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Articles by Topic - Quality
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Departments: A Nice Match
In the early 1990s, manufacturing execution systems (MES) were touted as the panacea for shop floor management problems, promising to do away with “islands of automation” and to seamlessly connect the plant floor with enterprise systems. Unfortunately, the early MESs were too vertical in scope. There was an MES for silicon wafer assembly, one for chemicals, another for packaging, and so on, with dozens of companies specializing in finely honed products for vertical applications. This...
Features: Cool Technologies
Most of us can recount opening a recently purchased food product, only to find it spoiled. This firsthand experience underscores ongoing problems within the food supply chain that new technologies can solve.
Departments: Create a “Closed Loop” to Ensure Quality
It was time for the plant’s yearly audit. The auditor was inspecting the plant along with the sanitation manager. After they were done with the walk-though, they went to the sanitation manager’s office to review the records.
Departments: How to Avoid a… Total Recall
Recent major national and international recalls, coupled with post-9/11 regulatory initiatives, have placed the spotlight on an issue providing all the intensity of a Hollywood drama. The importance of accurate and efficient traceability of our food supply from farm to table has never been more apparent. There has been a surge in the development of systems that seem capable of working magic by generating an incredible amount of product and distribution information by inputting a small amount of data, like...
Departments: Effective Audits Not Just for the Big Boys
Success stories abound about quality assurance, food safety and sanitation at major companies like Jack in the Box, Tyson, General Mills and Darden.
Features: Hormel Is a Cut Above
It was 1923 when George A. Hormel gave an employee the same sage advice undoubtedly instilled in him while working in his uncle’s meat market during the late 1800s: “What you get out of this business depends wholly on how much you put into it,” he wrote. “Don’t expect big results unless you are personally analyzing your work to see how you can bring it up to a higher standard.”
Departments: Omitting Odors in Organics
Organic food is one of the fastest growing food sectors in the United States totaling $15 billion in sales in 2005, according to Organic Trade Association (OTA; Greenfield, Mass.). During the last 10 years, increasing consumer demand for healthier choices has driven the industry’s growth, from 17 to 21 percent each year. In recent years, fresh foods have become signature departments for many natural foods retailers, with independent natural product and health food stores and natural grocery chains...
Departments: Mini Menaces
It only takes an area the size of a person’s thumb to produce thousands and thousands of fruit flies. One adult female fruit fly can lay 15 to 20 eggs in a batch and as many as 500 batches in her two-week life cycle. A few fruit flies can quickly multiply into an infestation.
Departments: Incoming Quality Control of Water
Today’s modern food processing industries are heavily reliant upon water as both an ingredient and as an integral part of their preparation and processing functions. While in some instances the water used is further processed and treated by the food manufacturer, in many cases this supply of water is obtained from local municipal sources and under goes no further monitoring or processing beyond what is done by the local utility that supplies it to the end users. Unfortunately, in most cases little or...
Features: Coping with Shelf-Life
Raw or processed food products deteriorate during processing, distribution and storage. Unless it is sterile, such products will contain indigenous microflora and, in some cases, foodborne pathogens. Unfortunately, presence and growth of microorganisms or foodborne pathogens are not always differentiated by the quality changes in the product. To help assure product safety and quality, microbiological shelf-life and challenge studies are essential R&D tools for food processors and manufacturers.