Stockport head-quartered EHL Ingredients has overhauled production processes to completely segregate lines for ingredients containing allergens and non-allergen products to meet increased customer demand. It has installed three new pieces of machinery in its third site on Broadstone Industrial Estate to reduce risks of cross-contamination of products during production and handling.
The company, which supplies food ingredients under its Lähde brand, can now offer non-allergen products to customers with complete confidence that no cross-contamination has occurred at any point during product handling and production.
Previously lines were thoroughly cleansed and sanitised in between products but since the company took on an additional site earlier this year, it now has the space to install separate production lines and machinery. This new allergen management process gives customers additional peace of mind that there is no risk of cross-contamination between ingredients at any point.
New machinery includes a state-of-the-art Star Auger automatic filling machine, which will portion and dispense dried herbs and spices, and a new PFM Zenith Bagmaker from The Food Machinery Company in Kent, which will handle blended powders, grains, seeds and beans – all for non-allergen lines – and will fill 150g, 250g and 1000g packs. In addition, it has installed an automated labeling machine supplied by Advanced Dynamics to speed up the adhesion of labels, as they were previously attached by hand, and will enhance the final presentation of products. It too will be dedicated to the non-allergen lines meaning all ingredients will be separated from products containing allergens, even when labels are being attached.
These three new machines will enhance production, speed and efficiency on EHL’s non-allergen lines and provide further guarantees that no cross contamination has occurred at any point during the handling of the products.
EHL handles nine allergens, which are segregated. Demand for gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and sulphite-free food ingredients has increased in recent years so EHL has invested in the new production lines to reduce and eliminate risks of cross contamination.
Tasneem Alonzo, Joint Managing Director at EHL Ingredients, says: “We have always had stringent allergen controls in place but this investment in completely separate production areas for standard and non-allergen ingredients means our customers can rest assured that the products they receive from us have not come into contact with allergens at any point during our handling. It means we can operate more efficiently and speed up production, offer a quicker turnaround, and deliver products to our customers in shorter lead times.
“We are aware many companies carry out risk assessments on batches of allergen-free products but taking these steps means we can help food manufacturers to reduce the number of product recalls and protect consumers against potential allergic reactions.”
“There is a rise in food allergy sufferers in the UK and around one percent of Britons suffer from coeliac disease (gluten allergy), with around 12 percent of adults choosing to follow a gluten-free diet. To feed this demand, the food industry is under pressure to bring high quality, differentiated, allergen-free and free-from products to market.”
According to Mintel, just under half (48%) of consumers say that they, or someone in their household, avoid at least one food/ingredient, with 16-24-year-olds (61%) the most likely age group to report household avoidance of foods/ingredients. Gluten-free products remain the nation’s most popular type of free-from food – consumed either because of an allergy or because of a lifestyle choice to remove gluten from their diets.
Tasneem adds: “We already offer over 50 individual gluten-free herbs and spices including dried ground turmeric, cassia, star anise, oregano, ginger, chilli, coriander seed, pepper, paprika and nutmeg. Herbs such as dried parsley, sage, and basil are also available, as well as blends and seasonings in allergen-free formats – perfect for adding to to formulations and recipes for soups, sauces, marinades and meal kits, and world foods such as curries, tagines and stews. We’re going to be adding more allergen-free products to our Lähde range to give food manufacturers more choice in free-from herbs and spices to add to innovative new international organic dishes, meals and accompaniments.”
EHL can supply manufacturers food ingredients under its Lähde brand including herb and spices, blends and seasonings, lentils, beans and pulses, dried fruits and nuts, chillies and oils in vegan, allergen-free and organic formats. The team can develop bespoke blends for new products, match or enhance existing product formulations.
The Lähde range is available to the food manufacturing sector as as well as to foodservice, wholesalers and cash and carries. EHL stocks around 70 blends and seasonings and over 300 conventional and organic ingredients.
To find out more, visit www.ehl-ingredients.co.uk