Climatic Food Testing: Standards and Applications

 

The food filling the shelves of supermarkets are largely the result of elaborate industrial processes. The finished good that ends up on our tables, however, must meet several very strict requirements, before leaving the factory.

 

With these standards, we mostly refer to the basic HACCP rules (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), a "self-regulating" standard that defines how, in the whole production process of an edible good, the company in question must guarantee its hygiene and consumer safety, through systematic and documentable standard processes.

 

The FSSC 22000 code, a standard directly connected to ISO 2200, also certifies hygiene and food safety, and is completed by TS 22002-1 for food and TS 22002-12 for the related packaging

 

The climatic tests for food, such as the aforementioned, concern the product and all the aromas and substances that compose it but also the same packaging that contains them, for which its integrity and contact with the food itself is assessed.

The tests on the packaging also serve to confirm the characteristics of color and resistance in relation heat and light, even long after the sale and hence on the exposure with the various agents.

Stability Testing

 

The characteristics of food testing are often associated in the same category with products of the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry.

 

The reason for this nomenclature is that the temperature to which the specimens are subjected remains constant for a predetermined period of time.

 

The reason for this nomenclature is that the temperature to which the specimens are subjected remains constant for a predetermined period of time.

The stability test is the alternative to temperature cycles, tests where temperature is programmed, through the controller with which the chamber is equipped, in different automatic cycles with different temperatures.

 

This type of test is common in the automotive and aerospace applications.

 

Climatic Testing for Food

 

Environmental testing generally includes both temperature and humidity control, to simulate the real humidity of the air, but also, in some cases, illumination.

 

The climatic food testing define its duration (product life cycle) and therefore its expiration date (shelf-life)

The so-called on-going stability tests confirm or deny whether the good in question can maintain its organoleptic properties unaltered even after the expiration date.

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Accelerated Aging Testing

 

During the accelerated aging test, the temperature is set very high or very low, to check the different reactions to different environmental conditions.

This test is meant to simulate the real aging of the products in their real life cycle.

 

Industrial times, however, must be much shorter than after-sales ones. 

 

For two main reasons:

 

  • Companies must constantly renew their product range to remain competitive with competitors
  • Even if it was only one single product to be tested, both for time and cost reasons, it is not possible for a company to wait two years of testing, to simulate a real situation

 

The testing temperature will hence be higher than any possible temperature that the products might really face in their life cycle, right in order to replicate, in weeks, what normally should happen in years.

As for the lighting parameter, when we test the consequences of lighting on food, we talk about photostability testing, for simulating day and night conditions.

Environmental Chamber for Food Testing

 

The climatic chambers for stability tests are often provided with a glass door to allow the operator to check the progress of his samples in real time and possibly handle and manipulate them.

 

The operating temperature is usually 0/70° (in some cases -25/70°)

 

The volume certainly depends on the type of sample to be analyzed, but since we are talking about food, technicians tend to opt for a small instrument.

The reference controller, given the lack of the requirement to automatically program temperature cycles, will be a stillFACE type programmer.

 

FDM has been manufacturing climatic chambers since 1949, and offers the most suitable solutions for every requirement in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, for stability testing and accelerated aging testing.

 

The volumes are various, from 140 to 2300 liters for this specific field.

Do these ranges and volumes not satisfy your research? Contact us and request a customized quote.

 

The FDM team can work on any non-standard project, to meet the requirements of any test.

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