Plant bakeries that have on-site silo storage for flour and sugar are facing a looming deadline to comply with ATEX (ATmospheres EXplosives) legislation, designed to heighten safety in the workplace. Sugar and flour, when mixed with air, form a potentially explosive mixture. Such conditions frequently occur in storage vessels in plant bakeries. To prevent this happening, silo manufacturers are governed by the directive ATEX 100. But bakers are also required, under the ATEX 137 directive, to be able to provide documentation showing their silos are ATEX 100 compliant. All hazardous areas in a workplace, which were used for the first time after June 30, 2003, have had to comply with ATEX 137. But the transitional period for companies using silos before that date will run out on June 30, 2006. How to complyBakeries must ensure that any on-site storage vessel, where there is a risk of explosion, is built to ATEX standards and has the necessary documentation to prove it. Of particular note is that ‘own design’ vent membranes and doors are no longer acceptable unless certified by explosion testing in conjunction with a notified body.The following points must be considered under ATEX 137:• Explosion characteristics of the stored product• Silo design and explosion vent specifications• Vent area• Silo supply documentationIndividual powders and dusts have their own explosion characteristics. Sugar and flour, for example, behave differently both in susceptibility to explosion and pressure rise/maximum pressure if they do explode. These characteristics are fundamental to silo design calculations and explosion vent specification. Put simply, the silo must be strong enough to contain any explosion without sidewall rupture. This is dependent upon having calibrated explosion vents with sufficient vent area to limit the internal pressure rise to a calculated maximum during any explosion. Not only should the silo supplier design and build the silo to meet the ATEX requirements, but documentation must accompany the product which outlines the silo design calculations, drawings, explosion vent calculations and silo certification.In the zoneATEX 137 focuses on minimising the risk to workers by classifying the working environment into zones and then specifying the category of equipment that can be used in each zone. The dust hazard classification is as follows:Zone 20: Permanent presence of combustible dustZone 21: Incidental presence of combustible dust during normal dutyZone 22: Accidental presence of combustible dust, but not during normal dutyMark Barton is MD of Barton Fabrications, which supplies ATEX-compliant silos to the food industry.
Tesco has been ordered to pay more than £31,000 after a customer discovered a chunk of insulation foam inside a 400g white in-store bakery baguette. Sam Avery bought the sandwich at a Tesco Metro store in Norwich in 2004. Tesco pleaded guilty at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on Monday to selling food which was not of the substance or quality demanded by the purchaser. It was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £15,944 costs. Mr Avery was awarded £250 in compensation. The court heard the foam was clearly visible under the surface of the bread and had probably been baked into the bread during production. The court heard Tesco repeatedly declined to be interviewed about the matter and a summons was served in August 2005. Mark Harris, representing Tesco, said: “The sale by this company of products not of the quality demanded is something it tries diligently to avoid and it is profusely sorry when it does occur. A spokeswoman for Tesco told British Baker that the baguette was supplied to Tesco part-baked.
In-store bakery and food to go supplier Cuisine de France has launched new bread carriers, for hot or cold sandwich fillings, include three softbake baguettes in plain, multiseed and onion and nigella flavours. The baguettes are thaw-and-serve and have an extended shelf life.Six thaw-and-serve bagels have also joined the firm’s range. Flavours include sesame and poppy seed targeted at health-conscious customers. And the firm is enhancing its breads offer with the addition of a seeded burger bap, large savoury muffin, soft deli roll and 10-inch plain wrap.A brand new panini concept includes product and equipment, allowing the retailer to provide customers with paninis at any time of day. Seven pre-filled paninis, with flavours such as Three Cheese, Tomato and Basil, Tuna Melt and All Day Brunch are included. For retailers wishing to do their own fillings for paninis, the company is introducing five panini breads and a ‘grilly’ bread with authentic panini grill markings, plus special panini grills to hold two, three or four paninis.
