Celsis is citing additional benefits of RMMs that it says shouldn't be overlooked in light of current industry trends towards sustainability, connectivity and the increasing conversion to aseptic packaging.
1. Sustainability — Many food and beverage manufacturers overlook the micro lab when it comes to increasing their company's sustainability profile. Traditional testing methods generate large amounts of waste and can lead to increased water and energy usage. Agar-based methods are also more time-consuming, requiring products to be held in micro-hold for three to five days.
Celsis asserts that RMMs provide a sustainable alternative by completing tests faster and with less waste. RMMs allow products to be incubated, tested and released in as few as 24 hours, resulting in reduced inventory and warehouse space. And a faster production cycle means products get to market faster. Also, since products do not need to be cultured, the amount of physical waste (e.g. Petri dishes) and chemical waste from specific agar media is dramatically decreased, Celsis said.
2. Connectivity — Food and beverage testing hasn't typically been linked with cutting-edge communication tools, but new trends are beginning to change that. Advanced software enables manufacturers to access test results for any product at any testing site with a network computer. This provides departments with the ability to view test results around the clock, improving visibility and increasing productivity. The software works by incorporating a multi-user interface that enables multiple RMM instruments to send results to a centralized location.
In addition, the software that supports some of today's new RMM systems helps companies simplify and streamline USDA and FDA compliance by allowing manufacturers to track and trace products and access data onsite or remotely. Moreover, the newest versions of RMM software integrate with existing LIM and ERP systems and can export data to common database programs for added convenience.
3. Aseptic Packaging — Many food and beverage manufacturers are embracing aseptic packaging in order to meet increased consumer demand for healthy, "fresh" products that are natural, organic and preservative-free. Compact and space-saving aseptic packaging also facilitates sustainability by utilizing less shelf and warehouse space, cutting shipping costs, reducing energy expenses, allowing delivery to more locations, and even enabling the regular delivery of certain products to remote areas for the first time.
There are testing implications for aseptically packaged products as well. Because the goal is to produce a sterile product, goods are far less likely to have any microbial bioburden present, meaning there is rarely a need to identify any organisms. A rapid screening, which quickly indicates the presence or absence of microbial contaminants, makes it easier to safely release the production run, while also enabling a faster response to contamination events.
"Food and beverage manufacturers have relied on RMMs to deliver products to market safely and quickly for over a decade. In today's atmosphere of 'clean', 'lean' and 'green', they make more sense than ever," Celsis concluded.