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High profile plastic contamination plagues the food industry

08/03/2016

February 2016 saw two very high profile product recalls caused by plastic contamination. Firstly we had the extensive recall of Mars chocolate covering 55 countries caused by red plastic fragments, followed shortly by an Oatibix recall where pieces of blue rubber were found in the flakes.

Both incidents have inevitably caused huge expense to the companies involved, as well as a tarnished reputation. At this stage the general public do not know the root cause of contamination in either incident, however both incidents highlight the need for food processors to take precautions and display due diligence in the prevention of such “foreign body” contamination.

So what precautions can be taken to protect against plastic contamination? The vast majority of food processors use in-line metal detectors to check their products for metallic contamination. Things like nuts and bolts, shards of metal ETC – however this does not detect standard plastics. Some processors also use in-line x-ray inspection systems, routinely scanning their products to check for a wide range of contaminants. However, the low density of plastic makes it very difficult to detect on a x-ray.

So what’s the solution to preventing plastic contamination of food products?

The answer is detectable plastics – was first established in 1985, we invented detectable plastics and we’re still leading the way today. Our products work by incorporating a very precise formulation of additives in the base plastic of our products to trigger a standard food industry metal detector or x-ray inspection system.

We work with food processors not only supplying them with standard products, such as detectable pens, scoops, jugs and scrapers – but also tailor made products such as machine parts, seals and gaskets. Our 30+ years of trading makes us the most experienced manufacturer of food safe detectable products, and we love sharing our knowledge and experience with customers to help them address contamination issues at their source.