Physical Contamination of Food

RSSL provides a quick, accurate and authoritative identification of foreign material and detection of physical contaminants in food.

Identification of physical contaminant including foreign bodies in food

The food industry has done a lot to reduce foreign body incidents.  However, despite their best efforts, consumer complaints, both genuine and contrived, continue to arise.   For the companies concerned, timely, and accurate analysis can often bring the facts to light and the avoidance of expensive litigation. 

Foreign body identification and physical contamination testing services

RSSL provides a quick, accurate and authoritative identification of foreign material and detection of contaminants in food, enabling you to take swift action to reassure customers and protect your brand.

We understand that physical property analysis, rapid and accurate foreign body identification is essential to:

  • Confirm a consumer’s initial identification of the material.
  • Ascertain possible origins of the foreign body in food.
  • Identify whether it originated from the post-purchase domestic environment.
  • Provide crucial insight to help with the development of a mitigation strategy.

Guidance about the probable source of the contaminant in food will determine whether you

  • Reassure the customer
  • Fix a production issue
  • Institute a necessary product recall.

We can provide the information and food analysis you need to make key decisions.

Have you ever considered creating a foreign material reference library?

Provide us with examples of typical materials that might potentially come into contact with your product during manufacture – we will analyse them and create a searchable reference library. When you send in further foreign body complaints, we will then be able to compare the identification to your unique library to assist with root cause investigations.

Food Contamination under the Microscope - Video 

Watch the video below to find out how we can analyse for physical contamination in food

Contaminants in food is often an emergency situation, where speed in resolution could be imperative. You may wish to consider membership of our 24/7 Emergency Response Service (ERS) for guaranteed technical support whenever you need it.

We can help with identifying:-

  • Glass
  • Plastics
  • Metal
  • Hairs and fibres
  • Meat residues and bone fragments
  • Faecal matter
  • Mineral fragments
  • Insects and larvae
  • Haze in beverages
  • Deposits
  • Discolouration

Techniques include:-

  • Light Microscopy
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
  • X-ray Microanalysis (XMA)
  • X-ray Microfluorescence (XMF)
  • FTIR Spectroscopy analysis (Fourier-Transform InfraRed (FTIR) Spectroscopy)
  • Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)
  • X-ray Tomography
  • Cryo Scanning Electron Microscopy
  • Image Analysis

More Resources

Specialist Scientific Services - RSSL Brochure
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Foreign Bodies - Techniques for Investigation and Identification - White Paper
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Metallic Contamination Identification Using a Portable XRF - Case Study
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For any questions regarding our services, getting a proposal or submitting samples, please contact the team on:

t: +44 (0)118 918 4076