No one likes to think about harmful chemicals or outside materials seeping into the food that they eat.
Unfortunately, however, such leaks are a real concern for those in the food industry, as well as for consumers. The good news, though, is that there is a wide array of leak detection equipment currently on the market that is specifically designed for use with food products and food packaging.
You can make use of this equipment in addition to following simple tips for detecting and reducing leaks in food packaging. If you can do that, you should get great results and ultimately experience much fewer (if any) leakage issues.
1. Consider the Altitude Simulation Technique
To start off with, one of the best ways to test for and find leaks in food packaging is through a technique known as the altitude simulation technique.
With this method, you can test foods and their packaging at various altitudes using a vacuum chamber.
While this method is beneficial for a wide range of situations and for many different packaging types, it is particularly effective if you will be shipping food by plane or by other methods that involve severe altitude changes.
Via this method, you can protect against leaks no matter what your shipping process may involve.
2. Avoid Plastic Packaging
Something else you may want to consider, if you are really serious about avoiding leakage, is to ditch plastic packaging for your food products altogether.
While it is certainly true that not all plastic packaging is bad, it is also true that plastic tends to be one of the worst culprits when it comes to “springing a leak” or, vice versa, to letting harmful chemicals seep into food.
If you want to be truly safe and eliminate a lot of worry and hassle, then abandoning plastic packaging altogether is not a bad idea.
3. Try Ultrasonic Sealing
If you’re truly serious about leakage detection and prevention, then you may want to consider a more advanced technological solution: ultrasonic sealing.
This modern sealing method allows you to seal food packaging via a vibration process. This process can get rid of any contamination, if present, and keep further contamination from happening, all within just a few seconds of use.
While this method may be costly, it is certainly worthwhile due to its effectiveness and the peace of mind it offers.
4. Try the Bubble Emission Test
One final thing you may wish to try is the “bubble emission test,” which allows you to check for any packaging leaks by submerging the packaging in water.
Obviously, if bubbles appear once submerged, the packaging is not leak-proof and will need some work, making this a very simple, affordable, and surprisingly effective method to test your packaging.
As you can see, there are many great ways to detect and avoid leakage in food packaging. By following these tips, you can ensure your food products are as safe and as healthy as you designed them to be.
Most manufacturers will use airtight food packaging. It is because air lowers the shelf life of food and it can have a negative impact on its quality. It is the reason why it is critical that they use Leak Detection Equipment to ensure the integrity of the packaging they are using.
1. Vacuum Decay
In this method, there will removal of any content in some part of the packaging material completely and stabilizing the pressure in that area. After that, you will use equipment to measure any changes in pressure after the stabilization. However, you can only use this method for the packaging materials that can survive in vacuums. A key benefit of this method is that temperature changes cannot affect its integrity.
2. Pressure Decay
The pressure decay test works on a concept opposite to that of the vacuum decay. It works on a scientific concept that anticipates the internal pressure of packaging material to reduce when there is a leak. Before the test begins, you will fill the material will dry nitrogen at a specific pressure. After that, all you have to do is monitor the pressure. If the pressure does not reduce with time, it means that packaging is not leaking. If the opposite happens, then the packaging is leaking.
3. Bubble Method
The bubble test is one of the simplest tests that an individual can use to detect if a food packaging is leaking. Also, it does not require the use of complex Leak Detection Equipment compared to the other tests. In this method, you will need to pressurize the packaging using air. You should take care to ensure that you do not put excess pressure such that it bursts. After that, you will submerge it into a container filled with water. If the packaging is small, it would be better to submerge it in a transparent container. After that, you will observe for any bubbles. If it is leaking, you will witness the emergence of bubbles. A key benefit of this method is that you can pinpoint accurately the area where the leak is coming.
4. Ultrasonic Test
All leaks will produce sounds. The reason why you cannot hear them most of the times is that their frequency is too low or too high for your ears to pick. It is the reason why in this test you will need to use an ultrasound to detect if there are any sounds. Ultrasound detectors are very portable devices which you can comfortably hold in your hand. Some will have headphones, a nozzle for adjusting the sensitivity, and a meter. Other detectors have the capability of measuring the leak rate.
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.