The Role Of Security Screening Equipment

Security screening equipment in the food and pharmaceutical industries is an important part of current good manufacturing practices (cGMP).  Food and pharmaceuticals need to be as pure as possible.  The role of security screening equipment is to separate and remove impurities early on in the manufacturing process decreasing contamination issues later on.  This pre-screening does far more than that such as preventing damage to food processing equipment down-the-line as well as preventing injury to employees from foreign material that may be present in the raw materials.

License: Royalty Free or iStock Link: http://depositphotos.com

License: Royalty Free or iStock
Link: depositphotos.com

Of particular interest for many manufacturers, is the removal of non-metallic materials that may be present in their raw ingredients.  Removal of these materials calls for different types of equipment from those that separate out metallic contaminants.  Metallic contaminants require the use of magnetic traps and/or metal detectors.  Nevertheless, good quality security screening equipment is essential to producing a safe and high quality product.

Many advances have been made to security screening technology that make these systems very efficient as well as cost effective (cuts back on labor costs).  Of particular interest, is advanced sifter technology by Quadrocomil.  Quadrocomil is a leader in particle size reduction, security screening, and homogenous dispersions and not surprising they would further develop more advanced sifter technology.  This advanced sifter has the ability to reduce sticky, heat sensitive clumps into pieces (crumbs, powder etc.) of uniform size all the while protecting the quality of fragile products.  These advanced sifters have the ability to separate raisins and other sticky dried fruit clusters into separate components.  They can reduce particle size and separate pieces on both wet and dry chocolate milk crumbs without generating excessive heat maintaining color, texture, and taste.  They work well to delump detergents, metal powders, and pigments as well.

Quadrocomil has security screening and delumping equipment that is made for high-capacity in-line applications and are energy efficient.  Their new cGMP sifter fabrication is made of stainless steel and works as a centrifugal accelerator that provides for a continuous flow of purified materials through screen openings while retaining impurities within the screening chamber.  These systems are important for products that are sensitive and where quality control is of the essence.

A major role of security screening equipment is preventing quality assurance, health, and safety problems.  Foods need to have consistent appearance, texture, and taste to ensure that products sell over time (quality assurance) which means you need good quality security screening equipment.  Health and safety issues come about when contaminants are left behind indicating possible poor security screening and potential for a lawsuit based on poor manufacturing practice.  This is particularly a problem for the pharmaceutical companies at this time.  This is serious in that tainted drugs can generate chronic disease and even death.  See “In the News” below.

In the News

According to Regulatory Focus (RF), the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has declared that the main area of focus in 2013 will be on current good manufacturing practices (cGMP).  This will be of particular concern to the pharmaceutical industry as this will bring about some uncertainty in new areas involved with regulation and compliance.

In 2012, there were a number of issues in the area of misbranding with Abbott Laboratories, Merck, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) that brought about some hefty settlements for these pharmaceutical giants.  Misbranding involves making promotional claims that are not truthful or when safety information is not disclosed to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and doctors.  This impedes patients and healthcare providers from making informed decisions about medications they should take.  These companies have been demonstrated to have misbranded a number of drugs in the past decade and were collectively ruled to pay billions to the US government.  Other fines are pending from civil and state lawsuits as well.

To add insult to injury, a number of other compliance issues were reported in 2012.  These involved drug shortages caused by cGMP problems in a number of labs including Genzyme and Ben Venue Laboratories and pharmaceutical compounding problems with Hospira and a New England Compounding Center to mention a few.  At this point in time, it is not known whether these incidences triggered The DOJ’s decision to beef up cGMP surveillance.

Industry analysts are somewhat perplexed as to why DOJ would switch to emphasizing cGMP and are wondering about the consequences of such an action.  In the past, companies have been able to settle with misbranding issues by forking over large amounts of money and agreeing to marketing-based corporate integrity agreements (CIAs) which were meant to improve compliance to prevent future issues.  These fines generally range from millions to several billion and basically front-load.  However, consider what happened to Ben Venue Labs (Johnson and Johnson manufacturing subsidiary) due to cGMP issues in its Bedford plant.  This Ohio plant was shut down while spending $300 million on upgrades in addition to recalled products.  This plant is still not up to full capacity years after it was shutdown.

The DOJ’s redirection to focus on cGMPs will change everything.  Not only for the pharmaceutical industry but for agencies that concern themselves with pharmaceutical compliance issues as for the moment this area is out of their normal range of activity.  At least initially, it would appear that penalties will be different depending on whether you have violated cGMP, branding, or advertising regulations.

Summary

As cGMP comes under scrutiny by the DOJ, it becomes increasingly important to be compliant to proper manufacturing processes particularly where food and pharmaceuticals are concerned.  More and more, high quality security screening equipment becomes necessary to insure quality assurance, health, and safety issues.  Quadrocomil has come to the rescue in designing superior, high quality security screening and delumping systems that are made of easy to clean stainless steel that are energy efficient.  These systems are cGMP fabrications that will meet compliance regulations where high quality control is mandatory.

Quadrocomil is the leading technology in areas such as particle size reduction, screening, homogenous dispersion and more!

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