Checklist ‘Quality Assurance and Maintenance’ revised

Date: 08.02.2023Source: VDMA

Filling is the last step of the production process and at the same time the first step of the packaging process. It is a crucial interface within the production process in that it determines whether and for how long the original quality of the food product can be maintained in its intended distribution channels. Special care with regard to the factors influencing quality has always been appropriate in aseptic filling processes, in which a commercially sterile product is filled without recontamination in a sterilised packaging material. Since faults in the microbiologically relevant functions of machines of this type cannot be detected with random sample-based analysis methods, only the consistent implementation of preventive quality-maintaining measures leads to the goal of microbiologically safe production. But even in the case of non-aseptic filling, high demands must be placed on filling hygiene and preventive quality-maintaining measures if the shelf lives required by the market are to be achieved for perishable products while largely dispensing with preservatives and thermal post-treatment.

This publication compiles factors in the form of a checklist that have proven to be relevant to quality in practice. In addition to cleaning/sterilisation and maintenance work, machine checks and classic quality inspections, chapters on the machine environment and staff training have also been included. The importance of the factors listed in these chapters for the microbiological safety of the production process is often underestimated in practice.

This trade association publication has undergone a regular review of an update. Since the publication of the second edition, further sheets of VDI 4066 have been produced with the involvement of the VDMA working group. Furthermore, the EHEDG Doc. 46 ‘Aseptic and Hygienic Filling Machines – Planning, Installation, Qualification and Operation’ was published with the involvement of the VDMA working group, which also covers parts of the topic addressed here. An overview of the publications on the subject of “aseptic and hygienic filling of liquid and pasty foods” published by the VDMA working group “Interface problems in aseptic systems” is available for download on the VDMA topic page Aseptic.  For more visit vdma.org/viewer/-/v2article/render/15218776

David Cox / IDM

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