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Allergen clean beats deadline for food company

Published 27th May, 2015 by Neil Nixon

Allergen clean beats deadline for food company

In-depth knowledge of allergens and decontamination procedures from experts at Hygiene Group has helped a specialist supplier of premium dried fruit and nuts to begin production in a newly-acquired facility in just one month.

Following the purchase of a processing facility from Intersnacks, Petrow Foods needed to carry out an intensive allergen clean to prepare the premises for its own production. Although both companies produce nut products, the varieties differed and Petrow's intended fruit processing areas were also required to be free from nut particles. Intersnacks had used the facility for nine years prior to Petrow's purchase, meaning an extensive clean of all surfaces and areas, including two roaster ovens, was needed.

Using a former Bombay mix mixer as a benchmark, allergen experts from Hygiene Group implemented a custom-developed cleaning regime to remove all traces of protein and organic matter including adenosine triphosphate (ATP), followed by measurement with an illuminator to provide an initial indication of the success of allergen decontamination. Rapid allergen tests were then compared against uncleaned surfaces and final laboratory-tested swabs then conclusively proved the absence of allergens, with 4-5 swabs taken from each area for accuracy. Following this trial, the methodology was rolled out to all areas and surfaces.

Scott Fowler of Hygiene Group, who designed the project and procedures, said: “In planning a decontamination clean of this kind, it's important to consider the level of allergenic matter which may be present and the potential dangers to eventual consumers, as well as the intended future use of the equipment and the condition of those surfaces. At Petrow Foods we carried out a 100% deep clean, covering processing equipment as well as ceilings and walls - which can be contaminated by product dust and vapours - in order to successfully decontaminate the facility and prevent any allergens entering products and endangering consumers.”

The project was initially estimated to take three months, but due to the success of Hygiene Group's method and subsequent clear laboratory tests, the entire facility was declared allergen free after only one month, enabling Petrow Foods to move in its new equipment and begin production well ahead of schedule.

Dave Penry, projects manager at Petrow Foods, said: “As a producer of products containing nuts, we take correct product labelling extremely seriously and part of this is ensuring our facilities pose no risk of allergen contamination. The speed at which Hygiene Group was able to prepare our new factory for production was highly impressive, as well as wholly effective - the first run of test batches passed through the Proctor ovens returned clear results meaning we can move into full production with absolute confidence.”

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