Guide | 6 Steps to Preventing Physical Contamination in Food | Product Inspection

Guide: Six Steps to Preventing Physical Contamination in Food


Guidance to strengthen food safety values

This guide, Six Steps to Preventing Physical Contamination, explores the practices for controlling food quality and reducing the likelihood of recalls due to products containing foreign bodies. 

Learn more about why food safety breaches occur and what the implications of a contamination issue might be. You can also find out about key trends affecting food safety. Aimed at food manufacturers who want to prevent physical contamination, throughout the food production process, this guide helps you to:

  1. Understand how contamination occurs 
  2. Identify areas of weakness 
  3. Create strong lines of defense
  4. Select the appropriate inspection technology 
  5. Future-proof your production
  6. Implement digitalization 

The guide details the approaches for food traceability and future-proof detection capabilities that improve production line efficiencies and management control.


Anyone supplying retail organizations understands the need for the highest level of product quality. Exercising due diligence, in respect to preventing physical contamination, can help win supplier contracts.  

There are a number of ways that products can become contaminated with foreign bodies. Metal, plastic and glass are by far the most common types of physical contamination and are mainly introduced into a product through:

  • Inclusion in raw materials
  • Employees by accident (e.g. personal effects)
  • Maintenance procedures taking place on or near the production or processing line
  • Equipment malfunction or breakage during the manufacturing and packaging processes 

Any foreign bodies that are present in raw materials or introduced during the production process may cause production downtime, serious injuries to consumers or damage other production equipment. 

The consequences of product recalls can be serious and can include costly compensation claims that damage brand reputation.  

With food safety product recalls on the rise, how a brand owner and/or manufacturer deals with food safety and transparency issues is important. It is essential to identify the types of contaminants, the weaknesses in production, and the lines of defense. Having an understanding of the nature of potential physical hazards and the possible sources of contamination, tells us more about how to select the appropriate prevention techniques.

Food quality control programs rely on inspection technology to detect and remove physical contaminants at various points throughout the manufacturing process. The detection technology, namely metal detection or x-ray inspection, needs to be chosen accordingly. In some cases, both technologies may be suitable for a company’s packaging line.  

Future-proof technologies and detection systems can provide additional confidence when preventing physical contamination, now and as production needs change in the future. 


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