Turlock plant wins award for Blue Diamond

Modesto Bee

The Blue Diamond Growers’ almond processing plant has won the Plant of the Year award from Food Engineering, an industry magazine.

The award goes to the most innovative among food and beverage plants that open in North America each year.

“The Turlock plant supports the significant growth in our global almond ingredients business with the most food-safe almond processing facility in existence,” said Mark Jansen, president and chief executive officer, in a news release.

The plant, which employs about 100 people, opened last spring in the industrial zone on Turlock’s west side. Blue Diamond, the world’s largest almond processor, also has plants in Salida and Sacramento and about 1,300 employees.

Past winners of the award, now in its 32nd year, include the Chobani yogurt company, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Pepperidge Farm and Nabisco.

The Washington Road plant slices, dices, grinds and blanches almonds after initial processing in Salida and Sacramento.

The release noted that control panels provide instant feedback to make immediate adjustments to utilities, processing equipment and packaging systems. Bruce Lish, general manager of plant operations, explained other features: “We are pleased to highlight a couple of very important industry firsts – a complete separation of raw materials from finished goods, which greatly diminishes the potential of cross contamination, and our ability to quickly switch products and packaging to enhance our manufacturing flexibility.”

Blue Diamond is the cover story in the April issue of Food Engineering. More information is at www.foodengineeringmag.com.