Fresh food is a wonderful thing, but it can spoil if it’s not handled properly. Food production companies go to great lengths to protect the food they produce so it arrives fresh and safe — for example, using deep freezers and leak detection equipment for food packaging. To make the most of your food, follow these 5 tips to protect your food from going bad.
1. Keep it cold.
Fresh foods like meats, vegetables, and dairy need to be kept cold to avoid spoilage. A healthy refrigerator temperature is at or below 4 degrees celsius. Check your fridge regularly to make sure it’s doing its job and keeping foods cold.
If you find your food is going bad before it should, consider turning the temperature down on the fridge to protect food further.
2. Keep hot foods hot.
When you’ve cooked a big beautiful meal, don’t let it go to waste by letting it sit out on the countertop. Any foods left at room temperature for more than 4 hours may be susceptible to significant bacterial growth, and should be disposed of.
If you want to keep foods out for serving, make sure to keep them heated above 60 celsius. This will prevent growth of bacteria and keep the foods safe to eat, while also holding them at a nice temperature for eating.
3. Inspect food packaging.
When you buy foods at the grocery store, check the seals on the packaging to make sure they’re airtight. Don’t buy any product that’s been opened, and return anything that smells off.
Food packaging companies use leak detection equipment to ensure their foods stay airtight, but accidents can happen during the transportation and loading process. This means the consumer should always check packaging to make sure it’s airtight by squeezing and checking for air leakage.
4. Know the signs of spoilage.
A good rule of thumb is to use your nose to evaluate whether something has gone bad. If a food smells bad, off, or simply unusual, it’s often a good idea to toss it out. You can also check foods for mold, slimy or unusual texture, and even taste. If a food tastes off, you’re better off just throwing it out.
If you’re ever unsure if a food is still good to eat, you can do a quick search online to find out the signs of spoilage for that food.
5. Store it in airtight packaging.
Airflow is one of the biggest drivers of food spoilage, because it can help certain bacteria grow. Of course, some bacteria specialize in anaerobic or low-airflow conditions, but they typically require certain temperatures, moisture levels, and acidity in order to thrive. Most of the time, aerobic or oxygen-requiring bacteria are responsible for food spoilage.
For many foods, including dried goods and leftovers, storing them in airtight containers such as mason jars, tight-sealing tupperwares, or vacuum seal bags can help preserve their shelf life and prevent them going stale or off.
Ensuring the integrity of food packaging is essential. When it comes to keeping your food safe to eat, it takes a lot of vigilance to maintain proper safety standards. When food packages are leaky, they can become contaminated, ruining the contents of the package and potentially making people sick. To avoid these sorts of issues, professionals use leak detection equipment to make sure that the packages are safe.
All of the equipment used to detect leaks is very good at making sure that the packages are as secure as they need to be. Not all of this equipment operates in the same ways, though. There are different methods for detecting leaks that are only used with certain pieces of equipment. Learn about five of the most prevalent ways these leaks are detected below.
1. Bubble Testing Method
This method is really simple when you get down to it. The fact that it is simplistic doesn’t mean that it isn’t effective, though. When testers think that there may be a leak in a package, they will put it underwater. If bubbles come rising to the surface, then it confirms that there is something leaking from the package itself.
As far as leak detection goes, this certainly isn’t the most elegant method. It’s a commonly used method because of low cost and ease of use.
2. Spraying with Helium
This method can be a bit tricky to use. You need to separate a section of the material from the packaging that you’re trying to test. Using a special pump, helium is inserted into this void. If there are leaks, then the helium will penetrate parts of the packaging. There is a detector capable of measuring the helium, giving you accurate data on how bad the leak is.
This is a much more professional method of leak detection that is used by many companies. The hardest part of the process is separating the section of the material so you can pump the helium in. Once that is done, this is a very reliable method that you should make good use of.
3. Sniffing Equipment Using Helium
Another method that uses helium is sniffing equipment. This can be very effective, just as the spraying method. Helium is placed into the food packaging and sniffer detects for leaks. It’s simple in concept and will easily tell you if the package is leaking anywhere. The sniffing device is quite sensitive so it can pick up on even a minute leak.
4. Measuring Ultrasonic Sound Waves
A very common leak detection method is to measure the contents of a package using ultrasonic sound waves. The equipment involved in this process is incredibly sensitive so it will be able to give you good leak data to use. Using sound detection to see if there are any tiny leaks in the packaging will be simple to learn how to do. You’ll even be able to get data on how fast things are leaking out of the package.
5. Measuring the Rate Pressure Decays
The final method is to measure the rate that pressure is decaying within the package. The presence of a leak in the package changes how much pressure there is inside. Putting something such as dry air inside of the package will allow a device to measure the rate the pressure decays at. You can get simple but accurate data using this technique.
When foods are packaged for the shelves, the last thing the manufacturers want to deal with are leaks. Leaks can compromise product, costing the company money. It can also cost customer retention and brand loyalty due to a lack of trust a customer will have in a product if it is bad before eating. In order to prevent these problems, leak detection equipment can be used.
1. Altitude Simulation Method
The altitude simulation method involves using a vacuum chamber to test the quality of packaging at high altitudes. This is needed if the foods will be transported via airplane to their final destination. If products go untested, the high altitudes can cause the products to collapse, which can be quite costly.
2. Bubble Emission Test
If produce contains air, it can be tested with the bubble emission test for leaks. Taking the product and submerging it in water is all this test requires. If the package contains bubbles post-test, that means it did not pass and the manufacturer needs to pull the product and repackage. Bubbles indicate the water was able to infiltrate the packaging. This test looks for breaks in a packages seal, and the defects can be discarded before making it to store shelves.
