Carman’s founder wins Ernst & Young award

Carman’s Fine Foods founder and managing director Carolyn Creswell has won the Ernst & Young 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year Award in southern region youth category.

Consisting of six judging criteria including entrepreneurial spirit, personal integrity, innovation and global impact, the awards is the largest in Australia with previous overall winners including Janine Ellis of Boost Juice, John Ilhan of Crazy Johns and Craig Winkler of MYOB.

As an 18-year-old university student, Creswell worked part time at a bakery toasting muesli and selling it to local cafés and food stores.

Fifteen years ago she bought the bakery for $1,000 after the owners were unable to sell it and transformed it into a national and, soon to be international, success.

Carman’s cereal range is now stocked in Coles and Woolworths supermarkets, Myer, David Jones and leading independent health stores and Creswell is now concentrating on developing the business globally having recently expanded into NTUC Fairprice in Singapore and Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the UK.

Carolyn attributes Carman’s success to having open communication with her consumers — her email address is printed on the back of Carman’s muesli boxes — and developing a genuine product range that delivers on health and nutrition.

As a result of their homemade taste and low sugar and sodium levels, Carman’s muesli and bar ranges are currently the top selling gourmet products in their categories.

New vertical form, fill and seal bagger at IBIE

tna, an international supplier of turn-key, integrated packaging and processing solutions for food production companies, will display its robag 3 vertical form, fill and seal (VFFS) bagger, integrated with a tna scale, at the International Baking Industry Exposition in Orlando from October 7 to 10, 2007.

The tna robag 3 tx rotary flat jaw bagger on display operates at speeds in excess of 100 bags/minute and guarantees less than half a percent of waste.

Although the machine on display will be forming Quattro bags, it is capable of producing multiple bags styles and has four servo drive motors to provide increased flexibility and control of operation for the manufacturer.

The robag 3 tx integrates seamlessly with tna’s 514 Delta 1 Scale to enhance its performance, accuracy and reliability.

tna’s turn-key integration structure and unique product transfer system results in higher fill rates, fast and easy changeover and greater film efficiency, resulting in lower cost of ownership.

Sweetener lowers calories and maintains flavour

Trials conducted by independent research body Lintech RSSL indicate the high-intensity sweetener Sunett (Acesulfame K), produced by Nutrinova, an international supplier of specialty ingredients, can be used to totally or partially replace sugar and reduce calorie levels while maintaining flavour.

Sunett enables the development of calorie-reduced products in which sugar is partially or fully replaced, opening up opportunities for manufacturers in the booming market segment for health and weight-conscious consumers who prefer sweetened products, but do not want to increase the calorie content or compromise on taste.

In addition, the synergies of Sunett with other high intensity sweeteners and sucrose lead to an overall reduction in sweetener costs, meaning manufacturers can enjoy significant economical advantages while consumers get better-tasting products.

Nutrinova will present the results of its research into the impact of Sunett (Acesulfame K) in strawberry flavoured yoghurt at F.I (Food Ingredients) Europe in London from October 30 to November 1, 2007.

Visitors at F.I. Europe will be able to sample a selection of Nutrinova’s low-calorie beverages in many applications ranging from flavoured waters, teas, and energy drinks, to drinkable yoghurt and flavoured milk.

Nutrinova will also showcase its range of premium quality Sorbates at F.I Europe.

Representatives from Nutrinova will be available to discuss the benefits of using the Sorbates as well as offer technical expertise and application advice on Sunett and the Sorbates range.

Investing in dairy growth

Fonterra has announced the investment of $44 million to increase production capabilities across its eleven production sites in Australia.

The investment initiative comes out of Fonterra’s newly formed ANZ business unit, which brings together a number of Australia and New Zealand food companies to strengthen the company’s ability to develop innovative products and drive growth in the dairy sector.

Fonterra’s upgrade of production technology, equipment and processes will enable it to meet consumer demands for top quality, convenient and nutritious food.

