Australian Farmers Go Nuts For New Pasteurisation Technology

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 16th April 2019

Following a significant technological investment by Pacific Gold Macadamias (PGM), the company’s 2019 incoming harvest will be the first nuts from the company to be processed on their newly commissioned Napasol pasteurisation line. PGM claims that such an investment was essential for consumer protection, and that the new process is particularly effective and well suited for the flavor, colour and low moisture content of macadamia nuts.

Scientific advancements in the industry have spurred the investment, with the new facility being built to ensure that the company exceeds the ‘5-log pathogen reduction performance’ the market expects. The Napasol process uniquely allows for pasteurising with saturated steam at low temperatures in a partial vacuum. The low temperature and dry steam preserve the raw qualities of the nut without needing a drying step. Such technology reflects a significant investment in the quality and safety of Australian produce, and is likely to become industry standard, with the Craig Brice, General Manager of PGM noting that macadamias “are the hardest nuts to pasteurise because of its low moisture and Napasol is the only technology that has been proven successful for macadamias”.

PGM’s new facility has been built to handle 15,000 tonnes of produce annually and is laid out to separate the reception, drying, cracking and sorting of raw kernels from the clean room which the product can only enter once they’ve been processed through the Napasol pasteuriser. From there the raw, macadamias are packed in bulk nitrogen flushed vacuum-sealed foil bags or they are roasted and salted for retail sales. 

The Bundaberg region is the largest macadamia growing area in Australia and new plantations are fueling this growth. PGM is the second largest processor of macadamias in Australia after the Macadamia Processing Company (MPC) based at Alphadale in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, another very large growing area. Both MPC and PGM market their product thought Macadamia Marketing International (MMI). The weight of MMI in the market is substantial representing almost 50% of the Australian and 17% of the worldwide macadamia volumes.

The new Napasol system has been adopted by both PGM and MPC and had been proven to be highly effective at ensuring consumer safety and preserving all the raw qualities of the nuts without adding any moisture. Unlike other processes where product is mechanically moved through the line, the nuts in the Napasol process sit still in a bin which is moved through the preheating, pasteurisation and cooling steps. There is no breakage and dust, and the product is never in contact with the equipment, only with the bin.

Napasol AG, Zug, Switzerland, sells its pasteurisation equipment worldwide for nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and other low moisture foods. In the tree nut industry, it has well established processing lines with customers pasteurising Macadamias, Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Brazil nuts, and Pine nuts to the ‘5-log pathogen reduction standard’ widely required by retailers and industry. Dr. Cameon Ivarsson, COO of Napasol says “The need to pasteurise is obvious and with this PGM equipment Napasol is the market leader in pasteurisation equipment for Macadamias.”