Quality Inspection Selection criteria for food manufacturers

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
The identification of foreign particles in products is a must for meat processors.
Photo: Mekitec
The identification of foreign particles in products is a must for meat processors.

Findings from a recent survey of nearly 100 food manufacturing professionals indicate that the FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) is a top-of-mind concern, and as such, manufacturers are ramping up their food quality inspection efforts.

When asked, how important is the use of inspection equipment, such as metal detection or X-ray inspection, to food processing and/or packaging operations, nearly 77% of respondents answered “very important.”

That stands to good reason, as Section 103 of the aforementioned Act, signed into law by US-President Obama earlier this year, addresses Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls. The law calls for owners, operators, or agents in charge of food manufacturing facilities to:

• Identify and evaluate known or reasonably foreseeable hazards that may be associated with the facility, including:

▫ biological, chemical, physical, and radiological hazards, natural toxins, pesticides, drug residues, decomposition, parasites, allergens, and unapproved food and color additives

▫ hazards that occur naturally, or may be unintentionally introduced; and

• Identify and evaluate hazards that may be intentionally introduced, including by acts of terrorism.

• Develop a written analysis of the hazards.

To accommodate these requirements, the law requires food manufacturing facilities owners, operators, or agents in charge to identify and implement preventive controls, including at critical control points, if any, to provide assurances that hazards identified in the hazard analysis will be significantly minimized or prevented and addressed.

The survey findings indicate that to address these requirements, a majority of food manufacturing facilities are leveraging either X-ray, metal detection – or in nearly 40% of facilities, both technologies – to facilitate HAACP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) compliance. The paper focusses on survey findings related to the food quality inspection system selection criteria applied by the food manufacturing industry. It also provides some actionable insight into the themes uncovered by the query.

Asked their primary criteria for purchase of an inspection system, accuracy with different types of contaminant materials ranked as the food manufacturer’s top concern (56.7%), followed by initial cost (55.6%), accuracy with small contaminants (51.1%), and ability to reject non-conforming product (32.2%).