Simple, quick checks on quality of food ingredients and finished products

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Simple, quick checks on quality of food ingredients and finished products

Simple, quick checks on quality of food ingredients and finished products
June 07
09:09 2013

Labcell the exclusive UK distributor for Decagon Devices, is has introduced the AquaLab Series 4TE water activity analyser as a simple and quick way to perform quality checks on ingredients and food products.

Following the recent scandal concerning horse meat, there is heightened awareness of the importance of food quality among consumers, retailers and the supply chain; the AquaLab Series 4TE is a simple, quick and cost-effective way of measuring the water activity (also known as ERH or equivalent relative humidity) in ingredients and food products.

Increasingly food manufacturers are using water activity measurements as critical control points within HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) programmes, as well as for end-of-line quality checks, because water activity has a significant bearing on food safety, taste, texture and longevity.

The AquaLab Series 4TE is believed to be the fastest and most accurate instrument of its type. This easy-to-use yet accurate instrument enables manufacturers to take lab-quality measurements of water activity almost anywhere in the production environment, from goods inwards inspection through to storage facilities, line-side inspections and pre-shipping checks. Of course, the instrument is also suitable for use in research and development departments when optimising the safety, quality and shelf life of new products and packaging.

A notable feature of the AquaLab Series 4TE is temperature equilibration, meaning that users can set the sample temperature to anything from 15 to 50 degrees C, then the analyser maintains that temperature throughout the test. Measurements are obtained in five minutes or less (the average read time is 2.5 minutes), and the instrument has a measurement range of 0.030 to 1.000 aw, an accuracy of +/-0.003 aw and a repeatability of +/-0.001 aw. Up to 10,000 data points can be stored securely on the instrument and, for every measurement and calibration, the instrument logs the date, time and user. Moreover, the AquaLab Series 4TE complies with the requirements of the FDA’s 21 CFR Part 11 rule regarding electronic records and signatures.

Labcell also supplies a variant of the AquaLab for use with samples containing volatiles; the AquaLab Series 4TEV is identical to the Series 4TE in most respects but it features an additional hygroscopic polymer capacitance sensor for use with samples containing propylene glycol, ethanol and other volatiles. Users can switch between this sensor and the standard dewpoint sensor via the instrument’s front panel menu. Accuracy with the volatiles sensor is +/-0.015 aw.

Labcell is the sole UK distributor for the AquaLab Series 4TE water activity analyser. A data sheet can be downloaded directly from Labcell’s website at www.labcell.com, or contact the company to request a copy of the free booklet ‘Managing by Water Activity’ or to discuss specific applications by telephone on 01420 568150 or email mail@labcell.com.

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