Understanding Our Quality Control: Our Processes and Measures

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Sunbeth Global Concepts Limited (SGCL) is particular about offering only the best quality products to our clients. And to ensure that, we have assembled a dedicated group of professionals committed to upholding the highest standards of quality and safety in our commodities.

At SGCL, we take quality control very seriously. We have a dedicated team who work tirelessly to ensure that all of our commodities not only meet but exceed all industry standards and regulations. Our team in this department shares our deep passion for delivering the highest quality raw commodities to our customers. They are skilled professionals who conduct thorough inspections and tests at every stage of the supply chain process to ensure that our quality control standards are always maintained. We take pride in our commitment to delivering only the best products to our customers.

Sunbeth Global concepts - Quality Check 5

Our Quality Measures

At SGCL, we implement the Federation of Cocoa Commerce’s (FCC) strict quality control measures. The Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC) is a global trade association that represents the interests of the cocoa industry, including traders, processors, manufacturers, and allied industries.

The FCC has established a set of rules known as the FCC Rules on Cocoa. These rules provide guidelines for the trade and shipment of cocoa beans and products. They cover topics such as quality, grading, sampling, and testing of cocoa.

The FCC Rules on Cocoa are widely recognized and utilized by the cocoa industry as a reference standard for cocoa quality and trade. They play an important role in promoting fair trade practices and ensuring the integrity and reliability of the cocoa supply chain.

Here we’ll be sharing the FCC strict quality grading system we use at SGCL which involves Sampling, Moisture testing, and quality analysis.

Sampling

Cocoa sampling involves collecting and testing small representative specimens from a larger batch of cocoa beans. It is done with a sharp metallic instrument called scoop. The scoop is used to pierce each bag or every alternate bag in a batch of cocoa to get the sample of the cocoa. This step is important as it dictates the outcome of the quality testing.

Moisture Testing

Moisture content is the amount of water present in a material or substance, usually expressed as a percentage of the material’s total weight or volume. It is one of the most important parameters that affect the quality and shelf life of cocoa beans. Cocoa beans that are too dry or too moist can lead to quality issues such as off-flavors, mold growth, and shorter shelf life.

Cocoa moisture testing involves measuring the amount of moisture content present in cocoa beans. It is an important quality control measure employed to ensure that the cocoa beans meet the required moisture content standards. We conduct this process using a non-destructive method of moisture testing with a moisture meter. The accepted moisture content for safe storage is 8% moisture. There are two methods of testing the moisture content with the moisture meter which are the probe test and the cup test. They are used interchangeably but the probe test is mostly used.

There are various meters for moisture testing but we primarily use the Aquaboy moisture meter. Aquaboy comprises the meter and a probe electrode for the probe test or a cup electrode for the cup test.

Quality Analysis

Quality analysis is the next important step after moisture testing. An arbitrary sample of precisely 2000g is taken from the cocoa quantity drawn from the jute bags. We always mix the specimen from the jute bags evenly before taking a random sample. This process is necessary to avoid bias or inaccurate representation of the quality conditions of the whole batch of cocoa. 

This 2000g arbitration sample is used for the whole quality analysis which entails checking for parameters like bean count, sievings, Cocoa related matter (clusters, broken beans, fragments, and pieces of shell that do not pass through the sieve), defective (mold and insect damaged beans), and foreign matter.

While bean count measures the average weight and size of the beans in the batch, all other quality parameters measure the level of contamination or adulteration of the cocoa batch.

Bean Count

This is a measure of the physical quantity of cocoa beans in a sample. From the 2000g taken initially for whole analysis, 600g of beans is weighed and the number of beans in the sample is counted. The derived total number from the count is expressed as the number of beans per 100g

Cut Test

This is a method of checking for the incidence of defective (mold and/or insect damage) or slaty in wholesome cocoa beans. It is expressed as a percentage of the whole sample. The maximum acceptable level of defective and slaty cocoa beans is 5%. Anything above that standard measure may warrant a discount or total rejection of the consignment.

Sievings

We also put the 2000g arbitration sample through a sieving test and take note of the number of particles that pass through. The volume of the sieving is expressed as a percentage of the whole sample with the maximum acceptable level being 1.5%. Anything above that standard measure is subject to discount or total rejection of the consignment.

Cocoa Related Matter (CRM)

Cocoa-related matter comprises clusters, broken beans, fragments, and pieces of shell that do not pass through the sieve. The volume of the CRM is also expressed as a percentage of the whole sample. The maximum acceptable level of CRM in a sample is 3.5%. Should the figure exceed the standard measure, the consignment is subject to a value discount or total rejection.

Foreign Matter

Foreign matter in cocoa refers to any material that is not cocoa beans or cocoa shell fragments that may be present in a cocoa sample. Examples of foreign matter can include stones, twigs, metal fragments, and other extraneous materials. The maximum acceptable level of foreign matter in a sample is 0.75%. Should there be any more than that, we’ll recommend a discount or a total rejection of the consignment.

Our competent team of quality control and assurance officers works relentlessly to make sure these stringent rules and arbitrations are duly followed and that the cocoa received by Sunbeth is of top-notch quality.

At Sunbeth, we take our responsibility to our customers and the environment seriously. So, we are intentional about improving our processes and reducing our impact on the planet. We work closely with our partners in the supply chain to promote sustainable farming practices and ethical sourcing. 

Our Quality department employs state-of-the-art equipment and innovative techniques to ensure the consistency and quality of our commodities. We are proud of the work we do and are dedicated to maintaining the trust of our customers by providing them with the best possible commodities on the market.

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