4 Food Recall Facts You Need to Know and How X-ray Inspection Can Help Mitigate Risk

Food & Beverage, Red Meat
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Did you know?

  • The number of recalls related to foreign bodies found in food reported via the FDA Recall Enforcement Reports has risen since 2014, with a 60% increase in 2016 compared with 2015¹.
  • EU RASFF data also shows the number of foreign body notifications has increased since 2014. In 2016, the number (135) was 22% higher than the number in 2015 (110)².
  • Metal, plastic and glass are the main contaminants found in food².
  • Half of all food recalls cost the affected company more than USD 10 million in direct costs, which excludes the reputational damage that can take companies years to recover from³.

In February 2017, Californian company Manzana Products Co., Inc. voluntarily recalled three different types of Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Apple Sauces after customers reported finding glass in some of the products. Manzana isn’t alone, as the statistics above show.

The rising number of food recalls has been attributed to regulatory changes and our increasingly globalized food supply chain where one contaminated ingredient or mislabeled product can cause sickness, death, multi-million dollar losses and huge reputational damage for the company affected.

X-ray Inspection Provides Food Recall Protection

Many small to medium-sized food manufacturers are now following their larger counterparts in adopting x-ray inspection as a cost-effective measure to prevent foreign bodies entering the retail supply chain.

Once placed correctly on a production line (usually as a result of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) audit to determine where the physical contamination risks are), x-ray inspection systems offer unrivalled detection of a wide range of foreign bodies in food, including metal, glass, mineral stone, calcified bone, and high-density plastics and rubber.

As well as detecting and rejecting contaminants, x-ray systems are simultaneously capable of conducting a variety of additional quality control inspection checks. For example, fill levels and mass can be monitored, ensuring products aren’t underweight and consequently potentially illegal, or overweight, meaning product is being given away unnecessarily.

No Stone Unturned

By performing one hundred percent inline product inspection without slowing the manufacturing speed, x-ray inspection leaves no stone unturned.

Furthermore, a range of software applications can also be employed which have the ability to monitor inspection capability, collect data (including inspection images) and store it centrally. In the event of an incident occurring where the manufacturer has been called to account, such data will reinforce the claim that all reasonable efforts were made to detect foreign bodies, thereby providing a due diligence defense.

X-ray inspection is no longer simply a ‘would like to have’ element for food manufacturers. Incorporating an x-ray system into a company-wide product inspection program is crucial to comply with national and international regulations, as well as retailers’ own stringent quality control policies.

However, working with an expert to select the right x-ray system is paramount and could ultimately save companies a lot of money and time in the long run. For more information, click here.

¹http://www.rqa-group.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/RQA-Group-Foreign-Body-Recalls-Report-Nov-2016.pdf

²https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/us-eu-foreign-body-recalls-increase-vince-shiers

³http://www.swissre.com/media/news_releases/nr_20150715_foodrecall.html

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