Food safety is a driving force at Cooper Farms and metal contamination is a critical threat to that goal, according to Greg Cooper, grandson of Virgil and plant operations manager for the Van Wert cooked meats plant.
"The biggest threat is products with clips," Cooper said. "The product is stuffed into plastic casings and there are clips on either end. Sometimes these need rework and you have to account for all the clips. That's the biggest single cause of metal contamination for us."
With nearly 60 years of brand equity built from careful production and delivery, Cooper Farms cannot afford to let metal slip into the finished product, or the production line. "If a clip got through, it could crack someone's tooth and ruin our relationship with that retailer," Cooper said. "It could also damage equipment – if it gets into a meat slicer, for example, it would ruin a very expensive blade and stop the production line."