For Safety Sake and More
Stemmler Meats & Cheese adds cleaner water to their production line
By Erik Martensson
The two glasses of water perched before Kevin Stemmler of Stemmler’s Meats and Cheese tell the tale.
The one on the left from the region, while clean, is slightly yellow.
The one on the right is water from the Heidelberg store. It’s crystal clear, thanks to Stemmler’s new water treatment system.
While Stemmler’s already had a “really good filtration system”, the new Reverse Osmosis water treatment system practically ensures pure water devoid of bacteria and minerals, said Kevin Stemmler.
“Really I don’t know of any meat production companies in Ontario that have gone to this extent. A lot of them use purified water, but they haven’t gone to the point that we have.”
Stemmler’s implemented the new reverse osmosis water purifying system in early March. The technology is based on the process of osmosis, which involves the selective movement of water from one side of the semi permeable membrane (a plastic film that looks similar to cellophane) to the other. Pressure is applied to the water, forcing it through the membrane. Since contaminants do not move with the water as it moves across the membrane, purer water collects of the other side. The water that comes out is so clean it doesn’t have any flavour and is crystal clear.
At Stemmler’s, the cleansed water is now used in all parts of the business. There are several reasons for implementing the expensive system, but primarily it’s to ensure all of his products are safe in the wake of the Walkerton tragedy, explained Stemmler.
“It’s really the idea that you come in here and you know that It’s a safe product for you to consume, and that’s mostly what we’re going for at this point. But there are some side benefits.”
Among the side benefits are a longer shelf life for Stemmler’s goods.
“the products that go out generally have a little bit better self life, but we’re not adding any chemicals – we’re adding pure water. Water carries bacteria and minerals, which affect the life of a meat product. And by taking all that out, without adding any chemicals to help it stay on the shelf longer, It’s actually helped our product last longer as well. The advantage is appealing – especially considering we aren’t adding chemicals or preservatives.”
There’s also a flavour advantage.
“Minerals can quite often obstruct the flavour that might be in it, or add a flavour that’s a little bit off. It’s quite common. Now I have a trained palate and not everyone would pick up on that, but quite often it can interfere in some way. Minerals will act differently with different spices.”
A sign making his customers aware of the new water system has been put in the store, but Stemmler said he has not received a lot of feedback from customers other than they appreciate the extra step that is being taken to ensure safety.
“I think a lot of our customers have just grown used to us doing what we can to make the products better for them,” he said noting that previously the meat producer went Gluten and MSG free. “A lot of it is good will to our customers. We want to be on the cutting edge. We want to lead the way. This is just one more thing.”