Remaining aware of the most common foreign materials found in food facilities and using these 8 tips can help food facility managers maintain high hygiene standards in their buildings and avoid compliance issues resulting from contamination.

1. Plastic

Prevent pieces of plastic from tainting foods by using screens, sieves or other device that separates products from plastic contaminants. X-ray detectors can help prevent plastic contamination since x-rays readily detect plastic and other contaminants.

2. Metal

Practicing regular preventive maintenance is the best way to keep lose screws, bolts and other metal pieces out of food. Although magnets or metal detectors can be established in-line to remove ferrous metal objects, facility managers need to ensure that everything is being done to prevent metal contamination before it reaches the production line.

3. Jewelry

It may surprise many food facility managers that negligent employees are responsible for a large number of food contamination incidences. Consequently, employees should never be allowed to wear jewelry or piercings at work.

4. Glass

Glass is considered the most difficult contaminant to detect when mixed with food products and should be removed from food facilities altogether.

5. Natural contaminants (wood, pebbles, etc.)

Although nontoxic, items brought in from the outside and mixed with food products may injure consumers (breaking a tooth or creating a choking hazard). Again, using screening devices and providing instruction to employees about maintaining good hygiene is essential to preventing this kind of contamination.

6. Bone

The majority of meat processors eliminate the potential for bone contamination by using deboned beef. In addition, sausage/pork makers typically utilize specialized bone removal systems in grinding operations.

7. Random items (pens, thermometers, bandages, hair ties, etc.)

Most of the time, contamination by these types of items is accidental. However, it is not uncommon to find employees intentionally contaminating food or allowing contamination to remain unresolved. Providing employees with pocket-less uniforms and establishing strict policies are two ways food facility managers may prevent such occurrences.

8. Insects/insect parts

Insect infestations are a food facility manager’s worst nightmare. However, insect and general pest infestations are preventable when facilities are regularly evaluated by a professional pest control company like Assured Environments. In addition to assessing the cleanliness of the building, Assured Environments can recommend an Integrated Pest Management plan to ensure your facility remains free of contaminants and consistently compliant with FDA guidelines.