The American Dairy Products Institute showcases equipment at its annual meeting and technical symposiums where instrument suppliers can present new or updated products. They can also network with users to get answers to specific questions and training issues. Instrument manufacturers may have workshops for specific instruments as well as preventive maintenance training.
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Explore This IssueFebruary/March 2020
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Software training for calibration adjustment or development is done via webinars or online training. “Most instruments have modem and interface capabilities, which allows the manufacturer or service technician access to an instrument in the event of a needed repair or updates,” says Dean Tjornehoj, a dairy industry quality and food safety consultant and Center of Excellence resource professional at the American Dairy Products Institute in Chicago. Control system manufacturers may exhibit control packages with integrated infrared or NIR instruments for moisture control. Webinars are used for company training sessions, with a manufacturer’s technical service joining in online to answer questions.
The majority of educational material that the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) provides and sponsors are in the form on hands-on demonstrations or presentations for processor members on the preparation and techniques used to create safe and wholesome meat products, says Nelson J. Gaydos, outreach specialist for the AAMP, which is based in Elizabethtown, Pa. The organization presents several state and regional conventions throughout the year nationwide.
Tjornehoj says the American Dairy Products Institute may share particular issues with a type of instrument or test method with its members. “Generally, because accuracy and precision have a significant influence on production efficiencies and profitability, further detail is usually proprietary,” he says. “NIR in general works well for powder and condensed products with appropriate procedures. A discussion about methods is usually limited to those points, as well as the general reliability or ease of adjusting product calibrations.”
Service is critical for NIR or infrared systems, especially those instruments integrated into a control system that may not be as flexible as a benchtop offline unit, Tjornehoj says. Less common are questions about networking instruments or networking software, which is important for companies that are large enough to purchase and take advantage of such software.
AAMP shares information in two major food areas: food safety and how preparation/cooking affects the final product. “Food safety, specifically prevention of pathogen growth and destruction, is of the utmost important when it comes to any food product,” Gaydos says. “Cooking with humidity has been shown to be an extremely important factor when it comes to killing pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. Secondly, it’s also important to understand how processes like cooking and humidity (or lack of it) affects the final flavor, texture, and appearance of products so processors can make products consistently the same and to their desired preferences.”