foreign material.indd

Quality Assurance
Oh No!
Not Another Foreign
Material Complaint!
By Joe Huseman
hirty five years of food industry experience has granted many learning
opportunities. I’ve seen firsthand the
damage foreign material contamination
can do to a business. From the get go
food plants must understand that the
only way to reduce and eliminate foreign
material contamination is with a team
effort. The following list is a collection
of suggestions to help reduce the foreign
material complaints in your plant.
During GMP training, devote a few
minutes to preventing foreign material.
Train Food Safety Team members on
where and how to look for foreign
material problems during monthly selfinspections. Include the line foreman or
supervisor for each department when
that area is inspected.
The supervisor or lead personnel should
walk the production line at the beginning of each shift to look for items that
could fall into the product zone.
Examine and investigate all foreign
material complaints until a resolution
has been determined.
5. Complete a foreign material hunt each
month. Collect all items on the floor,
and near and around 15 feet of the
product zone in a bag. Have the Food
Safety Team members determine how
the items got into that location.
6. A detailed program should be in place
for the daily inspection of sifter tailings.
If foreign materials are discovered, immediate follow-up should occur.
7. A weekly, thorough inspection of the
sifter screens is necessary. Other for-
eign material detection devices such as
strainers, filters and magnets need to be
inspected regularly.
8. Personnel should not put pencils, tools,
thermometers, fittings, paperwork, etc.
over or around the product zone where
vibration can cause the item to fall into
the product.
9. When unloading a rack of trays, start
from the bottom to the top. When
loading a rack, start from the top to the
bottom. The rule of thumb is that there
should always be a “visible hole” all the
way to the floor.
10. Keep lids on product tanks and CIP
11. Keep doors closed and windows
screened to prevent wind drafts and to
exclude flying insects.
12. When returning ingredients to the
warehouse for storage, containers and
bags should be dusted off.
13. Partial bags and containers should be
tightly closed when they are stored in the
warehouse to prevent trash and splinters
from getting into the ingredients.
14. All bulk liquids should be filtered at receiving. Inspect the strainer after receiving for trash and holes in the strainer.
15. A dome cover or “bee bonnet” should
be used on all manholes for all liquid
bulk trailers.
16. All piping, grabbers, tools and sampling
equipment should be stored in a sanitary
manner and not on the floor where dirt
can be transferred into the product.
17. Food contact cleaning brushes and
brushes used to sweep off the product
zone or containers should be stored in
a sanitary condition.
18. It is a good practice to brush off the
outside of ingredient bags and tear off
the outer layer before dumping the
19. Use a sharp knife or tool to cut bags, so
you don’t have shredded edges.
20. When dumping ingredients into a
hopper or opening, it is best to keep as
much of the bag or container outside
the product zone and not over the opening.
21. Wash off and clean the outside of fivegallon pail lids when preparing to dump
22. Only open ingredients for immediate
use, not two to three hours ahead of
23. All intermediate products stored in coolers or staged in production for later use
should be kept covered and protected
from condensation.
24. Employees should not carry pencils
behind their ears in the production
25. Employee uniforms should not have
shirt pockets and nothing should be
carried above the waste.
26. There should be no buttons on employee uniforms.
27. It is a good practice to use a lint roller
on the uniform, especially the neckline,
before entering the production floor to
remove loose hairs and threads.
28. Any loose threads on the uniform
should be removed.
29. Catch pans should be installed under
the transmissions of all conveyor drive
motors that are over the product zone
to eliminate grease/oil leaking into product. This should include motors that are
over the floor. On some occasions pans
or ingredients might be stored under
these motors.
30. Catch pans should be mounted under
the ceiling exhaust fans. This area in
the ceiling is difficult to clean and old
product dust could fall out of the fan
framework into the product zone.
31. All shredded edges should be trimmed
off rubber and cloth conveyor belts.
32. No MOM (metal-on-metal) items
should be present. This includes where
a metal agitator rubs against the framework of the lid or where a conveyor
chute touches other framework in a
vibratory manner.
33. No peeling or actively flaking paint
or rust is permitted over the product
34. Are the covers that should be over the
product zone in good repair? Are some
missing? Some may not have been put
back in place after cleaning. Also make
sure the cover has not been bent and that
it covers the product zone sufficiently.
35. Remove all excess grease from fittings.
During a day’s production, bearings
have a tendency to get warm and grease
can ooze out. Operators should wipe
off excess grease during the production
36. Inspect the coating on all shatter shield
light bulbs for peeling and flaking.
37. All water used as an ingredient should
be filtered prior to use to eliminate small
pieces of solder, rust and sand particles.
Check for rust buildup on the inside
of ice water chillers. The chilled water
should be filtered before transferring to
the product.
38. Inspect product shovels, ingredient
scoops, dough pump augers, scrapers, etc. at least weekly and file rough
39. Eliminate loose caulking in cracks and
joints, especially in moist environments
Quality Assurance
similar to the ceilings of bread and bun
proof boxes.
