This true story is somewhat of a déjà vu with the Seinfeld episode where the characters are gaining weight eating what is suppose to be low-calorie frozen yogurt. This is a frozen dessert manufacturer's nightmare come true.

This true story is somewhat of a déjà vu with the Seinfeld episode where the characters are gaining weight eating what is suppose to be low-calorie frozen yogurt. This is a frozen dessert manufacturer's nightmare come true.

In early 2004, New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) charged CremaLita Management LLC with 61 counts of allegedly deceptive and misleading trade practices. The DCA was seeking maximum penalties of $500 per count. That's $30,500!

The labeling issue arose in 2002, when The New York Times conducted lab tests on products from two chain scoop shops: CremaLita and Tasti D-Lite. Samples from both stores showed the ice creams had two to four times as many calories as advertised.

This summer, DCA and CremaLita worked things out; however, DCA is still investigating Tasti D-Lite. What's the moral of this story? Quality control and product testing are a must for anyone in today's food industry.

Indeed, talk to any manufacturer and they will tell you that their laboratory and quality assurance personnel are working more and harder than ever before. These folks are testing for more variables, and testing more samples.

Suppliers at this year's IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo showcased many innovations to relieve the burden of testing and more testing. Here are some new products worth exploring.

Get dependable multi-parameter test results for fat, solids, protein, density and added water in just 85 seconds. The LactiCheck™ provides fast, accurate and economical results for raw or processed milks. Two models are available. The single channel LactiCheck-1 is primarily calibrated for whole fat. The dual-channel LactiCheck-2 maintains primary calibrations for both whole and low-fat milk testing for a wider range of milk without re-calibrating the instrument.
Weber Scientific, 800/328-8378, www.weberscientific.com

CEM's Smart Trac™ Fat and Moisture Analyzer is now an approved methodology by AOAC® International for the testing of fat and moisture/solids in dairy foods. The method, known as PVM1:2004, recognizes the accuracy of the microwave drying and NMR analysis developed by CEM.

"The AOAC's approval of the method used by Smart Trac will give manufacturers of dairy products a rapid, direct test that is also officially recognized, helping them meet regulatory requirements and productions needs," says Michael Collins, pres. and CEO. "This will enable them to optimize their processes by improving their quality control, saving time and money."
CEM Corp., 800/726-3331, www.cemsynthesis.com

New Bluehill™ software from Instron is a fully integrated modular software package with a new "web-like" design. It offers a familiar look and feel that creates an easy-to-use interface. For increased laboratory testing productivity, the software is divided into four major tabs separating testing, test method definition, reporting and system administration. Additionally, new features allow the user to "cut and paste" both graphics and results, email results and reports automatically at test conclusion. It utilizes familiar programs like Microsoft Word and HTML.
Instron, 800/695-4273, www.instron.com

FoodScan™ Dairy Analyser offers rapid analysis of solid and semi-solid dairy products like cheese and butter with minimum of sample preparation. An accurate determination of protein, fat, moisture and solids is achieved in less than 50 seconds. The solution comes in two versions-FoodScan Lab and FoodScan Pro. The Lab version is designed for laboratory use and is operated from an external computer. The Production version has an integrated computer with a touch screen and a waterproof cabinet. Both versions are supplied with start-up calibration and access to a large database and highly skilled application resources at FOSS. The near infrared technology applies no chemicals, making the FoodScan both safe and inexpensive to operate.
Foss, 952/974-9892, www.foss.dk

The improved Mettler-Toledo SC1 and SC30 sample delivery and cleaning units decrease errors significantly, as well as reduce the time needed by laboratory professionals by nearly 90% in determining density and refractive index values. The units detect when a measuring cell is filled with sample and subsequently switches off the sampling pump. By delivering samples to the cell under pressure as opposed to under suction, the units eliminate errors with samples that tend to degas. The SC1 and SC30 can be equipped with a heating option and two peristaltic pumps, enabling end users to sample viscosities up to 3,000 mPas. Both units also automatically detect the most frequent sources of error in density and refractive index measurements and warn the end user.
Mettler-Toledo Inc., 800/638-8537, www.mt.com/us