Control physical hazards


Today's people are much more aware about food safety and quality than past. Due to food borne illness outbreak and product recall also suffered millions of pounds economic losses in food industry. Major reasons for these failure are mishandling, changes in the equipment, addition of incorrect ingredients, formulation process, recipe or preparation practice, problems in packaging, lack of attention to detail as well as malicious contamination. A physical property that may cause a food to be unsafe for human consumption are known as physical hazard. Usually occurs in food premises and may cause serious illness. It could be happen by natural materials like bone, skin, connective tissue or by extrinsic materials like foreign bodies such as glass, plastic, pieces of metal, wood, paper as well as insect infestation. The presence of foreign bodies like glass and rodent droppings in food is a greater concern as it breakdown hygiene. It may be brought into food premises with the raw materials or get introduce during any processing stage. Foreign materials get into food unintentionally for instance pieces of metal in mince meat or naturally occurring objects for example bones in fish that are consider threat to the consumer.


According to Canadian Food Inspection Agency(CFIA) three classes of physical hazards found on the base of likelihood.

Class 1(high likelihood) :

For high risk little or no control measure established. Major and critical infractions occur.

Class 2(moderate likelihood):

For medium risk some control established, but gaps or inconsistencies occur.

Class 3(low risk):

Here, Minor infection can cause, control measure establish



In food processing facilities, most common sources found are bottles, jars, bulbs, light fixtures, utensils, gauge covers, glass containers and glass food containers. Usually it may cause cuts, bleeding that may require sometimes surgery to find or remove this physical hazard. To avoid this hazard food industry should minimize using of ordinary glass. Dials and gauges on equipment should be perfect. Besides, they should have a glass policy especially to handle with breakage glasses. Perhaps, food preparation should stop in case of serious breakage event. Contaminated food must be discarded. By visual inspection, food container may check for any broken parts of glass. It should be ensure that the area is cleaned and free from broken glasses before starting food preperation. Food handler requires proper training and instruction as if they can response correctly.

Moreover, to detect glass from food in food industry, optical scanners, x-ray machines, sieves, filters and air separation system can apply. Furthermore, blasting with air or washing, inverting, is necessary to minimize the risk being present in a container just prior to filling.


Common sources of wood found in buildings, boxes, fields,wooden pallets or wooden structure used to supermarket and retailer. Also might be associate with raw material transportation and product processing industry. It may cause cuts, infection, choking. Soft wood should be remove from production premises. Wooden containers used for transporting raw materials should be phased out. Over open food pallets should not be double stacked.


Field crops for example lentil, garden peas and beans contain little stones that may picked up at harvesting period. Stones can also get introduce with foods from floor.


Common sources of plastic include packaging material, utensils used for cleaning, pallets, gloves worn by food handler. It may cause choking, cuts, infection.


Common sources are machinery, fields, wire and employees. It may cause infection, cuts.


Cultivation land, plant post-process entry are the sources of insect infestation. it may cause illness, trauma, choking.


Pens, pencils, buttons, careless food handler practices can be include. It may cause cuts, infection etc.


Common sources are fields, improper processing plant. It may cause choking and trauma.


Common sources are building material. It may cause choking, long-term if asbestos.


Common sources are staples, cardboard, cloth, fibre, string so on. Particular care is necessary when food deliver in various container like paper sacks, boxes and card board .After removing string from hessian sacks should immediately be placed in appropriate container to avoid contamination. It may cause choking and dental damage like teeth broken.


In food processing variable nature of raw material quality may be a significant problem. Raw materials can be a important source of extraneous matter and food manufacturers use a range of sorting, cleaning and grading operations to take out the hazard material. In manufacture of frozen peas for instance, metal screws, cigarette ends, stalks, stones, sticks, caterpillars and dirt often associate with the vined peas as they arrived at the processing industry.

Control measure should have specification to detail maximum permissible levels of contamination in the incoming raw materials. By agreeing specifications with all suppliers and monitoring and evaluating the supplier performance in meeting the specifications, the company has an positive tool in minimizing the risk by extraneous matter.

Before using raw materials, cleaning or washing and inspection may necessary. Most physical contamination has to be removed by employee as the vegetables pass along an illuminated inspection belt.

