How Inspection Technologies Can Prove Due Diligence In Baby Food
Baby food and infant formula product recalls, whether enforced or voluntary, are sometimes unavoidable despite manufacturers doing their utmost to uphold product safety. In the event of a recall, it is essential that the manufacturer can quickly prove due diligence to authorities to demonstrate that rigorous quality assurance procedures were completed.
Below is an overview of the how product inspection technologies can help provide proof of due diligence.
Real Time Monitoring
All product inspection technologies – metal detection, x-ray, checkweighing and vision inspection – record all activities in real time. Typical information captured can include the date, time, product name and reasons for rejection. Advanced x-ray systems and vision inspection technologies store images of all rejected packs. As such, this offers excellent traceability capabilities as the production times/codes can be immediately cross referenced.
Network compatible product inspection systems allow remote access by technicians to quickly diagnose and correct issues. For baby food manufacturers, with large production areas, a hand-held remote console facilitates an instant response to product inspection queries, thereby minimizing operational downtime.
Data Management Software
Inspection software, such as ProdX from Mettler Toledo, enables baby food manufacturers to control all product inspection technologies from a single point or from multiple remote locations. Improved accessibility enhances operation efficiencies, eliminating time-consuming production line patrols. Real time data collection and analysis can help to improve baby food quality control processes and support compliance with food safety standards.
Integrated fail-safe product inspection design features mitigate the risks associated with system malfunction and eradicate human operator error. Features include lockable reject bins which are programmed to be accessible by authorised employees only. This prevents contaminanted product from being returned into the production process before investigative action is undertaken regarding the cause of the reject event.
Other fail-safe features include reject confirmation systems, audible and visual alarm displays and low air pressure alarms.
Optimizing Systems Through Testing
Regular testing of all product inspection systems is paramount to ensure that detection sensitivities are fully maintained. Test samples provide the means of checking that performance standards are being met. They can also be used in verification procedures to confirm compliance with food safety certification requirements.
Factory Acceptance and Site Acceptance Tests
Employing outside consultation and service support experts can save baby food manufacturer’s time and money and also facilitate compliance. Service support starts at the project stage to conduct Factory Acceptance and Site Acceptance Tests (FAT and SAT). The tests confirm that production processes are working as intended before start-up, reducing commissioning and set up time.
Documentation to Verify Machine Integration
During the integration stage, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and I-PAC documentation can be created to provide written evidence of the validation of the machine. This also helps to ensure the correct set up for optimal performance. The verification package supports compliance with internal and external standards and ensures audit requirements are met every time.
Scheduled Maintenance and Service Support
Consideration should also be given to service and backup, including local service and support, plus performance verification testing to keep systems in peak condition. A planned preventive maintenance programme will identify equipment wear and tear early before a reduction in performance is encountered. This ensures problems can be quickly addressed before a breakdown occurs, enhancing operational efficiency.
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To learn how product inspection technologies can safeguard baby food and infant formula products and avoid product recalls, please download Food Safety: Packaged Baby Food & Infant Formula.
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