GFNC said to guarantee macadamia food safety with Napasol pasteurisation technology

South Africa-based Green Farms Nut Company (GFNC) has announced its investment into foremost Napasol pasteurisation technology, to meet and surpass current and future food safety requirements in key export destinations around the world. This decision underscores the organisations ongoing commitment to deliver best in class quality product to its customers, as well as secure value for their supply base of producers and farmers.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), globalisation, urbanisation and changing consumer habits has resulted in a longer and increasingly complex global food supply chain. These challenges put greater responsibility on food producers and handlers to ensure food safety. The WHO urges building and maintaining focus on adequate food systems and infrastructures, like laboratories and legal frameworks, as well as multi-sectoral collaboration between governments and stakeholders through the value chain.

“GFNC is extremely pleased to be in the position to proactively take responsibility for our role in the ongoing and inevitable changes taking place in the food industry at large, and macadamia sector more specifically. This decision is a crucial part of our strategy to continue growing and refining processing capability. In so doing retain value add capacity and supply chain accountability at source in South Africa,” said Allen Duncan, CEO, GFNC.

Approximately 25 per cent of South Africa’s macadamias are processed by GFNC. Together with its processing partner network, spanning Australia, Brazil, Malawi and Kenya, the groups marketing business, Green & Gold Macadamias sells roughly 20% of the world’s crop in key territories around the globe. This purchase represents the initial move to making further investment into technology that warrants compliance with increasing microbiological safety standards and global access to highly regulated markets.

The Napasol process ensures 100 per cent of the treated product is pasteurised to a >5log level of reduction of pathogens and is regarded as the market leader in pasteurization equipment for tree nuts. Efficient microbiological reduction is obtained with dry saturated steam, which is natural, effective, and maintains the raw characteristics of the nut. The batch process, which is validated for >5log reduction in pathogens for all tree nuts, meets the risk assessment reduction levels published. The process also preserves the flavour, colour and texture of the raw kernel.

“This outlay will sustain bullish market access for the business, provide the best quality product to our customers, and provide the opportunity to achieve the best possible prices for our farmers. Together with buffering our producers from potential knock-on effects of macadamias that do not meet food safety legislation,” said Jill Whyte, chairperson and owner, GFNC.

The Napasol is planned for installation at the White River factory in the second half of 2020 and should be operational for the remaining 2020 processing cycle. GFNC will have capacity to assist competitor processors with their pasteurisation needs until the decision is taken to invest in their own technology to support market and customer requirements.

Maggi noodles get a Morogo makeover

A new variety of Maggi noodles is using a common plant that some people dismiss as a weed. 

‘Morogo’ or ‘South African spinach’ refers to different varieties of green leafy vegetable that grow wild in South Africa, and a popular dish of the same name. 

Traditionally, these vegetables formed a much-loved part of the nation’s diet, but urbanisation and changing attitudes to food in the countryside have led to a decline in their popularity.

Much as Europeans have traditionally foraged for mushrooms, generations of South Africans have gathered morogo (which is high in protein, vitamins and minerals), to fry, boil or steam, and serve with onions or tomatoes.

In its new format, morogo is causing a stir on South African supermarket shelves. Until today it has never been farmed on a serious commercial scale, but now Nestlé is using morogo in the ‘tastemaker’ sachet used to flavour and fortify its Maggi noodles.

“Many packaged food brands claim to cater for local tastes, but Maggi with morogo genuinely does so. We’re offering people an authentic taste of South Africa and bringing a nutritious ingredient to urban dwellers, in particular, through a product that is quick and easy to prepare,” said Maarit Rein, a scientist working at Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The new Nestlé noodles developed out of a partnership with South Africa’s Council for Scientific Investigation and Research (CSIR) and Agricultural Research Council (ARC) from 2012, to research plants growing there with clear health benefits, for potential use in foods to improve the nation’s diet.

Taste, nutritional quality and abundance were three things that the scientists were looking for in an ingredient. It had to be possible to process it for use in a food product, and it was vital that the ingredient provide farmers with an income source. Crucially, it also had to appeal to millions of South Africans.

Nestlé and its partners decided to research three species of morogo – amaranthus, cow pea and cleome – and worked closely with farmers to perfect their cultivation, and to refine the plants into a powder that preserved their nutritional benefits.

Nestlé’s consumer research also showed that Morogo’s distinctive ‘South African taste’ is integral to its appeal across all ethnicities and income groups.

But it’s not just the taste that appeals, as Rein explained: “Using such a healthy ingredient is consistent with Nestlé’s commitment as a responsible company to promote vegetable consumption.”

Maggi noodles with real morogo are now being produced at Nestlé’s factory in Babelegi, north of Pretoria. If the launch proves successful, then Nestlé will work with farmers and the government, to develop the morogo supply chain and create lasting social value in South Africa.

“This remains our long-term goal,” says Rein. “But I’m proud of what Nestlé and our partners have already achieved with morogo over the past three years.”