12 June 1998

Maltsters need full traceability

FULL traceability is becoming more important to maltsters and brewers, who are themselves coming under increasing pressure from buyers.

"Traceability in malt is the key to marketing both at home and abroad," says Lorne Watson, barley purchasing and export sales manager for Moray Firth Maltings. "Traceability is demanded by our customers and our aim is to buy only barley which is farm assured."

With maltings at Inverness and Arbroath in Scotland, and Grantham and Nottingham in England, the contents of a 36,000t grain store cannot be jeopardised by one rogue load, Mr Watson points out.

"The Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association has an approved list of chemicals and it is a standard procedure in all our contracts that only approved chemicals may be used by the grower," he says. "We really do care about procedures on the farm and are totally committed to the farm assurance schemes."

He says 95% of grain going into the Inverness maltings this year will be farm assured. Although the figure will be lower at other centres, the aim is to accept only assured grain as soon as possible.

For the brewers, Scottish Courage purchasing manager, Bob Rolph, says traceability is essential to the company when dealing with supermarkets and other retail outlets.

"We have not reached the day when customers at the bar demand to know how much nitrogen was applied to the barley that went into the beer. But with so many links in the chain and the driving force of due diligence legislation, traceability right back to the farm is essential in meeting the demands of our customers," says Mr Rolph. &#42