Practical Equipment Strategies to Remove Foreign Contaminants from Processing Lines

automation in the meat processing industry brings a higher risk of foreign material
contamination. Foreign material can include metal shavings and shards from grinders, mixers
and dicers, wood and nails from pallets, and numerous other materials like plastics and

The following
are equipment options and proper maintenance practices that can help mitigate foreign
material risk in food handling transfer

  • In areas
    where a tote dumper is used to transfer meat to secondary processing equipment, equipment
    manufacturers can offer a PRS (Pallet Retention System) that removes the pallet out of the
    food transfer zone.
  • A drop belt
    conveyor can be included in system designs that provides repositioning of the meat product
    during conveyance to allow for visual inspection before the product is transported to
    downstream equipment.
  • Magnetic
    grates can be integrated into food transfer areas on processing
  • The best way to limit foreign material such as
    nuts, bolts, and metal shavings is to have a robust preventative maintenance program on all
    equipment.  Machinery vibration can cause nuts and bolts to loosen over time. Wear points on
    machinery that are not aligned can produce loose metal.  Brittle plastics such as seal
    holders, conveyor guards and plastic bearings can break down into small pieces and become
    difficult to detect. Proper construction of the equipment that withstands high-volume and
    high-speed production is equally important as regular maintenance audits to make sure the
    equipment is in good working order to help eliminate preventable foreign