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X-ray inspection checks snacks

Quality control efforts reflect firm’s triple bottom line philosophy

X-ray inspection meets regulatory requirements and gives customers confidence.
X-ray inspection meets regulatory requirements and gives customers confidence.

Show Daily Exclusive - Nutradried Creations, Blaine, Washington, uses state-of-the-art technology to create shelf-stable, healthy snacks derived from natural, whole foods.
Focused on more than turning a profit, its mission is to create a triple bottom line—people, planet, profit—by selling environmentally and socially responsible products that deliver the best nutrition possible to consumers. Purchasing focuses on ethical ingredients that are fairly traded, and the company partners with organizations like Agros International, a Seattle-based nonprofit that helps poor, rural farmers purchase their own land through low-interest or interest-free loans. With Agros, Nutradried Creations helped develop 42 villages, aiding 24,000 farmers and fostering generational change. To help achieve its triple bottom line goals, the company needs vendors it can trust.
In addition to new customer expectations, Nutradried Creations must comply with a higher compliance bar set by the FDA in recent years. Perhaps the most significant are the much tougher Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) requirements. When inspectors come calling, they expect to find strong evidence that a hazard analysis has been completed and critical control points have been identified and are monitored and that corrective action protocols are in place to ensure the HACCP system functions as intended.
“We need to provide our customers with the absolute security that the products we make for them are safe with no foreign contaminants,” says Nutradried Creations Plant Manager Phil Fraley. To ensure product quality, his team evaluated nine x-ray suppliers. “We spent about 12 hr. going through the capabilities for each,” he reports. Another four hours was spent putting together spreadsheets and a recommendation in favor of the Sesotec equipment for a presentation to Nutradried Creations’ owners.
Ultimately, many things set Sesotec (Booth LS-5911) apart from the pack, but Fraley cites one example: A commitment to quality training. “Sesotec included quality training in their fees and provided us with a great machine,” he reports, noting competitors wanted to charge up to $5,000 to provide training.
Sesotec’s inspection equipment complies with HACCP and other requirements. This gives Nutradried Creations more confidence when preparing for an inspection or customer audit. “We want to be ready,” says Fraley. “We want our customers to have confidence in doing business with us,” he explains.
In addition to detecting metal contamination, the Raycon x-ray inspection systems can complete more advanced product analysis to identify foreign materials like glass, ceramic, stone and bone that other systems might miss. The Raycon unit detects high-density plastics such as polyvinyl chloride and natural rubber and can locate product defects including cracks, missing components and underweight packs.
Packaging components such as aluminum clips on sausage chubs or aluminum pie plates can be masked as needed. Edge filter technology analyzes and compensates for dense packaging edges in metal cans or carton walls, yet still finds foreign material at these edges. So 100% package inspection is always taking place.
Software delivers a number of advantages. Real-time, solid-state flash memory means no longer having to account for error-prone spinning hard drives. A Linux operating system—known the world over as an extremely robust industrial platform—allows for the full processing horsepower of a dedicated image analysis computer to find the smallest foreign material in a food product.
Finally, the electronic design is modular and rugged; no uninterruptable power supply is required for system protection and access is easy for lower cost of ownership.
Because of its partnership with Sesotec, the company is pursuing larger partners, including private labels. Fraley predicts, “This represents a potentially big growth opportunity for Nutradried Creations. We benefit from working with partners who share our commitment to doing things well and doing them right.” Fraley and the team at Nutradried Creations remain committed to providing high-quality products that benefit people all over the globe. Working with a partner like Sesotec, they are confident they’ll achieve their goals.
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