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Should a Food Packaging Plant Install a Metal Detector?


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Sylvester

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 03:52 PM

During a recent audit the customer said we should consider installing a metal detector to check our finished product. We are a US flexibles plant and right now we work to AIB standards and there is no mention of metal detection. This is new to us and I’d be interested in getting feedback from anyone who has experienced the same issue, is metal detection a regular requirement in BRC/IOP and other packaging guidelines? Or is this customer being over the top.



Biss

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 03:22 AM

Hi,

If you believe your existing control for metal is enough, then you have to convince your customer by using your system and documents like HACCP, GMP etc.



If you are not able to convince them, then you need to think of a metal detection system.


Biss

GMO

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 07:43 AM

One reason I can think of is especially when recycled materials are used metalised films or cards can be caught up in the new packaging and then cause false rejects in the customer's factory. It might be worth asking them about their level of rejects related to packaging and not product (as if they don't have an issue with this it would be difficult for them to argue you need to use metal detection). Presumably your HACCP plan has already indicated you don't need metal detection so following up this line of enquiry would be a good verification exercise.



Simon

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 08:46 AM

Hello Sylvester,

The BRC/IOP packaging standard does not explicitly require a metal detector to control metal foreign bodies. What the standard says is that you must assess the hazard and effectively (and efficiently) control the risk. To me ‘efficiently’ includes cost. :smile:

Typical controls would include an effective cleaning (sanitation) program, an effective preventive maintenance system for your building infrastructure and machines so that no bits are at risk of dropping off, in addition an effective and documented ‘hand over’ to production following maintenance, so that everything is clean and clear of foreign bodies. Also good personal hygiene controls to prevent all sorts of employee bits and bobs from entering production.

If you have the above in place already then you really should be covered. If not get them in place quickly.

In packaging the risk is significantly lower if your product is supplied on the reel (I think you would notice a nut and bolt wound into a reel). If you convert packaging in any way then there is a bit more chance as it is likely to be packed in boxes, however the likelihood of it getting into finished food product is still small.

Your customer is being very explicit and I agree with GMO you should ask WHY they think you should have a metal detector, are they getting a lot of foreign bodies, false rejects etc. Have their other suppliers got metal detectors?

I think you can reasonably argue your case not to have one, but knowledge is power so it was a good question to ask.

Regards,
Simon


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Foodworker

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 10:34 AM

As Simon said, metal detection is not a specific requirement of the BRC/IoP Standard, although there is a bit of a red herring when it talks about metal detectable plasters.

You need to assess the risk in your own circumstances, but to give you a feel for it, I have visited at least 5 large flexible producers in the UK and Europe and I have never seen one in use for finished product.



Sylvester

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 10:50 AM

Thank you all for your input, it has helped me a lot. :clap:

We have no customer rejections for metal so you have confirmed my thinking that this customer is over the top. You tell me there is no basis for this request on standards and norms and that gives me the strength and confidence to debate this out with the customer.



Tony-C

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 12:04 PM

Typical controls would include an effective cleaning (sanitation) program, an effective preventive maintenance system for your building infrastructure and machines so that no bits are at risk of dropping off, in addition an effective and documented ‘hand over’ to production following maintenance, so that everything is clean and clear of foreign bodies. Also good personal hygiene controls to prevent all sorts of employee bits and bobs from entering production.

If you have the above in place already then you really should be covered. If not get them in place quickly.

Regards,
Simon


Anybody use inversion and air blowing?

Regards,

Tony


ubtoo

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 12:59 PM

I have in the past used inversion and air blowing and it just makes it easier when funds are availible to use either one and install a metal detector.....your audit will go much easier when less debates arise when you try to write a justification for not having this machinery. These audits can be expensive...but getting your customers confidence will eventually pay off in the long run. As I have said it's your choice. Good Luck!






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