"We are a producer of sauces and soups for wholesale, and we have been using ATAGO for over ten years."
Tamy foods produce packaged BBQ sauces, salad dressings, soup mixes, pasta sauces, etc. for restaurants.
The factory is located in Saitama prefecture about 10 minutes away from the Shin-Tokorozawa Station off of the Seibu Shinjuku Line. We arrived around 11am and were greeted by a savory aroma in the air. With stomachs growling, off we go into the production plant.
We changed into a white lab coat, hat, and mask, and we thoroughly washed and disinfected our hands before entering the production site. Ms.Ishî from the Quality and Sanitation Control department provided us with a tour of the facilities. We walked by a number of industrial size cooking pots.
A sesame-miso flavored soup mix was cooking that day. The soup is checked for not only color and taste, but also the Brix of the soup is checked with ATAGO refractometers. The entire process is carefully controlled to ensure that the quality for each batch is up to company standards.
The PAL-1, PAL-2, MASTER-SoySayce, MASTER-α, and MASTER-Sauceα are used to check the Brix of different soups, which indicates if soups are simmered down to the right consistency. We asked questions about using both the digital and analog models.
How are you deciding which instrument to use, PAL or MASTER, for the different applications?
We use the PAL for non-viscous samples, such as soy sauce, and the MASTER for thick, oily samples.
The plant workers also had questions for us.
What is the best angle at which the MASTER units should be held up to the light source?
Hold the MASTER so that the tip of the instrument is facing the florescent lamp.
When readings fluctuate with the PAL, should we take the average?
If the inconsistencies are not caused by temperature changes, then yes. Taking the average from multiple readings will provide a more concise reading of the concentration.
Why is it that the MASTER-α series cannot be zero-set?
In order to protect the water resistant feature, ATAGO designed the MASTER-α series without the scale adjustment screw. Based on feedback from our users, we are working on a new design of the MASTER-α that can be zero-set while maintaining the current water resistance feature.
We have samples that contain salt. Which MASTER do you recommend?
We recommend the model that is constructed with a resin material for the body. These is more resistant to salt than the metal body type models.
This visit was a good opportunity for us to learn about the different types of questions end-users may have when using ATAGO instruments. The experience increased our product and application knowledge to further assist other customers.
Finally, it was lunch time! Tamy Foods have an interesting system in the staff cafeteria - the food items are donated by the employees.
The lunch menu for the day included homegrown vegetables provided by the staff, such as bracken, sugar snap peas, and black rice, all of which were wonderful.
We found a tea pot in a corner of the eating area with a memo that read "Thought it's that season again." We learned that there is an employee who volunteers to provide ice-cold barley tea every summer.
We were impressed by the warm family atmosphere of the company.
Quality and Sanitation Control Lab
We visited the Quality and Sanitation Control department in the afternoon.
The department performs testing on finished products as well as calibration of the instruments used at the production site. There are many barometers to check, including measuring for Brix values. This department is the core of all quality control-related businesses in the company.
ATAGO's digital refractometers, such as the PR and PAL series are used in the lab. Being the final inspection, extra care and attention go into every last detail of the process.
The lab technicians had questions for us.
Sometimes when testing with a 50% sucrose solutions the measured value is not always 50.0%. Why?
The higher the concentration, of the sucrose solution the more viscous it is. Some settling of the solution may occur, so it is important to stir the sample well in the container before placing it on the prism, and keep stirring the sample on the prism while taking measurements. Doing so should result in more accurate readings.
Some sauces contain pieces of basil. Will they affect the readings?
As long as they are not in contact with the prism, the readings will be unaffected. Filtering the pieces of basil from the sample in advance of measuring will usually ensure more stable readings.
We asked Ms.Ishî the following question.
What about your work keeps you motivated? What do you like about the company?
I feel great responsibilities as the impact of food safety can be a matter of life or death. I like to work here because the company values the individuality of each employee. I feel that I can express my creativity. I often visit restaurants that are using our sauces to check how our products taste and also to listen to what other customers are saying about the food.
Meeting with President
At end of our tour, we were privileged to met with the president of the company. He was kind enough to agree to be interviewed, He said, "We love your products. If I can return the favor and help you a little.." He is a warm and very generous person. We felt that the hallway decorated with soul-soothing paintings and poems as a reflection of his personality. We are delighted to have a company founded on mutual respect and care between the company and its employees as one of our good customers.
We appreciate their continued support of ATAGO products.
Tamy Food website