Columbus Foods slicing and packaging facility located in Hayward, California. About two months ago I was sent a selection of their salami to review. All of their meats are gluten free, and while some do contain corn syrup, before I even saw their facility, I felt that this company truly cares about the quality of their product, and the taste reflects that.
I was invited as part of the media group for this special grand opening event. As a gluten free blogger I had to wonder if a company who makes gluten free products would have a gluten free breakfast or lunch option for me. And in fact, they did! I felt like a VIP guest. I checked in, put on my name tag, and was given a goodie bag full of gluten free muffins. The excitement of having something to eat elevated the fact that when I looked around I realized my fellow blogger and I were among a see of business men, some speaking Italian. Us young female professionals in dress jeans made for a few raised eyebrows wondering why we were there. I guess salami and deli meat is truly a man's business.
Once the mayor said some words and cut the ribbon, we stripped ourselves of our belongings and dressed in facility garb. The facility is kept pretty cold to ensure perfect slicing of all the luncheon meat. This new facility incorporates high tech technology and old world tradition, "designed to increase line efficiencies and implement some of the highest product safety and handling standards in food manufacturing.*" To see the equipment used and the packaging process of their meats made me love their products even more.
Columbus has been around since 1917, this day meant a lot to everyone at the event. The company has plants both in South San Francisco and Hayward, California and exactly two years ago on the day of the unveiling of the new slicing facility Columbus survived tragedy, as their previous slicing facility burnt down. The new $31 million dollar facility truly represents the "company’s commitment to the highest quality and food safety standards for its packaged deli and salumi products. The plant is one of the most technologically advanced slicing facilities in the U.S., including utilizing the most advanced High Pressure Processing (HPP) technology. HPP utilizes ultra-high water pressure (87,000 PSI) to destroy vegetative microbes without the application of heat.*" This machine is massive and looks like it came straight out of the future. Plus, not only does it destroy bacterias found in deli meat it also increases the shelf life of vacuum sealed package two to three fold.
After a private tasting of some of their deli meats with a third generation family member, and a delicious gluten free sandwich, my fellow blogger and I parted with a tasty stick of salami and a cookbook for inspiration.
*Information straight from the event's press release