Coronation Street’s sleazy baker Diggory Compton has shut up his shop in the fictitious town of Weatherfield, due to poor sales.He is planning to open on the more lucrative south side of Manchester. He told local café owner Roy Cropper on the soap this week that no-one had been buying his bread: “There’s more money there. You know what they’re like round here. They hang onto their brass.”Opening the shop had been a hard lesson, but “I don’t expect I’ve learnt a thing from it!”,he joked.
Often, I feel the country is going mad, continually trying to buy on price, rather than on quality.With the public’s obsession in buying everything as cheaply as they can, we are shopping ourselves out of jobs. More and more factories are closing down in the UK. And the supermarkets hold much of the responsibility for this insane rush to lower prices. In reality, many of our remaining factories are importers – and often only assembly plants at best – as they source their products from overseas. If we cannot create jobs for everyone, where is the money coming from to buy the goods?I have always said I do very little wholesale and never intend to try to supply supermarkets. I feel that those chasing that business have a tendency towards volume addiction. But why should I borrow or use my money to put in extra plant – and even buildings – to provide products for someone else? That would mean I take the risk and they take the profits. Once you get hooked, I suppose it’s like riding a bicycle – once you stop pedalling, you fall off.Recently, I read in The Times that scientists claim that, within 20 years, there will be smart drugs that will make us think faster, improve memory and reduce tiredness. It reminds me of that old song, Why was I Born So Soon? Gosh, how I would love to have that pill.There is no doubt about it, the public sector is the place to be if you want short working hours, high pay, little stress and high pensions. Public sector workers across the board take 30% more days off sick than private sector workers, according to statistics.Then, their trade unions claim it is the extra stress they work under. I call it skiving off.Our MD, Neville, runs the firm without much help from me. When he tells me his staff problems, I confess I could not deal with the utter stupidity of the employment rules, which the idiots in government keep introducing. They will inevitably lead to unemployment. More time is spent on trying to remove a poorly performing member of staff with a bad attitude than on trying to improve the business.The total unfairness of it is that, if a member of staff does not like my face, they are at liberty to say, “I think you are ugly and I am not going to work for you.” This, I feel, is probably justified, as I don’t look like Cary Grant.But just think what would happen if I said to a member of staff, “I don’t like your attitude. You never smile and you depress everyone around you, so you must leave and find employment where you can be happy.” I would be in an industrial tribunal before you could say “goodbye”. And they call that fair? Unemployment is a bit like old age; it just keeps getting closer. n
Steenbergs Organic (Ripon, North Yorkshire) has launched a range of heat-treated organic herbs and spices, including poppy seeds, black pepper, chilli, coriander seeds, cumin, ginger, paprika, rosemary, thyme, turmeric and white pepper. Products are sourced from suppliers in the Mediterranean, India, Africa and Sri Lanka.Steenbergs Organic has also launched a range of organic Fairtrade vanilla products, including the bean, extract, spray-dried extract and seed. Steenbergs Organic is working with two main sources for its vanilla – in India and Uganda – where it has spent 18 months sourcing the right growers.
Savoury pastry brand Ginsters is to introduce a range of limited-edition pasties later this month. A new Roast Chicken & Bacon Pasty and Steak & Ale Pasty, both 180g, will be available from 26 April.The varieties will change every six months as part of Ginsters’ ongoing product development. It is also relaunching its Cheese & Onion Pasty with a new three-cheese recipe, made using British Vintage Reserve Cheddar, Double Gloucester and Red Leicester cheeses alongside potato and onion.”The success we’ve previously enjoyed with our Pasties of the World range has shown a genuine consumer appetite for a variety of tastes within the savoury pastries market,” commented Andy Valentine, head of brand marketing for Ginsters.RRP: £1.99www.ginsters.co.uk
Lees Foods has decided to take legal action against the people from whom it bought Patisserie UK – a specialist bakery business that went into administration in March under Lees’ ownership.Coatbridge-based Lees, which is known for its macaroons, tea-cakes and snowballs, said in a statement that, after taking legal advice, it believed there was a good basis for a claim against the vendors of Patisserie UK under “warranties given at the time of acquisition”. Lees bought Patisserie UK’s holding company Rock Cake in December 2007 from its directors, who had set up the company in a management buy-out from Enterprise Foods in February 2006. Lees put Patisserie UK into administration in March 2009 after its major customer – Costa Coffee, which accounted for 75% of its sales – switched to another supplier.In its 2008 annual results, published last month, Lees reported that sales from its two main businesses – Lees of Scotland and Waverley Bakery – were up 8% to £16.12m.
