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Corned Beef Contaminated With Metal

A UK Food Standards Agency food alert reports that UK supermarket-chain EH Booths has recalled British-produced Corned Beef as it may contain metal pieces.  The agency states that ‘the presence of metal makes this product unsafe to eat and presents a safety risk’.  The recalled Corned Beef is the 3-slice 100g pack with a use-by date of 8th May 2019.  This is EH Booth’s second food product recall in 2019 due to metal contamination.

EH Booths is a chain of high-end supermarkets in Northern England. Most of its branches are located in Lancashire, but there are also branches in Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and North Yorkshire and a single branch in West Yorkshire in the town of Ilkley.

Manufacturing Corned Beef

Corned beef is a salt-cured beef product that has been produced for over 100 years.  The term ‘corned’ originates from the treatment of the meat with large-grained rock salt, also called ‘corns’ of salt.  Recipes vary and can include additional sugar and spices.

After the meat is removed from the carcass, the beef is cooked in a continuous cooker.  The goal of this is obtaining the broth, which is then evaporated in order to obtain meat extract, a very valuable product.  The remaining cooked beef is then cleaned of connective and fatty tissues, mixed with curing salts and coarsely minced.  This mix is then canned and sterilized in autoclave.  Un-canned corned beef is formed and then commonly sliced before packing.

Metal Contamination

As with any food process, the introduction of metal contamination can occur at several stages.  Although the source of the metal contamination in this latest food alert is unknown, possible stages where metal could enter the process include:

  • Removing the meat from the carcass;
  • During mincing;
  • When the formed corned beef is sliced;

Prevention

Metron 05C Metal Detector

Removing metal during the manufacturing process is difficult due to the nature of the product.  High strength Magnetic Separators are often installed in chutes and at conveyor discharge points to capture any ferrous metal contamination.  Commonly, this would be post-mincing.

The most important preventative measure is to have Metal Detectors positioned prior to and post canning, slicing and packing.  This will identify any ferrous or non-ferrous metal contamination and enable the operatives to remove the contaminated product from the process.

Proactive metal contamination management ensures that all food reaching the consumer is metal-free and safe.  This latest metal contaminated corned beef alert may have been prevented.

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For further information on removing and detecting metal contamination in a food manufacturing process, please fill in our contact form today with and question or query you may have or alternatively contact us on:

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