Food Safety & Foreign Contamination: How’d We Get Here?

Food safety’s been a concern for consumers and manufacturers alike since the early days of the U.S. food system. Let’s go back in time.

Before the Industrial Revolution, industrial food manufacturing … wasn’t. Most of the world economy was tied up in how to preserve, prepare and trade food. While some mechanization came along early in urban areas, large parts of the country were still the wild west.

At the start of the 20th century, people flocked to cities, which created new demands on the food supply. We invented new methods for canning, mechanized farming and pasteurization, and those became the foundations for the prep and processing systems we use today.

The world wars radically changed the food industry. With more of the agricultural workforce fighting around the world, mechanization made up for the shortfall in labor… but we went further – refrigeration and microwaves became commonplace, and the frozen TV dinner became part of American life. But maybe bigger than anything was the growth and acceptance of processed foods.

As our food industry changed, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) was created to regulate the American food supply, and enacted new standards to protect consumers against all kinds of hazards – including foreign material contamination. Foreign material contamination happens when objects like metal, glass, plastic, or bone end up where they’re not supposed to–in food.

Over the 75+ years since the end of world war two, food manufacturing has become more technology-driven, consumers have become more convenience-focused, and consequently the problem of foreign material contamination has grown as foreign material can enter food at any of the many steps in the production process, from sourcing to final packaging.

Foreign material contamination is a byproduct of our movement as a nation to feed more people on less labor, more cheaply than ever before. Before the 21st century, there weren’t many cost-effective or efficient options for manufacturers and facilities to resolve on-hold product with potential foreign material contamination until FlexXray.

At FlexXray, we innovate alongside the food industry. As we find ways to make food more convenient, we’re also making food safer

We’re dedicated to eliminating foreign material contamination from entering the consumer market through cutting-edge accurate, fast and confidential x-ray food inspection and metal detection. Join more than 1,100 companies that have made their product safer with FlexXray – reach out to our team today and start eliminating foreign material contamination from your product.

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