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Marquis cracks open the food safety debate with tech first

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An AUD9-million investment in food safety technology has seen Marquis Macadamias become the first macadamia processor globally to successfully implement 5-log pasteurisation capability in its Australian and South African facilities through the installation of Napasol pasteurisation systems. Since Marquis commenced the pasteurisation process in 2015, the company has processed, tested, and approved more than 30 000 tonnes of kernel across its global operations.

A colour sorting machine from the macadamia processing facility. Image credit: Marquis Macadamias
A colour sorting machine from the macadamia processing facility. Image credit: Marquis Macadamias

Over this time Marquis Macadamias has not detected a single case of Salmonella in finished product. This is significant, as Salmonella is a known contaminant in macadamias and tree nuts and can be difficult to kill on low water activity and high oil content foods such as macadamias. Able to achieve a 5-log reduction of microorganisms such as Salmonella, E Coli, and other microorganisms, the Napasol system uses only heat and steam to treat the kernel under precise pressure conditions, eliminating any impact on the taste, texture, appearance, or shelf life of the macadamias.

Chief operating officer of Marquis Macadamias, Steve Lee, said the company’s food safety quality assurance exceeded United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements.

“Our investment in Napasol pasteurisation gives customers assurance of a third-party validated process that repeatably delivers an effective kill step for Salmonella with a greater-than 10-fold improvement on the FDA recommendations for tree nuts,” he said. “Napasol uses a unique and extremely efficient method to kill bacteria under precisely controlled conditions and importantly the treatment doesn’t impact on product quality. The effectiveness of this system has been validated across macadamia whole, half and chip kernel styles, which may not be the case for other machines.”

The Napasol technology ensures that customers and consumers continue to receive premium quality products safe for consumption. In addition to Napasol pasteurisation technology, Marquis Macadamias has continued to invest heavily in other processes, recently spending an additional AUD1-million on colour sorters across its Australian and South African facilities to improve processing efficiency and capacity and to reduce waste, kernel damage and reliance on labour.

Marquis has also invested AUD250 000 in metal detectors and X-Ray machines to inspect finished products, ultimately producing a more consistent product for customers. With two Napasol pasteurisation machines operational in Marquis Macadamias’ South African facilities, Marquis Macadamias South Africa director Roelof van Rooyen said the technology assists the company in consistently producing the highest quality macadamia products.

“We aim to produce the highest quality product for our customers, meeting and exceeding all food safety requirements,” he said. “The best practice Napasol machines were commissioned in our South African facilities in 2021 and 2022 and are critical to ensuring we have the safest finished product for our customers.”

The Marquis Group chief executive officer Larry McHugh said as the group is vertically integrated from grower to customer, it can offer farm-to-plate traceability as a further commitment to providing superior high-quality products to consumers. “Controlling the process from the grower all the way to the customer is crucial to the macadamia’s clean, green, and premium status,” he said. “This is further underpinned by HACCP and BRC based food safety systems, and a commitment to continuous improvement, research, and innovation. All four Marquis Macadamias’ facilities are FDA registered. Food safety is paramount, and it is critical for our facilities to maintain the leading food safety processes, ensuring we are transparent and meet changing consumer expectations. Our facilities are maintained for single-commodity processing which means no allergens such as gluten, dairy, or other nuts are allowed through our facilities, providing further assurance to our customers that the product is safe. Our investment in best practice is also driven by improving efficiency while keeping ahead of increasingly stringent food safety requirements around the world. As leaders in the industry, we hope to drive continuous improvement among our competitors for the benefit of consumers. We remain dedicated to researching new opportunities to apply innovative technology within our own facilities.”