Incorrectly levelled food scales can have an adverse effect on the accuracy of readings made during weighing operations. Welcome to Week 18 of the Food Safety HACCP Challenge. This week you are required to check that all of your bench and floor food scales are correctly levelled. Each of your food scales should have some type of spirit bubble or levelling device. The most common type is a spirit bubble circle.
How to achieve this Challenge
The primary aim of this food safety HACCP Challenge is to check that all of your weighing scales are levelled.
Step 1: Print a list of the scales that you have in production. This is also a good opportunity to check that this list is current.
Step 2: Visually inspect each food scale to see if it is levelled.
Step 3: Record you result. Were all of your scales level?
Step 4: Take corrective action if required. (refer to the section below on unacceptable practices).
How to level your food scales
Your food scales should have adjustable rubber feet or similar that can be adjusted to ensure that the scales are level. This is handy when the surface that the scales sits on are not level. At least you can adjust the feet to counter-balance any unevenness of the support surface.
The importance of levelling your food scales
Food scales that are not level or are incorrectly balanced can cause errors in the actual weight of the item you are weighing. When it comes to scales that are used to weigh out ingredients or finished product, there may be a risk of regulatory non compliance with the weight labelled on the finished product. It is imperative to ensure that your scale is set up correctly to give accurate readings during weighing applications.
Frequency of checks
The levelling of production food scales should be checks as part of you pre-production or pre-operational checks. Ideally, you would check scales at the same time of performing your pre-operation calibration checks. Like any type of check, make sure that you have recorded the result on the relevant monitoring form.
Food scales should not be levelled by ‘chocking’ with pieces of cardboard, plastic or other items. If during this #FSHChallenge you observe this practice, remove the scales from production and organise the scales to be replaced or fixed. Continue your investigation into why the food scales have been chocked. You should have documented procedures in place on how do deal with equipment that was found to be not operating correctly or out of calibration.
Monitoring scales for compliance
Whilst you are completing this #FSHChallenge, you can also take the opportunity to review the following status of your weighing food scales:
- Scales are calibrated before start of production
- Scales are clean
- Scales are levelled
- Scales are not damaged
- Last external service and calibration
- Staff have been trained in scale operations
- Records relating to pre-operation checks, scale calibration and levelling are available.