Tag Archives: foreign matter contamination

Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Wake Up And Seize the Coffee

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Coffee, Food fraud
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database, owned and operated by Decernis, a Food Safety Tech advertiser. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Twelve thousand packs of adulterated coffee that did not match quality standards were seized in Brazil. The coffee was not labeled correctly, and in addition contained foreign matter, such as bark and wood. This investigation is part of a larger operation that altogether seized 15 tons of adulterated coffee, which contained corn, did not adhere to quality standards, and was packaged with a counterfeit purity seal.

Resource

  1. Brito, J. (January 18, 2022). “De milho a madeira na composição: 12 mil pacotes de café são apreendidos no ES”. Espirito Santo.
Recall

Coca Cola Recalls Minute Maid, Coca Cola and Sprite Drinks Due to Foreign Matter Contamination

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Recall

The Coca Cola Company has recalled specific Minute Maid Berry Punch, Fruit Punch and Lemonade products, along with certain Coca Cola 12-ounce cans and Sprite 12-ounce cans. Thus far the voluntary recall has not been posted on FDA’s website but reports indicate that the Minute Maid products could be contaminated with metal pieces. The products were distributed in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maine and Virginia. The Coca Cola products were reportedly distributed to Southeastern states.

Register to attend the complimentary Food Safety Hazard Series: Physical Hazards | Thursday, December 16 at 12 pm ET.

Recall

Q3 Food Recalls Drop More than 10%, 2021 Could See Lowest Recall Levels in a Decade

By Maria Fontanazza
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Recall

FDA food recalls fell more than 11% and USDA recalls increased by just one recall in Q3. If this decreased activity continues, 2021 food recalls could fall to their lowest levels in more than a decade.

The drop in recalls is good news, but food companies remain challenged in maintaining and implementing effective employee training. “Health and safety risks related to the coronavirus, combined with labor shortages, mean that companies must double down on training, communication, and accountability, particularly in cases where employees have never worked in food manufacturing,” according to Sedgwick’s Q3 update on U.S. recalls. “All the right protocols and procedures can be in place, but without a skilled workforce and commitment to continuous improvement, no number of written policies and procedures will prove effective. Companies and their quality and safety teams must be ready, willing, and able to embrace new technologies and evolve with new regulatory guidance as the industry innovates.”

FDA Recalls: Notable Numbers (Q3 2021)

  • Recall activity dropped from 106 recalls in Q2 to 94 recalls (11.3% decline)
  • Prepared foods and produce were top categories for recalls, with 13 events each
  • Recalls affected 2.4 million units, a nearly 70% drop from Q2 (7.9 million units)
  • 33% of recalls were Class I
  • Undeclared allergens was leading cause of recall, with milk being the main cause
  • Bacterial contamination came in second for amount of recalls at 25, followed by quality concerns at 11 recalls

USDA Recalls: Notable Numbers (Q3 2021)

  • Recalls increased from 12 to 13 events (quarter-over-quarter)
  • Number of pounds increased from 207,000 pounds to 10.7 million pounds (due to a single recall of ready-to-eat poultry products that affected almost 9 million pounds)
  • Bacterial contamination was the top cause of recalls—Listeria, Salmonella, and E.coli were the named pathogens of concern
  • Eight recalls were due to undeclared allergens
  • Poultry products the most impacted product category

In November alone, there were nine recalls as a result of foreign matter contamination. Learn more about the strategies companies should implement to prevent and detect foreign materials during Food Safety Tech’s upcoming virtual event, “Food Safety Hazards: Physical Hazards”. | Thursday, December 16 at 12 pm ET.

Food Safety Hazards Series: Physical Hazards

Recalls as a result of foreign material contamination have increased—for reasons that include higher regulatory scrutiny, increased automation in food plants and more effective technology that aids in detection. This virtual event will discuss the current landscape of foreign matter contamination in food products and strategies companies should implement to prevent and detect foreign materials.

Nestle Pepperoni Hot Pockets

Nestlé Recalls More than 762,000 Pounds of Pepperoni Hot Pockets Due to Contamination with Glass and Hard Plastic

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Nestle Pepperoni Hot Pockets
Nestle Pepperoni Hot Pockets
An image of the recalled Pepperoni Hot Pockets, as provided on the USDA website.