“A main focus of Fonterra Australia and New Zealand is to drive sustainable growth in the dairy sector by developing innovative products and differentiating ourselves from our competitors,” Fonterra general manager operations and supply chain Bruce Donnison said.

“This involves looking at the entire supply chain and developing ways to maximise our infrastructure, enhance manufacturing capabilities, logistics and warehousing solutions, packaging formats and shelf presentation.”

Over the next year a number of capital projects will be undertaken to upgrade process control systems technology, maximise plant output, minimise downtime and maintain dairy food quality and integrity.

A $17 million upgrade of the company’s Darnum Park site in Victoria has extended its production capabilities to include nutritional and infant milk powders.

A new milk dryer enables the site to produce up to 6.5 tonnes of milk powder/hour and high-speed product packing lines are able fill 10 tonnes of milk powder/hour.

“This is an example of building production infrastruc-ture that is efficient, flexible and meets consumer needs,” Donnison said.

“The nutritional baby food products will service the South East Asian market.”

A new milk dryer and baghouse system will be installed at Fonterra’s Cobden, Victoria, dairy manufacturing site in 2008.

The multimillion dollar upgrade will enable the site to manufacture a wider range of high-quality, specialised milk powders.

Tastes like honey

Ingredients: Creamy Honey: rolled oats, sugar, milk powder, maize, maltodextrin, corn syrup solids, dried honey

Brand owner: Uncle Tobys

Brand/product manager: Stephen Maidment

Packaging supplier: Amcor

Graphics package supplier: Cowan

GECA cracks down on incorrect labelling

Manufacturers making misleading claims about their compliance or otherwise to Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) standards without having undergone a thorough independent assessment may be subject to prosecution under the Trade Practices Act.

GECA was recently made aware that some manufacturers have made misleading claims about their products’ compliance to GECA standards, stating it is highly inappropriate for manufacturers that have not undergone the rigorous and thorough assessment process carried out by GECA to claim compliance with any of its standards.

Such manufacturers may be:

  • Intentionally misleading consumers.
  • Stating compliance without having undertaken any independent testing.
  • Misrepresenting which products may meet the requirements of the standard.
  • Incorrectly interpreting the requirements of the standard.

GECA makes considerable efforts to ensure that only the most environmentally preferable and high quality products are awarded GECA certification and the international recognition this entails. This is ensured by the rigorous product-specific assessment procedures carried out by GECA technical experts on each and every product certified under a GECA standard.

It is highly unlikely that any product claiming to comply with GECA standards without having first been assessed by GECA is of comparable environmental preference or quality to a genuine GECA certified product. Customers should be aware that only products carrying the protected Good Environmental Choice label are compliant to GECA standards, regardless of the claims by other manufacturers whose products do not bear the Good Environmental Choice label.

Who is the GECA?

GECA is the national life cycle based environmental labelling program for consumer and building products, offering an independent ecolabel on the basis of environmental preference of products and services. With the growth and increasing sophistication of the green procurement markets, the value and assurance provided by the Good Environmental Choice label is a key driver for effective shifts in the market towards lower environmental impact products.

Verification process:

GECA has now certified over $1.2 billion worth of consumer and building products on the market from over 75 manufacturers delivering over 400 different product lines. Certified manufacturers undergo a comprehensive verification of their products environmental attributes in conformance to the GECA standard requirements as developed under ISO 14 024 — the international standard for third party environmental labelling bodies.

The GECA standards are among the most stringent environmental benchmarks for consumer and building products in Australia. The Good Environmental Choice label is internationally recognised as the mark of life-cycle based environmental preference for Australia.

If you are aware of any such breaches in relation to the use of the label or our standards please direct them to the GECA Head Office.

