UZWIL, SWITZERLAND  — The Bühler Group on March 25 reaffirmed its commitment to food safety at the Anuga Food Tech Exhibition. Joined by leading international specialists, the Bühler team highlighted emerging safety hazards in the nut industry and the solutions available to help food processors manage risks such as Salmonella, aflatoxins and foreign materials including the latest technologies for shell removal, anticipated to launch soon.

Addressing the rapid change facing the food industries, Bühler’s food safety conference highlighted the current pressures facing food processors, from adapting to changing consumer habits and the increasing number of food scares to the ever more stringent legal requirements resulting in a greater need for comprehensive, preventative-based controls across the food supply chain. The conference also further cemented the importance of Bühler’s Food Safety Initiative - established in 2010 to better understand the food safety challenges and requirements faced by the industry.
Speaking at the conference, Bühler’s Food Safety and Hygienic Design specialist, Edyta Margas, expressed her concerns about emerging threats in low-moisture foods, especially Salmonella, as manufacturers and the wider scientific community still lack a considerable amount of knowledge on how to control these hazards.  In addition, food processors face significant challenges as a result of old factory infrastructures, a lack of effective and convenient dry disinfection technology as well as limited methods for the reduction of hazards.

Recognizing these challenges, Edyta explained why Bühler’s Food Safety Initiative is so critical for the industry to address and manage risks moving forward.

“Bühler recognized that there was a significant need to educate its own people as well as develop new solutions and build knowledge through collaboration and innovation. By working with leading scientists and food processors, new solutions are now available for the reduction of a wide range of hazards including pathogens, mycotoxins and foreign materials. More attention is also given to hygienic design of equipment to help decrease cleaning time and reduce hazards occurring,” Edyta said.

“By accepting its role and responsibility for consumer safety, Bühler is helping its customers produce safe food, reduce waste, comply with legal requirements and gain the trust of its consumers. It is also helping contribute to safe and sustainable food production – particularly in markets such as nut production providing healthy and nutritious food of high value.”

Highlighting the main hazards associated with the processing of nuts, Edyta was joined by guest speaker, Dr. Antonio F. Logrieco, director of the Institute of Sciences of Food Production (ISPA) who offered insights into the commodity as a high-risk product in regard to food safety. He revealed that the majority of aflatoxin-related notifications by the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) are linked to nuts.

He also stressed the importance of reducing contaminated food reaching the market and the need for real-time control and management of the risks associated with mycotoxin and pathogen contamination to avoid adverse health effects as well as substantial economic losses.

With a greater understanding of the challenges faced by the industry, Ben Deefholts, head of Sensor Development at Bühler highlighted the important role played by optical sorting with more than 30 years of successful reduction of aflatoxin levels in contaminated ground nuts.