Application Testing as a Part of the HACCP Project
In our previous blog post, we talked about foreign object detection in food production, which is a crucial part of the HACCP program for your company. One part of this process is to conduct a thorough product test, also known as an application test, to define the detection limits of foreign contaminants.
Let’s take a closer look at what is application testing, what are the benefits, and how we at Mekitec make sure that the results are competitive and accurate.
WHY APPLICATION TESTING IN FOOD PRODUCTION IS IMPORTANT?
The basis of the application or product testing is to determine what sized foreign objects the inspection system can detect in the customer products. These foreign contaminants are e.g. metals, glass, ceramics or any other samples that are certified and which we can accurately know the specifics for (density and size). Based on this test we can understand what real-life foreign objects, that vary in density and size, can be found from the products.
During the application tests, we are also able to specify if additional food quality inspection features can be used to further ensure the overall product quality, as well as the most suitable rejection method for the production line’s specific products and speed.
Conducting application tests before deciding the exact location for the control point is useful as the test results help to set the critical limits and choose the best location for the quality control system in the food production line. The selected inspection system needs to detect all the foreign objects that were stated in the HACCP plan.
In the past, the critical limits were defined based on metallic foreign objects, but rarely the dangerous contaminants at a food plant are only metals. This is one of the reasons why metal detectors are a lacking inspection method compared to X-ray technology and are being complemented or replaced by X-ray inspection.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF APPLICATION TESTING?
As mentioned above, the main purpose of application testing is to know which inspection method is the most suitable, accurate and efficient. Also, it helps to define the base for critical limits of different foreign objects for the HACCP plan.
Mekitec always delivers a comprehensive report on the results of these tests, and the report works as a guideline for the food producer to see what performance levels could be expected.
The tests are done by using the certified foreign object samples, pictured on the left. The samples are color-coded based on the material, e.g. blue for metals, yellow for glass and orange for ceramic.
After the inspection system has been installed, you still benefit from the application test report as it can be used as a guideline for auditing and verifying the system’s performance before, during and after each production batch. The critical control point test needs to be performed by using the agreed certified foreign object samples.
HOW MEKITEC CAN HELP WITH APPLICATION TESTS?
We always offer application testing as a free-of-charge service to demonstrate the top performance and best value of our MEKI X-ray inspection systems. The tests are conducted by Mekitec and local partners around the world, to make it easier for any food producer to request one.
The tests are done by simulating the production environment as far as possible. That is why it’s important to use multiple product samples to get variations between the products, just like in a real production line. In order to conduct a fully comprehensive application test, it is crucial to use the actual product samples as it ensures more accurate results.
Simulating the production flow during the application testing helps to achieve more accurate results.
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