FDBusiness.com

Water activity contributes to the efficient, safe production of food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics

 Breaking News
  • UK Grocery Prices Rising at Fastest Rate in Four Years The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 weeks to 5 November 2017, show UK supermarket sales have increased in value by 3.2% year-on-year in the run up to Christmas. Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “Volume sales have increased by less than 1%, meaning it’s [...]...
  • Alcohol Minimum Unit Pricing to Go Ahead in Scotland The UK Supreme Court has ruled that minimum unit pricing for alcohol, which was passed overwhelmingly by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, can now proceed. Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison has welcomed the decision and confirmed she intends to make a statement to Parliament shortly, setting out the Scottish Government’s next steps. Following the unequivocal backing [...]...
  • GEA Brings Together Technologies to Supply Extended Production Line For BMI GEA has recently been selected to supply an extended pasta filata cheese production line for BMI in Jessen, Germany. With this exemplary project GEA brings together its joint cheese-making expertise, resulting from its acquisition of de Klokslag and CMT in 2014 and 2015 respectively, with GEA’s flow and processing experience to provide a single offering for this [...]...
  • Bosch Packaging Technology Wins German Design Award 2018 The Sigpack VPF (Vertical Platform for Flat Pouches), the first freely scalable flat pouch machine from Bosch, has been honoured with the German Design Award 2018 in the Excellent Product Design category. The German Design Council presents the prestigious award on an annual basis. The German Design Award is the second prestigious accolade for the [...]...
  • Premier Foods Returns to Revenue Growth Premier Foods, the UK convenience food group, has reported group revenue of £353.3 million for the 26 weeks ended 30 September 2017 – an increase of 1.5% on the prior period – with Branded revenue in line with last year at £295.4 million while Non-branded revenue increased by 10.1% to £57.9 million. Group reported half year [...]...

Water activity contributes to the efficient, safe production of food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics

October 16
09:15 2011

Water activity is a remarkably versatile quality metric in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, and is applicable at several different points within the production process.

Water activity measurements can help to prevent quality-related problems such as mould growth and adverse changes in taste and texture, plus it can avoid wastage of ingredients and energy.

To maximise the benefits available from water activity measurements, the research and development department should first use water activity and moisture sorption isotherms to formulate the product in order to optimise the taste, texture, packaging, safety and shelf life.

Whereas water activity is a measure of the energy status of the water in a component (eg an individual ingredient) or system (eg a complete food product), a moisture sorption isotherm is a graph of the relationship between water activity and moisture content (as a percentage) at a specific temperature; sometimes a set of isotherms will be generated at different temperatures to characterise more fully the component or system. The specifications created by the R&D scientists can then be used as the basis for the acceptable limits elsewhere in the production environment.

For example, incoming ingredients can have their water activity measured as part of the acceptance procedure. Isotherms will provide information to indicate whether a given water activity will cause spoilage during storage, thereby helping to eliminate waste and ensure that storage conditions are optimised.

Once the ingredients enter production, managers can monitor the water activity and adjust process parameters such as temperatures to ensure that products are not over- or undercooked. Further measurements of water activity by quality assurance and quality control personnel can verify that every batch complies with all of the product specifications. For instance, the R&D scientists are likely to have specified HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) water activity specifications. Further water activity measurements can be used prior to shipping to ensure that batches are within specification before being delivered to customers – who may also have specified upper and lower limits for water activity.

Water activity can be used by managers to gain an insight into the performance of the production plant. As an accurate scientific metric, water activity can provide highly reliable data for evaluating a plant’s performance, thereby helping to raise efficiency and reduce variation and waste.

Fortunately the instruments manufactured by Decagon Devices for measuring water activity and for generating isotherms are extremely simple and quick to use. The phrase used by the company is “If you can microwave a burrito, you can run a highly accurate water activity test.” High-resolution moisture sorption isotherms are similarly straightforward to generate, and the Decagon instruments can complete this process in just two days – which is considerably quicker than the traditional methods used.

Labcell is the sole UK distributor for the water activity instruments manufactured by Decagon Devices. Data sheets can be downloaded directly from Labcell’s website at www.labcell.com or contact the company to request a copy of the new ‘Managing by Water Activity’ booklet or with specific enquiries by telephone on 01420 568150 or email mail@labcell.com. 

 

About Author

colin

colin

Related Articles



Food & Drink Business Conference & Exhibition 2016

Upcoming Events

  • November 28, 2017Fi Europe
  • December 4, 2017Plastics and Paper in Contact with Foodstuffs 2017
  • January 8, 2018RAI Exhibition
  • January 16, 2018Sival Plant Production Trade Show
AEC v1.0.4

find food jobs

The Magazine

F&D Business Preferred Suppliers

New Subscriber





Subscribe Here



Advertisements