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Foreign bodies in the mash of Ile-de-France nurseries

Food Hygiene News 12 avril

For the past few days, we have been talking about a food problem that occurred in nurseries in Ile-de-France. Foreign objects, such as screws, plastic wrap and bones, have been found in children’s mash. It is interesting to take a look in order to learn more about the risks of foreign objects and how to prevent them.

In recent days, we have been talking about a food problem that happened in nurseries in Ile-de-France. Foreign objects, such as screws, plastic wrap and bones, have been found in children’s mash. Many complaints concerning foreign bodies in food are regularly recorded by Afsca (Federal Agency for Food Safety), however, this case affecting a sensitive population, it is interesting to take an interest in it in order to learn more about it. the risks associated with foreign bodies and how to prevent them.

The first report of foreign bodies was reported in October 2018 and continued until January 2019 by various nurseries in Ile-de-France. Plastic films, a bolt, a metal piece, a piece of ceramic, pieces of gasket and a one-centimeter bone were reported in the children’s mash provided by the same central kitchen.

The presence of foreign bodies in the production can generate various risks (and this, without addressing a population at risk) of which 3 types can be physically dangerous for the consumer (according to the Codex on food hygiene of 2001) :

  • risk attributable to sharp foreign bodies (in our case, bone and ceramic pieces fall into this category)
  • risk of suffocation (here, screws, plastic film, gasket and metal part)
  • dental risk in the case of a hard foreign body (screw, bolt, metal part).

There are also risks that do not necessarily include a physical impact but do include health risks such as the presence of hair, insects or rodent droppings.

risques et dangers sécurité alimentaires traqfood Mérieux nutrisciences

As the food containing the foreign bodies was intended for children in nurseries, action was immediately taken in the form of hygiene checks carried out in the central kitchen in question. As a result of these checks, loopholes in the power control were discovered and action was taken.

There are currently several solutions that prevent the risk of foreign bodies in production :

  • Identification of foreign bodies using a protocol to identify the nature and origin of foreign bodies.
  • Infrared spectrometry (IR) : This involves subjecting the production to infrared radiation. This technique makes it possible to identify organic objects (synthetic or natural polymer). You should know that the spectrometers used for food are near infrared spectrometers (NIR).
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM or SEM) which also makes it possible to distinguish organic objects but also inorganic objects (pebble, ...). This technique is mainly used in agriculture to know the exact composition of the products.
  • Metal detector which, as its name suggests, allows the discovery of foreign bodies in the production.
  • Insect identification : observation by an expert entomologist. This makes it possible to avoid reproducing the conditions which allowed the arrival of the first foreign body (development condition, probable cause of the presence in the food, consequences on health).

In our case, the use of the machines implicated in the foreign body problem was stopped until the production was moved to another central kitchen equipped with a metal detector.

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