Nestlé Prepared Foods has recalled about 762,615 pounds of not-ready-to-eat pepperoni hot pockets over concerns of foreign matter contamination. The products, which were produced between November 13 and November 16, 2020 and have a shelf life of 14 months, could be contaminated with glass and hard plastic. Thus far the company has received four consumer complaints of extraneous material in the pepperoni hot pockets, one of which has been associated with a minor oral injury.

The recall involves the following product: 54-oz carton packages containing 12 “Nestlé Hot Pockets Brand Sandwiches: Premium Pepperoni Made with Pork, Chicken & Beef Pizza Garlic Buttery Crust. According to a USDA announcement, the recalled product has a best before February 2022 date with lot codes 0318544624, 0319544614, 0320544614, and 0321544614. It was shipped nationwide and bears the establishment number “EST. 7721A” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Tucson Tamale

USDA Issues Public Health Alert for Tamales Due to Potential Foreign Matter Contamination

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Tucson Tamale

Yesterday USDA’s FSIS issued a public health alert for ready-to-eat chicken and pork tamales because they contain recalled diced tomatoes in puree that have been recalled by the producer due to foreign matter contamination. The puree product is FDA regulated. The RTE tamales were produced by Tucson Tamale Wholesale Co., LLC between October 22 and November 9, 2020, and have the establishment number “EST. 45860” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products were sold online and shipped for retail and restaurant distribution nationwide.

Tucson Tamale
Tucson Tamale recalled the above-pictured ready-to-eat tamales due to potential contamination with hard plastic.

Tucson Tamale uncovered the issue upon identifying pieces of hard plastic in the cans of diced tomatoes that they received from their ingredients supplier. FSIS is urging consumers who purchased the product to throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

Manuel Orozco, AIB International
FST Soapbox

Detecting Foreign Material Will Protect Your Customers and Brand

By Manuel Orozco
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Manuel Orozco, AIB International

During the production process, physical hazards can contaminate food products, making them unfit for human consumption. According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the leading cause of food recalls is foreign material contamination. This includes 20 of the top 50, and three of the top five, largest food recalls issued in 2019.

As methods for detecting foreign materials in food have improved over time, you might think that associated recalls should be declining. To the contrary, USDA FSIS and FDA recalls due to foreign material seem to be increasing. During the entire calendar year of 2018, 28 of the 382 food recalls (7.3%) in the USDA’s recall case archive were for foreign material contamination. Through 2019, this figure increased to approximately 50 of the 337 food recalls (14.8%). Each of these recalls may have had a significant negative impact on those brands and their customers, which makes foreign material detection a crucial component of any food safety system.

The FDA notes, “hard or sharp foreign materials found in food may cause traumatic injury, including laceration and perforation of tissues of the mouth, tongue, throat, stomach and intestine, as well as damage to the teeth and gums”. Metal, plastic and glass are by far the most common types of foreign materials. There are many ways foreign materials can be introduced into a product, including raw materials, employee error, maintenance and cleaning procedures, and equipment malfunction or breakage during the manufacturing and packaging processes.

The increasing use of automation and machinery to perform tasks that were once done by hand are likely driving increases in foreign matter contamination. In addition, improved manufacturer capabilities to detect particles in food could be triggering these recalls, as most of the recalls have been voluntary by the manufacturer.

To prevent foreign material recalls, it is key to first prevent foreign materials in food production facilities. A proper food safety/ HACCP plan should be introduced to prevent these contaminants from ending up in the finished food product through prevention, detection and investigation.
Food manufacturers also have a variety of options when it comes to the detection of foreign objects from entering food on production lines. In addition to metal detectors, x-ray systems, optical sorting and camera-based systems, novel methods such as infrared multi-wavelength imaging and nuclear magnetic resonance are in development to resolve the problem of detection of similar foreign materials in a complex background. Such systems are commonly identified as CCPs (Critical Control Points)/preventive controls within our food safety plans.

But what factors should you focus on when deciding between different inspection systems? Product type, flow characteristics, particle size, density and blended components are important factors in foreign material detection. Typically, food manufacturers use metal and/or x-ray inspection for foreign material detection in food production as their CCP/preventive control. While both technologies are commonly used, there are reasons why x-ray inspection is becoming more popular. Foreign objects can vary in size and material, so a detection method like an x-ray that is based on density often provides the best performance.

