To assure the highest level of food safety possible for their customers, leading retailers have established requirements or codes of practice regarding foreign object prevention and detection. In general, these are enhanced versions of the standards established many years ago by the British Retail Consortium.
One of the most stringent food safety standards was developed by Marks and Spencer (M&S), a leading retailer in the UK. Its standard specifies what type of foreign object detection system should be used, how it must function to assure rejected products are removed from production, how the systems should “fail” safely under all conditions, how it should be audited, what records must be kept and what the desired sensitivity is for various size metal detector apertures, among others. It also specifies when an X-ray system should be used instead of a metal detector.
The purpose of this backgrounder is to describe the M&S requirements so food manufacturers supplying packaged food products to retailers can fully understand what the inspection and detection system features, options and performance requirements are. By meeting this “gold standard,” a food manufacturer can have the assurance that their product inspection program will provide the confidence that major retailers are increasingly insisting upon for the safety of consumers. At the same time, it also provides their brand with the best possible protection.