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Metal rocks and wires found in our product


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#1 monie

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 06:39 PM

We recently launched a new product around 6 months ago. This product is a raw granola mix - rolled oats, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and quinoa puffs. 

 

Since its first month of production, our metal detector has detected metal in this product on multiple occasions. Of course, I isolated the metal fragment from the product and disposed of the product thereafter. The metal fragments that were typically found were metal rocks or thin metal wires. We presume the contamination is from one of our suppliers, since none of our gluten-free flours have this issue - thereby ruling out equipment failure.

 

To determine the root cause, we have tried to determine which ingredient was responsible for the source of contamination, but is difficult to do so. We tried to metal detect the 50lb bag of ingredient through the metal detector, but the apateur of the metal detector is too narrow and would always kick off the metal detector. I found no metal contamination when I broke down the 50lb bag into smaller portions, however it was very time consuming and this would increase the risk of handling contamination. Additionally, the chance of finding a metal fragment may occur 1kg product out of 2000kg batch. 

 

I have contacted our suppliers to confirm of their foreign material control program, and they said they all have metal detection or x-ray detection.

 

We continuously have this problem, and are unsure what to do at this point.

 

Should I just let it go, and just keep a trend record for when our product has been contaminated by metal? 

 

 

Thanks!!



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 06:53 PM

Hi monie,

 

Sounds like it's time to do a Supplier audit. Seeing is (half) believing.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#3 ChristinaG

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 07:14 PM

Hi monie,

 

Sounds like it's time to do a Supplier audit. Seeing is (half) believing.

 

I agree with Charles. It may be more of an up-front cost if there's a lot of travelling involved, but it's certainly better to than having the threat of metal contamination, a recall, a lawsuit, etc.

 

I'd visit each supplier and rigorously inspect their facility, documentation, and their certifications. If you're receiving metal contaminate from one of them on a consistent basis, it could be a sign of much worse problems.

 

Good luck! I hope you are able to solve this soon.

 

-Christina


-Christina

 

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."- Albert Einstein 


#4 monie

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 10:39 PM

Well they are all 3rd party audited.

And we are not sure which ingredient is contaminated with metal.



#5 Sandima

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 06:11 PM

If I am not mistaken Peanut Corporation of America was also 3rd party audited.

 

If you batch process could you find a way to add the ingredients through a metal detector or over a magnet to find the source(s)?  

 

If your suppliers ship to the EU there is a data base you could check for any issues found there that might help identify the source(s).  https://webgate.ec.e...&cleanSearch=1#



#6 johntstuart

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 09:30 PM

I tend to agree with the above comments.  A Supplier audit is both well within your rights and a good thing to do every now and again.  It keeps your suppliers on their toes.



#7 Karenconstable

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 03:25 AM

Supplier audits are a good start but even if you do find problems with a supplier, it still won't solve your problem of wires and stones in your products unless you can find a new supplier. 

 

I suggest investigating the use of very strong magnets, say around 10,000 Gauss.  These will grab rocks, since most rocks are weakly magnetic and also many types of wire.  Even stainless steel wire is weakly magnetic if it has been 'worked' (for example bent or twisted).  You can run incoming powdered and particulate materials through grids of magnets that will catch the rocks and wires before they get into product.  It is also a good idea to install a final magnet, which would be placed just prior to the packing process to ensure that the finished product is free from any metal fragments and ferrous stones.  Metal detecting should still be done, but after the magnets.

 

Contact a magnet supplier with food industry expertise and ask if you can get some help.  They can bring powerful probe magnets and drag them through each of your raw materials; it's amazing what the magnets will pick up.  If you do install magnets make sure to clean them frequently and check the strength regularly, because they do lose their magnetism over time.  Good luck.

 

 






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