Fresh bacon facility arises out of fire

A six-month construction project has culminated in one of the most sophisticated bacon-processing plants in Europe.
Built to replace a factory destroyed by a fire in 2004, the official opening ceremony of Direct Table Food’s new £20 million factory in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk was performed by Justin King, chief executive of Sainsbury’s.
“The design was developed to meet the business’s exact needs, says Tony Stanton, managing director of Direct Table Foods, one of the oldest bacon processors in the UK.
This includes a pork storage area next to a curing hall, which contains a tank for curing pork in the traditional way.
The company has also installed the latest friction smoke generators that smoke at a cooler temperature and offer a higher degree of control over the level of smoke products receive.
“We’re particularly proud of our flexible service and, as part of that offer, we have installed a dedicated line for customers to trial specialised products and to produce short runs, adds Stanton.
Four different types of processing line cover retail and bulk packed rashers,
gammon steaks and joints. There is also a test kitchen, refrigerated warehouse, and a high-specification quality control room where, every 30 minutes, bacon packs from the production line are tested for gas content, weight and labelling.
Established in 1950 in Smithfield Market, London, and now a subsidiary of Danish cooperative Tican, Direct Table says the opening of the factory represents a new era for the company. In the interim, the company maintained its output by doubling production at its second site in Cuffley, Hertfordshire.
The new facility has capacity for 300 tonnes per week and has flexibility for growth.“For example, the refrigerated warehouse is designed to be easily enlarged, by moving an internal wall, as additional capacity is required, says Stanton.

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