The company told FoodProductionDaily that increased international adoption of British Retail Consortium (BRC) global safety and quality standards and retailers’ equivalent schemes was boosting product sales.
“We have seen more of an increase in the past six to nine months than we have in the previous six years,” said a spokesman for Detectamet, which is based near York in the UK.
“There’s a lot of focus on using detectable products. BRC Version 6 has got a lot more on detectable products and foreign body contamination. It’s a big issue, contamination with these materials.”
Food safety recall notices
An examination of the food safety recall notices issued concerning the food industry showed that contamination with plastic or metal was a big underlying cause, he said. “It can cost companies thousands of pounds, and their reputation, of course.”
Many of these instances were caused by accessories such as gloves or pens getting caught up in the production process, according to anecdotal reports from food processors, he claimed.
Detectamet is rolling out several new detectable products on to the market, including a jumbo paper clip made of shape-memory polymers, so it could easily regain its shape after bending.
Flexible, tough and robust
“[Standard] paper clips are not allowed in food factories, but we have developed one that is flexible, tough and robust out of material that has a memory,” said the firm’s spokesman.
Tote bin liners were a big concern and Detectamet had recently brought out detectable versions, he said.
“When they are discharged, what could happen is the polythene goes in with the product. We have been challenged to develop this product for the best part of five years. It’s one of the most frequent requests.”
He added that most of the products made by Detectamet were certified as safe for use in the food industry by bodies such as the US Food and Drug Administration.
Other products the company designs include stainless steel hygienic ring binder, staple-free staplers, dust masks and nitrile gloves.
“There aren’t many that are food safe that you can take into a factory,” he said, referring to the gloves. “We have expanded from vinyl to include nitrile [gloves]. Big causes for concern with masks are plastic clips and filters.”
The company makes different colour accessories to suit different preparation areas within food factories, he added. “We are the only company in the world that makes eight different colours for detectable polymers,” he claimed.
Most of Detectamet’s products are made using polymers into which small amounts of iron-based alloys are incorporated. They are therefore not only detectable by metal detectors, but can be magnetised by magnetic filters.