Queensland food manufacturer fights back with switch to hand sanitiser

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Media Release

One of Queensland’s oldest family-owned companies and best-known food manufacturers Trisco Foods is fighting back against the COVID-19 pandemic by developing and launching its own brand of clinical-grade hand sanitiser in just three weeks.

The company, which normally produces syrups and thickeners, today completed the first bottling of its new hand sanitiser that will be sold to aged care centres and health departments across the country.

About 35,000 litres of hand sanitiser will be produced every week at the company’s Carole Park factory with volumes to increase over coming weeks as safety systems and processes are expanded. The product will initially be available in 3lt bottles and 500ml flip cap bottles.

Trisco Foods CEO Mike Tristram said the company had been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and had been looking for new opportunities to utilise their product R&D and mass production capabilities.

“To effectively fight COVID-19 now and into the future we are going to need a lot of hand sanitiser and after some initial feasibility studies worked out we could quickly ramp up production of a product that met the highest standards and could be used in a range of clinical situations,” he said.

“Businesses all over the world are adapting and evolving to the new world and this is one we can not only strengthen our business and retain jobs, but also help fight the outbreak.”

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Trisco, which was named Premier of Queensland’s Exporter of the Year last year, normally produces world class food ingredients, such as syrups and sundaes, that are used here and abroad by leading food companies.

The company also produces the highly successful Precise Thick-N range of instant liquid thickeners that helps maintain the health of people suffering from swallowing problems and neurological-related dysphagia. Last year, the company expanded to the US with a new factory at Colorado Springs.

The sanitiser, which will be produced under the Precise Defend brand, is 80% ethanol and provides antibacterial hand cleansing without the need for water.

Mr Tristram said the high level of Ethanol required a range of stringent health and safety protocols to protect staff during the manufacturing process.

“Unlike a lot of sanitising products, clinical solutions used in hospitals and aged care facilities require a high level of ethanol which can be a dangerous product in its purest form,” he said.

“Developing a formula, training staff and re-working some of our production equipment has been a massive undertaking and our staff have done an incredible job to get us to the point where our first product is rolling off the line.”

The product will initially be distributed through aged care centres where the company has exiting relationships but will eventually be available to hospitals and government health authorities.

The Tristram family is well known among older Queenslanders as the name behind the soft drink with the marketing slogan, “Say Tristrams Please”. The brand and soft drink business were sold to Cadbury Schweppes in 1970 when the Trisco Foods company began and the family concentrated on the ingredients business.

After more than 140 years manufacturing a range of food and beverage products in Brisbane, the company earlier this year unveiled plans for its first offshore facility in Colorado Springs.

The Precise Thick-N range of instant liquid thickeners make soft food and liquids easier to swallow without impacting the nutritional benefits or taste. After just six years Precise Instant has become the dominant design and is the market leading product and has displaced traditional powder-based thickeners in most aged care facilities and hospitals around the country.

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