Importance of Foreign Material Expertise
Kathleen A. Martin
Food Quality & Safety - August 12, 2013
The appearance of unexpected particulate in foods raises questions about their origin and evokes safety concerns. Foreign particulate may be introduced via raw materials, or during the manufacturing process. Quality control laboratories can catch problems before products ship, but they do not always have the facilities to identify foreign material—a critical step in determining the problem’s origin. Working in partnership with quality control groups, contract analytical laboratories can help establish the source of the problem by identifying the nature of foreign material.
For instance, particulate floating in one beverage had been identified by a lab as erucamide, a common slip agent, while particulate in another beverage were identified as amorphous carbon, similar to activated charcoal. Both of these foreign materials are used in manufacturing environments, do not represent a health hazard, and can often be traced to a particular plant location.