Good Weighing Practices for the Food Industry

From:       Food Quality & Safety magazine, December/January 2013 

by Klaus Fritsch, PhD and Jean-Luc Quenot

FQ_DecJan_2013_pp32_01In the laboratory, weighing is only one step in a QC analysis chain, but it strongly influences the overall quality and integrity of the final result. In production, weighing is a key factor in achieving batch uniformity and consistency in dispensing or formulation processes. Proper weighing is thus essential in ensuring continuous adherence to predefined process requirements and avoiding a frequent source of out-of-specification results.

Furthermore, accurate weighing processes help to address some of the most demanding challenges of the food industry, increasing public health, consumer safety, productivity, and competitiveness.

This article introduces a scientific methodology for selecting and testing weighing instruments within an integrated qualification approach—good weighing practices. Based primarily on the user’s weighing requirements and prevailing weighing risks, it provides a state-of-the-art strategy to reduce measurement errors and ensure reliable weighing results. Understanding weighing process requirements and important balance and scale properties such as minimum weight is essential to selecting an appropriate system. When the instrument is in use, these requirements and risks are taken into account to establish a specific routine testing scenario.

The higher the impact of inaccurate weighing and the more stringent the weighing accuracy requirements are, the more frequent testing should be. For less risky and stringent applications, however, testing efforts can be reduced accordingly. Risk and life cycle management forms an integrated part of the overall strategy of good weighing practices to bridge the gap between productivity, process quality, safety, and compliance.

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