Public exposure of this sort will taint any company’s reputation. Following this incident, a three-pronged investigation between the restaurant, customer, and council had to be undertaken. But it was entirely preventable.

Due to the unavoidable need for pens and other utensils in and around production lines, poor foreign body contamination control is one of the most commonly identified BRC non-conformities. More importantly, it is also a violation of compliance – not to mention customer trust. In this era of instantaneous, 24/7 news and social media reviews, years of impeccable food safety standards can be ruined by one tiny lapse. But there is a guaranteed way to ensure that the pens used by your team pose no risk of foreign body contamination. 

Prevention before detection. 

Pen coil springs are virtually undetectable, not only by the human eye, but also by automated machines. Leading companies are now opting to use metal detectors or x-rays to identify pen fragments in food items where necessary, in addition to implementing measures to prevent such hazards before they arise. How? These organisations – which include Heinz, Bakkavor, Cargill, Two Sisters, Moy Park, and GXO Logistics – choose to use writing utensils which physically cannot fragment. In other words, they have made it company policy that their pens… 

  1. …are made of the strongest, most durable materials 
  2. …are completely shatterproof 
  3. …do not contain coil springs

In the unlikely occurrence of a mishap, this ensures that stray pens still have a very high chance of being rejected in finished product. It also offers compliance with the BRC’s increasingly strict food safety requirements, which state that: 

“Pens used in open product areas shall be controlled to minimise risk of physical contamination (e.g. designed without small parts and detectable by foreign-body detection equipment).” (BRC9 Ref. 4.9.6.2.) 

If you’d like to learn more about the specific features of Retreeva’s much-acclaimed detectable pen range, read this comprehensive summaryAlternatively, you can watch the below video explaining which type of detectable pen best suits your applications.