FlexXray Blog

10 Myths and Facts About Food Safety

Posted by Chris Keith on Sep 23, 2019 9:18:00 AM

10 myths and facts about food safety

As a professional in the food industry, you’ve probably heard a lot of food safety myths — but you may not have realized that they didn’t tell the whole story. Until you can separate fact from fiction, you can't make the absolute best choices for your company. Let's look at some of the common food safety myths… debunked.

10 Common Food Safety Myths and Facts

Myth:

“By the time raw ingredients reach the food manufacturer, they’re probably free of contaminants.”

Fact:

While that would be ideal, the reality is that most raw agricultural commodities are harvested mechanically, and that means they often collect more than just the product itself.

Some of the foreign materials that can come from the fields include stones, wood, wire and even small birds or animals. Having a good inspection process to prevent contaminated ingredients from moving down the line is critical.

Myth:

“Preventative maintenance doesn’t really help prevent foreign material contamination.”

Fact:

Not only does preventative maintenance keep equipment operating properly, but it helps protect food from contamination.

Equipment pieces that have become loose, such as nuts, blades, bolts and/or broken wires or chipped plastic equipment can all be discovered as a result of preventative maintenance — and that keeps physical contaminants out of the food.

Myth:

“Metal detection is sufficient for food inspection.”

Fact:

It’s true that metal is one of the leading sources of food contamination when it comes to physical hazards, and metal detection services can help prevent those fragments hidden in food from ever reaching consumers.

However, if you also have concerns about other materials — such as glass, bone, stone, plastic, rubber and more — you may want to consider having X-ray inspection performed at the end of the process.

Myth:

“My inline X-ray machine is all the inspection capability I need.”

Fact:

While an inline X-ray machine is an important tool to use to help flag contaminated product, it has certain limitations. Since the machine must keep up with the speed of manufacturing, it is practically impossible for it to detect objects smaller than 3 to 5 mm in size.

A third-party inspection service like FlexXray, which runs product through the X-ray machine at a much slower speed and has dedicated line technicians watching the product, is able to find objects as small as 0.8 mm or, in some cases, even smaller.

Myth:

“Throwing out my entire production run is the best way to handle a possible contamination issue.”

Fact:

In some cases, food manufacturers choose to dispose of a whole product run that has the possibility of contamination rather than turning to X-ray inspection to find the contaminant.

Throwing away the entire run is not only costly, but it adds to the growing problem of food waste in the U.S. When you use FlexXray’s X-ray inspection service, you keep more profit in your pocket — and keep more food out of the landfill.

Myth:

“Outsourcing my X-ray food inspection is too expensive.”

Fact:

When weighed against the other options for managing physical contamination of food, FlexXray’s X-ray inspection process is actually the most cost-effective choice you can make.

For a fraction of the cost of what a trailer of product is worth, it can be inspected, the contaminant can be found and the threat removed and the good product can still be sold.

What should you do if you have a foreign material problem? Find out with our  case study.

Myth:

“It doesn’t really matter where the contaminant came from, as long as we found it.”

Fact:

Traceability is an important and valuable tool for all food manufacturers. When you understand where a physical hazard came from, it can help you resolve the problem and keep it from happening again in the future.

If the contamination originated in your facility, you can take corrective measures; if the contaminant can be traced back to a supplier, you may want to consider using a different supplier. You might even be able to recoup some of the costs of inspection from that vendor.

Myth:

“The growing number of food recalls means our food isn’t as safe as it used to be.”

Fact:

It’s actually just the opposite; more recalls mean that food manufacturers are getting better at doing their part to keep food safe. The more processed food becomes, the greater the risk of contamination. Having better technology and equipment means the food industry, as a whole, is better prepared to find foreign contaminants.

Myth:

“Facing the risk of a recall is cheaper than having my whole production batch reinspected.”

Fact:

This could be true — but only if the contaminated product is never found or reported by the end user. But that's a tremendous risk to take. The reality is that food recalls are expensive and their effects are long lasting. The average cost of a single recall is in the $10 million range. It causes lasting damage to the brand and puts a huge dent in consumer confidence.

Myth:

“We have a clean facility, so food contamination could never happen here.”

Fact:

Food contamination from physical hazards can happen anywhere. It can be the result of ingredients that arrive at your facility with contaminants hidden inside; it can be caused by human error on the production line, equipment mishaps, or it can happen during the packaging process.

Running a clean facility that follows HACCP principles and chooses to work only with HACCP-compliant vendors is important for food safety, but mistakes and accidents still happen. Remember that no food production facility is 100% bulletproof.

Don’t Be Fooled by Food Safety Myths!

Food safety is something that every manufacturer strives for, and FlexXray’s X-ray inspection services play a key role in maintaining those high standards. Knowing the facts about food safety can help you make the best decisions for your brand and for your customers.

food recalls lawsuits food safety x ray inspection

 

 

 

 

Topics: X-ray Food Inspection, Meat and Poultry, Recalls and Lawsuits

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