Powder Food Contamination | Detect Foreign Material in Infant Formula
Powder food contamination can occur in production and processing lines of infant formula milk, protein powder products and other similar products with powdery texture. Powder dairy processors are aware of the highest contamination risks their products are exposed to.
This is one of the main reasons why nowadays this type of processing lines has been significantly automatized and built as a closed circuit, where physical contamination has less chances to occur.
Taking all these aspects into considerations, no processing line can be 100% safe from contamination, therefore powder food contamination cannot be completely avoided.
In case of infant formula production, there are still two sources that can potentially facilitate accidental contamination: operator equipment maintenance activity and the product transition between primary to secondary packaging.
Powder dairy processing equipment is highly automatized, but it still needs maintenance done by operators. Even though very strict hygienic rules are applied, human error still intervenes, and accidents do happen. All the protective operator equipment required by plant hygienic rules may end up being the contamination source itself.
The most common contamination sources with PPE equipment are protective gloves, hair nets, plasters and protective smocks.
Depending on the type of product and brand, infant formula gets packaged in different types of packaging. There is a general safety and quality standard on how protective the packaging should be. However, the material choice is different between brands. The point is that while the safety and integrity of the product has been controlled and protected close to 100% up to this point, here the risk of contamination decreases because the packaging itself may cause physical contamination. Metal fragments cause by equipment friction may accidentally end up in the infant powder product. Aluminum, plastic, and other materials of the packaging itself can break due to the high speed of wrapping/packaging machines and end up inside the product.