Particle Analysis Instruments for Food QA/QC
Quality assurance and control (QA/QC) of food goods is a tightly-regulated issue worldwide. It must be conducted at every stage of production, from harvest and transportation to processing and packaging. Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), shelf-life determination, research and development (R&D) into new product recipes. Each of these processes benefits from advanced particle analysis instruments that can illuminate the microbiological properties of food goods to improve understandings of particle characteristics and product behaviour.
In this blog post, Meritics provides an overview of the particle analysis instruments available for food QA/QC processes.
Rheology Particle Analysis Instruments
Understanding the complex flow behaviour of fluids and soft-solids under distinct thermomechanical conditions is critical for food QA/QC. It can provide vital information regarding the shelf-life and thermomechanical decomposition behaviour of fluids and soft-solids in different conditions. This behaviour is typically illuminated using one of two particle analysis instruments: viscometers or rheometers.
Viscometers are used to measure variations in intra-particle friction due to temperature variations and applied torque or shear forces. Rheometric particle analysis instruments operate on a similar principle but are primarily used for measuring products with more dynamic rheological properties.
These particle analysis instruments are used for QA/QC at all stages of food production, from pumping and dosing to packaging and transportation.Powder Flow Particle Analysis Instruments
The flow behaviour of powders is measured by a different principle to fluids and soft-solids. Powder flow particle analysis instruments are used to measure the mechanically-induced state-changes in bulk powders – like flour, thickening agents, protein whey, and more. Flowability of powders can be determined using a combination of dynamic and static imaging, or by measuring the unconfined yield strength of a sample.
The Mercury Revolution uses a high resolution digital camera to acquire images of confined samples subjected to rotation. This can be used to measure the potential for particles in powders to agglomerate; or cake together. An alternative method is to apply a consolidating pressure and subsequently measure properties like cohesion and the angle of internal friction. This method is employed by the Volution Powder Flow Tester.Laser Diffraction Particle Analysis Instruments
One of the most robust techniques for food QA/QC is to test samples using laser diffraction particle analysis instruments. These measure the angular light distribution of a laser after it has passed through a solution to characterise suspended particulates. This is used to qualitatively assess subjective properties of end-products, to optimise consumer enjoyment. The LS 13 320 XR is an industry-leading particle size analyser that has been used to perform QA/QC of food goods to optimise the ‘mouth feel’ of products and eliminate inconsistent batches from production.
Meritics is the UK’s leading supplier of particle analysis instruments for industrial areas of application. We supply a broad range of tools to assist in optimal QA/QC of food goods and beverages, to help deliver accurate shelf-life forecasts and ultimately create a product that delivers on the customer’s expectations.
If you would like any more information about our particle analysis instruments, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.