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Metal Detection - Insertion of Sticks Directly into the Food

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#1 terrine1


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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:27 PM


Does anyone know if the sticks are ok to be placed on the top of packs or if they should be inserted directly into the food being tested - I thought this was the recommended action now however can find no mention of this in the BRC standard.

Many thanks for your help.

#2 Buddy


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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:43 PM

As we quickly learn with auditors, there isn't always aliteral interpretation of the standard criteria during audits. They seem to draw from their experiences and various other related food standards when assessing a facilities food safety system. Although this may not be discussed in the audit criteria, my experience has been that most auditors will want to see the detector challenged in the center of the aperture, which is the least sensitive area of the detector. If that means placing the test piece in the middle of the package, that is what you should do. This will also give you piece of mind that you will be able to detect under the worst case scenario.

Edited by Buddy, 26 February 2013 - 12:44 PM.

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#3 Mendeljev


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Posted 26 February 2013 - 02:36 PM

I had some "KAFKA" experiences with this procedure

Our procedure was : dropping the test sticks in a empty packaging before filling (the packaging had another colour then the one produced), then lett it pass the filler and sealer, then through the metal detection. So for us we deicided that it was important to test it in the product as we are filling different kinds of products on the same line (meat/fish/veg spreads)

The auditor comment : how can you make sure that the test package has no other metal then the stick, so creating the possibility that it is the extra metal that is making the drop out....

I looked at him that he was asking me what my chance was to win the next euro millions :)

Result : we have to start up the line, let the tubs be filled, and passing the metal detector : if they are not thrown out, then they are looked as safe, and then we can open the package and put the bar inside and seal it ....

For me this solution is very disputable and open for a lot of other possibilities, but i have learned to shut up and just satisfy the auditor before making metal detection as difficult as rocket science ...

Quality is not an act, it is a habit.(Aristoteles 384 BC-322 BC)

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#4 Setanta


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Posted 26 February 2013 - 02:56 PM

We place each of the wands for metal detection on the package, let that drop away from the line, then retest the package without the wand. If it falls with the wand on top and doesn't without, we feel satisfied (along with the USDA and our auditors) that the test package does not contain metal.

Now, YMMV due to line speeds, but we are at this point still able to feed the package back into the system with no issues.

Best Regards,





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#5 Shyguy77


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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:13 PM

Result : we have to start up the line, let the tubs be filled, and passing the metal detector : if they are not thrown out, then they are looked as safe, and then we can open the package and put the bar inside and seal it ....

We used to pack in glass and have to run it through an X-ray machine with different size pieces of glass and metal. We would do this the same way as you mentioned Medeljev, from the first batch we would send a few samples through and then use them as our sample containers if they passed the detection. I would believe its the same way with most metal detection. You take a known good product sample and add your "test Strip" to the center of it for best results, mark the container and pass it through the detector to see if it kicks out.

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#6 Leonie


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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:56 AM

It seems that if you do not have metal detection, it cause problems and if you have them , it even cause more effort to demonstrate effective control and validation. Last week we do have a re-certification audit and 2 of the 5 NCR's were related to metal detectors!

I agree with the rest of the respondents to use the test pieces (also) inserted in product, as we experienced that if the frequency was not set correctly, the pieces are detected when passed through on its own, but not always when place beneath/inside the product. We were advised to challenge the equipment to demonstrate effectiveness- the influence of characteristics and size of products have to be taken into account.

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#7 Charles.C


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Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:16 AM

Dear All,

Not much doubt that the topic of Metal Detectors has generated the greatest range of interesting opinions / experiences as any i have seen on this forum. :thumbup:

Another alternative to the interesting confrontations described in this thread might be to obtain a standard procedure from a manufacturer or authoritative body to act as a validatory offering. Assuming the auditor has time to read it of course. I have occasionally seen items posted / attached here which seemed (to me) to fit such a requirement. Must admit it was a revelation to me when one publication explained why it is considered necessary to place a test piece at front, mid, and rear of the sample of product. :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,



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#8 Brian Meek

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 08:43 AM

Testing a metal detector is documented in the UK by the various supermarket compliance specifications, M&S, Tesco, Morrisons et al all have a strict procedure to follow so it would be best to get hold of one of these.

In general the test should be followed as described below:

1: Select three products that have been metal detected and can be deemed to be clear of contamination.
2: Place the test sample in the product, (the most sensitive part of the detector is in the middle both in height and width) so if your pack is smaller than half the height of the detector then towards the top of the product and if it is higher then make sure the sample is as near to the mid point as possible.
3: you should have a sample at the front, middle and back of the product to check reject timing.
4: Pass each pack through the system at normal production speeds and ensure that it is rejected.
5: Place each pack into the production flow and ensure that only "bad packs" are rejected.
6: Some retailers may require that a "memory test" is performed, this is simply a good, bad, good, bad, good, bad scenario.
7: If Reject Confirmation is fitted then this is tested.
8: If Bin Full is fitted then this is tested.
9: If Air Pressure monitoring is fitted then this is tested.
10: If open reject bin door monitoring is fitted then this is tested.
11: Some specifications also include an audit of the operator to test these requirements.

A record of this test should be documented and stored with production paperwork.

Its no wonder how many companies get caught out with this because it is a major concern for retailers if these systems appear to fail, additions are always being made.

We offer a "Retail Ready Service Contract" to cover all of these points if you need any more help.

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