Muntons has claimed to be the first maltster in the UK to invest in a colour sorter to avoid cross-contamination with malting barley deliveries.

The company has invested £600,000 to purchase and install a colour sorter that will be able to detect and remove contaminants from cereal deliveries. It will also reduce wasted lorry journeys through rejections at their maltings.

Colour sorters use LED lighting and special cameras to detect any foreign material and the data is analysed by software.

Muntons revealed that last year was one of the worst on record for cereals contaminated with ergot, which is a fungus poisonous to humans, which can grow on cereals and is difficult to remove using traditional methods.

“In the past, farmers who had deliveries rejected because of ergot contamination would have had to take the load to be cleaned by a specialist company, which would have involved additional haulage as well as the cleaning cost itself,” said Muntons’ supply chain general manager Mike Norfolk.

“Now we are able to clean the load on-site for the farmer, saving them wasted haulage costs and wasted time.”

Muntons set itself a new record in 2016 by exceeding 100,000 tonnes of malt production.