Even after implementing a plethora of in-plant prevention methods, physical contamination of food remains an ever-present threat — both to your customers and to your business. Luckily, some sound solutions exist to identify and prevent physical contamination in your food products.
Three Tools That Detect Physical Contamination of Food
Three of the most widely used tools on the market today are:
Magnetic separators: Available in an array of designs and suitable for a variety of uses, modern-day bar, plate, grate, trap, and suspended magnets find and remove fine, high-purity metal contaminants during food processing.
Metal detectors: Such systems are commonly employed to identify metallic foreign bodies in food during the processing stage, ensuring no unwanted materials exist before your inventory hits the consumer market.
X-ray machines: Traditionally used in the medical field, specially designed, FDA-compliant X-ray inspection systems are now used to safely and effectively find physical contaminants. These advanced machines can “see” metal and nonmetal debris like glass, plastic and stones.
A thorough survey and review of your daily activities and initiatives will help you determine which detection system (or systems) is the optimal one for your specific applications.
Three Ways to Prevent Foreign Material Contamination
Integrating a detection system or working with an X-ray inspection company can help detect physical contamination in your food product. However, there are ways to lessen the chances of a physical contaminant ending up there in the first place.
Instead of grinding your operations to a halt and panicking over a possible lost foreign substance in your supply, implementing the following preventive measures could save your company’s production time and expenses:
Routine audits: As regulations become tighter, audits are indispensable. Having a trusted third-party source thoroughly inspect your plant to help locate gaps in your systems is paramount to preventing physical contamination. Auditors are fast, efficient and skilled at finding issues that could cause contamination, including ones you didn’t even know you had.
Employee safety and compliance programs: Your staff is one of your greatest assets, but if employees aren’t properly trained, they can also be one of your biggest liabilities. That’s why education is essential. By teaching your employees crucial safety and compliance strategies, you’re arming them with the knowledge they need to help prevent physical contaminants from entering your product stream. Establishing an in-house safety and compliance program requires some time on your part, but once trained, your personnel will be your first — and strongest — line of defense.
Detailed reports: Comprehensive reporting is a must in today’s heavily systematized and regulated industry, including standard daily and weekly quality assurance write-ups or an auditor’s post-inspection assessment. Data-driven reports offer a quantitative snapshot of your plant’s operations. Supporting evaluations provide a qualitative viewpoint. Together, this information allows for complete documentation of what’s happening in the plant. If weak points leading to possible contamination problems are detected, reporting can help halt them before they occur.
Interested in learning more about how to spot and stop physical contamination in your product line? Contact one of our experts today to learn more about FlexXray’s proprietary X-ray system, which can identify contaminants as small as 0.8 mm.