Stevens Traceability Systems Ltd

Paperless Traceability, Recipe Formulation And Weighing Solutions, Supporting Manufacturers Since 1844

Food Safety Compliance: How A Checkweigher Helps

Last Updated: July 20th, 20235 min read
Share this:

Food businesses across the UK must follow regulations regarding food safety to protect customers. These regulations can refer to the weights and measures of products, the presence of any contaminants and the labelling of products.

In this article we will briefly explore these regulations, and how they can impact your business. We will also focus on how integrating a checkweigher system into your production line can support your food safety compliance strategy.

This includes improvements such as:

  • Faster, more precise weighing
  • Automatic product rejection
  • Time and cost savings for reinvestment
  • Metal detector and x-ray integration

Read on below to learn more.

Understanding food safety regulations

Food safety is crucial for businesses in the food and beverage industry. There are various regulations businesses must follow to protect customers (and their business). These regulations might vary depending on the products you produce.

You’ll need to make sure you check with the relevant regulatory bodies. In the UK, the Food Standards Agency plays a key role in setting and enforcing standards for food and drinks.

Typical regulations for food manufacturers concern:

  • Weights and measures
  • Foreign contaminants
  • Product labelling

Weights and measures

The Weights and Measures Regulations (2006) apply to all packaged goods for fair trade. Compliance with these measures requires accurate measurements and declaration of product weights. To achieve this, you must follow the Three Packers Rules.

These rules refer to the weight of your products. Your food products should be within a certain tolerance of weight. This depends on the desired weight of your product, with only a small window of ‘ tolerable negative error’.

Use our free T1 and T2 calculator to see what your TNE is.

Foreign contaminants

There are also regulations in place against foreign contaminants in food products. It is your duty to ensure there are no contaminants in your products – such as metals and plastics. These can pose serious health hazards for your customers.

Failure to prevent such hazards can result in product recalls and legal action. This can result in large costs to your business, lost time and resources and a damaged reputation. To avoid this, you should consider integrating a metal detector combination or x-ray solution. Learn more about this below.

Product labelling

It is also important that you label your products correctly. There are various requirements around what food businesses need to provide on labels. This includes:

  • Product ingredients
  • Allergen information
  • Nutritional content
  • Net weight

These regulations allow consumers to make informed choices about the products they buy. Natasha’s Law, as an example, was introduced to protect customers with allergies. It requires PPDS foods to have clear labelling around the allergens they contain.

Remember to check for updates and changes in regulations. We always recommend that you regularly check regulator websites, like the FSA, and seek guidance from the relevant authorities to ensure you are up to date.

How does a checkweigher support compliance?

A checkweigher is an ideal solution to support your compliance strategies, with precise weighing and automatic rejection of botched or underweight products.

Faster, more precise weighing

Checkweighers are designed to automatically weigh each individual item against the necessary tolerances, with precise accuracy. This accuracy provides greater control in complying with your own quality standards as well as regulator guidelines and average weight legislation.

This weighing occurs on a moving conveyor belt – products are weighed automatically as they pass along the weighing conveyor. As a result, hundreds of products can be accurately measured against your defined tolerances, saving huge amounts of time compared to manual sampling and reducing the risk of human error in the process.

Automatic product rejection

If products are non-compliant, the checkweigher will automatically reject the item. This happens while the conveyor is moving. For example, if a product is underweight against the defined tolerances, the checkweigher system will detect that and the rejection mechanism will automatically trigger to remove the product from the line.

There are a variety of reject options available for businesses to use depending on the type and weight of products they are producing. This includes air blast, pushing, diversion and more. The automatic detection and rejection of non-compliant products prevents defective products from reaching customers, safeguarding customers and your business from regulator action.

Time and cost savings for reinvestment

By automating the weighing process and eliminating the need for manual sampling, a checkweigher will help to streamline your operations and increase the efficiency of your weighing and inspection processes. This will allow your staff to focus on other critical tasks for compliance and production, improving your efficiency too.

Moreover, a checkweigher will save your business huge amounts of money too. Thanks to precise weighing, a streamlined production line, and the prevention of non-compliant products, your business can save thousands of pounds a year. You can then reinvest this money into strengthening your quality control infrastructure through additional technologies, employee training, and more.

Inspection and metal detector integration

To go further with your product inspection strategies, you can integrate advanced technologies like metal detection or x-ray with your checkweigher. A checkweigher metal detector combination can detect metal fragments in your products, while an x-ray system can detect metal, plastic, stone and ceramic too.

These technologies add an extra layer of protection, ensuring that only safe and uncontaminated products reach the market. It demonstrates your proactive approach to food safety and reinforces consumer (and regulator) trust in your brand’s commitment to delivering high-quality and safe food products.

Read More Here:

While you’re here, why not read one of our posts below to find out more ways to improve your compliance strategies in your business…