Plastic Contamination in Food

A pen is a pen; a glove is a glove, right? When purchasers are trying to adhere to the bottom line, this might make some sense. It doesn’t seem right that you should have to spend more on metal-detectable products, when you can buy it at the base price. As you figure out what is best for your operation, consider this: the price of something like a box of metal-detectable pens or a box of metal-detectable gloves are much less expensive than a recall caused by plastics contamination in your product.

For those that keep track of food recalls, “plastic contamination” is an all-too-familiar phrase. From cake to tuna to dog food, the discovery of plastic contaminates is a troubling event for both the customer and for the producer. Pen caps, pens, gloves, aprons, etc. are possible contaminants that can show up in a finished product, acting as choking hazards, laceration hazards, biological hazards, and as a shock to those consuming the product or to those serving it.

It’s not a problem that has taken care of itself or has gone away, by any means. As recently as 2010, Food Safety Magazine featured an article on plastic contaminants, stating: “Within the last 12 months, there has been a flurry of recall activity originating from undetected plastic contaminants passing unnoticed through supply chains in North America.” A quick search on the Internet or in trade publications will reveal a bounty of headlines concerning plastic contaminants that extend through the current day. The “flurry” of activity has not subsided and needs further attention in the food industry immediately.

It may seem ridiculous that such a small part of your operation, like a pen, could equal the loss of money, loss of consumer confidence, loss of brand trust, loss of reputation, or even the loss of your business, but it’s true. Yes, there is always a bottom line, but there is also a need for your business to survive. Metal-detectable products equal out to a line of defense that may cost a bit more at the forefront, but they truly equate to an investment in your product and your business.

To check out Nelson-Jameson’s line of metal-detectable products, click here, or request your FREE copy today.

A Picture of Mathew J. Bartkowiak, Ph.D.

About Mathew J. Bartkowiak, Ph.D.

Laboratory Products Department Manager, Nelson-Jameson, Inc.
This entry was posted in Food Safety, General, Laboratory & QA/QC, Production & Material Handling, Safety & Personnel. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

2 Responses to Plastic Contamination in Food

  1. s.copet@nelsonjameson.com' Sharon Copet says:

    After our customer service and technical group has received some questions, I’d like to clarify that the point the article above is trying to convey is that – IF you must use plastic around your processing area (pens, aprons, scrapers, gloves, etc.) we suggest that they be metal detectable plastic products. Of course you would then also have a metal detection equipment on your line as well. Further questions on that can be directed to our MRO (Maintenance/Repair/Operating) Technical Specialists.

    As far as we know – there is nothing that will detect plain plastic products that might contaminate product.

  2. Fritz Buss says:

    Although we don’t represent this technology “Machine Vision” devices will detect plastic: http://www.tectrends.com/cgi/showan?an=00157482
    Note that it is essential that the plastic is colored for this to work — which we offer. The other popular screening system is for metal detection which will pick up the metal detectable items Sharon referred to in her comment.

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