• 08 MAR 16

    A Beginner’s Guide to Metal Detection

    To kick off our new product inspection blog, we’ve decided to take a quick look at each of the four technologies in turn. This week we’ll start with metal detection…

    Metal contamination of food and pharmaceutical products can have devastating consequences both for consumers and manufacturers. As well as causing serious injury, metal shards can lead to compensation claims, costly product recalls and, perhaps worst of all for manufacturers, long-lasting brand damage. Worryingly, however, the Food Standards Agency’s latest Annual Report of Incidents shows that metal contamination of food products is on the rise¹.

    Prevent Metal Contamination and Improve Product Safety

    Without doubt, one of the best ways to protect against metal contamination in food and pharmaceutical products is to install an industrial metal detector. In fact, food manufacturers have been using metal detectors since the 1960s at Critical Control Points (CCPs) in many production processes where a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) audit has identified the risk of metal contaminants.

    Safeline metal detection systems are capable of detecting and rejecting all metal types, including ferrous, non-ferrous and even difficult-to-detect non-magnetic stainless steels, and can be used at various stages of the production process to inspect a variety of applications, from packaged conveyorised products and bulk powders to granular materials, and liquids, pastes and slurries.

    One of the key benefits of installing a metal detector early in the production process is that it can help to eliminate metal before it’s broken down into smaller, less detectable pieces. In addition, early product inspection can help to avoid product and packaging waste, as well as prevent processing machinery being damaged by metal particles, resulting in production downtime, expensive repairs and lost revenue.

    Metal Detectors Support Regulatory Compliance

    Metal detection systems can also be used for end of line inspection. Indeed the biggest advantage of using a metal detector to inspect finished products is that there’s no danger of subsequent metal contamination. What’s more, installing a metal detector can also aid compliance with retailer and consumer standards. For example, metal detectors can help food manufacturers comply with the following HACCP-based Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)-recognised standards:

    • The British Retail Consortium (BRC v7) Global Standard for Food Safety

    • International Featured Standard (IFS v6)

    • The Foundation for Food Safety Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000)

    • Safe Quality Food 2000 Code 7.2 (SQF 2000)

    • Dutch Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (Dutch HACCP)

    In addition, metal detectors can help pharmaceutical manufacturers comply with the following standards:

    • 21 CFR Part 210 – GMP Predicate Rule

    • 21 CFR Part 211 – GMP Predicate Rule

    • 21 CFR Part 11 – Electronic Records & Signatures

    • Good Automated Manufacturing Practice (GAMP)

    For optimum protection against metal contamination, a combination of in-process and finished product inspection is recommended and, as the global market leader in metal detection for the food and pharmaceutical processing and packaging industries, Mettler Toledo Safeline can help you find the solution that’s right for you!

    To find out more about metal detection, you can request a copy of our Metal Detection Guide here.

    Look out for next week’s blog entitled ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Checkweighing’.

    ¹ Based on information from the Food Standards Agency’s Annual Report of Incidents 2014. In 2014, 16 of the 78 physical contamination incidents reported involved the presence of metal. In 2013, 12 of the 118 physical contamination incidents reported involved the presence of metal.

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