Food Safety and Protection

5 ways to prevent foreign matter in your food

One of the aims of every food business should be to prevent foreign matter. It is also basic legal requirement that food does not contain any foreign matter or physical hazards. This post covers seven ways to achieve this outcome. It also provides common control measures that can easily be implemented in your food business.

Implement Effective Cleaning

Having a clean and sanitary food preparation environment not only controls the growth and transfer of biological hazards but also serves to prevent foreign matter. Built up residue, dirt, mould and can easily break off into food products. To help with cleaning implement a cleaning schedule that will aid this process.

Control Maintenance Activities

There have been many food product recalls that have been traced back to the maintenance process including filings of metal and unsecured equipment parts ending up in food. Having clear procedures around when maintenance occurs, post-maintenance cleaning and handover can help to prevent foreign matter originating from this source.

Maintain Building Construction

A good solid construction with no physical damages essential to prevent foreign matter.  Ensure that any surfaces are smooth, intact and do not have flaking areas or parts. Securing all sources of glass with covers or shatter film is essential to stop glass breaking and ending in your food product.

Effectively Cover All Items

Covering all food items is considered to be a secondary measure to prevent foreign matter. It is like a back-up when other good manufacturing practices like cleaning, pest control and construction have failed. Make sure whatever cover you use does not then also become a potential source of contamination.

Identify and Control Loose items

Prevention is always better than cure! Implement procedures in your food business that avoid the use or presence of potential foreign matter like metal staples,  pins  on  notice  boards,  rubber  bands etc. If you must have these items in food production areas, make sure that they are adequately stored and controlled. Use a count-in / count-out process and regular inspect these items for damage.

How does your business prevent foreign matter?

That was a brief overview of some strategies that can be implemented to prevent foreign matter from ending up in your food products. Share your insights, experience and knowledge with the HACCP Mentor community by leaving a comment below this post.


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