Qual­ity Con­trol In­spec­tor in the Dairy In­dus­try

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Wang Hui­hui Edited by Justin Davis Pho­tos by Ma Ke

Bai Suqin be­came a se­nior in­spec­tor af­ter years of hard­work and has ap­plied cut­ting-edge knowl­edge and tech­nolo­gies to daily in­spec­tion through painstakin­g ef­fort.

In the south­ern part of the Sanyuan Food Ying­hai In­dus­trial Park in Dax­ing District, Bei­jing, there is a spa­cious in­spec­tion room with high-tech in­spec­tion equip­ment. The in­spec­tors wear white lab coats and work to en­sure the qual­ity of the dairy prod­ucts. They fol­low strict in­spec­tion pro­ce­dures. The in­spec­tion room also serves as Chief Tech­ni­cian Bai Suqin's Stu­dio. Bai has 32 years of dairy in­spec­tion ex­pe­ri­ence.

Bai be­came a se­nior in­spec­tor af­ter be­gin­ning as an am­a­teur and has ap­plied cut­ting-edge knowl­edge and tech­nolo­gies to daily in­spec­tion through painstakin­g ef­fort. Her re­mark­able per­for­mance has been praised by her col­leagues; she has pur­sued var­i­ous cer­ti­fi­ca­tions over the years. She took man­age­ment classes in her spare time at a lo­cal univer­sity.

Bai ob­tained the ti­tle of se­nior food in­spec­tor in 1998, passed the first na­tional eval­u­a­tion for the food in­spec­tion ma­jor, be­came a food in­spec­tion tech­ni­cian in 2008 and achieved the rank of se­nior tech­ni­cian in food in­spec­tion in 2010. Bai has made out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to guar­an­tee­ing safe milk for Bei­jingers.

Say­ing No to the Or­di­nary

In 1985, Bai grad­u­ated from high school. She was re­cruited to work at the newly­built You'an­men Dairy Fac­tory. About 50 to 60 em­ploy­ees were re­cruited at that time, but only four of them were as­signed to the in­spec­tion room, a place that most em­ploy­ees wanted to work in. Bai was as­signed to the fac­tory as an or­di­nary worker.

Bai tried al­most ev­ery post on the pro­duc­tion line, in­clud­ing packer and bot­tler. The work­ing con­di­tions were very poor at that time. There were high­pitched noises and me­chan­i­cal rum­bling. The frosted glass of the assem­bly line of­ten hurt Bai's hands, leav­ing per­ma­nent scars.

Those who are pre­pared are of­ten able to seize op­por­tu­ni­ties. Bai won sec­ond place in a quiz held by the fac­tory. She be­gan to be no­ticed and ap­pre­ci­ated more by man­age­ment at the com­pany. At that time, the fac­tory was ex­pand­ing its pro­duc­tion and in­spec­tion teams. The fac­tory lead­ers se­lected ap­pro­pri­ate work­ers from the work­shop. Bai was cho­sen and be­came one of the white-lab-coat-wear­ing in­spec­tors.

In 1986, Bai was trans­ferred to the lab­o­ra­tory from the fac­tory area. With­out re­lated skills, pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in this area or ap­pro­pri­ate guid­ance, she had to do a lot of trial and er­ror. She made steady progress though. She still re­mem­bers that she once had to make a so­lu­tion of 30 per­cent sodium hy­drox­ide. Shak­ing one of the bot­tles pro­duced a lot of heat and the cap came fly­ing off, al­most caus­ing an in­jury. Bai re­alised she had to be more care­ful and that the lab­o­ra­tory work should be taken se­ri­ously.”

In 1989, Bai re­ceived a pre­cious ex­change op­por­tu­nity—the fac­tory sent her to the mu­nic­i­pal epi­demic pre­ven­tion sta­tion for train­ing. She learned from the sta­tion's staff and her peers from other fac­to­ries dur­ing the one-month train­ing pro­gramme. She be­came aware of so­lu­tions to many prob­lems that puz­zled her be­fore. The train­ing laid the foun­da­tion for her ex­per­i­ments and helped her un­der­stand the im­por­tance of nor­ma­tive op­er­a­tion.

Later, You'an­men Dairy Fac­tory es­tab­lished a pro­duc­tion line for pop­si­cles and one for pas­tries and sent Bai to other fac­to­ries to study pro­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy and qual­ity con­trol. She seized ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to learn, con­stantly im­prov­ing her skills and ac­quir­ing more ex­pe­ri­ence. Three pre­cious learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties be­tween 1986 and 1989 al­lowed Bai to ap­ply spe­cialised tech­nolo­gies to in­spec­tion pro­ce­dures, ex­pand the com­pany's lab­o­ra­tory, en­rich its func­tions and en­hance the im­por­tance of in­spec­tion in pro­duc­tion.

Mas­ter­ing Core Tech­niques

Be­cause yo­ghurt is an im­por­tant prod­uct at the dairy fac­tory, Bai em­barked on the pro­duc­tion of yo­ghurt fer­men­ta­tion agent af­ter be­ing trans­ferred to the lab­o­ra­tory. She worked on cul­ti­vat­ing strains for the first time in 1989. Bai stud­ied the process and the equip­ment that is used and grad­u­ally mas­tered the core tech­niques in­volved in the process.

Bai elab­o­rated: “The fer­ment­ing agent makes yo­ghurt pos­si­ble. It is easy to learn ba­sic knowl­edge about it but dif­fi­cult to mas­ter core tech­niques. Con­di­tions that af­fect the vi­tal­ity of the fer­men­ta­tion agent, know­ing how to en­sure vi­tal­ity and know­ing when it is nec­es­sary to re­ac­ti­vate a new fer­men­ta­tion agent are some of the things that have to be con­sid­ered. The qual­ity of the agent has to be guar­an­teed for good pro­duc­tion also. I ob­serve the mother fer­men­ta­tion agent in the work­shop, ex­tend­ing my qual­ity con­trol work from the mother fer­men­ta­tion agent to the en­tire fac­tory.”

Bai in­tended to check the qual­ity of the fer­men­ta­tion agent she made and mon­i­tor the en­tire pro­duc­tion chain. High-qual­ity fer­men­ta­tion agent re­sults in bet­ter pro­duc­tion, so the en­tire pro­duc­tion chain should be tightly con­trolled. Af­ter this was recog­nised by the fac­tory's lead­ers, Bai car­ried out more re­search.

Bai re­called: “I found some prob­lems at the fac­tory. For ex­am­ple, I found that the fer­men­ta­tion agent was not placed prop­erly in the fer­men­ta­tion room and the tem­per­a­ture was un­even, which caused the death of some strains. It was not easy to change the equip­ment, so we moved the fer­men­ta­tion agents far­ther apart from each other to form air con­vec­tion in the un­evenly-heated space. I men­tioned the prob­lems and pre­sented so­lu­tions to var­i­ous depart­ments for dis­cus­sion. Fi­nally, my ideas were recog­nised by ev­ery­one. I of­ten com­mu­ni­cate with the fac­tory work­ers re­gard­ing test­ing and to sup­port them also.”

Bai gained valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence and be­came more pro­fes­sional as she solved prob­lems at the fac­tory. At the time, peo­ple be­lieved that high-qual­ity fer­men­ta­tion agent and qual­ity con­trol with high stan­dards pro­duced high­qual­ity prod­ucts. A lit­tle-known process is also in­volved, how­ever. Some yo­ghurt prod­ucts did not co­ag­u­late, and it was

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