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Vision Inspection Supports Food Safety
Mettler Toledo CI-Vision Posted 05/24/2012
A vision inspection solution is an essential part of a food processors safety program. It ensures that information on the packaging mirrors the defined content, is readable and in some cases checks for seal integrity.The correct and readable information on a package allows consumers to make informed decisions as well as give governments and food processors the means to trace contaminated food products. Traceability provides the rapid removal of contaminated products from the supply chain and stops further contaminated items from being produced.
In the United States, food and beverage packaged products are consumed consumed by 250 million people each day. Of these 250 million consumers, 65% refer to packaging and labels when purchasing products. The consumers rely upon the correctness of the product labels to inform them of the contents of the package, such as harmful allergens. According to the AIB report, 43% of food product recalls is due to mislabelling. Mislabeling is now classified as a Class III recall under FDA regulations requiring a mandatory recall of all mislabeled products.
As a way to guard against such mislabeling recalls, most companies are today requiring automated vision inspection programs for their labeling operations. Vision inspection systems are able to detect 100% of the product defects they are trained to capture, eliminating the potential of mislabeled products reaching the consumer, protecting every stakeholder in the supply chain from potential recalls and liability.
Today’s high speed manufacturing and packaging environment has made manual inspection nearly impossible therefore increasing the risk of a defective product reaching the retailer with improper information. When food mislabeling occurs on a production line they compromise product integrity, brand reputation, company profits, and pose a risk to the consumer. Vision systems are an extremely effective quality control tool that provides an immediate return on investment by eliminating mislabeling and its associated risks.
What Are Potential Labeling Hazards?
Mislabeling errors include placing the wrong label on a product, unidentified allergens on a label, missing front and/or rear labels, incorrect or incomplete product code information, and missing regulatory requirements such as, net weight and fill level. Implementing a vision inspection solution to monitor the labeling process will minimize these risks and its causes, such as operator error, unreliable manual inspectors, equipment malfunction, and system override.
It is essential to catch these errors before defective products end up on retailer shelves and in the hands of the consumer. Under Section 403 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, it qualifies what is considered mislabeling or misbranding under federal regulation.