Put the Freeze on Foreign Material Contaminants

Featuring a Conversation with Donna Garren

Frozen food manufacturers, your product is at a high risk of foreign material contamination. Given the number of different ingredients incorporated into your finished product, as well as your multi-step packaging process, it’s nearly impossible to avoid physical contaminants sneaking in. What can you do? We believe the answer is third-party X-ray inspection services. 

We recently spoke with Donna Garren, Executive Vice President of Science and Policy at the American Frozen Food Institute. According to Garren, inspection reduces risk—and with the high number of recalls within the industry recently, reducing risk is paramount to sending a successful product to market. “Not to mention, you have the opportunity to build customer confidence in the process,” Garren noted. 

The use of third-party inspection shows due diligence, that you’re taking the extra step to build trust between yourself and the consumer.

Donna Garren

One fear manufacturers have, cited by Garren, is that third-party inspection brings about a loss of control for quality assurance managers. FlexXray understands that fear completely. Your product is your bottom line, and it’s your responsibility to protect it. Here’s the thing: our bottom line is to protect yours. Naturally, that includes keeping your product safe. 

FlexXray offers: 

  • Climate-controlled facilities that protect frozen product integrity
  • Multiple inspection lines that enable efficiency without sacrificing accuracy
  • Temperature monitoring at every step of the process, from receipt to departure

Specifically mentioned by Garren, for frozen food manufacturers, supplier validation is the true lynchpin when it comes to combating foreign material contamination. Garren said, “Third-party inspection goes one step beyond, because you have an outside, independent source to verify product quality.” 

You can (and should) send completed product out for inspection on an ongoing basis, a sentiment from Garren that FlexXray echoes. Even more valuable, Garren pointed out, is ensuring your product is set up for success from the jump. In the same way that you have a responsibility to your customers, your suppliers have a responsibility to you. Make sure that the product they’re sending you doesn’t carry a few “surprises” with it. 

When it comes to foreign material contamination, you’ve got a lot to consider. As Garren outlined, from meeting quotas to controlling costs to managing consumer expectations, there are weighty considerations resting on plant managers’ shoulders. During our conversation, Garren called to mind a major source of that weight: USDA oversight. 

The public is aware of foreign material contamination. The USDA acts upon consumer complaints, ultimately leading to recalls.

The most common concern Garren has heard from manufacturers in the frozen food space is that conducting an inspection once product is ready to send to market isn’t worth the cost. To that FlexXray says: What about the costs of a recall if contaminated product is sent to market? The consequences cited by Garren (and echoed by FlexXray) include: 

  • Damage to your brand reputation
  • Disposal of a large quantity of your product
  • High costs and potential fines

Our X-ray inspection services provide better accuracy, better cost savings and better results for your brand. If you haven’t worked with us before, and would like to see how we operate, we’re happy to give your team a tour of our operations. If you want to put FlexXray to the test, we’d love to do a free sample test on your product to show you our capabilities. Contact us today!

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