The installation of detection and scanning systems in the food and beverage industries offers more benefits than just finding stray metal contaminants before they injure consumers. The benefits of detectability also allow the safe use of plastic tools and materials in the processing area. The development of detectable plastics has meant that they are more likely to be detected and rejected and so protect the consumer and reduce the risk of emergency recall.
2. Why should I use products made from detectable plastics?
Ordinary plastics cannot be identified and rejected by metal detection systems. So if pieces of a pen or a scraper end up in a several finished products the consumers will be the first to find them. Recent examples of plastic contamination in chicken and baby food products have resulted in expensive recalls that have raised questions against respected brand names. Products made from detectable plastics can reduce these risks substantially.
3. Can X-ray systems see plastics?
Special polymers have now been developed that combine metal detectability and X-ray sensitivity so that pieces of pens, tools and other materials can be seen by X-ray systems. Ordinary plastics are too low in density to be detected.
4. How safe are the plastics?
Reputable manufacturers of detectable plastic products will be able to provide certificates of assurance that their polymers have been tested and approved for safe contact with food. They comply with the standards laid down by both the US FDA and by European Union. Some manufacturers like Detectamet also apply food safe practices to their production and handling systems.
5. Will my GFSI Certification be jeopardised?
No it won’t. In fact it will be enhanced because food and beverage producers are required to take all reasonable precautions against the physical contamination of finished product. Detectable plastic tools and materials are a clear demonstration of good practice.
6. What should I order?
A technical audit following the production path in a processing unit will reveal at-risk products where tools and equipment made from ordinary plastics are being used. Detectable alternatives are readily available and can even be incorporated into HACCP management systems that make use of colour coding.
7. What if I cannot find a detectable version of what I need?
Just ask a reputable supplier. Detectamet for example has introduced at least 18 new detectable products in the past 18 months. They range from detectable silicone caulking to detectable stretch wrap and several new tools and installations for dispensing protective clothing.
8. Will it work with magnet extraction systems?
Pieces of detectable plastic tools and equipment can be found and removed by the high powered magnets installed in chute and drop pipe extraction systems used to check dry goods and ingredients before processing.
9. When is an accident not an accident?
Many contamination incidents result from unfortunate accidents. Some however can be the consequence of deliberate sabotage by a single disgruntled employee. A detectable plastic scraper may not prevent it happening but the pieces in the several packs of contaminated product are far more likely to be detected, rejected and prevented from being released and delivered to the retailer or food service outlets.