Running an efficient operation requires controlled, real-time data obtained through representative sampling. What exactly is representative sampling? It’s the act of capturing a limited volume of product from the process stream that accurately reflects the characteristics of the entire lot or batch – and that product can then be analyzed. Nearly any food or beverage – including solid, powder, liquid and slurry foods, beverages and pet food – can be sampled.
Sampling is required to ensure quality, safety, and specific attributes. The data sampling provides is essential to helping food and beverage plants control and optimize processes for safety and efficiency. The top three ways automated sampling solutions can help your plant include:
1. Improving yield
One specific way a plant can improve its yield is by keeping ingredient moisture content in the proper band. If it is too low, a plant may be giving away product, and if it is too high, the product will deteriorate more quickly. Improper moisture content also is key in product shrinkage or expansion, which directly affects the volume a product takes up in packaging. Plus, by sampling after a dryer, a plant can not only identify if a product is being over-dried or under-dried, but also monitor and control the drier power consumption.
In addition, sampling can help monitor product breakage to identify potential disruptions or issues within the process. Poor performance of the sizing equipment can result in a direct increase in product needing to be discarded in landfills or sold at lower price points for non-target users.
2. Ensuring quality
Food and beverage sampling is needed to ensure quality, safety and specific attributes. Sampling within a production environment easily can show product contamination and help identify the point at which it’s happening. Sampling and analysis also shows specific attributes, such as e. coli, salmonella or listeria pathogens; specific food ingredients and content such as calories, fat and vitamins; trace chemical contaminants; DNA and appropriate mixture.
Sampling often is needed to meet regulations. To ensure sample integrity, samplers must feature easy-to-clean, sanitary designs and FDA-approved seals. Some samplers are available with sanitary connections such as a tri-clamp, which makes them easy to install and remove. Other samplers are third-party certified to conform to 3-A Sanitary Standards for dairy. This ensures they are easy to clean and that their design does not contain cracks or crevices where product can reside and create microbial growth. Other samplers are designed with these same standards in mind and meet USDA, Canadian Grain, FGIS and NOPA standards.
3. Increasing efficiency and reducing risk through automation
Automated sampling allows a composite sample to be easily and safely obtained with no need for direct human interface or interference. This ensures the sample integrity and increases efficiency over manual sampling, as production continues during sampling with no downtime. For further automation efficiency, the sampler controller can be incorporated with existing equipment and systems so sampling begins automatically without operator engagement. Because no operator is exposed to pressure, temperature or the media being sampled, sample automation is safer for operators. And, because no operator can potentially contaminate the process, sample automation is safer for consumers as well.
Representative sampling of food and beverages within a production environment is essential to ensure quality and safety and improve plant efficiencies. It’s important to choose a sampling partner that understands the sampling needs of your plant and can design a solution to meet any application.
Learn more about our sampling solutions for the food and beverage industry.