Could Your Product Inspection System Help You Provide a Full Due Diligence Defence?
Food manufacturers must take precautions to ensure their products are safe, contaminant free and unlikely to harm consumers. We live in a litigious age and lawyers and consumers will seize on any opportunity to take legal action against a manufacturer if they find something awry with a product.
Systems and procedures must therefore be in place to minimise the risk of litigation and manufacturers must have documentary evidence to prove they’ve been duly diligent. Failure to adopt a due diligence approach could be regarded as negligence, and any resulting damages may be claimed in a lawsuit by the injured party.
Are you confident your systems and procedures will stand up to scrutiny?
You’ll no doubt be aware of the importance of due diligence in terms of providing a basis for a legal defence if a customer claims to have found contamination in one of your food products. But did you know that the due diligence philosophy can extend beyond equipment identified as a Critical Control Point (CCP) to processing and packaging equipment such as checkweighers and vision inspection systems?
Furthermore, installing a product inspection system, or a combination of systems, isn’t enough to prevent contaminated products from reaching consumers. All systems used to inspect food products should be specifically designed to allow manufacturers to fully maximise the opportunity to deliver the best level of consumer and brand protection, not just simply provide a tick in the box that says equipment’s on the line and functioning.
Components of a failsafe product inspection system
Purchasing a product inspection system which incorporates the following ‘failsafe’ features can help you meet your due diligence needs:
• An advanced metal detector or x-ray inspection system
• Automatic product reject system
• Pack in-feed sensor
• Reject confirmation, bin full and reject bin with a ‘bin locked’ sensor
• Reject check sensor
• Key operated re-set switch
• Warning beacon stack
• Highly-secure login facility to the operating system
• Fixed position tunnel guard
• Air pressure failure indicator (if applicable)
What’s more, a metal detector or x-ray inspection system may be combined with another complementary product inspection technology such as a checkweigher or vision inspection system. These so-called combi-units may be CCPs due to the incorporation of a metal detector or x-ray inspection system. It’s also important that the entire combi-unit possesses essential failsafe system components to ensure the complete system supports a due diligence defence.
Whatever your product inspection system, if it doesn’t include some or all of the features listed above, it’s likely to indicate a weakness in its ability to support a full due diligence defence. By contrast, selecting a system that’s been designed with due diligence in mind will provide the highest levels of consumer and brand protection.
Click here to download METTLER-TOLEDO’s new white paper Principles of Due Diligence – For Quality Control and Legal Defence and find out more.