Considerations for validation test methods

There are several ways to measure chemical concentrations in produce wash water, in this article we have outlined the various factors you should consider when choosing the best test method.

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Accuracy and precision of test result

Tests are performed on wash water to verify that the correct amount of sanitizer is present. When dealing with narrow margins about what is a safe and acceptable level of sanitizer, an accurate result is required. Inaccurate or variable results means that operators are not able to confirm whether their wash water is safe and conforming to the correct standards. With reliable information, operators are able to take the right action, using their chemical efficiently and ensuring produce quality. Reliable and accurate results can be achieved through the quality of method, resilience to errors in the method, objectivity of the test and imperviousness to manipulation of the test or results.

Traceability

Traceability is a key factor in produce washing, as producers are required to keep comprehensive records of their process and results. This is then subject to regular audits by customers and regulatory bodies to ensure the safety and conformance of the produce. Paper records can become lost, damaged or can be altered, and therefore data will be subject to scrutiny from auditors. Integrated data logs which are saved and cannot be changed can create a fully trusted auditable data trail.

Ease of use

Simple, quick and easy tests require less skill, training, and time, creating cost efficiencies for producers in a cost-sensitive market. Technologies which are quicker and easier to operate are known to reduce headcount and can be a huge cost saver for a business.

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Application suitability

Test methods must be suitable for the operating environment and the application’s unique water matrix. Some methods lend themselves better to cleaner or clearer waters with different interferences. Produce wash water is turbid, coloured, full of bubbles and
suspended solids. These factors can impact some test methods.

Similarly, the test method must employ materials that are suitable for the application environment; equipment or consumables that are unfit for purpose impact the practicality of the test method.

Cost

Cost is a key driver for producers as they are increasingly pushed to reduce operating costs. Selecting a test method can have a significant impact on cost particularly with regard to labour, chemicals, and test equipment. In addition to this, producers need to consider the risk and costs of exposure to contaminated produce, caused by ineffective sanitization procedures.

To find out more about why you should be measuring your sanitizer concentration and a comparison of the best methods, see our article: What is the best test method for measuring sanitizer concentration in food and beverage applications? 

To see how our Kemio technology helps to generate cost and time efficiencies whilst ensuring effective food safety, contact our team below.

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