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Production Process Insights

Why automatic food & beverage sampling is essential

Posted by AJ Naber on 12/17/15 9:21 AM
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Nearly all foods undergo some form of processing. Whether it’s oranges being squeezed and packaged as juice, fish being cleaned, frozen and packaged, or peanut butter being mixed and placed into containers, all food and beverage processing is required to follow good manufacturing practices (GMP) as well as additional local, national and international food safety regulations.

To ensure consumers are informed and can make educated choices, processed foods and beverages feature nutritional labels listing calorie and fat content, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, protein, and vitamin and mineral content. Specific ingredients of the food including allergen declarations also are listed. To determine all of these, best practices and regulation of processed foods requires representative sampling and accurate analysis. Food is classified as “liquid”, “solid”, “wet” or “dry” depending on the amounts of water it contains. In the food and beverage manufacturing process, sampling and analysis can determine:

  • Microbiologic pathogens such as e. coli, salmonella or listeria
  • Moisture content
  • The properties above that are listed on nutritional labeling
  • Trace chemical contaminants such as pesticide residue, veterinary drugs or toxins
  • Quality assurance: Appropriate mixture, such as for cereal or pet food that contains different types of flakes or other content, pH balance, acidity and more
  • Ingredient authentication including the presence of various allergens
  • DNA, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or other bio-matter

 

General classification of food samples according to their content

 Examples

 Characteristics

 Typical Analysis

 Milk

 Aqueous, protein, lipids

 Veterinary drugs, toxic elements, pesticides,
 industrial contaminants

 Eggs

 High lipids, albumin content

 Veterinary drugs, industrial contaminants,
 pesticides

 Other samples of animal origin

 Various fat, proteins, water

 Drugs, industrial contaminants, pesticides

 Plant material

 Various water, plant pigments,  
 lipids, proteins, essential oils,
 waxes

 Pesticides, toxic elements, industrial
 contaminants

 Meat, fish, milk, cereals, wine,  
 juices, plant oils, sugar)

 Various fat, oils, lipids,
 proteins, sugar, starch, water,
 or pigments

 Pesticides, industrial contaminants, synthetic  
 colorants, additives, synthetic sweeteners,
 antioxidants

Reference: Curren, M.S.S. and King, J.W. Sampling and sample preparation for food analysis.

Required sample sizes are defined in part by the nature of the food, and to what extent the material to be analyzed is present. For example, some materials, such as veterinary drugs in animal foods, are present in only trace levels, but a sample must capture them. This means that a sufficiently large amount of the product must be collected so minute quantities of the compound of interest can be analyzed. On the other hand, small samples may be collected for the macro analysis of larger food components such as crude fat, protein or fiber. Foods and beverages should be sampled automatically (continuously) while in their production environment.

To obtain a truly representative sample, foods and beverages must be sampled automatically (continuously creating a composite sample representative of the entire batch or lot) while in their production environment. The chemical and physical properties of each food can vary, even between samples that originate from the same batch. However, representative sampling and analysis can identify this variability and allow for adjustments and corrections to the process.

In short, all foods and beverages can and should be sampled. Trust the industry leader to be able to meet any of your food and beverage sampling applications, anywhere.

Learn more about Sentry samplers for foods and beverages.

This article was originally published on our website.

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Topics: Food & Beverage

Written by AJ Naber

AJ likes all kinds of foods and beverages. Not only interested in consuming them, he also offers expertise in engineering and installation of process systems for the dairy, food, beverage and brewing industries.

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