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.
Contamination of food by foreign materials continues to be a problem for food manufacturers. While the first half of 2019 saw a dramatic increase in recalls, a deeper dive into those recalls gives a closer look at the most contaminated foods as well as provides insight into the most common vehicles for contamination in the food industry.
Keeping your food safe is a top priority, and that means safeguarding it against everything from food-borne illness to physical contaminants. X-ray inspection can help with the latter and ensure that your product is free from foreign materials.
When sending it out for inspection doesn’t make sense, X-ray rentals provide another option. But when do portable X-ray machine rentals make the most sense?
As food becomes more processed, the risk of foreign contaminants finding their way into edible products increases. Each step in the production line presents one more opportunity for contamination, either through human or mechanical error. Metal detection services can help prevent metal fragments hidden in food from reaching consumers and provides a way to find slivers of different metals that would be missed throughout the production process.
Food waste in the U.S. has become a significant problem from both an economic and environmental perspective. About 40% of the food grown domestically ends up in landfills, which means we’re throwing away an estimated $218 billion worth of food each year. That’s 1.3% of America’s gross domestic product.
The cost for food companies continues climbing; according to the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), food manufacturers generate 53 pounds of food waste per every thousand dollars of company revenue. While 43% of food waste comes from families who throw out the food and beverages they’ve bought, the larger percentage of waste comes from manufacturers, retailers and restaurants.
As the industry gains greater awareness about how much food waste is costing food companies, more initiatives are being developed to curb it. Such measures not only lower the amount of waste being generated, but also improve the financial health of food manufacturers, both individually and for the industry as a whole.
Topics: Food Waste
A recall of any product potentially has a significant negative impact on its manufacturer. Recalls are expensive, not only from the financial hit they incur in lost sales and other direct costs, but also in the lasting impact recalls can have on a brand’s reputation. Without an effective online reputation management strategy, food producers can suffer even greater losses.
Determining the cost of a food crisis such as a recall is difficult, because it goes far beyond the hard costs. Food Safety Magazine identifies recalls as “the food industry’s biggest threat to profitability,” and the numbers back up that observation. The magazine reports that the average recall costs a company at least $10 million, which includes both the direct costs of recalling and destroying the food, as well as notifying the necessary regulatory agencies, the supply chain and the consumers.
The bill continues rising from there; there’s the expense of labor to complete all of the above actions, as well as the cost of running replacement product. But perhaps the greatest cost — and the one that is most difficult to manage — is brand reputation.
Topics: Recalls and Lawsuits
With 600 million people around the world affected by contaminated food each year, it’s crucial for food manufacturers to have a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan in place to help prevent contamination.
It's also essential for production facilities to ensure they're working with vendors and suppliers that are HACCP-compliant. Knowing that products, equipment and even uniforms are handled and monitored properly guarantees that contamination risks aren’t being passed along to the food supply.
Topics: FDA Regulations
No food manufacturer wants to deal with contaminated product, but when foreign material contamination happens, they need to have a process in place. Foreign material in food is something that occurs in many different ways and at every stage of the production process.
Contaminants can make their way into food in the field, during transportation to the production facility or at numerous points in the manufacturing process; they can be caused by anything from human error to mechanical failure.
Regardless of how the foreign material gets into the food, the big concern for plant management is the same: What should the next steps be?
Food contamination comes in many forms, from biological contaminants to physical hazards. With so many entry points for contamination, food manufacturing facilities have to make sure they have procedures in place to prevent all types of contamination; that includes contamination from food packaging.
While less common than other types of contamination, food packaging can still be a source of foreign materials that find their way into the food supply. Because it is less common, it is a threat that food manufacturers can easily overlook. But putting procedures in place to safeguard against contamination due to food packaging is an important part of a strong culture of food safety.
When X-ray food inspection systems were introduced, they ushered in a new era in food safety. X-ray inspection systems are used to find physical contaminants during the production process that might be missed by visual inspection or metal detection, thereby saving food manufacturers headaches, lawsuits and recalls.
Topics: X-ray Food Inspection