Have you ever experienced a variation in PAA readings across different operators, shifts or even departments at your poultry processing plant? How about a change in readings when you switch between drop kit brands? Have you ever obtained stable PAA readings only to suddenly discover that PAA levels are actually much higher than required?
Let’s dive into why this happens and what you can do to stop wasting valuable time and money on inaccurate PAA test results.
Given how crucial PAA is in maintaining sanitation in poultry processing, you should ask the following basic questions about your PAA test.
Accuracy is how close your number is to the true value. Reliable means that accuracy is not compromised by the type of water or concentration of chemical.
Getting an accurate and trustworthy reading is the most fundamental requirement for a test kit when working with any chemical. The need for accurate chemical monitoring is heightened in poultry processing because underdosing may lead to an unsafe final product and overdosing can lead to significant cost inefficiencies and eventually quality issues.
Want to know more about accuracy and precision? Watch our webinar recording Accuracy And Precision In Water Testing.
Ease of use is arguably the most important factor for an industrial setting. When evaluating a test method, you should bear in mind that accuracy and precision quotes are ‘potential’ and not always guaranteed.
A complex laboratory technique like high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) may achieve 99% accuracy and precision when used by a highly trained operator in a controlled setting. Put on to a factory floor with non-technical staff like a chiller operator, and the chance of achieving those accuracy levels fall. The more complex a method is, and the more steps involved, the less likely you are to achieve the quoted test performance in an industrial setting.
Precision and reproducibility are indicators of consistency i.e. how close together are the numbers when you perform repeat testing or when comparing multiple operators.
A good test should be able to produce consistent readings across multiple operators and even departments like production and QA, with only minimal training.
Amperometric based tests are considered one of the best methods for testing peracetic acid levels. They are based on an extremely specific electrochemical detection technology that identifies the unique electrical signature of a particular chemical.
Kemio™ takes amperometry one step further by eliminating all of the complexity and making it incredibly field-use friendly. This device is uniquely designed for the poultry processing industry and produces highly accurate results without the need for sophisticated user training.
To learn more about the science behind Kemio™ Technology by watching our webinar recording here.
Kemio™ disinfection provides results of laboratory-grade accuracy. A third party validation study found that the sensor technology provided similar accuracy in detecting PAA levels as those detected by HPLC in waters with high organic contamination (as measured by TOC). The tests were repeated for a wide range of disinfectant concentrations which further demonstrated Kemio’s accuracy and precision. When compared to drop count kits, test strip readers and even online probes, Kemio demonstrated the best accuracy across all sample types.
Palintest paired up with CEBAS CSIC in Spain, Campden BRI in the UK, and SGS in China to get external validation of the sensor products against laboratory methods such as titration and HPLC. Find out more here.
Summary graph of results from CEBAS-CISC PAA study. Study shows results obtained using the Kemio PAA Sensor method were similar to laboratory HPLC methods irrespective of the level of organic contamination up to 1000 mg/L TOC.
It is well known that temperature has a significant effect on peracetic acid detection, a fact that is overlooked in drop count kits. Kemio™ sensors can detect PAA concentrations over a very wide range of concentrations (from 0.02 – 2000 ppm) and temperatures (41°F – 86°F). Each batch of Kemio™ sensors is accompanied with a calibration curve plotted over three dimensions – current, concentration and temperature. All you need to do is scan the QR code for each batch of sensors and the corresponding calibration curve will automatically load onto the instrument.
Find out more about how Kemio™ works by watching our short instructional video.
PAA drop count kits have a series of complicated steps that you must complete to perform the test correctly. These steps vary based on the PAA concentration being tested, with separate steps for low range (20 – 90 ppm) and high range (300 – 500 ppm) detection.
If the user does not adjust the dilution process based on low or high range detection, the standard process of 1 drop = 15 ppm would result in the readings plateauing when concentrations exceed 600 ppm, which is common in finishing chillers. By the time you discover a plateau, you may have been overdosing for an extended period of time.
Internal comparisons to regular range drop count kits show that Kemio™ continues to respond accurately even with high concentration samples, preventing costly overdosing from going undetected.
Summary graph of internal study showing a regular range drop count kit response plateauing when sample concentration exceeds 600 ppm whereas Kemio maintains accuracy.
Unsurprisingly, drop count kits from different brands produce different PAA readings. A comparison of readings obtained from Kemio™ and three different drop count kits depicted a vast difference in PAA levels.
The variation in detection levels can be attributed to procedural differences between the kits. For example, some drop count methods do not account for hydrogen peroxide (uncatalyzed kits) whereas others do (catalyzed kits).
It cannot be ignored that drop count kits are extremely vulnerable to errors. Improper calibration, interference from hydrogen peroxide, insufficient titrant quantity for the test and operators rushing are just some of the challenge’s experienced when using drop count kits.
One of the most significant advantages of Kemio™ is that you get consistently accurate results irrespective of the user. It does not matter what the skill level of your operator is, or whether they have performed a PAA test before, Kemio™ will give repeatable results for every user.
