Quality Control and Food Safety

Quality Control and Food Safety

In YIOTIS Company, quality control and food safety is ensured by the existence of an independent quality control department, which is under the factory management. In total, it is staffed by 12 scientific personnel (chemists, food scientists and food technologists). It has 2 main laboratories (one at the Athens plant and one at the Agrinio plant) and four smaller control laboratories and workstations, one in each production area.

The aim of the department is to ensure the quality and safety of the company’s products, in accordance with the legislation in force. In order to achieve this goal, the production process followed is examined as a whole, starting with the company's suppliers. Suppliers’ plants are subject to a very rigorous inspection plan and the raw materials from these suppliers are subject to controls and frequent analyses. Then production processes are monitored on a 24-hour basis, both with regard to adherence to good industrial and hygienic practices for production, storage and handling of raw materials, intermediate and final products, and with regard to continuous sampling and analysis of the products produced, based on a rigorous control plan.

In the quality control laboratories, a large number of organoleptic tests are carried out by a team of trained testers so that quality remains unchanged over time. At the same time, a series of physico-chemical tests are carried out, mainly by means of laboratory devices such as pH meters, viscosity meters and moisture meters, water activity and refractive index meters etc. Also, much more sophisticated control instruments, such as automatic composition meters, NMRMiniSpec and FT-IRanalyzer spectrometers or Rancimat meters, are used to control the oxidative stability of fats and Chopin Alveograph are used to check flours. At the same time, speedy Petrifilm techniques are used to continuously monitor microbiological health indicators.

The Company places a great emphasis not only on control, but also on prevention. With this in mind, it prepares annual staff training programmes on a wide range of topics, such as production hygiene and technical support, new control techniques, production and control staff development etc. Also, scientific staff is constantly informed about changes in food law and the latest developments in research into food quality and safety. The Company's food safety research is reviewed whenever necessary.

The strategic advantage that the company enjoys in terms of product quality and safety is the Hellenic Research & Innovation Center (http://hric.gr/). This centre is the result of the Company’s chemical and microbiological laboratories evolving into an independent body. The Centre started operating in the beginning of 2017. It is supported by scientific staff of 9, 4 of whom have post graduate qualifications, and 2 of whom have a PhD. In total, the staff has more than 40 publications in magazines and books, with a focus on technology and food safety. The Institute is home to Microbiological Laboratories and Instrumental Analysis laboratories, all of which are equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and facilities. More specifically, as well as classic analysis, the following procedures are also carried out in the new facilities:

Gas Chromatography /Mass Spectrometry GC-MS / ECD, Gas Chromatography / Gas Mass Spectroscopy GC-MS / MS, GC-FID / NPD and Liquid Chromatography / Mass Spectroscopy in LC-MS / MS Series to analyse pesticide residues and for the migration analysis of packaging materials in food, and also to measure aflatoxins and mycotoxins:

RT-PCR for analysis for genetically modified organisms (GMO).

ELISA for analysis of contaminants (Mycotoxins, allergens, etc.).

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC - DAD / FLD / RID) to measure vitamins, preservatives, M1 dehydratoxin, sugars in syrups and steviol glycosides.

ICP-MS for stoichiometric determination of metals and heavy metals.

Kjedhal Buchi & Soxhlet for protein determination & fatty acid analysis.

Enzyme Analysis for parameters such as Glucose, Sugar, Lactose and other sugars.

Microbiological Analysis of Vitamins.

VIDAS : Automatic Multivariate Analyser for Detection of Pathogenic Microorganisms.

FT-NIR Near Infrared Spectroscopy to check the quality and quantitative aspects of recipes.

TEMPO for the rapid measurement of microorganisms and pathogens.

Automated cytometric flow analyser (Bactiflow AES) for rapid microbiological testing and RT-PCR for the rapid detection and identification of pathogens.