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How to Avoid Allergen Issues & Cross-Contamination in Sports Nutrition

Published on 01 August 2017

sports nutrition image of powder

From the casual buyer to the professional athlete, consumers increasingly demand high quality sports nutrition products that are tailor-made to their individual needs. Strict dietary requirements are a key concern for many health-conscious consumers, so ensuring the complete separation of product lines or recipes to avoid cross-contamination is of paramount importance to reassure consumers of the calibre of your brand. We look at how Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) can help you establish manufacturing lines in the cleanest way possible. 

The importance of keeping it clean

Wheat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free, vegan, paleo… With words like these appearing on food and drink packaging across every sector, there’s no doubt that consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about what they put into their bodies – and none more so than consumers of sports nutrition products.

Some consumers are simply following a trend, believing that eliminating certain foods, or consuming foods in a certain way, will help them become healthier. For others, it's a genuine medical requirement to restrict or eliminate particular ingredients from their diet.

Either way, for sports product manufacturers, it’s important to realise that cross-contamination is a serious issue. Getting it right, every time, builds trust in your brand, a growing followership and increased profitability. For some consumers, it is even a matter of life or death!

How does cross-contamination occur?

In sports nutrition manufacturing, you will inevitably use ingredients in some products that you should keep separate from others. For example, a protein shake mix using milk protein powder should be kept entirely separate from other, vegan-friendly recipes that use soy or pea proteins instead.

Common sources of cross-contamination in a powder-handling production line are:

  • Ingredient dust that escapes when filling mixers from bags
  • Ingredients escaping when discharging a blended recipe from the mixer to the next part of the production line
  • Incomplete mixer discharge, leaving behind a residue that could contaminate the next batch if not thoroughly cleaned
  • Pipeline blockages that are inadequately cleaned

In addition, all of these things are sources of waste – and wasted product means wasted money. A sports nutrition manufacturer in a highly competitive industry, it's in your interests to address these issues appropriately.

Matcon’s Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) are ‘clean’ and ‘lean’

1000L S-Series IBC used in the manufacture of sports nutrition products

When it comes to materials handling, Matcon IBCs provide the ultimate efficiency for manufacturers in any powder-handling industry. For producers of sports nutrition products, using a Matcon IBC-based production line system ensures the consistency, quality, and cleanliness that your consumers demand.

Matcon IBCs are specialised containers for materials handling. Ingredients are dispensed into the IBC, which doubles as a mixer, and are efficiently discharged in measured quantities of perfectly blended recipe to the next stage of the production line.

In contrast to traditional manual or continuous production lines, the IBC itself is moved between production processes, thus eliminating a series of emptying and refilling steps where there is the potential for materials to be wasted.

Patented, precision-engineered Cone Valve technology, unique to Matcon, ensures that when ingredients are discharged from the container, they are evacuated in a completely dust-free way, leaving no residue behind. This enhances the efficiency of your production line by reducing cleaning requirements, and – unlike butterfly valve-based IBCs, in which product can become ‘stuck’, this all but eliminates the potential for ingredients to escape or be left behind.

Using IBCs dedicated to the production of a particular recipe ensures that no cross-contamination between product lines can occur – so you can safely manufacture goods containing allergens in the same facility as those containing less sensitive ingredients.

What’s more, the Cone Valve system also maintains the integrity of the blended product on discharge: segregation of different-sized particles – typically caused by air blowing back into the system – does not occur, so your finished products will be of consistently high quality. 

Talk to a Matcon consultant to find out more about how our IBCs can help your sports nutrition manufacturing business.

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Posted by Kathryn Perry
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Topics: Sports Nutrition