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Ensuring Food and Beverage Safety and Quality with Product Inspection Systems

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Ensuring Food and Beverage Safety and Quality with Product Inspection Systems

December 12
10:46 2012

By Neil Giles, Marketing and Communications Manager, Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection Division

Profile Select metal detector.

The use of innovative product inspection systems, such as metal detectors, x-ray inspection systems and checkweighers by food and beverage manufacturers have grown significantly in recent years. To safeguard consumers from foreign body contamination in food and beverages, many European retailers now stipulate that their suppliers, locally and globally, comply with industry food safety guidelines, particularly those with the approval of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). This is a global undertaking to harmonise quality standards worldwide and examples of approved guidelines include the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standards in force mainly in the UK and Scandinavia and the International Featured Standards (IFS) in France, Germany and other European countries. These standards now require that product inspection systems, such as metal detection and x-ray technology, be installed on food and beverage lines to detect and remove foreign bodies, such as metal, glass, stone and bone. Compliance with these initiatives is important to safeguard the wellbeing of consumers, to ensure manufacturers retain access to lucrative markets in Europe and elsewhere, and protect their brand from damaging product recalls.

In addition to ensuring food safety, food and beverage manufacturers desire ways to boost manufacturing efficiency and reduce waste. Precision checkweighing technology can help achieve this by weighing products as they pass along the conveyor to identify product under- or overfill. This also enables manufacturers to comply with metrology legislation such as the European Measuring Instruments Directive (MID), an EU regulation developed to harmonise measuring equipment across the region.

Recent Product Inspection Innovations

Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection has recently developed a number of innovative solutions to help food and beverage manufacturers meet food safety demands and enhance production line efficiency. For example, the Profile Select, engineered by Mettler-Toledo Safeline Metal Detection, is an advanced metal detection system that features Variable Frequency Technology. This enables the metal detector to overcome the electrical signal induced in conductive foods, known as “product effect”, which can mask signals from contaminants within the product. The technology automatically selects the optimum frequency for the product being inspected, facilitating easy changeovers and enhancing flexibility for manufacturers.

X3310 X-ray system.

Mettler-Toledo Safeline X-ray has designed the revolutionary X3310 x-ray system, which offers the same high level of foreign body detection sensitivity as traditional technology using just a fifth of the power. Developed as a result of collaboration with customers, the X3310 inspects food and beverage products for foreign body contamination as well as performing gross mass measurement for calculated portion control to minimise costly product giveaway through overfilled packs. The reduced power consumption of the x-ray generator lowers energy use by manufacturers, cutting operating costs and protecting profits.

Mettler-Toledo Garvens’s most recent innovation is the XE100 CC Compact, the first combination product inspection system that fully integrates checkweighing and metal detection technologies using a single short conveyor. Developed for large packaged products and bulk items, the system can inspect up to 80 products per minute and is ideal for food manufacturers with limited factory floor space. The XE100 CC Compact enables manufacturers to comply with weights and measures legislation, enhance efficiency by reducing wasteful product giveaway and at the same time protect brand reputation by ensuring that products are free from contamination by metal fragments.

XE100 CC Compact.

About Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection

Mettler-Toledo is a global company with headquarters inSwitzerland, employing 12,000 people across five divisions in Europe, North America and Asia. The Product Inspection Division is a leading supplier of innovative metal detection, checkweighing, x-ray and vision inspection, technology as well as data monitoring, connectivity software and technical support services to the food and beverage industries worldwide. Its metal detection equipment can identify ferrous and non-ferrous metals, including stainless steel as well as irregularly-shaped fragments. The technology is capable of detecting metal contamination in traditionally challenging products, such as foods with high moisture content. This ensures optimum detection sensitivity for manufacturers and enhances flexibility by enabling the production of a variety of products on the same line. The Division’s x-ray inspection systems can detect foreign bodies, such as glass, stone, bone and high-density rubber and plastic as well as inspect for other quality defects, such as fill-level and missing or broken components. Its checkweighers are capable of precision inspection of product weight and fill-level at high throughput speeds to reduce product giveaway and waste. The Division has also developed vision inspection systems to ensure traceability of food products throughout the manufacturing line and to inspect product labelling for correct weight and ingredient information, placement and legibility.

Committed to Research and Development

A commitment to continuous research and development (R&D) by product inspection technology suppliers is vital to protect consumers and safeguard reputation for manufacturers by enabling them to comply with increasingly rigorous food safety legislation. For example, Mettler-Toledo is developing new x-ray technology to optimise detection of glass contamination in jars and bottles, a traditional challenge due to the fact that the packaging and the contamination is of the same density. Innovation is key to the creation of technology that meets manufacturers’ efficiency and flexibility needs by permitting a greater range of products to be manufactured on the same line, reducing changeover downtime and minimising energy consumption to lower operating costs. Developing product inspection solutions to enhance quality inspection capabilities while boosting efficiency will ensure brands retain access to lucrative Western and emerging Asian markets.

For more information: http://uk.mt.com/gb/en/home/products/Product-Inspection_1.html.

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