Many families rely on baby formula for the safe and healthy growth of their children. Companies can ensure this safety with an automatic formula sampling process that reduces potential contamination and recall risks.
Without proper sampling, baby formula can expose babies to harmful contaminants, such as salmonella, leading to severe illnesses or even death. Recalls can lead to significant stress and mistrust in formula producers for families and caregivers. Moreover, these situations can expose formula producers and co-packagers to legal consequences, as well as long-term detrimental impacts on their brand and quality perceptions.
The basics of infant formula
Baby formula is a synthetic version of mothers’ milk and belongs to a class of materials known as dairy substitutes. It’s usually produced in end-user plants or co-packaging plants, with the formulas falling into one of three categories:
- Milk-based: milk components such as casein or whey protein
- Animal- or vegetable-based: vegetable-derived milk or limited cow’s milk components for infants with sensitivities or allergies to formula based entirely on cow’s milk
- Non-milk based: specialty formulas for infants with a strong sensitivity to both cow’s milk and soy milk
Each formula is strictly regulated to include the following ingredients:
Meet formula regulations with automatic sampling
In the United States, baby formula is controlled for quality at three levels.
First, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established standards to regulate infant formula. Next, the dairy industry sets its own quality control standards that are monitored by the International Dairy Federation. Finally, individual formula producers set their own standards for quality control.
To maintain compliance with this interconnected web of guidelines and regulations, producers should sample formula as part of their production quality program.
During its production, baby formula undergoes pasteurization and sterilization to ensure it’s safe for babies and children to consume without contamination. At every phase of this process, representative sampling can help:
- Ensure quality
- Comply with federal regulations and industry guidelines
- Avoid recalls
- Meet end-user requirements for co-packaging plants
- Maximize consumer confidence
- Protect your brand
Representative sampling helps meet these criteria by sampling a limited volume of material that accurately reflects the characteristics of the entire lot, batch, or process stream. It uses indirect methods to virtually eliminate direct sampling method problems such as imprecision error, sample bias, and contamination.
By taking bias out of your sampling, formula producers are ensuring that their product is:
- Reliable – From validation of raw ingredients to quality testing at each processing stage, it is the only way to ensure confidence in food testing results.
- Accurate – For the most dependable ingredient analysis and traceability, automatic representative sampling offers a repeatable method providing a more accurate, efficient way to sample versus scoop/pull methods.
- Verified – In-process ingredient blend management systems could be enhanced by automatic sampling to verify that ingredients are being blended at appropriate ratios.
- Traceable – Tracking and verifying ingredients from farm to final products throughout the supply chain requires a statistically sound sampling plan.
Automatic sampling makes executing product sampling and tracing plans easier and more efficient with automated and accurate data documentation. An automatic sampling solution can more than pay for its installation by preventing costly recalls and enhancing compliance.
Thanks to our long-standing experience with milk powders, producers, and co-packagers, Sentry Equipment is familiar with the unique needs of dairy producers. With this expertise, we lead the industry in improved sampling technologies, including our HPR automatic point sampler and our HRX automatic strip sampler.
Contact us at +1-262-567-7256, or complete our online contact form for more information.