Looking for leaks in food packages isn’t something that most people think about when they’re at the grocery store. If there is a leak in the packaging your food is contained in, you’re at an extremely high risk for foodborne illnesses such as salmonella and e.coli. To prevent this from continuously happening, consumers need to understand exactly how manufacturers use leak detection equipment to detect leaks in food packaging.
1. Altitude Simulation Method
This type of leak detection is used for food products that will be flying in the air to their destination. Companies use a vacuum chamber to test whether or not the products will collapse once they’re at high altitudes.
2. Dry Chamber Technique
This type of leak detection is used for products that are liquid. The product is placed into a chamber where it is later placed into a vacuum. Manufacturers use an absorbent material to see if the product is leaking any liquid. If the product is leaking, there will be liquid on the absorbent material.
3. Helium Spray
The part of the food packaging material that needs to be tested is separated through a pumping system. That system is connected to a helium detector. If the separation is successful, helium gas will then be sprayed onto the part of the product that needs to be tested. If there are leaks in the product, gas will be able to leak inside. As soon as helium reaches the inside of the product, a detector will go off, alerting manufacturers to the leak.
4. Bubble Emission
The bubble emission technique is used for products that have air in them. The product that needs to be tested is submerged in water. If bubbles begin to appear in the packaging, it means that there is a leak in it.
5. Pressure Decay
If there is a leak in the packaging of a product, there will be less pressure inside the packaging. Before the product can be tested, it needs to be charged with nitrogen or dry air set at a specific pressure level. The pressure inside the product is then monitored over a certain period of time. If the pressure in the packaging decreases, then there is surely a leak in it.
6. Ultrasonic Measurement
If you didn’t already know, every leak makes a specific sound depending on how big the leak is. Every sound produces a frequency that can be high or low. For example, if the leak is very small, it makes an extremely high-pitched sound. Manufacturers use an instrument called an ultrasonic leak detector that consists of a handheld device, headphones, a meter, and an adjustment nozzle. The ultrasonic leak detector is then used to detect the sound. The device is so sensitive that it can even determine the rate at which the product is leaking!
It’s important to be an informed consumer, especially when it comes to the food that you’re putting in your body. Don’t be afraid to do your research to see how the company that you’re buying food from tests their food packaging!