating to potentially harmful micro-organisms, the heat treatment system, which exceeds industry best practice recommendations, ensures robust product control, improved continuity of supply and increased supply chain flexibility.

Its operating parameters can be finely-tuned to deliver the correct level of microbiological management. Moisture content can be finely adjusted by a cooling system which optimizes product quality and shelf life.

"The investment will not only enable us to provide the best possible product quality, it will increase our operational flexibility," adds John McAughtrie.

Whitworths is also investing in an autonomous processing plant for peanut products and raw materials containing peanut allergens. The investment spans new mixing capabilities, multi-pond weigh heads, packing facilities and warehousing facilities.

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