By Habasa Johnson Miracle
Discoloration of product (s) is one of the major challenges faced by suppliers/sellers of different products.This has been encountered in bottled fruit juices, carbonated soft drinks, plastics etc.
Discoloration is generally due to poor product storage, handling, transportation and mixing techniques. It is caused to a greater extent by long exposure of product (s) to sunshine. The strong U.V light penetrates through the package material into its content causing chemical reaction.
This eventually results into physiochemical alteration of the active ingredients. Out of specification temperatures during processing is one of the major causes of discoloration for heat treated food products.
Product exposure to sunshine during transportation, storage at stores or shops results into off flavors or change in product taste e.g in juices, milk and its products, soft drinks etc.
It also weakens the package materials; creating pores which shortens the product shelf life. Some products become brittle or pale.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is commonly used to make clear plastic bottles in which bottled water and juices are sold. The contents of PET bottles and temperature at which it is stored influence the rate and magnitude of leaching of organic and in organic compounds from PET bottles more especially at high temperatures.
Several studies have shown the presence of compounds in bottled water in non negligible concentration under long sunlight exposure are caused as a result of PET degradation.Quality control & Assurance does not stop at processing,it goes on until the product is consumed or utilized.
It is the manufacturer’s responsibility through a well trained QC/QA department to give assurance to customers that the product remains safe and with the same quality while on shelve.
It is resident in the manufacturer’s obligation to train suppliers/ depot owners, shop attendants etc on the effects of harsh environmental conditions on different products basing on well researched scientific information.
All products should at all times be stored or transported under appropriate specified conditions. For instance soft drinks, processed fruit juices, bottled water etc should always be stored under shade when not chilled. Transportation trucks should have canopies to prevent direct product exposure to sunshine.
Poor ingredient mixing leading to non homogeneity of the finished product also to some extent may cause faint color in products.
It is prudent therefore, to choose the right package material depending on the active ingredient sensitivity in the product.With the current stiff competition for the market divide, it calls for Total Quality Management- a management approach of an organization centered on Quality, based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long term success through customer satisfaction and benefit to all members of the organization and society.
The Author is a Consultant at Quality Control & Assurance Consult U ltd.
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