Regardless of which detection system you choose, keep in mind that FSMA gives FDA the power to scientifically evaluate food safety programs and preventive controls implemented in a food production facility, so validation and verification are crucial elements of any detection system.

It is also important to remember that a key element of any validation system is the equipment validation process. This process ensures that your equipment operates properly and is appropriate for its intended use. This process consists of three steps: Installation qualification, operational qualification and performance qualification.

Installation qualification is the first step of the equipment validation process, designed to ensure that the instrument is properly installed, in a suitable environment free from interference. This process takes into consideration the necessary electrical requirements such as voltage and frequency ratings, as well as other factors related with the environment, such as temperature and humidity. These requirements are generally established by the manufacturer and can be found within the installation manual.

The second step is operational qualification. This ensures that the equipment will operate according to its technical specification. In order to achieve this, the general functions of the equipment must be tested within the specified range limits. Therefore, this step focuses on the overall functionality of the instrument.

The third and last step is the performance qualification, which is focused on providing documented evidence through specific tests that the instrument will performs according to the routine specifications. These requirements could be established by internal and industry standards.

Following these three steps will allow you to provide documented evidence that the equipment will perform adequately within the work environment and for the intended process. After completion of the equipment validation process, monitoring and verification procedures must be established to guarantee the correct operation of the instrument, as well procedures to address deviations and recordkeeping. This will help you effectively control the hazards identified within our operation.

There can be massive consequences if products contaminated with foreign material are purchased and consumed by the public. That’s why the development and implementation of a strong food safety/ HACCP plan, coupled with the selection and validation of your detection equipment, are so important. These steps are each key elements in protecting your customers and your brand.

Recall

Undeclared Allergens Top Cause of FDA and USDA Food Recalls

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Recall

Stericycle released its Q3 2019 Recall Index last month. The following are the key takeaways:

FDA Food Recalls

  • Recalled food units increased 319.5% to 8.8 million
  • 21.5% had nationwide distribution
  • Top food categories
  • Prepared foods: 24
    • Produce: 19
    • Flavoring: 14
    • Seafood: 12
  • Undeclared allergens were the top cause at 35.5%
  • Foreign material were top cause of units impacted at 47%

USDA Recalls

  • Decreased 25% to 24
  • Affected 537,000 pounds
  • Top Categories
    • Poultry: 33%
    • Beef: 21%
    • Pork: 12.5%
    • Seafood: 4.2%
  • However, this category came out on top for recalls by pound, at 22.6% of recalled pounds
  • Top Reasons
    • Undeclared allergen: 37.5%
    • Bacterial contamination: 21%
    • Foreign material: 17%
Recall

Simmons Prepared Foods Recalls More than 2 Million Pounds of Poultry Products

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Recall

Yesterday Arkansas-based Simmons Prepared Foods, Inc. initiated a Class I recall of 2,071,397 pounds of poultry products over concern of foreign matter contamination. The products, which were produced between October 21 and November 4, were shipped to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

Thus far there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions related to product consumption.

In an FSIS news release, the agency expressed concern that some of the products may be frozen at institutions and is advising that the products be thrown away or returned to where they were purchased.

Recall

Smoked Sausage Links and Organic Poultry Products Recalls Due to Foreign Matter Contamination

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Recall

Last week USDA announced two Class I recalls involving possible foreign matter contamination. Perdue Foods, LLC has recalled about 31,703 pounds of certain ready-to-eat chicken products that may be contaminated with bone material. The products, which were shipped nationwide and include plastic trays of Simply Smart Organics Breaded Chicken Breast Tenders (gluten free and whole grain), and Chef Quik Breaded Chicken Tenders Boneless Tender Shaped Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat were produced on March 21. The full list of products is on the FSIS website and have the establishment number “EST. P-369” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Thus far there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions following consumption of these products.

Johnsville, LLC has recalled nearly 95,400 pounds of its ready-to-eat jalapeno cheddar smoked sausage products after a consumer complaint involving green hard plastic in the product. The 14-oz packages of the product were shipped both nationwide and internationally, were produced on March 12 and 13, and have the establishment number “EST. 34224” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Thus far there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions following consumption of these products.