How Hose Assembly Taste Tests Can Increase Dairy Product Quality
When it comes to dairy processing and packaging, retailers increasingly are adopting safety and quality standards even more stringent than those imposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their processes and equipment.
One key example: the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), an industry-driven global collaborative platform. This voluntary initiative created by the global food industry aims to enhance food safety practices and consumer confidence locally, regionally, and globally.
Founded in 2001, the GFSI initiative has gained traction over the years and is now considered the No. 1 global network of the consumer goods industry. It is governed by such well-known industry names as Walmart, Coca-Cola, Kroger, and many others. According to a 2013 survey, 87% of suppliers say it has been beneficial for their businesses.
GFSI is not a standard itself, but instead an overarching policy of how retailers can ensure safety and quality in the foods they sell. As such, the initiative has recognized a number of individual third-party certification schemes food and beverage companies can choose from and adopt to ensure, measure, and document both safety and quality in their processes.
Approved certification programs for facilities involved in the processing of animal perishable products and for the production of food packaging include the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standards, Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000, and Safe Quality Foods (SQF) Standards.
Retailers who require a GFSI-recognized certification from the suppliers they work with view it as a proactive way to let the public know that their products are more highly scrutinized than others when it comes to safety, product integrity, and legal defense.
GFSI-recognized schemes require testing of processes and components, so beverage producers wishing to be certified under one of the schemes must test and validate their processes and products, using internal tests and third-party audits to show they meet the scheme’s specific requirements.
To this end, milk retailers participating in GFSI require that their milk suppliers test and document the processes and equipment they select and use in accordance with one of the GFSI-recognized schemes.
As an example, one quality beverage makers need to test under schemes such as SQF and BRC is to what extent the equipment used to process and package milk products leads to taste impairment of the milk. Understanding this factor therefore becomes part of the selection process for beverage processing facilities creating preferred lists of suppliers of such items as the hose and hose assemblies used to transport and package their products.
While numerous industrial hose vendors manufacture and sell industrial hoses designed for these applications, the various tubing compounds used within those hoses are not the same from brand to brand. Every company has developed its own construction and compound formulations, and these are closely guarded secrets. Not surprisingly, some industrial hose products tend to perform better than others when it comes to taste impairment of milk products and other performance attributes.
Some kinds of industrial transfer hose, typically constructed with chlorobutyl, nitrile, or rubber compounds, have been linked to dairy taste complaints, as well as other processing performance factors. Therefore, testing the performance of hoses and hose assemblies according to these features, is a key way companies can show retailers that they are testing and validating their equipment selection processes as required by GFSI-approved schemes.
Beverage companies can show that they’ve considered this fact by conducting their own internal and documented tests to show they’ve addressed taste impairment and other qualities when specifying approved suppliers of their industrial transfer hose.
In the same way, equipment vendors that believe their industrial transfer hose offers greater consistency in terms of food safety and quality when it comes to taste impairment and other key factors typically should be happy to provide manufacturers with samples of their components to be used for process and product testing.
Processors or manufacturers then can test industrial transfer hoses specifically for taste impairment and how the hose holds up under the demands of their applications. Processors will put each sample through prescribed testing criteria to determine its ranking in terms of taste impairment and several other areas, such as exposure to detergents and temperatures.
In this way, choosing transfer hose that performs well in terms of taste impairment and other key performance factors ultimately can help beverage manufacturers meet the safety and quality schemes recognized by GFSI and sought by increasing numbers of retailers.