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MCAM White Paper: Reducing Foreign Object Contamination

Food Processing Packaging White Paper Reducing Foreign Object Contamination Metal shards are the last things youd want to encounter when biting down into a burger or sipping a cold glass of milk. Unfortunately for the Food Processing Packaging and Conveyance Industry foreign object contamination can be a major setback to producing high-quality healthful and safe products for consumers. Between 2012 and 2015 the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service FSIS recalled over 2 million pounds of food for containing extraneous material.1 For food manufacturers and those working in the processing conveyance and packaging systems the repercussions of these types of contamination incidents are multifaceted including consumer sickness and loss of confidence negative public sentiment and decreased profitability. Reducing Metal Contaminants Exploring the benefits of advanced engineered thermoplastics in the food processing packaging and conveyance industry. Metal Contamination The Costly The Bad The Ugly While food recalls due to disease-causing contaminants such as E. Coli Salmonella and Listeria often get maximum media coverage foreign object contaminations can be just as damagingand disturbing. Due to the mass industrialization of our food manufacturing processing conveyance and packaging systems objects such as glass metal chips plastic bone wood or small rocks can sometimes find their way into food products. With more and more automation of US food manufacturing systems higher line speeds result in things slipping through the cracks sometimes literally. While food safety standards have been put in place regulating employee behavior equipment is frequently the culprit behind such mishaps. Food processing conveyance and packaging requires a lot of moving partsscrapers paddles pistons valves spools grippers sliding bearings plates screws and more. Metal parts sliding up against each other for prolonged periods of time causes friction and w

ear increasing the likelihood of bits of metal being incorporated into food. Due to the aggressive chemicals in Clean-In-Place CIP and SIP Sterilization-In-Place procedures metal can become corroded and brittlemore prone to flake off. Grease or other lubricants are often required in order to ensure that metal pieces move seamlessly providing yet another potential contaminant. With stricter regulations on water consumption for processing and lubrication due to environmental concerns coupled with an ongoing focus on hygiene and contamination selecting applying and disposing of food manufacturing lubricants is becoming more of a liability. Breakage and wear of metal-on-metal equipment creates metal particulate flakes and dust that can ultimately end up on or mixed into the food product a very real concern for manufacturers. 1 httpwww.fsis.usda.govwpsportalfsistopicsrecalls-and-public-health-alertsrecall-summaries 2 Besides the obvious consumers becoming ill or injured foreign object and extraneous material contaminations are bad news for business. According to the FDA2 and other major news sources Kraft Foods recent voluntary recall of 6.5 million boxes of Mac Cheese cost the company between 6-10.8 million dollars in retail revenue cost alone.3 Media coverage of the recall caused by the possibility that some boxes may contain small pieces of metal caused a drop in company stock prices and an overall loss of customer confidence. What parent is going to pick up a box of Mac Cheese at the grocery store after seeing a news report about even the potential of metal pieces inside More recently ConAgra Foods expanded a voluntary recall of P.F. Changs Home Menu Brand products due to the potential presence of small metal fragments 2-9mm in the sugar used in the sauce.4 According to ConAgras press release Food borne foreign objects that are not hard and sharp and less than or equal to 7mm in length may cause minor injuries such as temporary reflexive choking and irritation of

the gastrointestinal system. The expanded recall now totals over 195 thousand pounds of chicken and beef that have potentially been contaminated with metal fragments that range in size from 2-9 millimeters.5 The Class I recall meaning that there is reasonable probability that consuming these products is a serious health hazard has been covered by major news sources including Fortune U.S. News World Report NBC and ABC News among other outlets. The negative press alone for such a mishap could decimate a smaller company putting them out of business altogether. Kraft Foods recent voluntary recall of 6.5 million boxes of Mac Cheese cost the company between 6-10.8 million dollars in retail revenue A Safer Solution In 2011 the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act FSMA was signed into law as the most sweeping reform of US food safety laws in over 70 years. The act updated existing Good Manufacturing Practices in regards to manufacturing processing packaging and holding of human foods shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. The mandate requires food manufacturers to implement written preventative control plans monitor and maintain routine records in order to ensure that consumers have confidence in the food they buy and serve to their families. However the United States is not the only country striving to increase safety and efficiency in the Food Processing Packaging Conveyance Industry. The AsiaPacific region is projected to see the largest gains in demand for food processing machinery with drivers including developing countries such as India and Africa having access to processed foods motivating food manufacturers to increase both production and capacity. When foreign materials are found in foods they are a concern not only in terms of customer complaints and financial damages but also as factors impacting the effectiveness of the companys overall food safety program their Hazard Analysis Critical Control HACCP system. There are a number of f