Gourmet soups and risottos

Ingredients: Chicken & Corn Soup: water, corn, cream, gelatine (halal), vegetable gum, emulsifier, chicken, potato, onion, carrot, modified tapioca starch, chicken booster (flavour enhancers), canola oil, corn booster (colour), lemon juice, salt, pepper

Gourmet Pumpkin & Pistachio Risotto: arborio rice (water, rice), pumpkin, onion, white wine, parmesan cheese, canola oil, butter (milk), pistachio nuts, vegetable booster (flavour enhancers), modified tapioca starch, herbs and spices, salt, garlic, water, preservative

Brand owner: Mrs Crocket’s

Brand/product manager: Sam Goldstein

Packaging supplier: Tecpak (soup lid and cup), Alto (risotto tray), Amcor (risotto film), Carter Holt Harvey (risotto sleeve)

Graphics Package designer: Tin Factory Creative

Organic pasta

Ingredients: organic wholegrain farro flour, orzo flour, water

Brand owner: Senselle Foods

Brand/product manager: Stuart Smith

Packaging supplier: Giacomo Santoleri, Italy

Graphics package designer: Di Antonio, Italy

Asian market ready for convenience

Microwave ovens and freezers have changed the way Asians think about and consume meals. This, combined with demanding lifestyles, has spawned the Asian ready meals culture.

There has been an emergence of ‘lifestyle’ ready meals in Japan, in response to the country’s fast pace of living.

Taiwan is a booming market. The second most important ready meals market in the Asia Pacific. Local diets and religious restrictions on the consumption of pork and beef are likely to constrain the development of meat-based ready meals.

The vegetarian ready meal market in India will grow. The vegetarian ready meal market will grow in India. Quick fix food. In much of Asia the ready meal market is still in its infancy. Ready meals are described as the aggregation of canned, preserved, frozen, dried and chilled meals, din­ner mixes and prepared salads.

They are products that have had recipe ‘skills’ added to them by the manufacturer, resulting in a high degree of readiness, completion and convenience. Ready meals are generally com­plete meals that require few or no extra ingredients. Some ready meals require cook­ing, while others simply need reheating. Ready meals are at an introduc­tory stage in many Asia Pacific countries, which means that ready meals addressing health and well­ness, including low fat/low calorie, wholesome fresh ingredients, are virtually non-existent.

Japan takes the lead

Despite registering robust sales performances during the period 2000 to 2006, ready meals in emerg­ing countries such as India, China, Indonesia and Vietnam are still in their infancy.

Per capita expenditure on ready meals in these countries was almost negligible, largely due to a lack of consumer awareness about such products, particularly in rural areas, as well as the dominance of home-cooked meals in local diets.

Japan leads the pack Japan is by far the most advanced market in terms of development of new health and wellness products.

According to Euromonitor International’s estimates, retail value sales of ready meals in Japan accounted for a massive 91% of the regional sales in 2006. Regionally, Japan is the most mature mar­ket and retail sales are dominated by tradi­tional lunchboxes and sozai (small dishes).

In fact, there has been an emergence of ‘lifestyle’ ready meals in Japan, in response to the country’s fast pace of living. Consumers are increasingly looking for ways of reducing stress and stress-related symptoms. In March 2006, Asahi Food & Healthcare Co launched Hatsuga Genmai Jikkoku Gayu, a new retort-packed sprouted porridge, using premium rice harvested in the Uonuma area with ten types of natural cereals (black soy beans, red beans, green beans and more).

Each package is fortified with 25mg of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA is believed to help with relaxation by releasing stress and promoting better sleep. This ingredient is not new to the market; it has also been used in alcoholic drinks, such as wine and Japanese sake. Taiwan’s global tastes Meanwhile, Taiwan is a booming market. It is the second most important ready meals market in the Asia Pacific region, with a robust average annual growth of almost 53% in the period 2000 to 2006 — an increase in actual total sales of about US$416 million.

In fact, the ready meals sector was a major area of development for packaged food between 2000 and 2006. Though the initial phase consisted of few brands and a very narrow range of traditional local cuisine, by 2006 this sector had an increasing number of brands, with local and international meal options for consumers to choose from, reflecting local consumers’ increasingly international tastes.