3. Gas Leak Detection
Gas leak detection can occur when looking for holes in food packaging. This can also be used for both commercial and industrial leak testing. Some of the gases involved in the testing include helium, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen. Typically this is done through modified atmosphere testing. This means that the leak detection equipment will measure the amount of gases present in the packaging to see if leaking has occurred.
4. Dry Chamber Technique
The dry chamber technique looks for leaks in liquid products, such as beverages. This requires taking the product and putting it into a chamber before putting it into a vacuum. Absorbent material will help to test whether the product is leaking, and any presence of liquid produces a positive test.
In addition to vacuum testing, chambers can also be used to pressure test an item. In this case, the chamber is pressurized and packages that contain leaks will take too long to reach the pressure range.
5. Ultrasonic Imaging
Ultrasonic imaging uses wavelengths to detect defects in packaging. Similar to how an ultrasound produces an image of a fetus, an image is produced of the product for the defect to be detected and removed.
6. Machine Vision Testing
In this method, a computer with a camera is used to detect leaks. This technology is so sharp and cutting edge that it can detect leaks as small as only five millimeters.
7. Human Inspection Testing
Sometimes human inspections are necessary. While leak detection equipment proves valuable during the packaging phase, once transport occurs, all bets are off. Before shelving materials, companies will often hire human inspectors to check for new leaks so they can maintain their products’ integrity.
Leak detection tests are an essential component of the food industry. Leak test equipment lets you conduct assess and choose the right packages and seals for different altitudes. Below are six benefits of using leak detection equipment.
1. Avoid Leaks
No one wants his or her product to leak once it gets to the market. Whether it is at the store, during transit, or at the market, leaks can taint your company’s reputation. It can make it harder for customers to establish trust in your brand. Conducting tests lets you assess if a product is packaged properly.
2. Drive Your Revenue
Revenue will rise as you improve your product packaging. Proper packaging minimizes cases of product returns and wastage. It also ensures that you provide quality products that will leave customers happy and satisfied. Moreover, knowing about leak detection allow your company to improve its packaging. It enables you to create better products and avoid cases of product returns.
3. Minimize Cases of Product Spoilage
Leaking packages can cause your beverages and foods to spoil before the date of expiration. Even the smallest leak will cause food to rot. Remember that customers expect nothing short of quality products from you. Spoilage often results in wastage and returns and may taint your reputation. Potential customers might never buy your products if they have purchased spoiled products from you in the past.
4. Maintain High Quality
The goal of every company is to provide the best possible service or product. Spending an extra day to test your packaging ensures that products are sealed the right way before they get to the market. Investing in hi-tech testing equipment assures you that your product will not leak. It is also vital to stamp a valid expiration date on all your products before they get to the market. Otherwise, a product might disappoint you if it expires before the date stamped on the packaging material.
5. Hone Your Packaging Skills
Your packaging skills will improve when you conduct tests on premises. That way, you will be able to choose the packaging technique that works for you. If cartons have failed you in the past, you might want to try another packaging technique. You can use your leak detection tools to test packages such as cans, bags, and boxes. If you find that your packaging has issues, you can go back to the drawing board until you get the packaging that suits your products.
6. Prevent Environmental Pollution
Customers will ultimately send leaking products back to you. The more you send out products without testing, the more you are likely to get product returns. However, testing can help you determine the best packaging that will ensure all your products are sold.
Presence of leaks in packaged foods may be dangerous since they contain organisms that contaminate the food. Consumers need to be aware of such leaks, methods, and some of the leak detection equipment to be used to detect them. The following methods can be used to detect the leaks:
1. Bubble Test
This is a quite simple method to apply. If the consumer suspects any leak in food packaging, he should pressure the package and submerge it in a basin of water. If there are bubbles emerging from the water surface it, therefore confirms that the packaging material is leaking.
2. Ultrasonic Measurement
Leaks present will always produce sounds that are relative to their sizes. The sounds also produce frequencies that are either high or low. Smaller leaks will produce high frequency sounds hence need to use the ultrasonic detector to detect the sound.
The ultrasonic detectors are normally held in the hand. They are accompanied by a meter, a pair of headphones, and a sensitive adjustment nozzle. They normally measure the packaging leaks as well as the rate of the leaks.
3. Helium Sniff
A helium sniffer is an effective equipment to detect any leaks. The pressurized helium is charged into the material for food packaging and its surface scanned with a helium sniffer. The sniffer identifies the concentration of atmospheric air of the leaking area. The method is more efficient since it targets the exact location of the leak.
4. Pressure decay
The packaging material is first charged with dry air or nitrogen since the presence of a leak in packaging material reduces the internal pressure of the material. The pressure is then monitored for some time. In case the pressure of the packaging material reduces then it shows the presence of a leak. This method has proven to be simple, reliable and compact. It is also relatively cheap hence preferred by many people.
5. Vacuum Decay Test
It is the opposite of pressure decay testing. It entails evacuation of a certain part of the packaging material completely while the pressure is kept stable. The pressure that builds up after stabilization is the measured. This method is more appropriate since it is not affected by the changes in temperature. However, it requires food packaging material that can survive if placed in a vacuum.
6. Helium spray
This involves the separation of the food packaging material which is then attached to the detector. Helium gas is then sprayed on it. In case of any leaks, the gas will penetrate. Into the material.
It is important for consumers to know ways of detecting leaks in food packaging because these may are harmful to human life.