Improving Food Safety And Profitability With Metal Fragment Control

The introduction of the new FSMA Act and the tightening of industry standards is forcing food manufacturers to be more proactive (rather than 'reactive') in reducing their food safety risks.  

Along with plastic and glass, metal fragments are one of the most commonly found physical hazards/contaminants in food. These may enter the product stream with incoming raw materials and result from equipment wear and tear (work-hardened stainless steel fragments). Metal contamination in the final product can have serious implications for the companies involved, including product recall, loss of customer trust, legal and financial damage, and product wastage.

Increasing foreign metal fragment control will increase your food safety level, and in turn, help increase the profitability of your business.

Here are 3 steps you can employ in your food manufacturing plant to greatly reduce risks.

1. Plant Risks Assessments/Magnet Validations

Magnet Validations (or 'magnet audits') assess the effectiveness of your existing magnetic separators and areas where metal contamination risks are present. Collected data is compiled into a Magnet Validation Report which contains recommendations for increasing control in medium-high risk locations.

AMR Consulting are experts in metal fragment control and magnet validations for the food industry - you can learn more about their services here.

AMR Magnet Validations help you identify areas of risk in your process lines.

2. Effective Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors

Like metal detectors, magnetic separators are also essential in reducing metal contamination risks and increasing product security. This article discusses how they can effectively work together to control metal fragments.

The information from your current Magnet Validation Report should highlight areas where action is required to reduce risk, and this may require replacing/installing magnetic separators.

Remember, a 10,000 gauss magnet does not mean it is an effective magnet. If maximum metal fragment control is your goal, then it is crucial to also consider factors aside from magnet strength before making a purchase (find our helpful checklist here).

Contacting an experienced Magnattack technician will greatly assist in ensuring the magnets you install will provide an increased level of control.

Effective magnetic separators can work together with metal detectors to provide maximum foreign metal fragment control.

3. Frequent monitoring of magnets and metal content

Preventing metal contamination is an ongoing task. Installing magnets and forgetting about them until the next magnet audit is a mistake that has the potential to be very costly. Like most equipment, magnets need to be closely and frequently monitored.

Frequent monitoring and cleaning of your magnets will help you gain control over metal. Establish a system in your company that sets out how often magnets should be checked and cleaned, and ensure that records are kept.

  • Cleaning magnets regularly will reduce the chance of 'shorting out'

  • Quick visual inspection of magnets during cleaning will alert you of surface damage to the magnet assembly - if magnets are damaged or dropped, their effectiveness can decrease.
  • In-house testing can alert of demagnetization

  • Records of typical metal collections will help you establish your 'normal contamination level' - spikes in this may indicate a problem upstream that is causing higher contamination level and higher risks
It is important to frequently monitor and clean your magnetic separators, to reduce risk of 'shorting-out' and re-contamination.

Increasing The Safety Of Your Food Products

Following these 3 steps and taking a practical, pro-active approach to reducing metal fragments in your process lines will greatly assist in controlling metal contamination, increasing food safety, and increasing profitability.

Magnattack® Global has a team of qualified and experienced technicians that are ready and able to help you reduce risks. Book a free consultation today or browse our effective magnetic separation systems here.

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