Best Practices For Metal Detection In The Food Industry

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Metal detection in the food industry is a critical step in adhering to strict food safety guidelines.  Even a single contaminated product that reaches the marketplace can have a disastrous effect on your company, so it is in your best interest to prevent it.  You can ensure the safety of your products by implementing HACCP plans, including the use of metal detectors and/or x-ray inspection systems with regular testing to ensure they are functioning properly.   

Within the food industry, there is a generally accepted set of best practices that should be followed to guarantee safety.  These involve choosing the proper type of metal detectors, incorporating them into your production line correctly and testing them on a regular basis using high quality test pieces.  These practices should be known and followed by all employees. A good food manufacturer will create a culture of safety.

Depending on the type of product you are manufacturing, you can choose from conveyor mounted, vertical or pipeline detectors for metal detection in the food industry.  Conveyors are used for testing packaged goods, vertical detectors for loose goods like snacks that are pumped into bags and pipelines for liquids or loose, dense solids like meats and cheeses.

No matter which type you use or need, your detectors should be placed either after or near the end of the packaging process and should include an automatic rejection system.  This way, if a contaminant is detected within an individual package, that package will be instantly removed from the production line before it can be shipped. There should also be some sort of alarm to indicate when the rejection bin is full.

Adjusting the sensitivity of your detector is crucial to ensure accuracy.  As part of the best practices for metal detection in the food industry, it is essential that the sensitivity of your detector be set for the conductivity of your product and readjusted when running different products.  Also, if you move your equipment within your facility, you may need to check and readjust the sensitivity and calibration relative to the product effect.

Equally important is following a schedule of regular tests to ensure that your detectors are operating properly.  Ideally, testing should be done hourly but at the very least it should be done at the beginning of each shift and between each change of product.  Testing should be done at short enough intervals so that if a contamination is found, potentially affected products can be recalled before they leave the facility.

Metal detection in the food industry necessitates the use of quality test pieces in a number of sizes and compositions, including ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel.  Regal Packaging Services, Inc. provides pieces in a wide variety of shapes, such as cards (laminate, acetal and thermoform), sticks (rods) and whips, and covering 8 different materials including: Ferrous, Non-Ferrous, Stainless Steel 316, Soda-Lime Glass, Ceramic and Rubber.  We work with each customer to meet their particular needs and certify each individual test piece to ensure durability and certification requirements.

You can’t afford to take chances when it comes to the safety of your customers and that means ensuring the quality of your products.  With carefully designed and manufactured test pieces from Regal Packaging Services ( you’ll be able to keep your metal detectors working properly and know that you’re giving your customers only the very best.  That’s quality you can depend on and results that you can trust.

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