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Kraft: coffee production 'relatively unaffected' by Banbury factory fire

By Ben Bouckley , 09-Dec-2010
Last updated on 10-Dec-2010 at 12:46 GMT2010-12-10T12:46:51Z

Kraft claims that coffee production at its Banbury site has been “relatively unaffected” by a fire on Monday morning that drew six fire crews from two counties.

The factory employs 1,100 staff and is one of the world’s largest soluble coffee facilities, manufacturing coffee for Kraft’s global business, in addition to brands such as Kenco, Maxwell House and Mellow Bird’s.

An Oxfordshire County Council Fire & Rescue service spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk that five appliances from Oxfordshire and one from Northamptonshire attended the blaze after an 8.17am phone call from Kraft.

Silo fire doused

Explaining that the fire was discovered by an employee working in a utilities building at the time, he said:“The fire was located on top of a silo that was attached to the fourth floor of the utilities building, which is used to process coffee.

“Eight fire-fighters wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the fire using hose reels and made further checks with a thermal imaging camera to ensure that no further fire spread.

“On investigation by the fire service, the fire had developed due to the ignition of a coffee residue which is a by-product of the production process. Fire investigation officers are working with Kraft to ascertain the cause of the fire.”

‘Small incident’

Stressing that the fire was a “small incident” that had been over-dramatised by certain sectors of the press, a Kraft spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk:

“We called the local fire brigade to handle a small fire within our ‘spent ground’ area at 8.30am on Monday.

“The fire was quickly brought under control and at no time was there any risk to staff. Production was relatively unaffected.”

Kraft's Banbury site produces around 11bn cups of coffee a year and is home to its specialist coffee research and development centre.

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