If food that is sold to the public for consumption is not sealed properly, it could lead to a variety of negative consequences for your company. Although leak detection equipment may be expensive for a business, it may be cheaper than the penalties associated with selling a tainted product.
1. Companies May Face Class-Action Lawsuits
If improperly sealed food makes customers sick, they may file a lawsuit against your company. Depending on how many people get sick, customers may band together and sue as a class. This may increase the time and money that it takes to defend the company against such claims. It may also increase the award that customers receive for medical bills, money spent on spoiled food and other damages.
2. Government Agencies May Investigate the Matter
The FDA has jurisdiction over cases in which food was not properly packaged. If it finds that your business was negligent in not following protocols to keep customers safe, it could levy a significant fine. OSHA may also want to conduct an investigation to determine if other workplace rules were violated. For instance, it may want to know if food was improperly packaged because equipment was broken or otherwise not functioning properly. If this is the case, it could result in fines or other penalties for breaking workplace safety rules.
3. The Brand May Be Tarnished
Few people are going to want to buy products from a brand that has shown a blatant lack of respect for its customers. Even if the issue was limited to a certain product or only impacted a certain geographic area, people don’t want to risk their health. If there is another option that they know is safe, they will take that one instead. This may be especially true for those who are buying food for their children.
4. Product May Need To Be Destroyed
Instead of selling chicken, cereal or other foods to customers, it may need to be thrown away if it may cause a health hazard. This could result in thousands of dollars or more worth of product being wasted. The resulting lost revenues could mean lower profit margins or missed profit or revenue estimates. Ultimately, shareholders who are angry at losing money may call for the CEO to resign or simply sell off their stakes entirely.
Failing to package food in a safe manner consistent with existing regulations may be disastrous for a company. Therefore, be sure to have quality leak detection equipment on hand to prevent these situations from occurring. It may also be best to have humans check goods before they are shipped to ensure that they don’t pose a risk to anyone.
It is paramount that you have good packaging for your food. The package performs a critical role or preserving the quality of the food before it reaches the customer. Therefore, it is important that firms acquire the latest leak detection equipment to ensure the integrity of their packaging. There are different methods of detecting leaks.
1. Trace Gas Method
The trace gas method is a simple method to determine if a package is leaking. You will perform it in an airtight chamber. It is critical to avoid contamination of the trace gas which will indicate the presence of the leak. A gas sensor in the chamber will indicate the concentration of the trace gas in the chamber. If the packaging is faulty, there will be an increase in its concentration in the chamber. The method is useful for detecting micro-leakages.
2. Altitude Simulation Method
When you design packages for your food, you should be aware that users can carry them on planes. It is critical that the seals can withstand the pressure changes that come with high altitudes. There is a high possibility of the seals failing during taking off and when the plane is landing. It is because during this times the altitude changes rapidly. You can carry out the test in a wet or dry chamber depending on the contents. After that, you will use a vacuum versus altitude to determine the ability to withstand the changes in altitude.
3. Dry Chamber Testing
When you have a liquid product, you will place it in a package that has a little head space. The head space refers to the space in the container that the liquid does not occupy which is filled with air. You will place the package in a dry chamber and then place the chamber on a material that is absorbent. A common absorbent is a paper towel. After that, you will draw a vacuum. The amount of vacuum that you draw will depend on the specifications set by the operator. In case the packaging is faulty, the absorbent will get wet when you draw the vacuum. You can use this test even for packages that have no head space.
4. Bubble Emission Method
The bubble emission method is useful for testing packages that have some volume of air. It involves placing the package in an airtight chamber while completely submerged in water. After that, you will draw a vacuum in the chamber. If the seals in the package are compromised, you will see the emission of bubbles in the water. An advantage of the method is that you will be able to pinpoint the area that is leaking.
Many people are always reluctant about changing or inspecting the food packaging material they use when they are off to the grocery. While this is true, food packaging materials should be checked for leaks to ensure you don’t run into havoc.
However, consumers must rely on the lead detection equipment to detect any form of leaks in their food packaging equipment. You should also know that the leak detection method used by the manufacturers is not always 100 percent correct. Food poisoning, in some cases, emanates from leaks in the food packages because it can come into microorganisms that contaminate the food. The consumer must always be aware of the equipment and method that can be used to detect leaks in food packaging material to solve this problem.
Let us look at the following methods used to test leaks.
Food companies can suffer massive losses when their products are rejected because they are not sealed correctly. Leaks in the packaging expose food to air, which can compromise its quality or shorten the period to expiry. It is essential for companies to invest in leak detection equipment that will help identify these leaks and prevent rejection of products in supermarkets and grocery stores.
