Summer challenges: nuts, seeds and hummus

With the summer sunshine come food recalls from around the world: in walnuts from America due to Listeria contamination for three separate suppliers, pistachios due to excessive levels of aflatoxins from Turkey and almonds from Poland due to insect contamination and their poor hygienic state.1

Hot on the heels of this news comes the announcement by Food Production Daily that Lansal, Texas has issued a voluntary recall of 7 tons of product because of Listeria fears. This crisis for the company primarily affected its hummus products, but the pathogen has also been detected in its layered dips and hummus based wraps that were distributed nationwide. No illness has been reported to date, although the month of May has been particularly bad for outbreaks of Listeria in the US, with the New-York based company Just Entrees recalling its chicken pate from retailer Coles two weeks previously.2

mixed-nuts

A timely reminder that as the demand for the inclusion of healthy ingredients in snack foods mounts, so will the need for accurate and thorough product sterilisation.

Nuts, seeds and legumes are set to rise in popularity throughout 2014 as the healthy alternative to familiar on-the-go products, following a larger taking of the sector in 2013. Accounting for more than 37% of global snack food launches in 2013, the product’s share within the sector has also grown from 32% five years ago to 36% in the most recent twelve-month period.3

In this scenario, preventing pathogenic contamination homogenously from the outset saves expensive recalls later on. Having recently been awarded the Californian Almond Board proof of process for a 5 Log reduction on microbial populations and the prevention of aflatoxins, Revtech’s dry sterilization is based on patented “micro-jumping” vibratory technology to ensure a precise kill count for every nut, seed or spice. Also capable of roasting & toasting, possible applications range from “naked” dry ingredients, to puffing rice, malting barley and roasting coffee or spices.

nut butter

Given recent growth in alternatives to peanut products such as almond and cashew nut butters as well as seed (sesame, pine nut, sunflower and pumpkin) pastes, there is furthermore a chance that in future these ingredients may well infiltrate further into smoothies, dips, dressings and bakery.4

For processing wet products including smoothies, dressings and hummus, Holmach works closely with Lagarde of Montelimar, France, who offer autoclaves for the pasteurization of large batches under pressure. For smaller lines, the batch cook-cool processor provided by Roboqbo of Italy may be more appropriate.

For more information about Revtech’s testing facilities in France and at Campden BRI, please contact Holmach on 01780 749097. We will be happy to discuss possible applications for your product and send further information.

1.
http://www.haccpeuropa.com/2014/05/26/rasff-food-alerts-week-21/
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm398734.htm
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm398733.htm
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm398374.htm

2.
http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Safety-Regulation/Food-safety-concerns-prompt-Listeria-contaminated-hummus-recall

3. http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/Consumer_Trends/2014/03/Nuts_seeds_gaining_share_in_gl.aspx?ID=D4C6024D-7D2D-4A19-94E2-966F283C5798&cck=1

4.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/0/22065407

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