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Food Safety Focus (16th Issue, November 2007) – Food Incident Highlight

Metal Pieces Found in Yoghurt

The Food Standards Australia New Zealand recalled in mid-October a certain brand of yoghurt in Australia due to the possible presence of metal fragments. Some of the affected products were available locally and both the trade and the public were informed of the recall. The importer had removed the products concerned from sale.

Foreign matters are sometimes found in pre-packaged food products, and there are many possibilities for their entry. Metal fragments may enter food from machinery, tools, electrical installations and packaging materials. Glass fragments may enter food as a consequence of glass breakages during packaging or through defective glassware. Stone chips may also be carried into food during harvesting and handling of crops. Insects may take any chance available and enter food anytime before consumption. Hair and personal artifacts may also fall into food. Some of these foreign matters may cause cuts when ingested, while others may cast a negative impression on the quality and hygiene of the products.

Food manufacturers should practise good manufacturing practice in order to minimise the chance of foreign matters entering food. Care in handling equipment and raw materials, and the use of tools like metal detectors may help to minimise product contamination.