metal detection system and guarding against
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point
(HACCP) methodology is typically used by
companies to manage their food safety. The
guidelines help food manufacturers to identify
potential sources and types of contamination,
as well as pinpoint the necessary inspection
points in the production process. CCPs can
be set up at all stages of food processing: at
the very beginning of a process where raw
materials may be contaminated; during seasoning; or when a product is being packaged.
Appropriate equipment should thus be located
where potential sources and types of contamination can be identified as early as possible.
As an absolute minimum, the end of every
production line should be viewed as a CCP.
The goal of any inspection process is to find
problems early in the process in an attempt
to reduce cost of rework or waste, while still
ensuring the final product is safe. Inspecting
large cases immediately prior to shipment, for
example, could be problematic. In general, the
further downstream a contaminant is detected,
the greater the cost to the manufacturer.
Compatibility with the rest of the production line is another key consideration when
selecting a metal detection system. There
may be several communication considerations
depending on whether the metal detector will
act as a stand-alone entity or whether it will
be integrated with other packaging and processing systems. In any case, it is imperative
that all technologies work together to ensure
the most productive interrelationship.
The most innovative metal detection technologies comprise a fully integrated design
that can operate within any VFFS packaging
system which provides single-point operation from the packaging system screen.
The metal detector is positioned close to the
multi-head weigher, taking advantage of the
path the product is already traveling. This
allows the detector to run at higher speeds,
dramatically increasing the rate at which the
bagger can produce finished products, while
maintaining high sensitivity levels.
It is crucial for manufacturers to frequently evaluate their equipment, as well-tuned
machinery is essential to achieve compliance and maximize process productivity.
Furthermore, defective equipment may allow
contaminants to continue through the production process unidentified, posing possible
health risks to consumers.
A common factor that must also be con-
sidered regarding system maintenance is
staff training. All relevant employees should
be properly trained in the principles and use
of metal detection equipment and the use
of testing routines. Additionally, best prac-
tice is to test equipment every four hours
using test samples. Validation tests are also
recommended following batch changes,
machine setting adjustments and especially
periods of downtime.
In today’s highly accountable business
environment, it is necessary for food manufacturers to optimize the performance and
value of their metal detection systems. They
can no longer be viewed as just a means to
remove metallic contamination; they play a
far more important role as a comprehensive
and effective metal detection system that
can maximize product safety, increase yield,
meet retailer standards, ensure regulatory
compliance with industry standards and
regulations, protect consumers’ well-being
and protect the brands of food producers.
Ultimately, this will help to grow sales and
increase profits. ◆
The goal of any inspection
process is to find prob-
lems early in the process
in an attempt to reduce
cost of rework or waste,
while still ensuring the
final product is safe.