Dairy Production – Eliminating Foreign Body Contamination and Ensuring Brand Integrity
Introduction 1 Dairy focus: cheese
Why dairy production plants need 2
an in-line insurance policy
Dairy focus: yoghurt 8
X-ray Inspection in practice – Case Study 9
False positives 4 Conclusion
Contamination of product with foreign objects
is a permanent threat to the dairy sector and
its implications can be deeply unpleasant, not
only for any consumers unfortunate enough to
encounter the contaminated goods, but also
for the manufacturers themselves.
Around the globe, food safety is enforced
through a raft of regulation and legislation,
with responsibility beginning in the field and
ending long after the point of sale.
Contamination with foreign bodies (Fig.1)
can occur at any of these points; it may
come from processing machinery, factories,
transportation, or via the addition of nondairy ingredients. This means that in the dairy
sector, legal and reputational risk extends to
processors, manufacturers and retailers alike,
and all have a vested interest in keeping dairy
For dairy producers that supply major retailers,
the risk is particularly acute. This is because
those retailers may impose substantial fines
or other penalties upon suppliers when
contamination with a foreign object occurs.
Retailers and food producers have brands to
protect and that brand is a lucrative asset.
So naturally, they seek to ensure the highest
possible standards in the dairy products they
provide, particularly if those go out under their
The negative publicity via the press or the
fast-moving social media landscape can often
be nearly as costly to a brand in terms of
damaged reputation and lost revenue as that
of product recalls.
In practice, this means risk-sharing: retailers
will often only contract with suppliers if those
suppliers adhere to rigorous
protocols intended to minimise
the risk of contamination.
Historically the retailers “Codes of Practice”
were very prescriptive in specifying how food
producers have to achieve the desired foreign
body detection in their plants.
However this is now starting to change with
retailers increasingly indicating an acceptable
quality level and leaving it to food producers
to implement the required processes and
equipment to meet these standards. This
has placed a much greater responsibility
on dairy producers to have the expertise
required within their facility – or through their
supply chain – to ensure suitable foreign body
Since 1998 all food businesses have
been legally bound to have a food safety
management system based on the principles
of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Point (HACCP) system.
This means dairy manufacturers are required
to safeguard the quality of their final
product by identifying potential hazards and
minimising any associated risks, which would
include preventing contaminants in products.
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