Warning The Latest Food Recall Data May Shock You
We’re pleased to welcome back our resident guest blogger Rob Rogers …
Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) saw more volume of food recalled during the second quarter this year, than during 18 of the previous 21 quarters, according to the latest data from the Stericycle Recall Index. Furthermore, foreign material contamination accounted for 4.8% of the recalled units₁.
Looking at the 2017 FDA data, recalls were conducted on spreads and sauces, fish, pet food, breads and hash browns, with foreign material including metal, plastic, rubber, glass and even a bat and golf balls cited as reasons for the recalls.
Now I can appreciate microbiological contamination is difficult to control and recalls due to Listeria and Salmonella (to a degree) are understandable, but a golf ball and a bat are a little hard to swallow if you’ll forgive the pun!
Get a Grip on Foreign Material
In a previous blog post in June 2016, you may remember me discussing the importance of validation for understanding detection capability and limitations, however it all begins with the risk assessment. It’s crucial for facilities to identify and understand their foreign material risks both known and reasonably foreseeable. Now I’m unsure whether these facilities would ever have imagined a bat or golf ball entering their product but, now they have, my guess is they’ll take steps to prevent bats and golf balls rather than trying to find ways to detect them. At least I hope that’s the case!
Plastic contamination is occurring on a frequent basis and is one of the more difficult materials to detect. Most standard plastics aren’t conductive or dense, which makes them difficult to find using metal detection or x-ray inspection equipment. However, there are manufacturers who are producing materials that have additives to make them more detectable. Wire ties, scoops, bins, shrink wrapping, pens and even paper are just some of the materials available in detectable forms from Detectamet.
Don’t Miss Rob at the 5th Annual Food Safety Consortium
Rob will be presenting, along with James Farmer from Detectamet, at the Food Safety Consortium in Schaumburg, Illinois in the US, on December 1, 2017. The duo will be discussing validation, looking at common foreign material contamination causes such as plastic, as well as exploring alternative detectable materials. Mettler-Toledo will also be exhibiting at the event.
Robert is Senior Advisor Food Safety and Regulation at Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection Division in Tampa, Florida. Having worked for Mettler-Toledo for over 20 years, Robert has gained his experience by excelling in several positions within the organization, including in field service, training and product testing. In his current role, Robert provides subject matter expertise in foreign material detection and prevention strategies. He also assists in the development of food safety management programs, focusing on foreign body prevention and other product integrity and safety programs.
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