Food Safety and Protection

Size of a foreign matter choking hazard

Find out what the size of a foreign matter choking hazard in food is by checking out HACCP Mentor Review Episode 33.

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Welcome to HACCP Mentor Review Episode 33. I am now back on board after taking a few weeks off travelling up to China and Hong Kong and then some much needed relaxation in Noosa (otherwise known as the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia). In this episode we cover some observations from China, what size of foreign matter would be considered a choking hazard, women in auditing and production signage. Let’s get into it!

My Crazy China

China was definitely an eye-opener with the day to day operations providing a great insight into how others live and work. I was fortunate enough to stay with friends in a relatively small district located within the Guangdong Province. The Huiyang district can be found after about a two hour drive north east of Hong Kong after crossing the Hong Kong – China border.  HACCP-Mentor-Starfish

During the visit, I got to try much of the local cuisine, visit the local supermarkets and also visit an ISO9001 certified manufacturing site. The excellent drinking weather (very hot and very humid) also provided a great opportunity to consume Chinese beer. There is so much I could report but for now I will just tell you of a few of my observations (you can also check the video to see some photos):

  • The most unusual food that I saw being sold in the supermarket was ‘starfish’.
  • The worst food quality issue was the inability to butcher any meat to resemble a decent quality cut.
  • The worst food safety practice was the cracking of eggs into a bowl on the street pavement.
  • The best food I ate was frois gras (duck liver) with dragon fruit.
  • The most frightening experience was driving on the roads. I don’t know how many times I saw my life flash before my eyes.

All-in-all the trip was a fantastic experience into another culture and I thank our Australian hosts Michele and Will for showing us the sights. I would also like to especially thank Chinese Martin for interpreting, driving us everywhere and answering my never ending array of questions. As I said at the beginning, it was all an eye opener but more importantly the trip reminded me of how lucky I am to live in Australia.


Women in Auditing

An article that I wrote on ‘Women in Auditing” has been published by RABQSA International. If you haven’t heard of RABQSA they design, develop, and deliver personnel and training certification. For me to be able to audit within Australia, I have to registered and certified by RABQSA as a food auditor.

Check out the article by clicking the link here

Size of a foreign matter choking hazard

I recently had a question regarding what size of foreign matter would be considered a choking hazard. When undertaking a hazard analysis on a consumer choking after ingesting foreign matter that is present in your food product, it is useful to define the size, type and source of the contaminate rather than just group as “foreign matter contamination”. These foreign matter contaminates could include objects made of metal, wood and plastic.

You would also need to ascertain and assess if your identified size would form a choking risk if consumed by different age groups including children and the elderly.

To get an idea of what size would constitute a choking hazard, you can refer to the government department in your country of manufacture that deals with choking hazards for children. Although this is not specifically food related, there is normally legislation set around what size object is considered to be a choking hazard in reference to toys and toy manufacture.

Another good reference source to check out is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Compliance Policy Guide on Foods – Adulteration Involving Hard or Sharp Foreign Objects. This document talks about the risk of hard or sharp foreign matter greater than 7mm in size and less than 7mm in size for at risk population groups.

Production Signage

This week action item is to check that all production signage is adequately secured and intact. Production signage can become a hazard if it is torn, ripped or not secured. Also check that it is not dirty or dusty and is not a harbourage for pests like cockroaches.

Wrap Up

That wraps another episode of HACCP Mentor Review. I hope you enjoyed my special report on China and as always would love to hear your feedback. Just leave a comment below this episode. Until next time, I am Amanda Evans from




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