Canada-based Zinetti Food Products makes gourmet lasagnas and other prepared entrées available in the frozen food sections of Costco and other retailers throughout Canada and the United States. Its unwavering commitment to producing great-tasting, high-quality meals permeate every activity. To help ensure food safety, Zinetti recently installed Mettler-Toledo Safeline’s new X33 x-ray inspection system.
“I spoke with a few of the leading x-ray machine suppliers and had the best experience with Mettler-Toledo,” says Ash Engele, maintenance manager for Zinetti Foods. “We sent samples to three suppliers, and they were the first to get data back to us. The slam dunk was when my friend, Jeff Smith from Mountain Pacific Machinery, Portland, Ore., said that Mettler-Toledo was the best and explained why. He referred us to Brett Payne at MD Packaging, Canada, who went over all the details with us to be sure we had a perfect fit, and then sold us the X33.”
The next generation X33 features a new 20-watt x-ray generator that is said to dramatically reduce power use and energy costs while maintaining the same high-detection sensitivity. The X33 also improves sanitation with its redesigned styling and eases use with its new graphical user interface.
Similar to Mettler-Toledo’s SmartChek and AdvanChex x-ray systems, the X33’s detection sensitivity helps identify metal, glass, bone, stones and other dense foreign material, enabling it to remove contaminated products from the production line. It can also measure gross mass for portion control, inspect for packaging defects and check seal integrity.
“We started looking for an x-ray system several years ago. We installed a unit from another supplier on a trial basis in 2008, but we got a lot of false rejects and decided it wouldn’t work for us. Some people told us that x-ray inspection is better suited for products that are more homogenous than ours. We’ve since learned that’s not true,” adds Engele. “Because of that bad experience, we put the idea on the back burner.”
“Last year, we decided to revisit it,” Engele says. “I spoke with Mettler-Toledo, and they said that their systems could handle our products easily. But, given our past experience, we wanted a supplier that had a local technician. That was another reason we decided to go with Mettler-Toledo. Our local service tech is very knowledgeable. He installed the unit and set it up for our products and trained us. It’s good to know that if we run into any issues we can’t solve, he can be here quickly to get us back up and running.”
Zinetti Foods selected an X3302 that is wider than the standard X33, so it can handle the company’s full range of products. With its 400-mm-wide belt, the X3302 inspects Zinetti’s 3-kg family-size meals as well as 300-g single-serve meals.
“Sometimes we run the same product for an entire shift, and sometimes we have several products to run. The x-ray system is the easiest machine on our line to change over,” says Engele. “It takes a few seconds on the control panel to select the next product from memory, and it’s calibrated at the push of a button without having to send product through.”
“The touchscreen is very easy to use. Our operators like the icons and the product lists and images. They find this x-ray system very straightforward. And, we like the different levels of password protection. An operator can’t create or delete a product. Our engineers and QA personnel are allowed deeper access into the controls,” says Azin Kad, HACCP coordinator at Zinetti Foods.
“We rely on a lot of outside vendors for ingredients. The possibilities that there could be a stone or shard of glass are endless. Our x-ray system gives us another layer of protection,” adds Engele. “As we grow, we put more product out there for the public to consume, which increases our risk along with our volume. This x-ray inspection system is another step toward ensuring food safety. It give us confidence and it gives our retail customers confidence that we’re maintaining the highest product quality. At Zinetti Foods, we go above and beyond making great-tasting foods that people enjoy. We make sure our food is safe, so they keep coming back for more.”