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#1 Gilles

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 07:14 AM

Hello all,

 

We clean and pack seed products like, sesame seeds, pumpkinseeds etc.

During our BRC last audit we have got a NC because we do not have a magnet procedure.

We have magnets in our process to protect the machines and a good extra the magnets catch the iron dust that is on the product, because of this we never paid much attention to the magnets.

 

The auditor noted that because we remove the iron dust from the product we use the magnets to increase the quality of the product and we need to have a magnet procedure and need to check the magnet more often and do strength tests. And he is right we need to give it more attention.

Because of this NC I am wondering the following; how hazardous is the iron dust in our product for the food safety?

We can never remove all the dust from the product, even if we let it go through 10 magnets there is still dust left on the magnets, this is also because the dust is so small that when product passes it there is a possibility that the dust comes off the magnet.

I have also included a picture of the 6th magnet in our process, as you can see there is still a lot of product on the magnets (the dust on all around the seeds so this is why even a pumpkinseed can be stuck to a magnet), this product is also cleaned with magnets at our supplier.

 

Are there some additional actions we need to take to remove more iron dust from the product or is this not a food safety issue?

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#2 Gabby

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 04:12 PM

Hi Gilles,

 

We have a magnet procedure and we keep and record of all metals we find in the magnets, we recorded and keep the sample of the metals that represent an a significant hazard (>0.8 mm) since our last BRC audit. For iron dust we only record. 

 

Think in "The worst of scenarios", What can happen if your final product inlcuides these iron dust?.
 

In our case isn't a food safety issue, (The dust diameter and quantity are smaller), but seeing your picture, I suggest you used a vibrating sifter or a magnetic mesh, them can help you removed dust excess or iron dust. 

 

Regards!


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#3 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 04:20 PM

My first thought was that we eat metal dust all the time, that's why knives go dull. But your picture seems to have a lot of material on the magnets, so where is it coming from?

 

A risk assessment I would perform would ask the following questions:

 

1. Where is the dust coming from and what is it's composition? Does that introduce additional hazards e.g. heavy metals?

2. Does the dust suggest an increased risk of a physical hazard from larger pieces of metal? Cornell has a good HACCP approach for metal as a physical hazard: http://seafoodhaccp....le_pdf/Ch20.pdf

2. Is the dust an unavoidable contaminant? What are the customer expectations for this? Can we meet them with our current process 100% of the time? How would we catch an unacceptable amount getting past the magnets?


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#4 Madam A. D-tor

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:53 PM

Dear Gilles,

 

There is indeed a lot of dust on your sixth magnet. From how long time is this? a day? an hour?

I am curious what is the intended use of your products. Are there any other cleaning processes after the magnets?

Depending on the size and the form of the particles and the composition this might be a food safety risk.

 

 

I thought there was a recall of Kellogs related to metal dust some years ago, but searching the internet it seems to be related to little metal fragrance.

What might be amusing to see is the following Youtube video. It is slightly off topic. It is from a Dutch TV show, that has been investigating cereals and found that there is metal dust in it. https://www.youtube....h?v=1uAwO1oAGWA


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#5 Gilles

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 07:06 AM

Thank you for all the replies!

 

 

Hi Gilles,

 

We have a magnet procedure and we keep and record of all metals we find in the magnets, we recorded and keep the sample of the metals that represent an a significant hazard (>0.8 mm) since our last BRC audit. For iron dust we only record. 

 

Think in "The worst of scenarios", What can happen if your final product inlcuides these iron dust?.
 

In our case isn't a food safety issue, (The dust diameter and quantity are smaller), but seeing your picture, I suggest you used a vibrating sifter or a magnetic mesh, them can help you removed dust excess or iron dust. 

 

Regards!

 

Well thats the problem I do not know what can happen if the dust is in the final product.

The other stuff you see on the picture is linseeds (brown seeds) and dust from the seeds, they collect enough iron dust they stick to the magnet.

I think when I collect all this and seperate the iron dust it would be 0.01 gram of dust.

 

 

My first thought was that we eat metal dust all the time, that's why knives go dull. But your picture seems to have a lot of material on the magnets, so where is it coming from?

 

A risk assessment I would perform would ask the following questions:

 

1. Where is the dust coming from and what is it's composition? Does that introduce additional hazards e.g. heavy metals?

2. Does the dust suggest an increased risk of a physical hazard from larger pieces of metal? Cornell has a good HACCP approach for metal as a physical hazard: http://seafoodhaccp....le_pdf/Ch20.pdf

2. Is the dust an unavoidable contaminant? What are the customer expectations for this? Can we meet them with our current process 100% of the time? How would we catch an unacceptable amount getting past the magnets?

