Food Safety

Malt and malt extracts derived mainly from processing barley are ingredients used in the manufacture of numerous food products for human consumption.

As a supplier to the food and beverages industries, Malteurop is fully committed to the food safety chain because its customers — mainly brewers and distillers — manufacture consumer products under brands that are distributed worldwide.

In fact, food safety is an essential aspect of quality management, requiring close specific monitoring at all points in the chain, from production of the raw material by the growers to secondary processing of the malt and its derivatives by the food and beverage industries.

Malteurop, as market integrator of the malt value chain, takes a systematic and organisational approach to food safety, beginning long before the malting process itself. This organisation and these procedures make up its food safety management system.

Food safety upstream of the malting process

Before and during the growing of the barley, in order to secure good raw-material quality, Malteurop applies a rigorous quality approach using a range of procedures that also apply to food safety.

  1. Contracts with growers, negotiated directly long before sowing, include preferred varieties, use of certified seeds, production of barley following best practices, a restrictive list of phytosanitary products, and traceability based on record files.
  2. The Malteurop Barley Barometer is a worldwide system for monitoring plant development during vegetation time. Starting directly after seeding, a review is done each month to watch climatic and sanitary conditions.
  3. Just after the harvest and during the following two to three months, the Malteurop Crop Monitoring System provides real-time knowledge of the quality and food-safety situation and its evolution. Taking hundreds of samples of barley from different supply regions, Malteurop systematically tests and checks for mycotoxins and possible traces or residues of heavy metals and phytosanitary products. Guided by the results, Malteurop selects the best regions for ensuring good sanitary conditions for its supplies.

At the time of purchase of malting barley, Malteurop’s pre-authentication system consists in an additional step of sampling and analysis to confirm orders and appropriate volumes.

Food safety during the malting process

Where transport is concerned, an important control point is the cleanliness of the hoppers and adherence to rules regarding the compatibility of previous cargoes with the transport of barley and malts.

Intake is a critical point in food safety control. In each and every plant, Malteurop has a clear procedure for intake control and admission clearance. Samples are taken directly and systematically from the trucks.

Inside the plant, before, during and after the malting process – which lasts approximately ten days – Malteurop performs 13 analytical steps to measure around 70 barley-and-malt parameters and closely monitor the evolution of the product at all stages of processing – from steeping to germination and from kilning to storage and delivery.

Preventing NDMA is a major concern in the malting industry. This is of course a critical control point of the HACCP system and this substance is under close scrutiny. Malteurop has a complete system for NDMA prevention, with regular control cycles for analysing kilns on a monthly basis, a control system for sulphur burning, and maintenance of the heating-system. Throughout the Malteurop group, only indirect kiln heating is allowed.

Cleaning process and hygienic control in the malting plants

Good manufacturing practices are key factors in keeping places clean. The goal is to avoid microbiological hazards either from the fungi and threatening bacteria quick to thrive in the atmosphere of the wet part of the plants, or from dust in the dry part.

A complete cleaning process – both automatic and manual – ensures hygienic conditions and food safety. Cleaning is a complex matter. An efficient cleaning system requires the right equipment, sanitation schedules in place and in active use, and hygienic control after cleaning.

Malteurop also pays attention to the “cleanability” of its facilities and designs or installs them in such a way as to create conditions that facilitate cleaning (flat surfaces, accessibility, etc.).

Building a food safety culture

Cleaning is a daily issue, an ongoing challenge and a matter of behaviour. This means, that the human side is of utmost importance. Cleaning needs procedures plus qualified and trained people, as well as continuous improvement. Malteurop’s Malt Academy has also developed a special training program devoted to good practices in hygiene and cleaning of malting plants.

In terms of guidelines and standards, Malteurop’s plants apply the HACCP-system. Depending on the country, certifications are conducted under the ISO 9001 quality-management system standard or the ISO 22000 standard, and depending on the audit by independent control and certification bureaus (NSF Cook & Thurber, TÜV, Veritas, etc.).