Fft Ip Mettler Toledo

Exploring the Role of Product Inspection Solutions in Ensuring the Quality and Safety of Food Products

April 5, 2023
We spoke with Robert Rogers, senior advisor of food safety and regulations at Mettler-Toledo, about the role product inspection solutions play in the safety and quality of food products.

The food processing industry is evolving at a rapid pace, and companies in the industry must keep up with any tightening regulations or new technology to enter the market. But one thing remains constant: Quality is king.

Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection, a division of Mettler-Toledo based in Lutz, Florida, serves the food processing industry via its product inspection solutions to ensure the quality and safety of food products before they make it to the consumer. Mettler-Toledo sees product inspection as one of the most important elements to success for today’s production facilities. The company is a multinational manufacturer of scales and analytical instruments and is the largest provider of weighing instruments for use in laboratory, industrial and food retailing applications.

To gain insight into how product inspection solutions impact the safety and quality of food products, Food Processing caught up with Robert Rogers, senior advisor of food safety and regulations at Mettler-Toledo.


Food Processing: What role do product inspection solutions play in ensuring the safety and quality of food products?

Robert Rogers: Efficient and consistent product inspection solutions can save companies a lot of pain in the long run. Vision inspection systems ensure the proper labels are on packages and the proper allergen declarations are on the correct labels. Solutions like an in-line checkweigher lead to less product giveaway, as these product inspection devices are designed to check the proper weights of packages.

Tools such as metal detectors and X-ray inspection systems help prevent foreign material in products and help to make sure you are putting out the best product possible. Metal detection systems look for any metallic contamination. X-ray inspection can help not only in addressing metal and other dense material and foreign material contamination, but also with quality inspections like fill-level and quantity checks within a package-and-seal inspection.

FP: How can food processors effectively integrate product inspection systems into their food safety culture and processes?

RR: First off, having a good food safety culture includes having product inspections throughout the process. Historically, you might have expected inspections to happen at the end of the line, but a good safety culture includes inspections from the start. This strategy helps to prevent product waste.

Think about it like this: If you find a problem at the end of the line, all the ingredients you used to make the product are wasted, including packing material. Conducting inspections throughout the process can help reduce this waste, while also improving efficiency.

Training to use product inspection devices is paramount. Training helps employees feel confident to do their tasks day-to-day and solve challenges as they go.

Looking back almost 30 years to when I started with Mettler-Toledo, like many organizations back then, the company didn’t have the focus of a strong training culture in place like we do today. I went out on that first service call to fix equipment, nervous and felt underprepared.

Training helps employees feel confident to do their day-to-day tasks. Running into issues all day long can make for a discouraged employee. Empowering them with training and education to understand their responsibilities and how to get around some roadblocks can be crucial to success and a result of good training culture.

Having product inspections throughout the process — and training your employees to utilize this technology appropriately — can help companies achieve superior product inspection culture.

FP: What are the potential consequences of a poor product inspection culture for a food processing facility?

RR: Poor product inspection culture can result in devastating effects, the worst of which could include a consumer safety recall, foreign material in your product, or an improperly or undeclared allergen within the label reaching the consumer.

Poor product inspection culture can also lead to a spike in false rejection activity within a system. That false reject product can be your worst enemy. That means a good, sellable product is in the reject bin for no reason. That’s where employee training comes into play — in how to handle rejected product. Re-inspection of rejected product, if not properly conducted, could lead to reintroducing that non-conforming product back into production, putting the consumer and the manufacturer at risk.

FP: How can food processors collaborate with product inspection suppliers to ensure their product inspection solutions are properly integrated into their overall food safety culture?

RR: All production companies today should foster a solid product inspection safety culture within their facilities. I truly believe that product inspection devices are a big part of this safety culture. That’s why I help companies develop their programs around different solutions, including foreign material detection, including:

  • Helping companies not only install the inspection devices to ensure that all materials used are of good quality, but also to challenge the system and implement proper testing methods. These actions ensure we are challenging the device’s weakest areas and helping customers to develop good validation programs and making sure they understand the capabilities and limitations of the devices.
  • Helping facilities to develop internal training so that all operators are comfortable with the devices; that their maintenance teams are comfortable with the routine maintenance that needs to occur on the systems and how to replace key components.

Mettler-Toledo partners with facilities to understand good locations to install inspection devices and focuses on the pros and cons of different placement strategies — depending on the facilities’ needs. This partnership ensures any questions facility operators have are addressed.

As an equipment provider, the company has a lot of experience with different types of manufacturing processes and products and can provide good insight into ways to improve internal processes, including Mettler-Toledo’s SAFE Audit program. We come in and inspect a client’s processes from raw material receipt through final production. The goal of this inspection is to identify improvement opportunities, like how equipment is utilized and how the technology is integrated into processes and operations.

These are just some examples of tools you can use to build good food safety and product inspection culture in your food production facility, while also keeping your business healthier all around.

Sponsored Recommendations

Troubleshoot: Grittiness in gluten free cookies

Learn how to adjust gluten free cookie recipes for a softer texture.

Clabber Girl: Rising Success

Uncover how Clabber Girl Corporation achieved a remarkable 7% growth and improved manufacturing efficiency by seamlessly integrating Vicinity's batch manufacturing solution with...

Intelligent Blends: Taking Technology to the Next Level

Find out how our friends at Intelligent Blends use VicinityFood and Microsoft Dynamics GP to produce the best coffee around.

Key ingredient: Mother Murphy's Laboratories

Flavorings manufacturer Mother Murphy’s Laboratories integrates front office with production facility — improving operations from initial order to final invoice.