Test & Measurement

Calibration is key to securing global food supplies

16th May 2023
Sheryl Miles

Calibration will play a vital role in the ability of the world to produce sufficient amounts of safe food to feed nearly eight billion people, says Fluke.

With World Metrology Day focusing on ‘Measurements supporting the global food system’, Fluke is highlighting how food testing laboratories are literally able to save lives by ensuring their equipment is delivering accurate measurement results every time.

Accuracy is essential in the food industry not just for being able to offer consumers sound advice on nutrition and food safety, but also for delivering food security to a rapidly expanding population.

Increased demands

The food industry must increase its supply to meet the needs of the world’s eight billion people. At the same time many countries around the world are now strengthening their focus on food quality and safety, this produces increased demands on the science of measurement. This is a challenge that must be met because, according to the World Health Organization, roughly 600 million people around the world (nearly one in 10 people) suffer from food-borne illnesses, with 33 million healthy life years lost each year. Worse still, close to 420,000 people die around the world every 12 months from unsafe food and 125,000 of them are children. Financially, around $110 billion is wasted in terms of medical expenses and lost productivity caused by those in low- and middle-income countries being adversely affected by unsafe food.

Clearly, this is a major crisis which requires food quality to be monitored and controlled continually and on a massive scale. Typical factors that are measured to ensure food safety relate to temperature, pressure, and humidity, as well as mass and volume. Food can deteriorate very quickly if levels in these areas exceed or fall short of accepted standards. For example, humidity needs to be controlled closely to minimise mould growth and extend the life of dry goods while checking pressure in storage tanks is essential to avoid microbiological contamination during the homogenisation process of various foodstuffs. Of course, the same applies if temperatures stray above or below stipulated thresholds.  

Traceable calibration

To ensure the accuracy of every measurement taken – which is increasingly happening away from laboratories and out in the field using portable and hand-held tools – all measuring devices need to be calibrated and have a traceable calibration record. Because measurement instruments are continually becoming more accurate, Fluke has developed a range of solutions – such as temperature calibrators – that are able to cater for these altering demands.

Not only do these tools reduce downtime and boost productivity by ensuring faster calibration but they also deliver results of the highest accuracy within minimal timeframes.

The ability to manage systems and improve efficiencies is only possible with the capacity to take measurements accurately. However, measurements can quickly become meaningless and futile without measurement instrument calibration. Compromise is not an option when it comes to securing the food supply of the future and Fluke remains determined to play its part in protecting the population of our planet. Calibration is the key.

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