“Substantial investments have been made in R&D laboratories for quality control in the biscuit and pasta sectors. Yet, it is not possible to say the same for the bakery sector. We have very important companies producing biscuits and pasta on the world scale. The bakery sector, on the other hand, does not generally invest in laboratories and quality control although there are exceptions. Bakery sector has left the quality control investment business to flour factories.”
Gizem ÇELİK - Erkaya Laboratory Tools, Sales Manager
Erkaya Laboratory Equipment and Flour Additives Co. Ltd is a leading company in pasta, biscuit and bakery facilities’ quality and quality control. We talked with Gizem Çelik, the regional sales manager of Erkaya Laboratory Equipment. Giving information on general aspects of the company, Çelik said the company export 80 percent of quality control equipment that they have produced for flour-bread additive material and flour-feed industry. Saying that the company actively looks for a way to develop new equipment for the sector, Çelik said the pasta and biscuit sector puts emphasis on quality control while bakery sector has paid little attention to this area with exceptions.
Çelik emphasized that Turkey is a leading country among flour exporting countries, adding that this is because all production processes are checked with quality control units. Yet, Çelik added that the biscuits, pasta and bakery sectors of which main raw material is flour do not make us of quality control and laboratories. Çelik answered BBM Magazine’s questions for you.
Ms. Çelik, can you give us some information about your company’s activities and your studies about bread, pasta, biscuits and bakery products? What products, devices and services do you offer to these sectors?
Erkaya Laboratory Equipment and Flour Additives Co. Ltd provide all basic analysis equipment and flour additives material for mills. Our production includes laboratory mills (roller and hammer type), hectoliter determination device, gluten washing machine, touch screen falling number machines, protein determination device, sedimentation device, sieve shaker, muffle furnace and automatic sample handling equipment. As Erkaya, we export 80 percent of our production and create significant added value. We have quite a large number of references in 5 continents, and many countries. Our company, which is constantly pursuing innovation, is the first company to produce the touch screen falling number device. We are working in the field of flour additives, bread additives, flour quality control devices, feed quality control devices, biscuit and wafer additives, flour enrichment, laboratory chemicals and consumables.
Can you tell us about the benefits and advantages of quality control devices for flour industry and bakery sector?
The evaluation of the flour properties, i.e. the actual “quality control”, is the process performed after the production of flour and before the delivery of it. These analyzes determine whether the flour has been manufactured appropriately for the purpose of flour, thus preventing the occurrence of customer complaints or undesirable circumstances such as returning. The quality control laboratory is an important part of the flour milling industry. The aim of the quality control laboratory in flour mill is to monitor uniformity throughout the mill’s working period, to ensure uniformity between different flour batches, to ensure that flour meets customer requirements, and to confirm that flour has the desired properties for the final product.
What do you do for the quality of flour, the main raw materials, of bread, biscuits and pasta?
With the progress of the technology, many techniques have been developed to bring the flour to the desired quality level. However, the use of additives is still the most commonly used method in the world. The view that every way is fine for the production of flour at the workable quality level has been abandoned due to reasons such as the possible effects of some chemicals on human health, legal requirements and economic concerns. For this reason, there is a growing demand today for products that meet certain health and economic criteria and advantageous products.
What can you say about quality control laboratories especially at biscuit and bakery sectors in Turkey? Do you think the sector pays the due attention to this?
In the biscuit sector, we see that substantial investments have been made in quality control and R&D laboratories. But it is not possible to say the same for the bakery sector. We have very important companies producing biscuits and pasta on the world scale. The bakery sector, on the other hand, does not generally invest in laboratories and quality control although there are exceptions. It is preferred to carry out the quality control, not in the supply of products, but rather in the final product. When low-quality raw materials are used, the final product, bread, does not come out as desired. But when you realize this, it is too late. Thus, bakery sector has left the quality control investment business to flour factories.
What would you say about the quality and the use of laboratory when you compare Turkish companies against their rivals?
As known, flour industry is well developed in Turkey. Despite the lack of domestic and quality wheat, generally speaking, Turkey ranks among the top three countries that export flour in the world. Behind this success lies the control of all processes of production through quality control units. In the light of the laboratory analysis values, our millers produce proper flour with flour additives and imported wheat.
What do companies gain by having strong quality control and lab? Why should companies invest in this area?
In milling, quality control departments have an important place in the raw material intake, storage, production process and controlling the conformity of final product to the desired specifications. The necessary quality parameters are measured and evaluated by laboratories consisting of these analyzers.
What would you say on Turkey’s approach to flour additives, bread additives and flour-enrichment?
A diet based on grains is widespread in Turkey. 66 percent of the energy consumed per capita in Turkey is met from grains. 56 percent is covered by bread. The great demand for bread leads to the fact that the flour has been delivered quickly to the market and increases the production rate of bread. This great demand due to the Turkish society’s dietary habit has necessitated the use of industrial yeast in the production of flour and bread, flour and bread additives (such as ascorbic acid and enzyme) coupling with the negativities of wheat’s seed and agriculture. Today, due to the use of high-tolerance bread additives, production problems experienced in bakeries are largely attributed to flour. This does not stem from the weakness of flour, but rather it is failed to understand the behavior of the dough and flour.
Gluten properties in flour and changes in enzyme are caused by wheat’s type, climate conditions, pest, stockpiling duration and many other reasons. Due to the variation of dough and bread properties in the process of being put to the market, this requires standardization of flour in the flour plants. Thus, the use of flour additives has become widespread in the flour plants. Mixtures of appropriate types and quantities of oxidants and enzymes contained in flour ingredients help the flour to attain a certain standard. These enzymes and oxidants of proper type and quantity which are included in the flour additives in the milling plants act specifically on each part of the flour components. For example, the gluten moiety is affected by glucose oxidase, protease, ascorbic acid; amylases in the starch moiety, hemicellulose in the hemicellulose moiety and lipases in the lipid moiety.
Although the enrichment process of flour with vitamins and minerals is common even in many backward countries of the world, we regretfully see that this is not implemented in Turkey yet. This situation has negative consequences due to the lack of timely provision of necessary reinforcements for children and women’s health. It is very important for our ministries to take immediate action on.
In recent years, we usually see negative coverage on food additives, particularly on visual media. Is there any scientific reason behind this coverage?
The use of each food additive in the world has been decided by a joint organization, formed by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, after conducting scientific and medical work. The name of this joint organization is the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additive. This committee carries out studies about how much food additives can be used without giving any harm to human health. This committee decides on which food additives are to be used in which foods. These determinations are made as a result of toxicological and carcinogenic investigations of food additives. Food additives are controlled by the specialized organizations within the expert institutions in the European Union countries. Regulations in Turkey are mainly in line with the International Food Codex, FDA Codex and European Codex.