Think local

According to Euromonitor senior packaged food industry analyst Emily Woon, the ready meals landscape in the Asia Pacific region is diverse, with specific markets being at dif­ferent stages of development.

“One size does not fit all in the regional ready meals sector,” said Woon.

“Growth is dynamic but to tap it requires a country-specific approach.

“Therefore, it is important for manufac­turers to recognise the specificity of local conditions and tastes in emerging markets.”

For example, in India new product develop­ment will continue towards vegetarian dishes. Local diets and religious restrictions on the consumption of pork and beef are like­ly to constrain the development of meat-based ready meals, except in the eastern region of the continent.

In countries such as Indonesia where the ready meals market is at the introductory stage, manufacturers could develop processed versions of traditional meals in order to attract busy consumers who increasingly seek convenient foods that are easy to prepare.

“Such a strategy seemed to have worked well between 2000 and 2006 for a number of Indonesian manufacturers operating in the chilled and frozen aisles,” explained Woon.

“For example, chilled and frozen bakso, or beef-balls, have become increasingly pop­ular in Indonesia.”

Research and development

All Food Systems is a food ingredient man­ufacturer supplying the Australian and Asia Pacific region. Export manager Kym Balogh said that like every other company around the world, All Food Systems would like to be a part of China’s economic growth.

“However, we are also very aware of the emerging ready meal market throughout the rest of Asia,” Balogh said. “

Tastes and flavour vary from country to country, so the research and development department is aware that we are serious about exporting, and to do this we have to be flexible in development ideas.”

HSC International is an exporter of ready meals like instant noodles and pasta throughout Asia. HSC International managing director Steven Teo highlighted the importance of research and development, saying it was imperative that exporters researched new products, consumer concerns, culture, habit and pricing to have a full grasp of the export market requirements. Teo said that there will be an even bigger demand for ready meals, because people have higher purchasing power but are time poor, making quick meals an obvious choice.

All Food Systems’ Balogh also adds that being able to drop into the supermarket on the way home from work to pick up the crumbed chicken Kiev or the marinated or sautéed chicken skewers is a luxury spread­ing through the Asia Pacific region.

“Ready meal products in Asian super­markets is not something that will happen overnight,” said Balogh.

“Australian manufacturers have the expe­rience in ready meals, while Asian manufac­turers have ready access to the consumers.

“Getting ready meals that appeal to Asians onto supermarket shelves is the challenge for Australian manufacturers.”

Tea in a tin

Ingredients: Chamomile Fields: chamomile and rose petals; Mint Madness: peppermint, spearmint, cornflower blossom

Brand owner: Macro Wholefoods Market

Brand/product manager: Angela Brand

Packaging designer: Egg Design

Loose tea leaves

Ingredients: selected dried leaves, buds and berries depending on blend

Brand owner: jones group

Brand/product manager: Stuart Smith

Packaging supplier: jones group

Graphics package designer: Irwin & Sheehan

New appointment

Enzyme Solutions has announced the appointment of Mr Barri Trotter to the role of General Manager, effective from August 13th, 2007.

In this newly created position, Trotter will be responsible for driving Enzyme Solutions future growth and development.

With a background in accountancy, Trotter brings his skills in business management, project management, sales and marketing and export development to the role.

His experience in key account management will also assist to drive the company forward.

New industry web resource

The NSW Food Industry Training Council board of directors has announced the launch of FoodHub, an online workforce development resource for the Australian Food Industry.

Operating in a similar way to Wikipedia, the free log-on facility invites members of the food industry to contribute information and references to assist the work of trainers, assessors, students, learners, enterprises and other key industry stakeholders.

New technology for omega-3 fish oils

A recent agreement between Food Science Australia (FSA) and Clover Corporation will increase the range of processed foods containing healthy omega-3 fish oils and selected microalgal oils by using second-generation MicroMAX microencapsulation technology.

