Quality assurance is vital to all manufacturing operations, but is especially necessary in food processing. Foreign contaminants, including metals, can seriously endanger the health and safety of consumers. Just recently, Kraft was forced to recall 242,000 cases of its popular Macaroni & Cheese Dinners due to metal contamination.
As per the FDA Food Guidance Regulation document, foreign objects in food can have serious implications if ingested. Specific types of injuries that can incur include lacerations of the throat, mouth, or intestine, as well as damage to the teeth. As for particularly small fragments, they can seriously injure infants, older people, and surgery patients.
Given the dangers of having metal fragments in food, the FDA’s Health Hazard Evaluation Board supports regulatory action against products with foreign objects between 0.3 – 1 inches.
Metal contamination can come from a variety of sources, including equipment throughout the production cycle. If a part becomes loose on a machine, it may enter the food product. Similarly, equipment that grinds together or becomes corroded may produce small metal fragments that enter the food supply.
With the dangers apparent at every step in food processing, it is important for manufacturers to integrate metal detection technology throughout the food production cycle. A visual check of equipment is not satisfactory as damaged or missing parts in complex machines may not be apparent. That is why it is highly recommended that food manufacturers incorporate metal detection controls in their processes.
As different systems detect different sizes of metal and vary by packaging options and flexibility, manufacturers should choose one that is designed to meet their specific requirements. Carolina Scales is a trusted supplier of metal detection products for the food processing industry. To find out what system will best serve your needs, please feel free to request information online or call 1-800-597-7918.