Glanbia will mill its new OatPure GF product at the fully automated 2,400m² facility, which has been built in Portlaoise, Ireland and was commissioned in December last year.
Oats were naturally GF, but the grains used in OatPure were grown under strict regulations to ensure there were no gluten-containing contaminants in the final product, said Larry McDonald, the site’s head of quality.
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There were check-points at every level of the supply chain to ensure gluten-containing grains such as wheat and barley did not end up in the final product, he added.
Agronomists worked with a select team of 20 Glanbia co-operative farmers at the start of the growing process to ensure the best quality seeds were selected and grown in a GF environment, McDonald said.
“We even have combine harvesters, which we lease out to the farmers specifically for the harvest of the GF oats,” said Marion Murphy, the company’s business development executive.
Before milling, the grains are heat-treated to maximise their food safety and stability credentials. They are then milled in the new GF guaranteed facility.
Up to 4,000t of oats will have been processed at the site this year and capacity would increase to 13,000t next year, McDonald said.
“But the site was designed with the scope to increase capacity further and a future investment will give us an extra 20,000t – 25,000t capacity,” he added.
The new product is being targeted at the bakery and snacking sectors. Glanbia is also pushing the fibre, protein and omega-3 properties of the grain.
“The GF market is expanding rapidly and, as such, offers great potential as we see consumers opting for GF choices in pursuit of a healthy diet,” said Carla Clissmann, regional director at Glanbia.
Glanbia, which employs more than 5,400 people across the dairy and nutritional sectors in 19 different countries, has also managed to decrease the parts per million (ppm) of gluten in OatPure.
“OatPure GF oats are independently certified to a maximum of 10ppm, and they far exceed the industry standard,” Clissmann added.
Current EU labelling guidelines state that oats that test 20ppm or under can be labelled as GF to comply with the EU 828/2014 standard. The regulation stipulated how oats must be specially produced, prepared and processed to avoid contamination by wheat and other gluten-containing ingredients, McDonald explained.
Meanwhile, there are also plans to start growing and processing GF guaranteed soy, revealed Tom Finlay, Glanbia’s head of business development and strategy.