Contaminant Retrieval

What We Do with Food Foreign Contamination

You’ve gone through the FlexXray x-ray inspection process, and we’ve found a potential foreign material contaminant in your product. What happens next?

We offer our customers
three different options for taking action:


The first option is to return the contaminated food to the client for further examination and disposal. In this case, the contaminated product is segregated, clearly marked with red tape and returned to your facility on the back of the truck. In this option, neither of us have insight into the exact details of contaminants that are present in the product. The further analysis of the product and the extraction of the foreign material are left up to your team without the aid of FlexXray x-ray inspection systems, technology or personnel. Please note: We never recommend that our customers put potentially contaminated product back on the truck with good product after inspection.


A second option is to allow FlexXray to dispose of the contaminated product segregated during the x-ray inspection service and provide you with an Affidavit of Destruction. While this option can be efficient for those customers that fully know the extent of the issue, it doesn’t provide exact details on the type of contaminant(s) found or catalogued evidence of the issue for further disposition. It is simply destroyed on your behalf.


The third option is to choose FlexXray’s contaminant retrieval process. For most customers, the most valuable next step after using FlexXray’s x-ray inspection services is to allow FlexXray to physically dissect and remove contaminants from the segregated product. This process provides clear catalogued findings of each segregated item to be used as data in internal investigations, root cause analysis and final disposition of the product hold. Contaminant retrieval is becoming the most valuable service offering for customers with supply quality issues as it can help pinpoint exactly where the contamination is within the product or production run.

Note that FlexXray has the capability to repackage and/or rebundle your product for you onsite to send back to your plant or onto its next destination.

FlexXray’s Contaminant Removal and Reporting Process

When a company chooses to have contaminant retrieval, a team of skilled line technicians will perform a secondary inspection to pinpoint and manually dissect any contaminated product.

To do that, the technicians will carefully remove the contaminant(s) and catalog the results so plant managers have evidence of the actual contaminant findings. Our reporting includes important traceability details such as the pallet, batch/lot, bag/container time, contaminant type and the size of each contaminant retrieved during our inspection. The contaminant is attached to our reporting form so there’s physical evidence for better traceability.

Once the technician has logged all the relevant information, an electronic scan is made and emailed to you so that you have immediate results and can begin taking appropriate action. Next, the original documentation—with the actual foreign contaminants attached—is sent overnight so that you’ll have the physical documentation in hand within 24 hours.

This process answers questions about what type of contaminant was involved and allows for more thorough documentation.

Contaminant Retrieval Improves Traceability

Being able to retrieve and identify contaminants allows food producers to pinpoint where the contamination occurred and evaluate the overall scope of the problem.  

In cases where the contamination was the result of an error within the manufacturing facility, either human or mechanical, managers gain insight into where problems might exist and can take immediate steps to resolve them.

Sometimes, the contaminant is included in ingredients sent to the manufacturing facility. The type of contaminant found will typically help indicate at what point it entered the product. If it came from a supplier, FlexXray’s contaminant removal and documentation provide the information needed to address that problem. In some cases, manufacturers might be able to recoup some of the cost of x-ray inspection and contaminant removal from suppliers when they are able to accurately document the source of the contaminant.

Using this type of documentation is a way to see where problems might exist in the food supply chain and could influence decisions on which suppliers they use. At the very least, it gives food producers the additional insight needed to make the right decisions, implement more safety measures where needed, provide further training or take other actions.

FlexXray is equipped to offer contaminant removal on all types of products, including:  

Although contamination from foreign materials is on the rise and will continue increasing as our food supply becomes even more dependent on processed food, it doesn’t mean that manufacturers have to suffer the costs of food waste or, even worse, a costly recall or lawsuit. 

Using FlexXray’s x-ray inspection system and contaminant retrieval services can minimize the amount of loss, help pinpoint where the problem originated and provide the information needed to make final disposition on the product hold.

Contact the FlexXray team today to get the information you need to eliminate foreign material problems at your facility and resolve your onhold product.

Making An Impact & Additional Services

Another one of the benefits of X-ray inspection with FlexXray is that it curbs food waste, which directly affects costs and your company’s impact on the environment. Rather than disposing of an entire production run and trying to absorb those costs, manufacturers can locate and dispose of only the product that has been contaminated, immediately reducing the amount of food waste.

Wasted food from the food manufacturing and processing industry has a negative impact on the environment. Currently, in the U.S., 40% of food ends up in landfills every year. Over our history, FlexXray has saved hundreds of millions of lbs of product from landfills. We offer our customers a way to eliminate both foreign material contamination and food waste by allowing them to make confident decisions with their on-hold product.

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