ood safety techniques that food manufacturers can build into their preventative control plans. Good food plant personal hygiene policies practices and Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures SSOPs can provide an excellent foundation for eliminating foreign objects. httpwww.fda.govSafetyRecallsucm438700.htm httpwww.cbsnews.comnewskraft-macaroni-cheese-recalled-due-to-metal-fragments 4 httpwww.conagrafoods.comnews-roomnews-ConAgra-Foods-Expands-Recall-of-PF-ChangE28099s-Home-Menu-Brand-Meals-Available-in-Grocery-Retailers-Due-to-Potential-Presence-of-Foreign-Material-2185959 5 httpwww.foodsafetynews.com201607conagra-expands-recall-of-chicken-and-beef-over-metal-fragments.V6DCV442tjU 2 3 3 These changes have created a growing demand for polymer materials as replacements for metal parts Separation and detection strategies can be used to identify and remove contaminants from product streams including sieving screening filtration float tanks and magnetic separation. Many companies have redesigned their production lines entirely in order to minimize the number of metal-to-metal moving parts. Additionally drive motors are now sealed completely or located apart from food locations so that food cannot be trapped in gaps or voids. These changes have created a growing demand for polymer materials as replacements for metal parts and new and improved metal detectable plastics. Engineers can also select easy-to-clean parts such as conveyor belts that provide better overall sanitation and are easier to disassemble. Another tactic is the use of metal or x-ray detectors to check raw materials or packaged ready-to-ship products. Measuring density X-ray machines when coupled with computer analysis can find dense sharp-edged contaminants including glass stone bone and plastic.6 However employees responsible for this type of equipment operation must be educated and trained properly. The Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials Advantage Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials advanced eng

ineering plastics not only reduce the risk of foreign object contamination but also provide the additional benefit of improving food manufacturing productivity. Plastic-on-plastic components or even plastic-on-metal components can outlast metal-on-metal with less debris noise wear lubrication and using less energy providing an overall increase in efficiencies and product manufacturing integrity. With a complete line of metal and x-ray detectable polymers7 Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials is able to offer manufacturers in the Food Processing Packaging and Conveyance Industry the comfort of knowing that even if stray plastic debris finds its way into the product it will be caught by standard detection equipment. Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials FDA and EU compliant8 self-lubricating polymers are designed to replace metal wear components in even the most aggressive applications including areas of high temperature and aggressive cleaning chemical environments.9 These advanced plastics such as TIVAR HPV offer high strength to weight ratios and are designed to run against mating components without lubrication often significantly increasing component life. Self-lubricating polymers also help food manufacturers adhere to regulations regarding mandatory wash downslubricant that is washed into existing water systems can cause damage to the environment in addition to damage costs like loss of productivity fines and negative public relations. Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials httpwww.foodsafetymagazine.commagazine-archive1augustseptember-2009food-safety-insider-testing-solutionsx-ray-contaminant-detection httpmedia.quadrantplastics.comfileadminquadrantdocumentsQEPPEUBrochures_PDFFoodFood_MD_Products_Br_E_0311.pdf 8 httpsen.wikipedia.orgwikiFood_contact_materials 9 httpwww.quadrantplastics.comna-ensupportchemical-resistance-information.html 6 7 4 polymer materials offer improved impact resistance resulting in less breakage of highly stressed plastic parts in pr

oduction and processing equipment. Increasing the mean time between repairs MTBR results in less downtime with more efficient production and product integrity. With 25 of production costs related to maintenance thats no small savings. The trend of legacy brands consolidating under fewer large umbrella companies shows no signs of slowing and is expected to increase from 11.3 to 16.5. Food manufacturers must perform at optimal levels in order to continue to turn a profit. When considering the risks of metal contamination consumer sickness and loss of confidence negative public sentiment and decreased profitability among others it makes sense to consider advanced engineering plastic solutions. Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials supplies stock shape materials as well as finished parts solutions for global clients in the Food Processing Packaging Conveyance Industry with a portfolio including TIVAR MD UHMW-PE TIVAR HPV Acetron MD POM-C and Ketron MD PEEK. If you need assistance selecting the plastic alternative to match your application reach out to Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials Technical Service Team today. It could end up saving you or your customers a few million bucks and a lot of bad press. Resource Center Visit On the homepage scroll down to the Industry Segment Spotlight to access tools education and resources for the Food Processing Packaging Conveyance Industry. Market Segment Manager Paul Canacas Global MSM Food Beverage 1.514.566.3755 MCAMconnect All statements technical information and recommendations contained in this publication are presented in good faith and are as a rule based upon tests and such tests are believed to be reliable and practical field experience. The reader however is cautioned that Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and it is the customers responsibility to determine the suitabil

ity of Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials products in any given application. Acetron Ertalyte Fluorosint Nylatron Ketron and TIVAR are registered trademarks of the Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials group of companies. Distributed by Design and content created by Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials and are protected by copyright law. Copyright Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials. All rights reserved. MCM-FP-04C 8.27.19 5