Breaking News on Food Safety & Quality Control

News > R&D

Read more breaking news


Foreign bodies often found in fruit and veg, nuts and confectionery

RASFF analysis reveals top three foreign bodies

Post a comment

By Joe Whitworth+

Last updated on 18-Jul-2017 at 12:58 GMT2017-07-18T12:58:30Z

Top 3 foreign body materials were pest, glass and metal. Pic: ©iStock/zzcapture
Top 3 foreign body materials were pest, glass and metal. Pic: ©iStock/zzcapture

Pests, glass and metals were the foreign bodies most often listed in RASFF, according to an analysis of the portal.

It found most notifications came from Eastern Europe and fruit and veg, nuts and confectionery products were the main food categories, covering almost two thirds of all notifications.

Researchers reviewed the different types of foreign matter reported in Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) during 1998–2015.

A total of 1,446 incidents were looked at in terms of types of foreign bodies, food products involved and geographic distribution.

Customer complaints ‘significant issue’

Consumer complaints regarding physical contaminates (foreign bodies) from food products will continue to be a significant issue for industry, said the researchers.

Physical contaminants are the biggest single source of customer complaints received by many food manufacturers, retailers and enforcement authorities, according to Edwards & Stringer (2007).

The top three foreign body materials notified were pest (54.6%), glass (17.4%) and metal.

Metal fragments were often reported despite widespread use of metal detectors and magnets on production lines.

Researchers said the high rate of pests in the RASFF database indicates ineffective control within the food chain.

Glass and metal are reported in western European countries, pests in Eastern European countries and plastic, rubber and wood in northern European countries.

Foreign matter can be controlled by measures including metal detectors, X-ray machines and magnets, mechanical separation methods such as sieving, flotation and gravity separation, automatic vision systems and visual inspection by staff.

Number of notifications per year is between just below 90 and 150, except for 2011 which had 213 notifications.

Regional distribution and product type

Researchers said data from a wide range of foreign bodies demonstrates in many cases the occurrence of foreign bodies is ‘far from random’.

Regional distribution shows that the scatter of notifications is rather similar with most coming from Eastern Europe.

Alerts prevail in western and northern European countries. Border rejections were recorded mostly in eastern European countries.

Regarding risk decision, the majority were categorized as ‘undecided’ (78.3%), followed by ‘not serious’ (11.8%) and ‘serous’ (9.9%).

The top three product categories were fruit and vegetables (24.8%), nuts, nut products and seeds (21.1%) and bakery and confectionery products (17.6%).

Meat and dairy products were dominant in western countries, fruits and vegetables in south European countries and confectionery and bakery products in northern European countries.

There were statistically significant differences between fruits and vegetables, nuts and bakery & confectionery products. Nuts were mainly notified from eastern European countries.

Source: Food Control Volume 79, September 2017, Pages 143-149

“Analysis of foreign bodies present in European food using data from Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF)”

Authors: Ilija Djekic, Danijela Jankovic and Andreja Rajkovic

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Related products

Related suppliers

Key Industry Events


Access all events listing

Our events, Shows & Conferences...

Promotional Features