Biopharmaceutical Bioprocessing Technology Centre

Food

Online Control in Food Production

The food industry has to guarantee food quality and safety, and has to make sure that flavour, look and texture of the product are always the identical.

Most of us know the problem, you bake and the cake doesn’t come out right, often this is due to inefficient mixing of ingredients. Or you make your own caramel and the second you are not paying 100% attention the caramel burns. At home it is easy enough to start from scratch but what are large food manufacturers doing?

The food industry has to guarantee food quality and safety, and has to make sure that flavour, look and texture of the product are always the identical.  Traditionally the quality is checked at the end of the production process but this does not provide effective assurance and is economically not viable. Angela Barone, one of the BBTC doctoral students, helped her host company to establish consistently high product quality more efficiently. She developed a method to test the quality of different ingredient blends throughout production using a typical Quality by Design (QbD) approach implementing Process Analytical Technologies (PAT). Her method is based on Near-Infrared spectroscopy. Data collected from different batches allowed her to build a model that enables the company to identify faulty batches already during production.

Her method is now implemented in the production process as in-line quality control tool for a variety of products, powdered as well as viscous blends. Angela’s work is the first to develop this method for caramel. Something that was thought to be not possible due to the translucence of this product. Now defective batches can be easily identified and disposed of early on in the process. Waste of production batches is hence decreased saving money and increasing the productivity.

Angela’s work is published with a couple of other related case studies in Measurement, Modelling and Automation in Advanced Food Processing.

Case study: food