Krafty solution

The vegemite maker reduces contamination risks with a food-grade lubricant

Vegemite is to New Zealanders and Australians what peanut butter is to North Americans and Nutella is to Europeans: a tasty, nutritious sandwich spread. Manufacturing vegemite also presents many of the same challenges as manufacturing peanut butter. Both are thick and viscous and put a great deal of stress on equipment. At the same time, health and safety standards cannot be compromised while ensuring proper maintenance of equipment.

Kraft Foods Limited operates the world's largest vegemite manufacturing plant in
Auckland, New Zealand. The plant operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, producing more than five tons of vegemite a day. As such, there is minimal allowance for downtime to maintain equipment.

Since acquiring the company in the 1950's, Kraft has continually introduced ways to improve its maintenance processes while keeping the plant safe and free of contamination. One such area is the lubricants it uses for plant equipment. The company previously used a variety of non-food-grade lubricants in their machinery, which carried a high risk of contamination if the machinery were to break down during operation. Plant management decided to reduce this risk by switching to Petro-Canada's Purity FG line of food-grade lubricants.

"We went through the plant and identified any machinery that could potentially contaminate the product,"
? says Ken Last-Harris, an administrative officer and plant engineer who has been with the company for more than 13 years. "If there were to be any contamination it would be quite serious, as we would lose a day's production because of the nature of our product."

Meets government requirements

Kraft selected Purity FG because it is a non-toxic, industrial-strength food-grade lubricant. It comes in a full range of viscosity grades, which enables the company to use it with a wide range of machinery. It also passes government requirements for contact with food, including NSF, CFIA, FDA, CFR 178.3570, USDA-H1 and others. It is virtually colorless and odorless and is approved by Star K for Kosher and Pareve applications.


After two years of use, Purity FG continues to operate at a high level of efficiency. Visual checks of the lubricant by Last-Harris indicate there has been no viscosity breakdown or contamination.


"We've been using Purity for two years and the oils are still quite clean," says Last-Harris. "We are quite happy and will continue to use them based on their performance. It's a product that has served us well. Petro-Canada was very helpful in providing the lubricants we needed at a competitive price."


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