40. Do not use corrugated board, cardboard, tape, twist ties or wire for temporary repairs. After a while, it is no longer
temporary and becomes permanent.
Wire can rust, cardboard and tape can
get wet, moldy, and shred, becoming
an unsanitary condition and a possible
foreign material problem.
41. Pay attention to the quality of the water
hose. The rubber hose can deteriorate
on the inside and “black pepper specks”
can get onto the product surface during
cleaning and transfer to the product.
42. Maintenance technicians need to clean
up after themselves. Do not leave
maintenance debris and parts near and
around the product zone.
43. Maintenance technicians should cut off
the loose Teflon tape that is left on pipe
unions, especially if it is over the product
44. Pipes over the product zone should be
insulated to eliminate condensation.
45. Cut off the long plastic ends on the tie
wraps that are used to hold everything
in place. They get brittle, are difficult to
clean and can fall into the product.
46. Knives and blades used to cut bags of
ingredients should be attached with
a cable, especially if over the product
47. Try to avoid placing any laminated safety
signs over the product zone. Over time
they can shred and become worn or
48. The top step near the crossover platform
should have a backsplash protection
cover to prevent dirt from getting in the
nearby conveyor of exposed product.
49. Any plastic shavings especially around
packaging and filling equipment should
be removed during the production
50. Discard shredded cloth breather socks
and transfer socks. Sometimes sock
threads can show up in the tailings
51. Cracked gaskets should be discarded
and rubber gaskets should be changed
routinely to eliminate pieces from getting into the product flow.
52. Air and water filters should be used
at the final point before touching the
product to eliminate oil, trash, solder,
sand, etc.
53. X-ray machines can be used to screen
for shells and pieces of bones.
54. Clean fan covers so that product buildup
cannot blow onto the product zone.
55. Personnel should take precautions
when spraying down floors and equipment to avoid overspray from getting
onto food contact surfaces.
56. Personnel should remove all plastic
bags that are used to cover electrical
panels after cleanup. Sometimes the
bags hold water and product debris and
can become moldy, slimy, and begin to
57. Prevent old discolored product from
falling onto good product from crossover conveyors. Conveyors may need
more frequent cleaning. Also, catch
cloths can be installed under the overhead conveyor.
58. Overhead cleaning should be on a
frequent basis to eliminate old product
dust on I-beams and ceiling structures.
59. Evaluate and inspect all cleaning
brushes and “green rags” for loose fibers
and loose bristles.
60. Keep all cleaning and sanitizer chemical drums covered, because whatever
is inside the drum may end up on the
food contact surface. AIB
weanling calves and pigs or used as a binder for
floating or sinking aquaculture feeds (1).
Gluten products also have a wide variety of
non-food uses. These include cosmetic (e.g.,
shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, creams,
lotions and shaving products), pharmaceutical
(e.g., binder for tablets) and therapeutic (e.g.,
post-operative drainage) applications, as well
as use in the production of coatings, cigarette
filters, chewing gum, detergents, concrete,
textiles, leathers and adhesives for ceramics
and plywood (1).
a protein source high in lysine. U.S. government regulations allow for fortification of
foods with protein (2), and wheat gluten is
one of a variety of sources that can be used
for this purpose.
Wheat protein can cause adverse reactions
in susceptible individuals, and thus wheat
is included as one of the Big 8 allergens for
which product labeling is required (3). Celiacs
and other individuals with a wheat or gluten
allergy or sensitivity should avoid consuming
gluten-containing products. AIB
The author is an auditor at AIB International.
Wheat Gluten
(continued from page 9)
food uses. Prominent among these are its
meat applications, either as a binder, extender
or restructurer for meat products (e.g., turkey,
beef, pork or lamb) or as an ingredient in the
production of simulated or imitation meats
(e.g., hamburger, sausage or crab analogs).
Gluten products also are incorporated into
other such food systems as ice cream, soy sauce,
breadings, coffee whiteners, protein fortified
beverages, puddings, sherbets, frozen desserts,
and egg white and dairy replacers (1).
In applications in foods for human consumption, gluten products are used extensively
in pet foods and animal feeds. In pet foods, it
is important for a variety of reasons, including
its high protein content, its binding ability
(to absorb meat juices and to hold chunks of
meat together), and its ability to be used in
producing simulated meat products. As a feed
ingredient for other animals, gluten products
may be incorporated into milk replacers for
contains approximately 75–80 percent protein. Thus, its primary nutritional usage is for
protein supplementation, with applications in
a variety of products such as specialty beverages and bar formulas. While wheat gluten
is limited in its content of the amino acid
lysine, it is still an effective protein fortificant,
especially when used in conjunction with soy,
Wheat Gluten in Food and Non-food Systems. Technical Bulletin, AIB International, Volume XVI, Issue 6,
June 1994.
2. Code of Federal Regulations. 21CFR104.20. U.S.
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC,
2006 (
3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food
Safety and Applied Nutrition. Food Allergen Labeling
and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, August 2, 2004