  1. The dust is comming from the gound during harvest. I do not know the actual composition this including the heavy metals is a great thing to analyse.
  2. The dust does not suggest in increase a risk of physical hazard, we also have a metal detector at the end of the line.
  3. We think this is an unavoidable contaminant and I do not think consumers know this is on all seeds. Our products are used in the bakery industry  as a decoration or topping even for big companies who sell all over the world and they also have no limits for this dust. so at this point there is no "unacceptable" limit.

 

Dear Gilles,

 

There is indeed a lot of dust on your sixth magnet. From how long time is this? a day? an hour?

I am curious what is the intended use of your products. Are there any other cleaning processes after the magnets?

Depending on the size and the form of the particles and the composition this might be a food safety risk.

 

 

I thought there was a recall of Kellogs related to metal dust some years ago, but searching the internet it seems to be related to little metal fragrance.

What might be amusing to see is the following Youtube video. It is slightly off topic. It is from a Dutch TV show, that has been investigating cereals and found that there is metal dust in it. https://www.youtube....h?v=1uAwO1oAGWA

I think for this product, several hours of production (10.000 of seeds)

The products are for the bakery industry for toppings or decorations.

After this magnet the product is packed and goes through our metal detector.

What you see on the picture are seeds and seed dust that have dust on them so they stick to the magnet. If I would separate the pure iron dust from the rest you see on the picture I would have, I guess, 0.01 grams of iron dust.


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#6 Charles.C

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 02:00 PM

Hi Gilles,

 

Well, if you are in the USA, I would expect people to start talking about adulteration. :smile:

 

If so, it presumably depends on how much iron particles remain in the commercialised product/it's intended consumer.


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#7 Gilles

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 02:32 PM

Hi Gilles,

 

Well, if you are in the USA, I would expect people to start talking about adulteration. :smile:

 

If so, it presumably depends on how much iron particles remain in the commercialised product/it's intended consumer.

 

Luckely we are not in the USA but why would it be adulteration?

 

Well if I do a fast calculation for the end consumer:

 

0.01 gram is on the last magnet after 10.000 kg of product

lets assume that that the final product also has 0.01 gram of iron dust in it

So per gram 0.000001 gram of iron dust

A full bread has 10 grams of linseed, if it has seeds on it, so lets say you eat half a bread that is 0.000005 gram of iron dust.

 

So almost nothing, futhermore I found out that the stomach acid is not strong enough to break the iron down so you just poop the iron out.


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#8 Charles.C

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 02:42 PM

Hi Gilles,

 

"Adulteration" has a multitude of interpretations. It is a highly flexible terminology.

 

In US it is an unheralded legal lever to prompt a recall for contaminations (eg metallic) which may be a debatable hazard but may be anyway be considered to render the commercialised product "unwholesome". More details here -

 

https://en.wikipedia...dulterated_food

 

Whether any other countries have similar add-ons I'm unaware.

 

I also admit to being unaware of the RDI for iron.


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Charles.C


#9 Anne-marie @ Safefood 360°

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 03:07 PM

Hi,

 

Do you source the seeds etc. from a supplier? It seems to me they could be key in reducing the risk.

 

However, by being proactive in testing the magnet you can reduce any metal contaminant ending up in your final product. You will need to perform pull tests to see how well the magnet is working. Testing frequency will depend on what you decide in your procedure. But you will need to consider how often the magnet is exposed to high temperatures and also rough handling it breaks down overtime.

 

I would consider this a food safety issue. Conducting testing on products for iron levels, if not already conducting, would be beneficial. Fluctuations in a products iron levels needs to be considered especially when the level is stated on the packaging.  Risk evaluation and risk reduction processes can only reduce metal contaminations to the lowest possible and acceptable level.

 

This is as food safety issue and the significance of the issue depends on a whole range of issues, like your level of control and the contaminants. The aim of your risk assessment is to determine how significant this is. Once you can do that, you should be in a better standing moving forward.


Edited by Anne-marie @ Safefood 360°, 07 July 2017 - 03:08 PM.

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#10 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:10 PM

In US it ["adulteration"] is an unheralded legal lever

 

 

Still not as bad as "packed or held in insanitary conditions". Never mind what happens at the store.....

 

I agree with you on the risk of a physical hazard, given your final metal detection step which can effectively give some assurance that they would be caught and removed. Given the recent recalls for rosemary, turmeric, and other spices for heavy metals, I think it would benefit you to send out a sample of your incoming and post-magnet product for lead to see if it should be addressed in your hazard analysis. Just a couple samples (homogenized, collected from multiple runs) wouldn't be terribly expensive and I would personally want to "check that off" simply because of what ends up on your magnets.

