Food Safety: How Representative Sampling Can Reduce Your Risk

Food, Food Manufacturing & Supply Chain, Food Testing, Food Safety & Regulation,
  • Thursday, October 12, 2017

Expanding regulations, foodborne illness outbreaks, and product recalls are intensifying demand for food safety. The challenges in food production are growing more intense every year. How can you keep up?

The 2016 implementation of the Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Control (HARPC) provisions under Section 103 of the US FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) placed more responsibility on the food industry to identify potential food safety risks. A well-developed food quality and safety program includes risk-based evaluation, control procedures, corrective actions, and documentation. It also involves food testing using analytical techniques to measure quality and contamination threats down to the parts-per-trillion. Yet, food testing often starts with an unreliable sample.

Manual sampling techniques such as hand scoop and spigot sampling are common sampling methods with food producers and processors. These convenient and low-cost direct methods are widely accepted as a standard operating procedure. Final product sampling is also regarded as being easy and reliable – the product is a random representation of the lot and is already contained and ready for the lab.

However, manual sampling simply isn’t enough to keep up with FSMA regulation. As a result, food producers are investing in specialized sampling equipment to reduce their risk. They’re implementing the latest food safety procedures, with more testing throughout production from raw ingredients to finished product to improve traceability.

How do you ensure your samples are reliable? Representative sampling processes outlined in the 2003 FDA BAM Study as well as the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) both support using representative sampling.

Sampling for food safety should be mathematically representative. What’s more, you can prove it and document it to protect your process and facility. With this kind of proactive sampling – taking small, incremental samples before a food or beverage product is bottled or fully processed – you can streamline the compliance process.


How Representative Sampling Improves Food Safety Compliance

  1. Reliability – Representative automatic sampling is reliable, from validation of raw ingredients to quality testing at each key processing stage. It is the only way to ensure confidence in food testing results.
  2. Accuracy – For the most dependable ingredient analysis and traceability, automatic representative sampling offers a repeatable method providing a more accurate, efficient way to sample versus manual scoop or pull methods that introduce bias.
  3. Ingredient verification – In-process ingredient blending systems could be enhanced by automatic sampling to verify that ingredients are being blended at appropriate ratios.




John Powalisz, Industry Manager, Sentry Equipment

During his 17 years with Sentry Equipment, John has developed significant expertise in specifying, selling, and deploying sampling solutions for food and beverage plants throughout the world. Currently, John is the Industry Manager for the Food and Beverage Markets, working with clients and industry specialists to develop best practice sampling and monitoring techniques and equipment to optimize processes and food safety compliance.

John has co-authored sampling guidance documents and presented numerous papers on sampling equipment for food products from dairy liquids to dry bulk ingredients.

John holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and continuing education certificates from University of Wisconsin–Madison and other programs. He resides in Sussex, Wisconsin, with his wife and son. He enjoys outdoor pursuits including hiking, biking, and skiing, and is a member of the National Ski Patrol. John also enjoys exercising the privileges of his Commercial Pilot Certificate.


Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?


  • Dairy plant managers
  • Quality managers
  • Plant/process engineers



What You Will Learn

Attendees of this webinar will learn how a representative sampling plan improves assessment of the characteristics of the entire lot, batch, or process stream to avoid food hazards. We will also explore several specific applications including liquid milk sampling, powder or bulk solid ingredient sampling and nut butter and other viscous food product sampling.

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With proven sampling expertise since 1924, Sentry products and services provide business operations the critical insights to optimize process control and product quality. We deliver true representative sampling and analysis techniques to customers around the globe, empowering them to accurately monitor and measure processes for improved production efficiency, output and safety. Standing behind our commitments, we are determined to tackle any application, anywhere.

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