Physical Hazards

Physical hazards are items not normally found in food that can be harmful by causing choking, or injury to the mouth or digestive tract. Not all extraneous or foreign materials are hazards. For example, string or paper are foreign material but are not likely to injure anyone. Items that can cause injury depending on their size and shape are glass, plastic, metal, stones, and wood.

Glass: This is a dangerous hazard if broken pieces end up in the food product. Often, unless glass is used for packaging, glass items are prohibited from production areas, or if necessary, tightly controlled.

Plastic: This is often used as a replacement of glass but can still cause injury. Use of less brittle material will reduce the risk.

Metal: In most manufacturing operations, equipment poses a risk of introducing metal into the product stream. Preventive maintenance is important in all processes. Magnets and metal detectors can used to eliminate metal before packaging.

Stones: Some ingredients, especially those from farms, may contain stones. Depending on their size, stones can pose hazard for choking or damaging consumers’ teeth.

Wood: Wood could choke consumers or cut them if the edges are sharp. Wood, like glass, is often eliminated from production areas.

Foreign Material in Peanuts

These foreign materials have been found in peanuts. Not all are hazards.

Natural: Sticks, stones, seeds, dirt, vines, insect parts, hulls, shriveled pods, corn/maize

Non-Natural: Metal, paper, glass, tobacco products, coins, jewelry

Preventing Foreign Material in Peanuts

Growing and Harvesting – Tips to contain Foreign Material

Good rotation improves yield and reduces foreign material.

Adjusting harvesting equipment properly reduces foreign material.

Cleaning out all wagons, harvesting equipment and other hauling equipment will eliminate potential sources of foreign material.

Transfer and Storage – Tips to contain Foreign Material

Clean and inspect all buildings, ground, shelters, pits, sampling areas, and equipment routinely.

Prohibit glass containers in the facility.

Clean drying trailers routinely.

Conduct preventive maintenance to control rust, loose paint, loose fasteners and metal fragments.

Remove potential foreign material with structures (bird and wasp nests).

Clean dump pits (underground structures where raw peanuts are stored) frequently.

Carefully monitor dump pit for dirt and foreign material from trailers.

Monitor and clean conveyor buckets and belts.

ProcessingTips to contain Foreign Material

Remove tocks, dirt, sand, sticks or other debris from in-shell peanuts before storing or processing. Also remove metal, glass or other foreign objects.

While this can be done by hand, some mechanized methods include:
– Separating machines use air and gravity to remove various types of foreign material.
– Destoner machines are specifically designed to sort out rocks.
– Filters, screens and magnets are used to remove all types of material, including metal.
– Electronic sorters use sneers to identify objects that are not peanuts and use equipment such as air jets to remove debris.

Shelling – Tips to control Foreign Material

Create and follow plans to control pests and glass.

Make sure walls, ceilings, floors of trucks and railcars are free of nails, wires, staples and loose wood.

Create and follow plans to maintain pallets, seals on equipment and bulk loading systems.

Manufacturer – Tips to control Foreign Material

Create and follow plans to control pests and glass.

Implement personnel practices to address jewelry, hair coverings, foods, gum, medicines, coins, tobacco, cosmetics and piercings.

Follow guidelines to prevent foreign material from getting into raw materials or food during construction and maintenance.

User metal detectors to find ferrous, stainless steel and non-ferrous metals along the process. Use bar magnets to remove ferrous metal during different steps in the process.

Clean brushes and scrappers.