Our supportive analytical testing completes the sensory “package.” We offer customized sensory testing. We also can conduct small-scale sensory panels to provide directional data from consumer sensory testing.
Our experience with products includes beverages, dairy products, sauces, dressing, condiments, frozen food, fried food, baked goods, natural health products and others. We can also provide microbial analysis and supportive analytical testing such as colour, viscosity, pH and texture analysis to complement sensory evaluations.
Cooking Instruction Validation
Cooking instructions for consumer packages ensure critical food safety temperatures are achieved to comply with food safety program requirements. We can validate the cooking instructions on your label or package to ensure they result in a safe, ready-to-eat product with acceptable sensory quality. We use consumer cooking appliances including:
- Microwaves with various wattages
- Electric, gas and flat-top ranges
- Deep fryers
Packaging is a key influence in your product’s market performance. Appropriate packaging maintains your product’s quality. The package provides information about the product and if it’s well designed, it also entices the customer to purchase your product. NSF International’s team of packaging experts offers advice on appropriate packaging choices or techniques that will maintain or increase your product’s shelf life.
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Package Integrity Testing
Do you need to verify or establish physical properties of your package? We can perform the following package tests for films and plastic containers:
- Film thickness
- Tensile and elongation
- Compression testing
- Seal strength
- Coefficient of friction
- Headspace gas analysis
Barrier material assessment is useful in selecting the appropriate package to maintain the quality and extend the shelf life of your product. Packaging converters can use permeation testing to:
- Establish specification sheets
- Perform on-going QA checks
- Generate COAs for packaging materials
Brand owners can use permeation testing to:
- Verify packaging supplier specifications
- Compare different packaging materials
- Troubleshoot possible shelf life issues
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Oxygen Indicator Technology
A good barrier to oxygen is critical for ensuring the retention of quality in packaged foods and beverages. Typically, the assessment of oxygen barrier properties in packaged foods is conducted using a gas flush method which tests the packages in a dry state. Most foods are not dry! At NSF, we have developed a method for quantifying oxygen ingress using the package in its intended state, i.e., as a sealed container for a liquid system. As oxygen enters the packaging system, the Oxygen Indicator Solution turns from colourless to blue, deepening in intensity with increased ingress. Non-destructive spectrophotometric measurements allow the rate of oxygen ingress to be determined.
Oxygen Indicator Gel:
For most packages, oxygen ingress is NOT evenly distributed. Let the Oxygen Indicator Gel system show you precisely where oxygen is entering the package.
Advantages of Oxygen Indicator Solution:
- Measurements are non-destructive
- System mimics behaviour of food products (Vitamin C degradation)
- Measurements are conducted on the entire packaging system including closures
- Results correlate well with other methods
- Large numbers of samples can be tested simultaneously
- Both rigid and flexible packages can be measured
- Testing environment can be varied (RH, temperature, carbonation) to simulate
actual storage/transportation conditions and accelerated conditions
Troubleshooting for Packaging Issues
NSF can use sensory techniques to determine if there are product/package interactions that may cause off-odour or off-taste issues. We can assist with modified atmosphere packaging (IMAP) challenges to extend shelf life. We can:
- Optimize the gas mixture
- Help you select proper packaging materials
- Perform headspace gas analysis
- Provide on-site consultation for equipment set-up
- Conduct shelf-life determination
Finally, we examine package failure by investigating seal failure, verifying material construction, performing strength testing and determining barrier properties.
Performance testing is important to ensure the integrity of the package on filling lines or in the marketplace. We use the following International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT) standards methods when testing plastic flat-top closures for water, carbonated soft drinks, and aseptic and hot fill beverages.
- Secure seal test
- Removal torque
- Drop and ball impact tests
- Elevated temperature cycle
- Pressure/carbonation retention
- Topload vent test
- Opening performance
- Vent and angle release
- Lubricant migration testing