by Georgi GytonNewly-formed bakery firm Mathiesons Foods Limited is already making plans to streamline operations at its three bakery production sites in Scotland.Mathiesons Foods has been formed by David Kilshaw, Mark Bradford and Paul Allan, following the purchase of Larbert-based Mathiesons Bakeries out of administration, saving around 340 jobs. The deal will see Mathiesons merge with two other bakery businesses: James Allan Bakers, owned by Bradford, and Murdoch Allan Bakers, run by Allan. Mathiesons Foods’ chairman Kilshaw is a former chief executive of sandwich business Food Partners.”The plan, at the moment, is to keep all three trading names,” retail director Bradford told British Baker. “They each have their reputation, product range and customer base, and we don’t want to upset that.” Bradford said the firm would retain the Murdoch Allan bakery in Hatton, but there will be additional new lines from the Mathiesons range of products produced there. “The James Allan bakery in Torrance will close and merge with the nearby Mathiesons bakery at the earliest opportunity,” he added.Bradford said the trio met up at the beginning of February when they learnt Mathiesons was available for sale. “We felt there was an opportunity, as a joint venture, to take the business on, but while we were in the process of those discussions, the business went into administration at the beginning of March. “We each put equity into the business, but the majority of the funding came from Lloyds Banking Group.”He said the new business would benefit from the combined mix of business skills from each of the trio. Manufacturing and production director Allan added: “James Allan has a great range of shops in an area where Mathiesons isn’t at the moment, so the retail side complements very well, and, in addition, having Murdoch Allan as a producer in the north-east of Scotland, gives us a fantastic distribution area.”Bradford said the firm has the potential to grow and become one of Scotland’s largest independent bakery companies. The three businesses would have a combined total of 51 outlets, employing over 560 people. He said the firm would try to avoid any redundancies.
On 6 April 2010, new fathers were granted additional paternity leave and pay rights. They can now take up to six months off. So how is this supposed to work in practice and is it something you need to worry about now?The new ’Additional Paternity Leave Regulations 2010’ came into force on the back of the Work and Families Act 2010. So what rights do new fathers have?These Regulations allow new mothers to transfer the second six months of their maternity leave to the child’s father. Where this is done, he can claim Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP), currently paid at the rate of £124.88 per week, for any amount of time that she would have been entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay.In order for the father to exercise this right, the mother must have returned to work she cannot be continuing her own maternity leave. Also, the father cannot take it until the child is 20 weeks old. However, while the government has promised that provisions will be put in place so that employers and HMRC can make checks on any claims, it hasn’t yet said precisely how this will be done. It seems it will be down to the parents to “self-certify” that what they are claiming for is correct.Even though the regulations are in force, they only apply to new fathers where the expected birth of a child falls on, or after, 3 April 2011, which is nearly a year away.Those of you who paid close attention in biology classes will have noticed that any fathers who are currently awaiting the birth of a child won’t be able to use these regulations and neither will any others for a couple of months. Until then, existing statutory paternity leave and pay rights will continue unchanged up to 2 April 2011. At present, entitlement is a maximum of two weeks’ leave, paid at the rate of £124.88 per week. This can only be taken in one go, or in one-week blocks. There is no statutory right to take it as single days, although you can agree to this.Under these regulations, there is no small employer exemption. It will apply regardless of the number of employees. However, as there is nearly a year until they have any impact, there is no need for you to panic about them as yet