Canadian based food safety specialist Agri-Neo has developed what it claims to be an “industry first” organic solution to eliminate 99.9 per cent of harmful pathogens in flour during the milling process without impacting the flour’s nutritional and functional characteristics.
Although flour contamination has not previously been a major food safety issue due to the product’s low moisture content and its exposure to heat during the cooking process, there have been a number of reported outbreaks of illnesses such as Salmonella and E. coli associated with flour products.
“Flour is a top-three food staple in our daily lives, yet to date the industry has not had a commercially viable solution to address the recurring number of flour recalls we are seeing due to E.coli and Salmonella contamination within this highly consumed ingredient,” said Rob Wong, President of Agri-Neo.
“We are excited to stop these unfortunate and unacceptable incidents by offering millers a scientifically-proven solution that will finally protect flour and the health and well-being of consumers.”
In the U.S., there were 11 flour recalls in 2019 due to the presence of pathogens, resulting in thousands of bags of flour being removed from grocery store which cost brands an average of US$10 million per recall.
Neo-Temper is a organic liquid solution that mixes with the water used in the tempering process to seamlessly integrate in the process and completely immerse each wheat berry, and has been approved as a processing aid in both the US and Canada.
Unlike many heat treatments, Neo-Temper doesn’t degrade the flour’s visco-elastic gluten properties required for baked goods to rise. The solution also biodegrades, drawing upon materials that are found naturally.
“An important part of Neo-Temper’s value proposition is that it can be done on a mass scale,” said Wong.
“It seamlessly operates in any milling environment and provides a low-cost, logistically viable solution.”