How to Increase Quality of Food Production and Avoid Potential Recalls

According to the USDA, 1.5 million pounds of meat & poultry were recalled in 2018 due to extraneous material (plastic fragments, metal shavings, latex pieces, or other foreign materials). “The average cost of a recall for a food company is $10M in direct costs” according to a joint study by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Grand Rapids Metrology helps you keep your profit and avoid potential recalls in two ways: through metal detector systems and calibration! We were presented with an opportunity to make a customer’s food manufacturing process more efficient while mitigating extraneous material risk. As finished product is passed along a conveyor belt, the installed in-motion checkweigher simultaneously weighs the product, and the metal detector ensures product quality.

Metal detectors are an extremely useful tool. When utilized within your current process flow, product is efficiently checked. However, one should not overlook the power of calibration. The food industry prioritizes accurate weight and quality of substance, and therefore, food manufacturing standards are among the most heavily regulated.

Routine calibration helps to avoid potential recalls, due to bad batches, through obtaining reliable and accurately measured values. Many regulation and management standards for food quality stress the importance of calibration. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control (HACCP) regulations that are mandated for meat and poultry, seafood and juice references “verification records that document the calibration of process monitoring instruments.” ISO22000, the food safety management system’s requirements, states in Section 8.3, “The organization shall provide evidence that the specified monitoring and measuring methods and equipment are adequate to ensure the performance of the monitoring and measuring procedures”. Both require documentation of calibration activities to monitor the performance of equipment. Effective procedures for calibration and quality assurance can help achieve this.

Due to wear over time, instruments require calibration at set intervals. This is to ensure equipment is running at prime conditions. Putting off calibration can cause a variety of quality and compliance issues which could result in product recalls and heavy costs.

Don’t be a recall statistic. Our custom engineered solutions team will analyze your current production process and look for ways to increase efficiency as well as quality! Rely on us to keep track of your calibration needs. When a year has passed, we’ll remind you to schedule calibration! Not to mention the new and improved CERTLINK. CERTLINK is our customer portal that will allow you access to all of your calibration certificates and schedules. Reach out to us for more information!



Food Safety Magazine

Process Industry Informer

White Paper Helps Guide FSMA Compliance Decisions

Rice Lake Weighing Systems has created a product support white paper that contains easy-to-understand information about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

This information highlights the ability of Rice Lake’s washdown products to meet requirements of commercial processing industries. The FSMA white paper not only explains how to meet compliance laws, but demonstrates how these scales can help prevent food contamination by the integrity of their construction and design.

For all producers, from farm to the table, purchasing equipment that meets Sanitary Design Principles (SDP) is considered a mandatory preventative measure by the FDA. Offering products that are microbiologically cleanable, hermetically sealed and compatible with hostile environments ideal for those who are obligated to these strict guidelines.

The FSMA paper outlines roles that scales play in safe processing as well as interprets food safety laws that tie in specific functions of your product line.



Source: Rice Lake Weighing System


Food Safety Modernization Act | How To Comply

The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act, commonly known as FSMA, is the most comprehensive reform in food safety law in over 70 years. The act seeks to increase the safety of U.S. food supply by switching the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. The ultimate goal is to minimize illness and death caused by unsafe food. Here is how FSMA has been effecting food and packing safety in the industry since its implementation:

This act requires compliance throughout the food industry. For companies with greater than 500 employees, the registration date to comply with the first FSMA rule, Preventive Controls – was September 19, 2016. However, for companies with fewer than 500 employees, September 18, 2017 was this year’s deadline. Read more for an in-depth look all the actions implemented by FSMA.

The major components of FSMA are enhanced partnership, prevention, inspection compliance response, and import safety.

With a concentration on preventing contamination, a strong emphasis is placed on the data, traceability, and cleanliness of the production process. The experts at Avery Weigh-Tronix put it simply, “This risk-based preventive approach to food safety relies on data and expertise to pinpoint potential food safety issues along the production, distribution and supply chain.”

To abide to FSMA, FDA suggests organizations implement a “thorough system for documenting internal process and record keeping.” Doing so would prove legal standards are being met.

Data and documentation are a key element of any weighing process and there are many points throughout food production that require weight to be taken. Scales that provide traceability of products and ingredients from “cradle to grave” are the ideal weighing solution for FSMA purposes.  A scale supplier of Grand Rapids Metroloyg’s reports that, “IP rated bench and indicators can help food suppliers to achieve both backward and forward traceability (be able to identify where all the ingredients came from and where they went).”

A hygienic process is also crucial when preventing contamination. In regards to weighing, the most hygienic applications are those with IP69K ratings. The critera for IP standards are as follows:

Stainless steel, washdown scales and indicators all have IP ratings. IP69K scales and indicators resist dust and water better than any other rated weighing equipment. Their sleek and innovative designs are free of hard seems, rivets, and screws — typically, the areas where bacteria builds up. Not only does the design defend against contamination, but the structure also protects the electronics of the scale which prevents any damage the the scale’s integrity and accuracy.

Including scales and indicators with IP69K ratings to your production process will help align your operation to FSMA regulations. Grand Rapids Metrology can provide a variety of washdown-rated weighing equipment; balances, bench scales, checkweighers, floor scales, indicators, load cells, and more. Some of our main suppliers of washdown products include Rice Lake, Avery Weigh-Tronix, and Ohaus. Such weighing equipment can provide the cleanliness and traceability that FSMA demands.

By complying to FSMA regulations, food production processes prevent contamination that have caused series illness and death in the past. All these products can be purchased and placed into service by Grand Rapids Metrology.

Request a quote for an IP Rated application today — or contact our experts and we’ll help you find the perfect solution to help better the nation’s food supply.