 

 

 

 

Our products are used in the bakery industry  as a decoration or topping

 

This product is ready-to-eat? What sort of microbial interventions (washing, roasting) occur to prevent contamination that also allow for this much dust to remain on the product at the end of production?

 

0.01 gram is on the last magnet after 10.000 kg of product

 A full bread has 10 grams of linseed, if it has seeds on it, so lets say you eat half a bread that is 0.000005 gram of iron dust.

 

Don't trick yourself here. That's a small amount in terms of organoleptic characteristics and macro observations. But it could be meaningful in terms of micronutrients.

10mg(0.01gram)/10,000 Kg=.001ppm. The EU limit for lead in "cereals" would be 0.010 ppm. It's enough to think about. That being said, this material is on your magnet, not in the product, so it's really only an argument against removing the magnet as opposed to adding another one.

 

Sounds like you're okay provided you document the associated risks and address them appropriately. I would never expect a supplier to keep adding magnets to their line until nothing was picked up by them provided the magnets in place address all hazards identified by the supplier and meet my expectations for quality.


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#11 Gilles

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 07:24 AM

Thanks again for the replies

 

Hi,

 

Do you source the seeds etc. from a supplier? It seems to me they could be key in reducing the risk.

 

However, by being proactive in testing the magnet you can reduce any metal contaminant ending up in your final product. You will need to perform pull tests to see how well the magnet is working. Testing frequency will depend on what you decide in your procedure. But you will need to consider how often the magnet is exposed to high temperatures and also rough handling it breaks down overtime.

 

I would consider this a food safety issue. Conducting testing on products for iron levels, if not already conducting, would be beneficial. Fluctuations in a products iron levels needs to be considered especially when the level is stated on the packaging.  Risk evaluation and risk reduction processes can only reduce metal contaminations to the lowest possible and acceptable level.

 

This is as food safety issue and the significance of the issue depends on a whole range of issues, like your level of control and the contaminants. The aim of your risk assessment is to determine how significant this is. Once you can do that, you should be in a better standing moving forward.

 

Yes we source the product from suppliers and reclean the product.

 

We do not analyse the product on iron (yet) but we do alot on heavy metals like lead, arcinec and cadmium, we never have any problems with these.

 

I think its good to determine the level of iron left in the final product with an analysis and visually with running it through an other magnet.

 

Still not as bad as "packed or held in insanitary conditions". Never mind what happens at the store.....

 

I agree with you on the risk of a physical hazard, given your final metal detection step which can effectively give some assurance that they would be caught and removed. Given the recent recalls for rosemary, turmeric, and other spices for heavy metals, I think it would benefit you to send out a sample of your incoming and post-magnet product for lead to see if it should be addressed in your hazard analysis. Just a couple samples (homogenized, collected from multiple runs) wouldn't be terribly expensive and I would personally want to "check that off" simply because of what ends up on your magnets.

 

 

 

This product is ready-to-eat? What sort of microbial interventions (washing, roasting) occur to prevent contamination that also allow for this much dust to remain on the product at the end of production?

 

 

Don't trick yourself here. That's a small amount in terms of organoleptic characteristics and macro observations. But it could be meaningful in terms of micronutrients.

10mg(0.01gram)/10,000 Kg=.001ppm. The EU limit for lead in "cereals" would be 0.010 ppm. It's enough to think about. That being said, this material is on your magnet, not in the product, so it's really only an argument against removing the magnet as opposed to adding another one.

 

Sounds like you're okay provided you document the associated risks and address them appropriately. I would never expect a supplier to keep adding magnets to their line until nothing was picked up by them provided the magnets in place address all hazards identified by the supplier and meet my expectations for quality.

 

The product is not ready to eat, it serves a a topping on bread and is baked with the bread.

 

True what you say about the about the micronutrients, thanks.

 

Thanks all


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#12 Charles.C

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:13 PM

Hi Gilles,

 

ex OP

Because of this NC I am wondering the following; how hazardous is the iron dust in our product for the food safety

 

Here's (maybe) some good news for you -

 

Metal  dust  of  a  size  of  less  than  one  millimetre  can  be  regarded  as  harmless  for human consumption.

 

Attached File  metallic-and-magnetic-contaminations-in-herbs-and-spices-risk-evaluation.pdf   529.16KB   3 downloads

 

PS - i still reckon the USA will get you for adulteration if there's a load of it in the product. And particularly if vulnerable consumers are potentially involved.


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#13 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:00 PM

 

 

PS - i still reckon the USA will get you for adulteration if there's a load of it in the product. And particularly if vulnerable consumers are potentially involved.

Had that exact situation once, USDA decided to "if in doubt, throw it out" even if they couldn't quantify the risk.


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