Case Study A: Instrument & user variability
A poultry plant chiller operator and a Palintest technician were both equipped with Kemio™ units. The chiller operator was a first-time user and had never operated a Kemio™ instrument before. Both users were asked to test samples extracted from multiple points on-site and record their instruments’ readings.
A plot of the readings shows that both users obtained comparable PAA values at all sample points. Though the chiller operator (represented in blue) was using Kemio™ for the first time, it did not interfere with their ability to get accurate readings.
Two different Kemio™ instruments were used in this study. Both delivered similar results, demonstrating that user and instrument variability has no effect on the test performance.
Case Study B: QA vs Production team variability
A 10-day trial was conducted to check variability in test data obtained by the production and Quality Assurance (QA) teams. All tests were conducted at the finishing chiller point which due to its high concentration is often the source of significant discrepancy between operators and departments.
The QA team were required to perform three tests per shift and the production team performed hourly tests.
The plotted test data depicts that data trends from both teams are in line with one another. This is a positive outcome considering that with drop count methods, discrepancies between production and QA data is quite common. Such inconsistencies cost time and labour in conducting repeat tests.
With Kemio™’s consistent results, you can say goodbye to repeat testing and potentially save valuable production down time.
Kemio creates a protected and auditable dataset, with automatic results logging. All the data is stored on the instrument and can be exported, eliminating the need for maintaining paper records. Results are tagged with the batch numbers, date, time, operator and sample IDs.
Unlike traditional measurement techniques, Kemio is truly simple to use and guides the user with visual on-screen instructions, minimising chances for errors caused by users. Kemio™ requires no special training for operation and can be used by anyone straight out of the box.
Several short YouTube videos are available (English & Spanish) that will give you all the information you need to successfully run a PAA test.
To view our Kemio instructional videos click here.
Where drop count methods involve complex step-by-step processes for dilution, pH adjustment, titration and calculation, Kemio™ follows a straightforward 4-step procedure. Simply scan the sensor, fill the sample vessel, insert the sensor and close the lid.
With results available in 60 seconds, Kemio enables you to take immediate corrective active where required.
Kemio’s ease of use and on-screen results that do not require interpretation mean that Kemio’s™ accuracy and precision are not just ‘potential’ but are truly achievable, even in the most challenging operating environments.
Kemio™ uses disposable and cost-effective single use amperometric sensors. Each sensor is used only once, so there is no potential for spoiling or calibration drift.
Furthermore, each batch of Kemio™ sensors are pre-calibrated at various PAA concentrations and temperatures. The resulting data is fit to a curve which is then loaded onto the instruments via the unique QR code associated with the sensor batch. With pre-loaded calibration data, Kemio™ sensors are completely calibration free for the operator.
A critical step required in drop count kits is the need to adjust pH. Strong acids like sulfuric acid are often used to achieve pH adjustment presenting a hazard to the user. Additional chemicals in the form of indicators and titrants are also needed to conduct the test. However, Kemio™ sensors come pre-fabricated with pH buffers and reagents, which are automatically released per the sample requirement. This eliminates the need for chemical handling, creating a hassle-free test environment perfect for QA teams and operators with busy schedules.
Sample representation of batch calibration data
Kemio™ relies on electrochemical detection of analytes, so it is not affected by the colour, turbidity, hydrogen peroxide concentration or the organic load of the sample – all of which can be present at significant quantities on poultry processing water, especially in recirculating pre-chillers. The impact of pH and temperature are taken care of in the pre-fabricated sensors. Drop count methods on the other hand can be severely affected by these factors, giving potentially faulty readings if the sample is not up to par.
Ideal for users who use more than one disinfection type, Kemio Disinfection enables testing of bromine, chlorine, chlorine dioxide, chlorite and peracetic acid (PAA) on one device, using different sensors.
To find out more about Kemio™ Disinfection click here.
A minor accident while using a drop count kit can result in spilled acid, stained clothing or worse. Large volume refill bottles increase the hazard significantly. If an accident occurs at a food processing plant this may require production down time, a thorough cleaning of the incident area and may even cause injury to a team member.
At Palintest, the health and safety of employees is the top priority. Kemio™ units do not require the use of dangerous chemicals or glassware for conducting tests and sensors do not require special waste streams.
When it comes to PAA testing in the poultry industry, timely and accurate results are the two things that matter most. Our next-generation sensor technology, Kemio™, delivers unbeatable accuracy and precision ensuring food safety while optimising chemical dosing.
Whether it’s saving on overdosing or reducing labour on testing, Kemio not only makes life easier but delivers meaningful financial value and ROI,
Portable, fast and hassle-free Kemio™ technology delivers on all things that matter and more.
10th May 2021
Read our case study on ALZ Agro who use Kemio™ to monitor disinfection in fresh produce wash water.
27th April 2021
Read our guide about the validation of fresh produce wash water sanitisers.