Why Food Brands Should Focus on Stopping Metal Contaminants

The food industry has become large and complicated system of food products, businesses, and distributors which all span across the world. They work to supply the majority of the human population with nourishment. Three of the main sectors are of course agriculture, production, and service. The underlying force of this massive industry is a basic human necessity. It has even been divided into smaller sectors in order to better handle it. For instance, one is the frozen food, or “pre-prepared meals,” subsection. It is one of the fastest growing parts of the food industry thanks to the convenience and long preservation lifespan that it offers. As a result of all of these aspects of the food industry, it has the potential to offer countless benefits as a result. Of course this also means that more regulations and guidelines are necessary in order to ensure the protection of everyone involved.  The good news is that many steps have already been taken for this.

Why Your Brand Should be Paying Attention to Metal Contaminant Risks?

It might sound strange at first but one of the common methods employed to protect consumers are metal detectors. The metal detectors are used in order to detect any size or fragment of metal that may have ended up in the food at some point along the production or packaging process. Production relies heavily on machinery these days so the product will often come into contact with metal. Needless to say, if the metal was to make it all the way to the consumer it could have devastating results, with 1500 deaths occurring annually in The USA due to foreign objects in food. Their use in food production has a number of benefits, and the first one is of course to protect the consumer by reducing hazards. But it is also important to ensure the reputation of the brand. These machines help with that.

Why & How Metal Detectors Are Used in the Food Industry

While there are many potential contaminants, metal continues to be one of the most risky in food processing and packaging. In the raw phase they come into contact with blades and other baking insurements. Later in the process it continues with the dividing of items and other portions.

Metal detectors in the food industry are at their most effective when they are present at all stages of the production and packaging process. It is better to be safe than sorry after all, or so the saying goes. These checkpoints at the very least should be at the beginning and end of the process. Be sure to put careful thought into where you place your checkpoints. For instance, catching fragments at the very end of the process will be the most costly place to find it and a waste of completed product.

While these machines are able to detect any metallic fragment that finds its way into the final product, it is also recommended that there are manual inspections made for extra insurance.

Why a Food Safety Issue Can Have an Effect on a Brand’s Reputation

In the age of social media and the internet, bad news travels quickly. It does not take long at all for a reputation to be ruined and to see the financial implications of that very quickly. These are the two sides that need to be protected when it comes to growing a company.

Having an issue with metal fragments can result with a of trouble. Lawsuits also pose a risk if someone is injured from the contaminant. These are often the most damaging event that can happen cost and reputation wise. There will be negative publicity brought to the brand, something that can stick with it for years.

The Average Cost of a Recall

Another big concern for brands are product recalls. According to the Brand Protection and Product Traceability market research report conducted in 2016 by the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, the typical cost of a recall for food companies is over $10 million in direct costs. Other aspects like brand damage, lost sales, and other business interruptions will also need to be factored in. Getting the true cost with all of these aspect included is tricky and cannot conclude in a solid answer.

The HACCP

There are also guidelines in place to help brands combat these unfortunate oversights. In Canada they follow the American FDA standards, while in the European Union it is the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). This classifies the kinds of hazardous materials and the best procedure to detect them in different kinds of products. It includes everything from raw material inspections and pest control to letters of guarantee and x-ray technology. Their goal is to catch all kinds of fragments like metal, glass, stone, metal, and wood, regardless of risk levels

Conclusion

The food industry shows no signs of stopping anytime soon when it comes to growth. Europe and North America are already heavily reliant on the frozen food industry and it is seeing explosive growth in other regions like the Pacific-Asia region. It offers convenience in both preparation and storage so it only makes sense that it will continue to grow and expand. People are also benefit from this with the variety of food that they have available to them. All of this means that food-processing operations will also be getting bigger and more extensive with more equipment. There will be more chances for the product to come into contact with the food. Luckily these industrial metal detectors will be able to find them.

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