In collaboration with Preventative Health National Research Flagship, FSA has expanded their work on encapsulation and developed new, more durable microencapsulation technologies.

The main difference, and benefit, of the new technology is the robustness of the encapsulation, allowing for a higher oil loading than the original MicroMAX technology, and the ability to withstand a variety of strenuous processing conditions without imparting a ‘fishy’ flavour and aroma to the food.

Clover Corporation, through its joint venture with Nu-Mega Ingredients, will use the technology to expand its product range and enter new international markets.

“Clover Corporation will be using the next generation MicroMax microencapsulation technology to improve the delivery and stability of its DRIPHORM HiDHA rich omega-3 fish oil, and other ingredients, enhance the commercial efficiency of providing the bioactives in the fish oil, and expand their application in foods and infant formulations,” Clover CEO Dr Ian Brown said.

The microencapsulation of fish oil, which involves enclosing microscopic droplets of fish oil in robust films, has been used to deliver the beneficial fatty omega-3 oils to a variety of foods, including long-life milk, processed cheese and yoghurt as well as snack foods, by protecting the fat from oxidation, prolonging the shelf life of the food and maintaining the desired taste.

This is the first commercial agreement that FSA has embarked on with the second generation technology.

FSA has previously worked with CSIRO’s Food Futures Flagship to understand the effects food processing has on microencapsulated products and continues to look for partners to use the MicroMAX technology in a range of applications.

Flavour Makers’ new facilities

Flavour Makers’ Culinary Development Centre at Braeside, features a new expanded research and development laboratory with a separate fully equipped test kitchen and sensory facilities.

A state of the art kitchen has been designed for concept presentations by development chefs to customers from both domestic and export markets, and incorporates a conference facility for supplier and customer meetings.

Flavour Makers’ chefs are experienced in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian and European cuisines, and bring authenticity and functionality to food products.

Already the company has hosted interstate and overseas visitors, and local food manufacturers, and a busy program has been planned by sales manager Jodie Foster for the remainder of this year.

Flavour Makers have also commissioned a new liquid processing facility at a stand-alone location in Moorabbin, designed to upgrade manufacturing capacity for the Passage Foods Simmer sauce range, which has national distribution in Australia and New Zealand.

Business development manager Chris Doutre has also secured export orders for Asia, the US, the UK and Europe.

The facility will also provide process capabilities to produce wet culinary sauces to meet customers’ requirements.

These two projects, managed by operations manager Jason Fullerton, have created the opportunity for Flavour Makers to upgrade the dry blending facility at Braeside to support domestic and export activities, which will include an on-site microlab and Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service accreditation.

Flavour Makers export market customers are being managed by export and foodservice manager Peter Caddy.

Protecting bakery workers

Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) is a major issue in the bread products industry.

Mixing machines, hot ovens and large heavy baking trays for doing hundreds of loaves or muffins at a time, are all potential hazards.

Bread product manufacturers’ responses to this are largely a matter of scale.

Automation

Industrial bakers, companies making hundreds of thousands of loaves of bread, muffins and the like every day, are tending towards automated systems like those produced by Australian company Auto-Bake Serpentine.

Local bakeries are also trying to remove the human factor but on a much smaller scale.

Automation is by far the most obvious trend in industrial bakeries, Auto-Bake general manager Mark Appleford said.

“Trying to make equipment safe by minimising human intervention is a definite trend.

“For example, with our systems, flour [and other ingredients are] dropped from silos into mixers, the mixers operate, the batter goes into our lines and, essentially, the finished product comes out without human intervention at all.

“It comes out as a baked product, then it goes onto conveyers and off for freezing, cooling or packaging and there’s barely a human hand intervening.”

The move to automation is driven by cost efficiency in terms of reducing the number of staff but an even greater efficiency is the reduction in worker’s compensation claims resulting from automation.

“With rack ovens, you open the door, push the product in and when it’s done you pull it out.

