The first block of cheddar cheese has rolled off the line at Fonterra’s brand new $140 million Stanhope cheese plant, marking the return of cheddar to the site for the first time since a catastrophic fire destroyed the old cheese plant in December 2014.
Production is ramping up at the multi-million dollar plant, which will send Stanhope cheese to the world, producing a range of cheeses for the domestic and global markets.
Cheese Operator Jane Pekin said the Stanhope Cheese Production team were thrilled to be making cheese again.
“It’s been two and a half years since the last block of Stanhope cheddar rolled off the production line, and it’s fantastic to see it coming down the line again.”
Site manager Jason Wright said that the first block of cheddar was a major step towards full production, and was an exciting moment for the team.
“An enormous amount of work has gone into making this block of cheddar, and I’m so proud of the team – everyone involved in the rebuild and expansion has done an exceptional job.
“Testing will continue over the next eight to ten weeks with production of small batches of cheese and whey, examining product quality and functionality of the equipment in the new cheese and whey plant, as well as complete training of all team members.”
In the coming weeks, more parts of the new plant will enter operation, with mozzarella production due to get underway ahead of the plant’s official opening in mid-August.