The article is quoted from a special reportin the 387th issue of magazine published in August 2023.
According to relevant statistics, foodcontaminants complaints account for more than 60% of customer complaints in the food industry. Such a high proportion has also attracted widespread attention from all parties in society. If foreign matter is present in food, in addition to the psychological impact on consumers, the reputation of the food brand will be seriously damaged, and consumers may even lose trust in the brand. Therefore, to produce food with guaranteed quality and safety, food companies must attach great importance to the problem of foreign matter and effectively reduce the occurrence of foreign matter problems in food by establishing quality control systems, installing contaminants detection systems, training employees, and strengthening supervision and inspection. Ensure food safety and product quality. To this end, the magazine organized a special topic on "Management and Detection of Contaminants in Food" to interview Vixdetect Inspection to discuss the hazards and impacts of contaminants in food, Management measures, excellent cases and detection technologies will be discussed in order to provide reference for foreign matter management in food companies and thus protect the life safety of consumers.
Q: What substances do contaminants in foodusually contain? In what ways are they usually mixed in?
Any ingredient that enters during foodproduction and processing and should not be included according to non-processing requirements or product standards can be called food contaminants. There are many ways for food contaminants to be mixed in. Each link of agricultural products, such as planting, collection, cleaning, secondary processing, packaging, and transportation, may be mixed into seemingly numerous ways. It is much simpler to evaluate from the perspective of quality management theory, that is, people, machine, material, method and environment.
- "People" refers to foodprocessing and production personnel, such as on-site operators whose hair falls.
- "Machine" refers to foodprocessing and maintenance equipment, such as welding particles, welding slag, etc.
- “Material” refers to raw materials. Forexample, the skin of a pumpkin grown in sandy land will inevitably have sand embedded in it.
- "Method" refers to the processingmethod, such as the cleaning or sorting process is not in place.
- The "environment" refers to theproduction environment, such as flies and mosquitoes.
In recent years, as the consumer market hasbecome more demanding, some food endogenous substances that affect customers' eating experience have also been included in the category of contaminants, such as fish bones, chicken bones, and residue generated during processing. Although this type of foreign matter is a food ingredient, it greatly affects the consumer experience, and more and more food factories have begun to control it.
Question: What harm and impact will foreignmatter in food bring to food companies and consumers?
The problem of contaminants in food hasalways been a hot topic of social concern. In recent years, due to changes in consumer demand and the reduction in the cost of exposure and rights protection, foreign objects have caused more and more problems and attracted more attention.
For example, in the highly publicized"rat head incident" in the canteen, a fragment of a rat head
triggered national public opinion and directly led to severe penalties from the local regulatory authorities. Another example is the needle hiding incident at an Australian strawberry farm in 2018. The contaminant of small needle almost destroyed the entire strawberry industry in the country that year. Most Australia's strawberry farm had to install metal detectors due to the needle contaminants event. The contaminant mixed in food may at least affect the consumer
experience, cause damage to the brand image and lead to the loss of customers, at worst, they may cause personal injury and civil disputes.
Q: Can you introduce the current moreadvanced food contaminants detection solutions in food? What are its advantages?
For food quality control personnel, inaddition to daily production management, the most intuitive thing is to use contaminants detection equipment. Currently commonly used contaminants inspection equipment includes Metal Detector, X-ray Inspection System, visible light detection, and
near-infrared light detection. Among them, the market of Metal Detector is the largest, and X-ray detection machines have the most comprehensive applications.
Metal Detector could only detect metalcontaminants. The difficulty with Metal Detectors is that many food ingredients are inherently conductive, such as moisture, salt and even aluminum foil
packaging in food. Old-fashioned Metal Detectors have poor detection accuracy for such products. New Metal Detectors in recent years have the automatic learning function can automatically analyze the signal of the food itself, and then separate the food signal and the metal contaminants signal to realize the detection of moisture, salt, and aluminum foil products. X-Ray Inspection
System is more comprehensive than Metal Detector, but it also has shortcomings. Like Metal Detectors, new X-Ray Inspection Systems in recent years have the functions of standard algorithm models and customized algorithm models. The two functions can work in parallel to achieve the highest detection rate. Detecting aluminum foil and metal powder contaminants could be hard for X-Ray Inspection System, but easier for Metal Detector.
Both systems can complement each other. Visiblelight detection is mainly used for some non-standard surface detection, while near-infrared detection is less common, mainly for fruit rot detection, etc. At present, the largest number of contaminants detectors on the market is metal
detection equipment. Because it is relatively cheap, easy to use and has low maintenance costs, it has become the standard for food contaminants control.
Q: Which types of food have higherrequirements for contaminants detection technology? What is the reason?
These days all the types of food such assolids, liquids, fillings, etc. all need to be tested for contaminants. The
demand for X-ray inspection in the dairy industry is also increasing because contaminants may be involved during the filtration and filling processes. The future trend of the market is that contaminants detection equipment needs to be applied no matter what kind of the food product it is, because a small contaminant may
cause a huge brand crisis. This is also a point that many well-known food brands are worried about.
Q: Contaminants detection could only eliminatecontaminants that has been mixed in. In addition to contaminants detection, what measures should food factories take to avoid or reduce contaminants mixed in?
Food safety is a systematic project. Simply introducing metal detection orX-ray detection cannot fully guarantee the safety of food production. In fact, no inspection equipment could solve all problems in one stop. Quality control and technical personnel with professionalism and exploratory spirit in the factory are the key to solving the problem. Only by establishing comprehensive prevention and control measures throughout the chain can we achieve the
greatest possible success, and to reduce contaminants. Through the establishment of the HACCP system, food manufacture companies use scientific methods to strengthen employee food safety training in all aspects of raw material procurement, production process control, and product inspection process, improve employees' quality awareness and sense of responsibility, and
establish a complete internal traceability mechanism to effectively ensure the company's product quality and brand reputation.