“In that process there are potentially people getting burnt, getting hands mashed in doors, not picking racks up properly and getting back injuries,” said Appleford.

“One of our American customers produces 250,000 muffins an hour using Auto-Bake’s systems.

“It was only doing a third of that with rack ovens and one of its biggest savings has been worker’s compensation.”

While trends towards automation can simply shift the OH&S risk from production to maintenance there are ways to compensate.

“Whenever you have to maintain something there is the chance of an accident plus the cost of having the line down,” explained Appleford.

“This can be minimised in simple ways , for example, by using high-end greases in the machines, which only need application once a month instead of every day.

“There is also cleaning in process (CIP), sanitising the line while it’s running using sprayers, etc.”

Communication

However, the majority of bread in Australia is still made by the small end of town; suburban bakeries run by a handful of people.

In these environments automation is not economical so the focus shifts back to human beings, and how management communicates and executes OH&S systems, explained Baker’s Delight Holdings human resources and training manager Craig King.

“When someone takes up a Baker’s Delight franchise they get a number of systems including an OH&S system for the bakery.”

“Baker’s Delight has done hazard risk analysis for all the commonly used equipment in its bakeries.

“Franchisees are then able to do a customised risk analysis using templates provided by Baker’s Delight.”

“Once a risk analysis has been done,” said King, “it’s all about training your staff and reducing risks”.

“We used to have mixing bowls with no lids on them but now they have guards so that as soon as someone opens the lid, the machine turns itself off.

“Ergonomics is also an issue,” he said

“There’s constant lifting involved in running a bakery so we’ve reduced packaging from 25kg to 12.5kg so people can manage the lifting more easily.”

Ultimately, communication is the most important innovation.

“If companies are not communicating OH&S and constantly reviewing systems, then they’re not going to keep up the pace, and productivity and morale will be down,” King said.

“But it’s also a shared responsibility, there needs to be a feedback loop, innovation from the top down and also from the bottom up.”

Approach

WSP Risk Solutions general manager Genevieve Hawkins belives that whether the bakery is an industrial operation or a suburban bakery, the important thing is not to treat OH&S as something that needs to be done to stay out of trouble.

“It’s often done as a formal format with OH&S committees and all those sorts of things, or it’s just ignored, said Hawkins.

“But the way to approach OH&S is not to take a ‘what do we need to do to legally comply’ approach, but a ‘what do we need to do to run our business effectively and manage the risk we have’ approach.”

There are also sound business reasons for approaching worker safety in this way.

“If someone is injured at work, worker’s compensation premiums are going to increase, which is a direct cost to the bottom line.

“The injured worker may be off work for some time and will need to be replaced, so there’s recruitment costs, training costs, all those things come in to cover someone while they’re injured,” she said

“From a business management point of view it’s just not cost effective to keep injuring people at work.”

Skill shortages to continue

A new report released by McCrindle Research indicates skills shortages and the associated workplace expectations of Generation Y will continue in the future.Many employers assume that skills shortages are the result of sixteen years of continued economic growth and the subsequent demand for staff.

However the problem stems from the fact that demand for staff is high while supply, particularly of young people, is low due to the ageing of the Australian population and the relative decline in the number of young people.

The report, Bridging the Gap, identifies trends in supply and demand in the employment sector and offers advice for both employers and employees.

The author of the report, Mark McCrindle, will be running half-day Bridging the Gap Workshops for industry associations, employer groups and employees.

For more information or to download a free copy of the report, click here.

Limited FREE tickets for packaging awards

LIMITED free tickets are available for the 2nd Annual Packaging magazine Evolution Awards breakfast ceremony to be held on Wednesday September 12th, 2007, from 7.30am at Waters Edge, Walsh Bay in Sydney.

In attendance will be packaging professionals and key stakeholders in packaging waste management in Australia and New Zealand.

The Packaging magazine Evolution Awards aim to encourage, recognise and reward National Packaging Covenant signatories for excellence in packaging waste management.

