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Confronting Food & Beverage Quality Failures with Analytical Chemistry

By: Chemir Analytical Services

Tel: (800) 659-7659
Fax: (314) 291-6630
Email info@chemir.com

Website: www.chemir.com.


Quality issues or product failures can cause manufacturing shut-downs, customer complaints or even legal disputes. These problems include contamination, off-flavors/colors/odors, toxic substances, migration/leaching and packaging failures. When these non-routine problems occur, food and beverage manufacturers may need to call on an outside analytical laboratory. These facilities feature state-of-the-art instrumentation and experienced scientists that can quickly interpret data and provide reliable answers.

Chemir Analytical Services has helped many food and beverage manufacturers confront tough quality issues. The following are case studies illustrating common quality failures and how our scientists found answers.

Product Contamination from Outside Sources
Often, a food or beverage product can become contaminated by an outside source. This can be identified by an off-flavor, color, or odor or even by visual indicators such as particulates or unexpected separations. Possible causes of product contamination can be migration or leaching from the packaging or process, incompatible raw materials, or improper storage.

Possible Pesticide Contamination
A door at a meat processing plant was left open while a pesticide was being sprayed. The processor came to Chemir to determine if their product had been contaminated. Chemir was contacted on a Sunday afternoon and results were needed by 8am Monday morning because 2000 butchers were holding operations.

We obtained a sample of the actual pesticide used, which was a mixture of 3 main components. First, samples of the meat from different locations were pooled to allow for faster sampling. While the samples were being shipped to our laboratory, Chemir scientists quickly performed method development experiments to ensure low limits of detection. Once the samples arrived, the meat was extracted using methylene chloride. Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) was then used to screen the methylene chloride extracts, looking for these 3 components. When none of the analytes were observed in the meat extracts, a portion of the meat was intentionally spiked with the pesticide at levels below the allowable limits (ppb levels) to confirm the effectiveness of the test method. All 3 analytes were observed in the spiked sample at the appropriate levels.

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Chemir Analytical Services is an independent chemical and materials testing laboratory offering expert witness services. They offer investigative analytical services to solve complex problems.

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