Controlling physical hazards

Food Standard and Quality Control

Lesson 13 : Food Hazards

Controlling physical hazards

There are many ways food processors can prevent physical hazards in food products, including:

  • Inspecting raw materials and food ingredients for field contaminants (ex: stones in cereals) that were not found during the initial receiving process.
  • Following good storage practices and evaluate potential risks in storage areas (ex: sources of breakable glass such as light bulbs, staples from cartons, etc.) and use protective acrylic bulbs or lamp covers.
  • Developing specifications and controls for all ingredients and components, including raw materials and packaging materials. Specifications should contain standards for evaluating acceptability of ingredients or packaging materials (ex: recycled cardboard used for packaging sometimes contains traces of metals that can be detected by metal detectors. A limit for metal detection should be established to avoid false positive detection of metal in food).
  • Setting up an effective detection and elimination system for physical hazards in your facility (ex: metal detectors or magnets to detect metal fragments in the production line, filters or screens to remove foreign objects at the receiving point)

Methods of detection:

There are several methods available to detect foreign bodies in food on processing production lines:

  • Metal detectors will detect metal in food products. They should be set up to reject products from the food production line if metal is detected. Proper maintenance should be given to this equipment to ensure they are always accurate and don’t produce false positives.
  • Magnets can be used with metal detectors on food production lines to attract and remove metal from products.
  • X-Ray machines can be used on food production lines to identify hazards such as stones, bones and hard plastics, as well as metal.
  • Food radar systems transmit low-power microwaves through food products to identify foreign bodies such as metals, plastics, bones, kernels and organic materials in food on production lines


Food X ray machine

Last modified: Saturday, 18 February 2012, 6:22 AM