Fish Cakes Contaminated with Metal
Youngs Seafood Recalls Contaminated Fish Cakes
In February 2018, Young’s Seafood Ltd recalled its Chip Shop Fish Cakes 6 pack due to the possible presence of pieces of metal and plastic in some packs. The presence of metal and plastic makes this product unsafe to eat and presents a safety risk. The affected product is sold in some Farmfoods and Heron Foods stores.
Youngs is a leading British producer and distributor of frozen, fresh, and chilled seafood, supplying approximately 40% of all the fish eaten in the United Kingdom every year. However, this product recall damages their brand and customer confidence.
Where Does Metal Contamination Come From?
Metal contamination is commonly found in food processing plants. It can be present in the food or ingredients delivered to the processing plant, or introduced during the production process.
Food producers use a combination of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors to ensure that the metal contamination is removed before the final packaged food is despatched to supermarkets and sales outlets.
So How Could This Latest Food Scare Happen?
Youngs is not the first or last major food producer to face a product recall due to metal contamination. Most food producers have installed suitable Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors. However, often the contamination issue is a result of old equipment no longer adequate for the application, a failure of equipment, or a change in the process.
Magnetic Separators do not lose magnetic strength over time unless they are damaged or subjected to high temperatures. However, it is important to annually check the magnetic strength and integrity of the Magnetic Separators. This can be easily done using a Magnetic Pull Test Kit as part of a Magnetic Separator Audit.
The Magnetic Separator Audit also reviews changes in the production process and may propose the relocation of some equipment to ensure that maximum protection is maintained.
Metal Detectors are often used later in the process, once the product is made and after packaging. The settings of the Metal Detector need to be regularly checked, especially if there are changes in the production process, product or packaging. Also, settings on the Metal Detector may be accidentally altered, reducing the sensitivity and resulting in metal contamination being missed. Again, an annual Metal Detector Audit will review the performance and settings and ensure that there is maximum protection.
Unfortunately, reports on metal contaminated food are not unusual. Other examples include:
- Metal contaminated metal scare;
- Metal found in chocolate eclairs;
- Sainsbury warns of metal in bread;
- Metal shards contaminate meat;
For more information on preventing Metal Contamination Food Safety Scares, or to arrange a free onsite survey and audit of a particular plant or process, please contact the Bunting team on:
Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081