Food contaminants: the external matters that could slip into your plate

Untitled design

The technical term Foreign bodies (FBs) refers to any external material of a physical nature that can be found in foodstuff where it does not belong. This phenomenon is more common than we would think averaging almost one product recall for FBs every three days (137 in 2019) in the EU alone. And that’s just scratching the surface of the menace as these figures only take into account the reported cases.

FBs are dangerous for a variety of reasons: the most immediate is obviously consumer health, however, whilst certainly the most important of all, it is just one of the huge threats caused by these particles. On an industrial level, product recalls due to FBs are one of the causes of food waste, which as seen in previous articles, is something that the world as a community cannot afford. Looking at it from an economical perspective, FBs are very costly to producers who usually not only have to recall their products but also suffer tremendous brand image damage, often much more dangerous than the recall itself.

Let’s take a look at the most commonly found contaminants in the UK

Schermata 2021 05 07 alle 16.20.17

As seen in the table above, metals, pests, and plastics are by far the most frequent FBs found in foodstuff, (which also make up more than 50% of all existing FBs) with metal being the most prevalent of all.

Imagine waking up one morning and finding that your favorite breakfast contains small pieces of EPDM or coming home from work to find your microwave dinner has been contaminated with parts of aluminum tins. I bet you would not be exactly happy about it, in fact, I bet you would probably not buy the same product anymore, if not the entire brand. This happens statistically for 1 every 5 customers (around 21%). So, FBs are effectively a double-edged sword, damaging to both consumers and companies.

This is where Xnext® steps in, bringing significant support to stop the issue of FBs in food with XSpectra®, the most advanced inspection system in the market. This in-house built technology allows us to detect FBs in food that current conventional X-rays cannot detect, especially those with low densities such as plastics, pests, and wood.

Xnext®, therefore, brings a win-win solution for both consumers and suppliers. With XSpectra® inspected foods you can say goodbye to all the dangers and worries of FBs, relaxing and enjoying your meal in total comfort and security. As a producer, you will be able to minimize waste by detecting and expelling FB contaminated packages directly on the production line avoiding 100% of potentially dangerous or fatal product recalls.