The food industry has worked hard to try and 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:-

  1. Confirm a consumer’s initial identification of the material.
  2. Ascertain possible origins of the foreign body in food.
  3. Identify whether it originated from the post-purchase domestic environment.
  4. 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.

Our rapid and routine procedures can identify common physical contaminants including:-

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

Identification of microplastic particles in water

RSSL can quantify microplastic particles in water down to 10 microns and above. We can then identify the type of microplastic using a variety of techniques and compare the particles with the reference materials to confirm if they have come from the original bottle.  RSSL routinely provides services to detect particles of a sub-visible nature in pharmaceutical products and it is these methods that have been adapted to analyse water.

Have you 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.


Confocal Raman Microscope

Light Microscopy

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

X-ray Microanalysis (XMA)

Thermal Probe-MS

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

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