The UK Food Standards Agency reported four cases of metal contaminated food in 2018. This compared with six alerts in 2017. All four cases relate to food products that have either reached or have the potential to reach the consumer.
Metal Contaminated Food Warnings 2018
The four cases where food was reported to be potentially contaminated with metal were:
- In February 2018, Youngs Seafood recalled Chip Shop Fish Cakes due to the potential presence of plastic and metal. The affected product was sold in some Farmfoods and Heron Foods stores. Youngs pride themselves on the quality of their food.
- The Addo Food Group recalled pastry products due to the possible presence of small pieces of metal wire (June 2018). 59 pastry product were recalled in all including sausage rolls, pasties, pastry pies and slices. Addo Food Group manufacture the chilled pastry products as own-branded products for major UK supermarkets Tesco, Aldi and Nisa, as well as those produced under the Walls and Millers brands.
- The Food Standards Agency announced the recall of granulated sugar produced by Tereos UK due to the presence of small metal pieces in July 2018. The sugar was sold by Iceland, Poundland and Sainsbury’s.
- The final metal contaminated food alert of 2018 came in October. The Raw Chocolate Company recalled Chocolate Goji Berries due to the potential presence of small pieces of metal.
How Does Metal Get Into Food?
There is always the potential of metal contaminating foods. Metal can enter the food processing chain at a number of key points:
- Transportation of the raw materials to the processing site. Metal has been found in the backs of lorries used to transport raw materials to the processing plant. This then enters at the start of the process;
- Wear of processing plant. As with any process, the equipment will be subjected to wear and tear. Screens will break, pumps will fail and such occurrences may introduce metal into the process;
- People. Although many food processing plants now have strict rules regarding wearing and using metal items, accidents do occur. Such metal contamination mishaps often occur during maintenance periods;
Preventing Metal Contamination Problems
Many food companies use a wide range of magnetic separators and metal detectors to find and remove metal contamination. In 2018, Jordans Dorset Ryvita commissioned a magnetic separator audit of all the magnetic separators in their Poole facility. The review highlighted areas where magnets were no longer effective due to changes in the process and technology.
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