Flour Spec Sheet
Also known as technical product data sheet
What is a Flour Spec Sheet?
A flour spec sheet is a document that provides information on flour’s technical specifications. It should express and define the flour requirements that must be met by the mill in order to comply with the bakery’s quality specifications and expectations.
In most cases a spec sheet is a confidential document that a mill (supplier) shares with its customer (the bakery). This document is usually sent to the bakery during:
- Supply negotiation
- Wheat crop changeover
- Before the first purchase order for flour is placed
How does it work?
Spec sheets in most cases contain quantitative data. The spec sheet should provide maximum, minimum, target values and/or range of values for each technical parameter, and the respective methods of analysis used for the assessment of each parameter.1
Setting flour specifications is the responsibility of both the mill and the bakery since both are directly affected by flour’s quality conditions. Wheat flour is the most critical ingredient for breadmaking and has the highest impact on processing and variability. This is why the information contained in the flour spec sheet must be precise and clear.
A flour spec sheet should provide the following information:2,3
- Product definition or description of flour (e.g. enriched hard red spring HRS)
- Comprehensive section. Information should include:
- Wheat type(s) or classes used in blend
- Milling conditions (e.g. patent, straight-grade, clear, stone-ground, roller milled)
- Additives or treatments (e.g. enriching, malting, oxidizing, enzyme, supplementation, maturing), with specified levels
- Any other information that distinguishes the flour from others
- Regulatory information (e.g. compliance with 21 CFR Part 137)
- Food safety information. This section should include any information relevant to the safety of the flour for the consumer:
- Statements concerning pesticide contamination
- Presence of toxins
- Allergenicity of wheat gluten
- Kosher designation (if applicable). Not all flours are considered Kosher.
- Organic designation (if applicable). A certifying agency and a certification date or code should be provided in this section.
- Sampling plan for analysis. This section should describe:
- The procedure for obtaining flour samples for analysis
- Frequency of analysis (e.g., per shipment, per mill run)
- How many samples are required, and information as to how the samples
are physically collected.
- Acceptance criteria. This section should include:
- Analytical specifications...