The quality control is an important part of the flour milling industry. The objectives of the quality control laboratory at a flour mill are to monitor uniformity throughout the mill run; ensure uniformity between flour shipments; ensure that the flour meets the customer’s specifications, and verify that the flour has desirable characteristics for a product. Millers should consider quality control the core of their operations.
The utmost priority of every manufacturing company and specifically flour millers is to compete favorably and possibly control the largest market share. This ambitious goal can only be achieved by the production of consistently good quality products for the customers. The companies that are investing in quality departments to improve the quality of their final products and meeting customer’s expectations have an outstanding profile to gain a major position in the market.
Quality control and quality assurance in field of flour milling also plays great role in food security. The implementation of quality system such as; quality management system, food safety, HACCP and health and safety systems has developed the environment of production, reduce the waste of food and raw materials which used to happen in the past as a result of mishandling and lack of quality approach. Nowadays quality members took the responsibility for inspections of coming raw materials, flow up the proper storage practices and required pest control applications which are practices help to save the product. The food safety and ISO certification had belt trust and prepare the atmosphere to maintain food safety and security.
High-quality flour cannot be produced from low-quality wheat, or from high-quality wheat in a failed manufacture. Wheat quality characteristics change according to the user (farmer, miller, and end-user). The millers need to control on both raw materials and manufacture to produce a good flour baking quality and continuous uniformity.
The wheat flour quality is determined by its suitability for a specific final product. Flour quality characteristics are affected not merely by wheat suitability for the specific final product, which can be determined by some wheat quality characteristics classified as direct factors, but by the type of processing equipment and the suitability of this kind of wheat for milling process all classified as indirect factors.
The manager of a mill laboratory has to manage all of the wheat, milling streams, and produced flour characteristics. The quality department and lab facility should be as much as possible closed and nearby the mill, providing the service of sampling, inspections, analysis, and reporting, with reliable quality plan and system.
It is important to use appropriate standard methods and procedures in the flour quality testing laboratory. Common standard methods used in the food industry that are most applicable to a milling quality control laboratory are published by the American Association of Cereal Chemists International (AACCI) and the International Association for Cereal Science and Technology (ICC).
The production of uniform bakery products requires control over the raw materials used in their formation. Flour is a biological material and when obtained from different sources can vary considerably in its protein quality, protein quantity, ash, moisture, enzymatic activity, color, and physical properties. The baker needs to be aware of any variations in these characteristics from one flour shipment to the next. The purpose of flour testing is to measure specific characteristics of flour. Ideally, the results of these tests can be related to the flour’s performance in the bakery.