Food retailers such as supermarkets demand the highest levels of packaged food conformity to enable them to meet customer expectations. Therefore, food manufacturers integrate advanced product inspection technologies into their production processes to ensure consistency and repeatability at all times.
The conformity of packaged food is an important premise of many food retailers. The fundamental requirement is that food is free from unwanted contaminants and is of high quality, and that the label is accurate and correctly positioned. The product also needs to be within the correct weight tolerance and must comply with national and international food safety standards, regulations or legislations.
The potential severity of non-conformity can be disastrous, especially if it is caused by foreign body contamination. For an individual, it may have long-lasting health implications or even prove fatal. For the businesses concerned, it may result in a product recall, financial penalty, criminal prosecution or even closure.
Conformity: a mixture of simple and complex requirements
Conformity goes much deeper than food safety compliance. On reaching the consumer, both product and package must be perfectly presented with no defects and accurately reflect the brand expectations. This could be as simple as ensuring that the label is always in exactly the same position. However, it can also be as complex as ensuring that all the chocolates within a box having the same amount of topping.
A Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) evaluation will identify the potential types of contaminants that could affect product conformity. By considering the different product types and packaging materials involved, the evaluation will determine how and where a contaminant is likely to enter the process.
Product inspection technology to prove product conformity
Advanced product inspection technology such as modern x-ray and vision inspection systems can both perform multiple integrity checks simultaneously to prove product conformity. Furthermore, for manufacturers looking to improve production line efficiencies and optimum brand protection, checkweighing technology can be used in combination with vision, metal detection or x-ray within one machine.
Conformity of packaged food covers an abundance of product, presentation and packaging integrity considerations. The use of product inspection technology helps to ensure conformity and food safety compliance. It also protects bottom line profits through reducing product giveaway and avoiding spoilage during transportation. Combining advanced product inspection technologies, robust food safety management programmes and quality assurance processes will enable manufacturers and brand owners to consistently produce conforming packaged food.