Food Contamination: The 3 Most Common Types

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packaging distributorThe main concern of any packaging distributor should be safety. This not only means the safety of employees, but the safety of the food products. During the food packaging process, there is a risk for the food products to become contaminated. This article will take a look at a few of the most common types of contamination, how they're caused, and how they can be prevented.

Physical Contamination
Physical contamination involves actual objects contaminating food products. While most physical contaminants may be visible, it can be difficult to catch them during mass production. Because of this, precautionary measures should always be taken.

Common sources of physical contamination may include:

  • Hair
  • Glass or metal
  • Fingernails
  • Pests
  • Jewellery
  • Dirt or dust

Luckily, most of these contaminants are easily preventable. Packaging distributor employees should always wear hair nets, gloves, and any other protective gear. Additionally, food inspection systems like x-ray and metal detection in food processing should be used to detect metal contaminants.

Chemical Contamination
Chemical contamination occurs when chemical substances come into contact with food products. Depending on the quantity, this can be very dangerous and lead to chemical poisoning. Common sources of chemical contaminants can be cleaning agents, non-safe plastics, pest control products, and equipment maintenance products.

Because of the widespread use of these types of products, it's important that they're used correctly and safely in order to avoid them coming into contact with food products,

Biological Contamination
Biological contamination happens when bacteria or toxins enter food products. While not all bacteria are bad, harmful bacteria, or pathogens, can cause food poisoning to those that consume it. Unfortunately, bacteria are very small microorganisms that split and multiply at a rapid rate. Some common places where bacteria are found growing are:

  • Dust
  • The human body
  • Raw meat
  • Pets and pests
  • Cloths and rags
  • Clothing

Since bacteria are impossible to see with the naked eye, it's important to ensure food products are stored in conditions that deter bacterial growth. Harmful bacteria have trouble growing and multiplying in cold temperatures, so refrigerators should be set below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and freezers should be set below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Food contamination should not be taken lightly, and all packaging distributor companies should make the safety of their food products, and consumers, a priority. With careful precautions and double checking with food inspection equipment, distributors can keep contamination incidents to a minimum.