Food manufacturers should install in-line gas analysers that continuously monitor the gas content of the packaging chamber before the packages are sealed.

That’s the message from PBI-Dansensor, specialists in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and proponents of more cost-effective quality assurance systems in the future.

As processing and packaging technologies become increasingly sophisticated, it is vital to ensure that these processes are functioning correctly on the production line – or the quality of the product will suffer. MAP is a key method to maintain the quality and improve the shelf-life of processed and fresh meat products.

Ensuring that the correct gas mixture is in the packaging is a crucial requirement of the process, so the mixture must be monitored in a reliable and efficient way.

Traditional quality control approaches involve manually removing packages at intervals and testing them to ensure that the gas mixture is as it should be. With this now considered by some to be time-consuming and wasteful, PBI-Dansensor is encouraging the installation of in-line gas analysers that continuously monitor the package before it is sealed.

Karsten Kejlhof, Sales & Marketing Director for PBI-Dansensor, explained, “Conventional quality control involved removing a package every so often to check it. If you take out a sample every 15 minutes, you don’t know if the problem might occur just after you have removed the sample, by which time hundreds of packages might have gone through the system before the next sample is checked.”

“Also, three samples every fifteen minutes is 12 an hour, two shifts a day for 300 days, creating a lot of waste and repackaging just for testing the samples.”