Essentials of foreign materials

Essentials of foreign materials

The HACCP program is in place to counter the dangers of foreign material that could get into food and food products. The FDA has very strict regulations that govern food that enters our palate. The United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) defines foreign material as “…non animal objects, such as metal, plastic, rubber, wood, steel or lead shot” that could have seeped into our food.

Bone particles are very common in the meat industry. The FSIS has determined what size bones are to be considered hazardous and what size can be considered safe. According to the FSIS:

  • Bone particles under the size of one cm are not considered a safety hazard;
  • Bone particles of size one to two cm are considered low risk;
  • Bone particles of greater two cm have the potential to be a safety hazard and could cause injury

The FSIS basically looks at foreign material fromthe perspective of non-food and non-animal products. It has identified important areas in which foreign material could creep into food products. It considers foreign material as being a natural or common by product of both the raw material and the processing environment, to the consumer. No matter through which source foreign material comes in; the HACCP considers either as a potential hazard. The goal should be Zero Tolerance to foreign material and Zero Defects.

Types and sources of raw materials

These are considered the types and sources of raw material:

  • Bones and buckshot in meat products: it is essential to look for these because these can intrude into meat products when the animals are killed;
  • Rocks in grains: difficult to trace because of their deceptive similarity in appearance to grains;
  • Stems in fruits and vegetables: part of an ongoing battle, because contaminants can get into these parts at the time of harvesting;
  • Nuts, bolts and PVC in processed foods: could come in when foods are put into equipment during the manufacturing process;
  • Glass in various products: these could get into the container.

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