Besides lowering product quality, the presence of foreign material, like glass, plastic, metal, or wood in food can act as physical hazards that may harm consumers. Remco’s Technical Support Manager Amit M. Kheradia emphasizes that implementing proper tool programs for selection, use, cleaning, storage, care and replacement can reduce foreign material contamination in food facilities.

1 Why is foreign material contamination control a critical regulatory and global standards requirement?

Recently, millions of dollars worth of food products have been recalled due to foreign matter contamination, according to the FDA and FSIS. Historically, these recalls have ranged from between 9.9-37.9% of all food recalls. The most commonly implicated products are meat and poultry, snack, bakery, and prepared foods, and therefore, regulations and standards work towards contamination control, which minimizes adverse impact to public health and also improves product quality.

2 When does a foreign material become a significant food safety hazard?

FDA classifies a physical hazard as any sharp, hard, or sizable foreign object (7-25 mm in length) capable of causing choking, injury, or trauma to a consumer. Moreover, any deleterious foreign matter presence, e.g., dirt, insect parts, feces, or toxic substances, can also lead to a Class I or Class II product recall.

3 How can color-coded tools help to minimize oreign material contamination events?

Color-coding can make it easier to identify tools and possible contaminants. For instance, in a dairy plant, avoid using white or yellow tools since any chipped or dropped material may get masked by the food. Instead, use a contrasting color for easy identification.

4 What difference can metal-detectable tools make in controlling foreign material contaminants?

This depends on risk. For example, using a metal detectable scoop on a conveyor that transfers food products into a grinder may be a good choice. In this example, a well-positioned and calibrated metal detector can salvage a dropped tool before it ends up in the grind. However, using metal detectable brush bristles has been proven by Vikan Company study to cause more harm than good. These bristles tend to be more brittle and are difficult to detect due to their size.

5 In what other ways can Remco assist facilities in their foreign material contamination control programs?

As a part of Vikan, Remco has a wealth of experienced staff members, a robust knowledge center, and a solid customer support system. We can help you find the right tools for the job that are well suited for your operating conditions and hygienically designed. We also offer training and support on contamination control.