By Craig Henry, Ph.D., Intro Inc.
Preventing physical hazards in food continues to be challenging, and frequently, the reason for companies and/or regulatory agencies issuing recall notices. A brief review of the recalls viewable online at Recall.gov indicates that the number of recalls for physical hazards per month ranges from zero to eight involving USDA and FDA amenable products. Wood, plastic, glass, rubber, glass, and stones have been found in food products as evidenced by the various recalls over time. Recently, many reported recalls involve various types of plastic. The amount of food products recalled could encompass millions of pounds and put numerous consumers of all ages at risk.
FSMA requires facilities be amendable to FDA inspections to establish and effectively implement preventive controls for biological, physical, and chemical hazards. Food facilities must conduct a hazard analysis based upon product composition, production, handling, and distribution processes. The hazard analysis and preventive controls should fully characterize the intended and unintended consumer and markets the product may enter for sale. Conservatively, food facilities should consider the following key aspects associated with their history and approach to preventive controls.