Unfortunately, in the food industry, food recalls are almost inevitable. In fact The Food Standards Agency reported a total of 159 food products were recalled in 2015, up from 89 in 2014. Out of the 159 recalls made, 63 were food alerts and 96 were down to allergy alerts.
Having to recall a product can mean going through a very expensive recall process, which not only causes financial problems, but can impact your reputation. The key for food manufacturers is to do all they can to prevent a recall in the first place, and by understanding the reasons why recalls happen, you can help reduce the possibility of it happening to your food company.
Here are 3 top reasons why food recalls happen:
- Cross Contamination
This is more common than you think, most food manufacturers are likely to be producing multiple items in a single factory. Cross contamination normally involves foods that some people are allergic to e.g. milk, peanuts, soya and gluten. This is why so many food items were recalled in 2015 due to unintended cross contamination occurring. To prevent this, all ingredient batches and incoming raw materials need to be traced, so you know what ingredient is where at all times.
You can maintain security with a batch management system that can track and trace all the ingredients under its control all of the time. At Zeppelin we have our Mint 99, PrismaWEB PE and PrismaWEB² batch and ingredient management systems, which can control everything from a small production line to the whole factory.
- Physical Contamination
Physical contamination can occur if foreign objects make their way into the production line, which can include metal, plastic and wood. This normally occurs because of human error or because of malfunctioning equipment. Inline filters, magnets, metal detectors and regular servicing of your production line is essential. These are either designed into new lines or they can be retro fitted to an existing process.
- Bacterial or virus contamination
Contamination from pathogens are considered the most serious of food contaminations as they can affect everyone. In 2015, the presence of bacteria was responsible for 15% of recalls, of those half were due to salmonella. Again management of the ingredients is the key. But you can also prevent a pathogen hazard by ensuring that efficient hygienic design and manufacturing practices are being implemented.