Leak detectors for flexible food packaging

Contamination accounts for a large portion of recalls in the food processing industry and can lead to high costs and even legal ramifications. Bestech has come up with a simple solution to put your mind to rest.

Food processors are constantly looking to increase productivity – however, responsibility for product integrity doesn’t leave their remit when their packaged goods are shipped around the world for consumption.

On the contrary, businesses are fast adapting to strict standards for health, safety and quality right along the supply chain; from the farm where their ingredients are grown through to the factory floor where they are packaged.

Acting on issues of food waste, engineers at Bestech Australia – which specialises in sensors and instrumentation  – have come up with a new device that ensures packaged foods are sealed properly, increasing their shelf life and saving costs.

Sealtick offers a range of leak detectors to check the integrity of flexible packages like biscuits, chips, coffee and milk powder.

A small problem with package sealing on a production line can lead to extensive food wastage if the problem isn’t detected soon enough.

According to statistics released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, food products such as wheat and beef are among some of highest exports in the agriculture sector.

Amid a market tipped to pass $60 billion, a significant number of food products are manufactured and shipped every day.

In Australia, food contamination is one of the main causes for product recalls while microbial exposure is often the culprit for a spoiled product.

Down the line, recalls can affect businesses in many ways; the most worrisome include legal action, while grounds to halt production and a tarnished reputation can also give manufacturers sleepless nights.

Advances in food processing and food packaging play an important role in ensuring manufactured goods are safe for consumption – meaning that both the food’s production and packaging go hand in hand.

“A small, hard-to-detect leakage can lead to a significantly reduced shelf life, and often spoilt product which could be soggy or moldy,” said Samson Sim, Bestech marketing engineer.

“This could bring a bad name to the brand. Leak testing the product ensures that it is fresh when it reaches the consumer.”

All food that is produced – after a sealing problem occurs right up until the time it is discovered – will have to be thrown away.

Traditional testing methods for leakage involve dunking the package in water. However this wet packet, even though good, has to be thrown out.

Sealtick uses a non-destructive dry test for package leak integrity. Therefore, the tested good product can go back on the production line after the test.

The savings in cost that this solution can create could potentially pay for the machine in the space of a few weeks.

“A good brand is associated with good product quality and attractive packaging,” Sim said. “This packaging has to effectively seal and protect the contents inside to ensure a good customer experience.


“Sealtick offers very fast testing, taking only about 15 seconds for a test. This allows regular integrity testing so the staff can push the boundaries of production speed while maintaining high seal quality and avoid costly wastage.”

Food packaging reduces the risk of product deterioration, maintaining food quality while extending shelf life.

Deterioration to foods can happen three different ways, whether that is chemically, biologically or physically.

Chemical deterioration is caused by exposure to oxygen, moisture or light, which can cause compositional changes.

Biological deterioration includes exposure to micro-organisms, insects, rodents and other pests, which cause disease and can spoil the product.

Packaging also provides physical protection that shields food from direct contact. This can damage the product – which is why seal checks such as Bestech’s latest technology are worth the investment.

The companies that are using Sealtick for package leak testing have a consistently good product going out the factory, according to Bestech, who claim to have set a new benchmark in leak testing of food products.

The test is fast – around 10 to 15 seconds – and, while contaminant free, there is no water involved and is extremely sensitive; it can detect holes as small as 10 microns.

“We are always looking for a longer shelf life for our food products and the market is growing fast,” Sim added.

DTS Food Assurance heading to foodpro

DTS Food Assurance specialises in testing, inspection and certification services for food manufacturing industries such as the meat, dairy, confectionery, beverage, seeds and grain sectors.

Visitors to next week’s exhibition can find the company at Stand W58.

The company is one of the leading food assurance service providers in Australia, utilising large food microbiology and chemistry laboratories, as well as extensive inspection and certification scope. With more than 60 years of experience, DTS Food Assurance has continually offered solutions to food processing companies from the farm, right through to the consumer.

The company provides an extensive range of services, helping to achieve a rapid time-to-market for high-quality food products. It has a dedicated team of technical specialists with expertise in areas such as auditing and inspection, chemical analysis (including forensic), certification, allergen testing, risk management, and microbiological consultation. Its commitment to high-quality service ensures customers are provided with the latest technologies and methodologies.

In addition, the company’s state-of-the-art laboratory facilities are National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited and it has 12 quarantine-approved premises. Its Seed division uses enhanced and innovative testing methodologies, offering seed certification to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies, Seedcare, and domestic standards. DTS performs GMO testing, International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) certificates, and field inspection services, as well as phytosanitary clearance and electronic reporting.

Delivered by Bureau Veritas together with AsureQuality, DTS offers inspection and certification services to help ensure food products meet safety, ethics, and sustainability standards. The company’s network of auditors provide independent and integrated inspection, verification, and certification to retailers, producers, and processors in agricultural and food industries.

Through its partners, DTS has an extensive portfolio of international and domestic accreditations, including management system and product certifications, as well as regulatory and approved supplier programs.

New Coliform and E.coli test for water

AMSL Scientific has released EC Blue, a rapid Coliform and E.coli test for water samples.

Traditional methods for testing Coliforms in water often requires filtering the sample which adds to the time, complexity and cost of performing a test.

Using this new test, results are available in 18-24 hours and a simple colour change from clear to blue will indicate the presence of total Coliforms. If E.coli is present, then the sample will also fluoresce under UV Light.

The test kit is ready to use, shelf stable, and available in several different formats, such as jars, sachets and tubes. The jars are ultra-convenient as they are sterile and ready to use, all you need to do is add 100ml of sample to the container and incubate. The sachets are versatile as you can add the media to any sample in a suitable container such as a bottle or Whirl-Pak bag.

Quantitative results with EC Blue are also available via the use of the tubes or the MPN Tray.



Test kit for faster UHT and ESL beverage tasting

Global demand for commercially sterile beverages is growing more than 9 per cent annually, according to a market research report by Reportlinker. Taking this into consideration, 3M have announced the launch of their Microbial Luminescence Systems UHT Beverage Screen Kit.

This new rapid test expands the application of the Microbial Luminescence System (MLS) from UHT dairy products to a wide variety of UHT and ESL beverages such as fruit juices, caffeinated drinks, coconut waters, smoothies, dairy, dairy substitutes, and dairy/juice mixtures. The system provides a rapid method for quality release testing, reducing the time-to-result by two to three days or more, compared to traditional methods like agar plates and pH measurement.

Using bioluminescence technology, the Microbial Luminescence System detects ATP (adenosine triphosphate), an energy molecule universally present in all living organisms, no matter how small. This technology allows the 3M MLS to have faster time-to-result than traditional pH or agar tests, and more reliably detect a broad range of microorganisms than traditional methods.

Following a 2-3 day sample pre-incubation time, the 3M MLS technology provides a rapid result in less than 30 minutes, eliminating the need for further plating and incubating of agar dishes. This expedited time-to-result enables beverage producers to release product quicker, reduce inventory and storage space as well as increase their flexibility and lab productivity.

“UHT and ESL beverages and their processing techniques are becoming more sophisticated and diverse. Yet the historical test methods continue to lag behind and are time-consuming and limiting,” said Eric Amann, 3M Food Safety global marketing manager. “This new and improved 3M technology provides a quicker and more reliable way to detect microorganisms in a wide variety of beverages.”