Interview: Golden Harvest

Golden Harvest

Golden Harvest Mfg. Co Limited is a long established Maltese company with a long history of baking in Malta and is very much a household name.

The Company had introduced gluten free bread to its extensive list of products and had allowed the Association the opportunity to visit their newly set up gluten free manufacturing unit at their San Gwann premises in March 2017.

Seeing an ever-increasing list of the Company’s gluten free products on the market, the Association decided to meet company officials to discuss their progress in an area that is very much of interest to us coeliacs.

Q. Can you give us an overview of the area where gluten free products are prepared?

A. To begin with, our Gluten Free Department is completely segregated, on a separate floor and with a separate entrance.

Personnel working within this Department work exclusively in the Department wearing unique and identifiable uniforms different from those worn by the rest of the company staff.

They cannot leave the department with their uniform and shoes on, even for their break, since they might contaminate their uniforms with airborne flour once outside of the department.

Instead, they have to change into their normal clothes every time they need to leave the department.

Q. That is fine as regards personnel but what are the safety features incorporated within the Department, particularly focusing on eliminating the risk of contamination?

A. The department is fitted with a HEPA air filtration system that eliminates the possibility of airborne flour coming in from outside. The air supply is also obtained from a separate side of the factory (as opposed to the bakery).

To eliminate the possibility of airborne flour coming from inside the building, positive air pressure is maintained within the department to ensure that air always flows out of the production area, never flowing inside.

Q. Coeliacs are well aware that each and every ingredient needs to be of good quality and gluten free to guarantee a gluten free final product; how do you address this?

A. Each and every ingredient used to produce GF food has to carry gluten free certification obtained from the original supplier.

Without such a certification, no ingredient is allowed inside the department.

Q. Coeliacs are very much aware that gluten free food needs to contain not more than 20 parts per million (20ppm) to be classified as gluten free; how is this catered for in your gluten free production lines?

A. Our Company is fully conversant with the legislation as well as the 20ppm limit of gluten allowed to classify any food item as gluten free.

Being fully aware of the risks involved to coeliacs, we set the gluten content within all our gluten free products at 5ppm, and test accordingly.

Further reading:

Q. You stated that you test to a lower level of gluten than set by law; how exactly do you do this?

A. Our Quality Assurance and laboratory team test each batch produced daily using an approved GF test kit.

Q. Cross contamination is the greatest pitfall for producing any gluten free food both in a domestic and a commercial environment; what are your safeguards?

A. All the process, from weighing to mixing, baking, cooling and packing takes place only inside the gluten free department.

The products are only released from the department once the result of the GF test is within our parameters of 5ppm and all items are ready packed and sealed.

Q. We are aware of an ever-increasing list of gluten free products; can you please list all the gluten free products that Golden Harvest Mfg. Co Limited produces?

A. Our current gluten free product range (and the current retail prices) includes the following:

  • Loaf €3.25
  • Buns x2 €1.80
  • Qagħaq tal-Ġunġlien €2.50
  • Pastini tal-Lewż €5.00
  • Krustini  €2.00
  • Garlic Krekketti  €1.50
  • Jam Tarts, pure almonds €3.40
  • Almond Frolla €1.40
  • Sweet Pastry (frozen) €2.95
  • Shortcrust Pastry (frozen) €2.55
  • Apple Pie (frozen) €1.50
  • Roly Poly 850g €7.00
  • Chocolate gateaux 1.4kg €18.00

In addition, there are these seasonal items:

  • Kwareżimal €2.50
  • Figolla, pure almonds €3.60
  • November Bones €2.75

We would also like to remind your members that all items that appear on the POYC’s list may be procured using vouchers from our Bakery/cafeteria in San Gwann Industrial Estate.