This year’s Awards will highlight companies within the industry that have shown innovation and excellence in the following categories:

  1. Beverage Packaging Action Award
  2. Food Packaging Action Award sponsored by Tronics
  3. Household Goods Packaging Action Award
  4. Personal Care & Cosmetics Packaging Action Award
  5. Pharmaceutical Packaging Action Award sponsored by Cospak
  6. Retail Packaging Action Award sponsored by Sealed Air / Cryovac
  7. Community Partnership Action Award sponsored by 3M Australia
  8. Most Innovative Solution in Packaging Waste Management Award sponsored by Heidelberg Graphic Equipment
  9. Most Outstanding Demonstration of Packaging Waste Management Award sponsored by Globus Food Packaging and Equipment in Australia
  10. Most Outstanding Demonstration of Packaging Waste Management in New Zealand Award

Finalist companies for this year’s awards include the following companies: Amcor, Assa, Abloy, Astron Plastics, Australia Post, Blackmores, BP, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coca-Cola Amatil (NZ), Diageo, Dulux, Ego Pharmaceuticals, Electrolux, Golden Circle, Goodman Fielder, Heinz, Herron Pharmaceuticals, Huhtamaki Moulded Fibre New Zealand, IBM, J. Boag & Son, Kimberly-Clark, LG Electronics, Nutrimetics, Pace Farm, Revlon, Roche, Schering-Plough, Simplot and Telstra.

The judging panel includes: Professor Harry Lovell; Margaret Jollands, Assoc Prof, Civil, Envtal and Chemical Engineering RMIT; Mike Walker, F.Inst.Pkg, FAIP; and Robin Tuckerman, Fellow of the AIP.

If you would like to attend, RSVP via email to RBI events co-ordinator Bahieya Sipos: bahieya.sipos@reedbusiness.com.au.

For more information, call Bahieya on 02 9422 2193.

Flavour company prosecuted

Flavour supplier, International Flavours & Fragrances, has been ordered to donate $10,000 to the Dandenong Benevolent Society after being prosecuted by WorkSafe.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to implement the requirements of two improvement notices issued in relation to forklift safety matters in 2005.

They have been issued a twelve month good-behaviour bond.

Allergy-free ingredients processing plant

The opening of a new $10 mil­lion food manufacturing plant in Murarrie, Queensland, by food ingredient company Ear­lee Products, will allow the separation of allergenic and non-allergenic food ingredi­ents, addressing a growing need in the food industry for non-allergenic ingredients.

Officially opened in July by the Minister for State Devel­opment, Employment and Industrial Relations John Mickel, the plant will boost Queensland’s production of allergy-free food ingredients.

The company’s existing plant will be dedicated to non-allergenic ingredients, while the Murarrie plant will con­centrate on mainstream pro­duction.

“No matter how conscien­tious we are, if non-allergenic and allergenic food production is carried out under the one roof, there will always be some level of risk of allergy-free products being contaminated,” Earlee Products’ managing director Bob Hamilton said.

“For this reason, we can only guarantee certification if non-allergenic products and sensitives have a dedicated production plant.”

The new facility will enable the company to increase pro­duction of its non-allergenic ingredients to around 50 tonnes per week.

“With so many Australians allergic to gluten, nuts and other allergens, we are confi­dent our new plant will enable us to offer a 100% safe and tested means of producing allergy-free products,” Hamil­ton said.

“This approach is novel to the general food-ingredients sector in Australia, and I believe it will certainly help fill a void in the marketplace.”

With the additional new facility providing Earlee Prod­ucts with almost four times as much space for its operations, while including facilities for wet and dry processing, and comprehensive pilot plant and product development labora­tories, the company now plans to embark on an overseas push.

“The timing is right for us to push our success offshore, and we are looking forward to showing the world Queensland is at the forefront of food sci­ence and its commercial appli­cation,” Hamilton said.