Technological advancements in the food production industry have improved and simplified the processes of leak detection in packaging. This has, in turn, reduced the losses incurred by firms as a result of rejected products. Here are some of the improvements that have resulted from the adoption of technology in leak detection.
1. Miniaturization and Network Integration
Gone are the days when leak detection equipment and sensors were big and bulky. Technology has led to the introduction of small automated leak detectors and sensors that can be integrated into packaging and plumbing systems. Additionally, detectors are now wireless. This means that you can incorporate them into both the packaging system and a network and have great results. Automation has made it easy for companies to monitor the functioning of leak detectors through computer devices, and this has led to a significant increase inefficiency and accuracy in leak detection.
2. Process Automation
Before the introduction of technology in leak detection, the process used to be extremely labor intensive, and companies required a lot of resources in order to detect and prevent leakages. Workers had to inspect all the packages by hand before preparing them for shipping. Not only was this time-consuming, but it was also inaccurate and inefficient. Leak detection equipment has automated the processes, which has eliminated the need for extensive labor involvement. The use of automated sensors increases speed and accuracy in the process. Besides reducing losses, these improvements have also cut down costs for packaging companies and led to improved efficiency in their operations.
3. Timeliness in Leak Detection
Traditional leak detection equipment could only detect gross leaks in packaging after containers had already been packaged, warehoused, and shipped to the retail stores. Such mishaps often led to substantial losses for food companies. However, today’s systems can provide early warning signs before the products get to the consumer. Processes such as online leak testing for bottles and containers protect the process from random issues that cannot be identified through sampling. Also, the equipment not only detects leaks, but they can also isolate the likely points of origin-whether it’s due to malfunctions in certain stages of the process or the quality of the packaging. This way, it is possible to prevent any amounts of leaks at the right time.
4. Instant Notifications Help Protect Business Reputation
Obtaining real-time results in leak detection is essential in promoting efficiency and reducing losses in the food packaging industry. If the company doesn’t instantly identify the leaks as they occur, then it may have to recall the products once they have been shipped to the consumer. This can hurt the company’s reputation, lead to losses due to rejection, and increase the chances of facing liability lawsuits. Since today’s leak detection equipment allows real-time detection of leaks, they ensure that these issues are handled within the warehouse before the products are dispatched into the market.
Technology has streamlined the process of leak detection by introducing advanced equipment and automated processes. Further innovations in the industry are bound to bring about more sophisticated systems that will improve the detection of leaks in food packaging. These will save companies a significant amount of money that is always lost directly or indirectly due to the way in which the products are received in the market.
During the production of food products, manufacturers go through meticulous processes of ensuring that their products are perfect at the packaging stage. They are required to abide by the set standards regarding the integrity of food packaging. However, during the manufacturing process, small leaks can occur on the packaging, and these affect the general quality of the product. Leak detection equipment identifies these leaks, increase the shelf life of foodstuffs, and minimize the chances of loss due to product rejection.
The equipment used in leak detection comes in various types and utilize different technologies; usually depending on the food commodities being packaged. There’s a need to consider the following factors before choosing the appropriate equipment for the warehouse.
Reliability of Equipment
Manufacturing plants and packaging warehouses are usually fast-paced with time restraints and packaging requirements. Speed and efficiency describe these environments as workers have to keep up with the continuously running conveyor belts and other equipment. It is important to invest in reliable leak detection equipment that can deliver accurate results without making mistakes. Supervisors don’t have the time to run multiple tests due to the inefficiency of equipment. If the initial results are inaccurate, one can end up presenting flawed food products in the market.
Leak detection systems in warehouses comprise of large mechanisms with detection monitors. The best ones can perform tests on various types of packaging in less than a minute. Invest in such equipment that can handle the pressures and time constraints without compromising on accuracy.
Ability to Detect Leak Source
Food products go through various manufacturing stages. As they go through the different processes, they can be compromised due to the quality of the material used for the packaging, cap, or seal. Sometimes, even the strongest materials can tear and open or develop micro leaks as they go through the processing and production stages. You need leak detection equipment that not only identifies the leak, but it can pinpoint where the source of the leaks.
After testing, the manufacturer should be able to know if the leak is as a result of flaws in the turnout process or the quality of the product packaging. With this knowledge, one can quickly fix the problem and prevent future incidences of leaks. However, if the equipment cannot identify where the leak is resulting from, one may end up fixing the wrong problem and handling many similar leaks in the future.
If leaks aren’t detected in real time during processing, the manufacturer may be forced to recall the product after it has already hit the shelves in grocery stores and supermarkets. This can damage the reputation of a brand and cause millions of losses to the company. Utilizing quality leak detection equipment is the best way to test the quality of foodstuff and strength and integrity of its packaging.