City loan to aid food processing firm
Safety Fresh Foods would do HPP processing at old Borden plant
PLYMOUTH – Another facet of the food production industry will be coming to the city, with a boost from the city’s revolving loan fund.
The City Council Tuesday approved a $305,000 loan for Safety Fresh Foods LLC., which will set up a $3.3 million high pressure pasteurization (HPP) processing facility in the former Borden/ Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) facility on South Street.
The new company is under the aegis of the Maglio Companies of Milwaukee, Jim Schuessler of the Sheboygan Economic Development Corp. explained to the council.
Maglio is a third-generation family-owned food business, primarily focusing on produce and other food products.
Schuessler said the family company is branching out into the food preservation area with the HPP facility planned in Plymouth.
“The HPP technology is something they (Maglio) have been courting for the last couple of years,” Schuessler said.
Working with several potential customers in the Sheboygan County area, the SCEDC worked with Maglio to develop the proposal in Plymouth.
According to the website of Stay Fresh Foods, another HPP processor, high pressure processing “is a non-thermal pasteurization technology that employs ultra high water pressure - up to 87,000 psi - to disrupt cellular activity and thus destroy food-borne pathogens such as Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella in packaged refrigerated products. Because the process uses pressure rather than heat, there is little to no change in product taste, texture, or nutritional value.
The HPP processing machine is about the size of a van and Safety Fresh Foods will lease a portion of the former Borden plant to house and use the equipment from Cedar Grove Warehousing, which purchased the building after it was vacated by DFA.
Cedar Grove will continue to utilize a major portion of the building for cheese storage.
Schuessler said several local companies have expressed an interest in contracting with Safety Fresh Foods and Johnsonville Foods has already signed a letter of intent to do so.
The HPP processing is said to be more effective at killing bacteria and germs in packaged foods than typical heat pasteurization and can lead to longer shelf life for such foods.
Schuessler said that Safety Fresh Foods plans to create at least 16 new jobs at the plant.
Attorney Mel Blanke, a member of the city’s Revolving Loan Fund Committee, said the Maglio family is providing the major part of the funding for the project, with private financing and the city’s loan representing the rest.
The company, he added, has said it would have room to expand in the space it will lease at the Borden plant if business warrants expansion.