Retractable vs Non-Retractable Markers

Product integrity requires no compromise. Foreign body contamination is the source of countless audit non-conformances, largely due to the misguided belief that relying on detection is sufficient for food safety. In reality, prevention should come before detection – which should only be a last resort.  

As industry-leading providers of compliant factory pens and markers over the last decade, our customers regularly ask us whether retractable markers are necessary in food factories. In response, we decided to create this handy guide explaining the key differences between non-retractable and retractable markers.  

Watch the video below to see Guy Bush, Product Category Manager at Klipspringer, compare a commonly used retractable marker against a non-retractable Retreeva marker.  

In the above video, Guy deconstructs a retractable marker from a well-known brand. Upon closer inspection, he finds that: 

  1. The pen has twelve separate parts, six of which are made from non-detectable plastic 
  2. Five of these pieces are smaller than a thumbnail 
  3. The smallest of these pieces, located on the outside of the marker, is less than 10 x 3mm in size and not detectable 
  4. One of these pieces is transparent 

These findings pose a serious risk to food safety on the factory floor. Guy also found that the conventional pen contains a metal spring – another flagrant red flag.  


As a coiled piece of wire, springs are near-impossible for even the best metal detectors to identify. This means that it is not only likely but probable that your metal detectors will not detect its presence in your product and across your production line. When using markers like these, foreign body contamination (e.g. a spring in a meal) can even reach the customer, as happened to this major food supplier in Australia 

Guy then proceeds to outline the Retreeva Marker, a more compliant alternative. Unlike the conventional marker, the Retreeva option… 

  • Has no need for a pen nib – which is considered a major foreign body risk 
  • Is made up of just five pieces 
  • Is ingeniously designed to prevent the pen nib from drying out, meaning that the ink lasts longer
  • Contains plastic which is entirely food contact approved and detectable
  • The smallest detachable part is the lid 

Which marker do you think presents the larger risk to food safety, hygiene, and compliance in your food factory? 

Click below for more information on the Retreeva Global Detectable Range, brought to you by Klipspringer.