Food production should be filteed liquid and powders sieved, filters screens and sieves should be as fine as possible and must be cleaned and checked frequently. Worn equipment should replaced. Wooden-framed sieves are usually not accepted


Packaging is also a source of extraneous matter in the form of warehouse and transport dirt/dust, wood from the pallets, paper and polythene strips from over wraps and a variety of insects and even rodents. containers (cans, jars, bottles and plastic pots)may be used directly foe filling with mineral cleaning and any rogue material in the container (metal splinters, glass, dirt, insects, etc.) may end up in the end product.


To develope, physical hazard identification program in the food industry, processors have to collect detailed information for every stage of each food processing and their origin. Significant physical hazards can be found by observing each process stage during all stages of its processing at the manufacture factory.After identifying hazards, aneffective programcanrun tomanageand reduce these risks of serious happening.Tools of the overall program include carefully throughout Hazard analysis and critical control point(HACCP),sanitation,maintenance andGood manufacturing practicess (GMP) programs; effective microbiological and chemical verification testing, systematic processes validation both annually and when changes occur; regular employee training; and product design and packaging strategies thatshould carefully take into account both the potential hazards that have been identified and the results of potential abuse of the product. Auditingschedule must be designed tofind out weaknesses inalloftheseareas.Identified Critical Control Points (CCP's) are critical, and this data must be used to implement apropriate control of the process. Furthermore, regular auditing on this data should occur in order to ensure improvement gradually.Besides, tooverlook potential hazards,or fail to perform verification measurements where needed can lead to disaster very fast.

Commercial laboratoriesare alsoapotential resource to provide direction and input tounderstand, implement, and use these tools. This assistancecancomein theformofmicrobiologicalandchemicalanalysis,validationtesting,product testing,audits,consulti-ngservicesfrom HACCPtrainedexpertise, and customized onsite training pertinent tothe sector of the food industry that provides maximum benefit to employeesand facility.

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) to minimize risks of physical hazards.

  • Wearing hair nets to minimize the opportunity for hair associate into food.
  • Avoid using nail polish or artificial nails. Polish can flake off and fall into food, and artificial nails can come loose and fall into food.
  • Avoid using rings with stones or earrings that could incorporate into food.

Pay special attention to the food during preparation to identify physical contaminants.

  • Take care to remove and discard all packaging from food.
  • Remove all bones when deboning chicken or other meats.
  • Look for possible contaminants. For example, dry beans must be sorted prior to washing to remove stones that may be there from harvest.
  • Remove any toothpicks that might be used in food preparation.

Maintain, clean and use equipment properly.

  • Clean and sanitize equipment and utensils after use each time.
  • Clean blades of can openers after use to ensure that metal shavings do not accumulate.
  • Use only commercial ice scoops when getting ice from an ice machine or portioning ice.
  • Placing shields on lights.
  • Shatterproof light bulbs can be use.


In conclusion it can be said to reduce risk of major food incidents, whichcause humanillnessandmajor economicloss,itisimportant toidentifyandunderstand the potentialhazards by the food supplier. It is their responsibility to identify and minimize hazards in the food that they produce or serve.Effectiveand potential strategiesandcontrolmeasuresmustbedevelopedtominimize thehazards. A process should be placedthatiswell-designed,wellmanagedandsubjecttoregularreviewtheisatthelowest riskforcriticalfailures.Overall,aneffectivequalitycontrolsystemisthemostcosteffectivewaytooperatefortheprimaryproducer,andresultsinthegreatestpossiblesatisfactionfortheconsumersbenefitfromthequalityoftheproduct.So, supplier quality assurance, good manufacturing process and training facilities in food industry among food handler could be effective safety management tools. Moreover, to identify any significant physical hazard or critical control point, food industry should build a HACCP team and conduct by flow diagram for the each processing stage. Auditing also can be


  • Food safety fact sheet(2009),, accesed on 10th jan 2010
  • Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources,Lincoln(2005),, accesed on 9th jan 2010
  • Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives(1998),
  • Microbac Laboratories, Inc(2006),, accesed on 16th jan 2010

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