Metal Found In Rice

Magnetic Separator Ensuring Food Safety

There are a lot of negative Food Safety reports about metal being found in food (e.g. Morrisons’ Green Beans, Sainsbury’s Bread), but there is also a great deal of good practice.

Whilst undertaking an annual Magnetic Separation Survey at a rice processing factory, we were able to see the importance of installing metal separation equipment.

Fine Iron on Bunting Grate MagnetThe Food Processor had installed Bunting FF Drawer Grate Magnets at the base of hoppers holding Basmati rice prior to packing.  For maximum fine iron removal, the Grate Magnets were constructed with high strength Rare Earth Magnets with magnetic fields of approximately 11,200 Gauss on the surface.

A schedule had been established for the Grate Magnets to be cleaned on a weekly basis.  During the Survey, the amount of fine iron captured and held onto the surface of each of the Tube Magnets was found to be  substantial.  Subsequently, one of the recommendations was to increase the cleaning frequency.  This would then ensure that the Magnetic Separators were working optimally as performance can drop if the Magnets are laden with captured metal.

Where Does the Metal Come From?

Fine Iron on Bunting Grate MagnetThe majority of rice processed in the UK is imported from South-East Asia.  The process of collection, storage and transportation results in fine iron being introduced.  Additionally, very small amounts of fine iron may be introduced during the handling of the rice at the UK plant.  This could be from the wear of processing equipment.

Does the Amount of Metal Vary?

The UK food processor has very little control on the amount of metal present in the delivered rice and even working closely with the rice grower to improve Food Safety standards does not ensure a metal-free product.  As with all food imports, there are many stages of handling and storage where metal contamination occurs.  The amount of metal can vary significantly and, subsequently, the frequency of cleaning the Magnetic Separators will alter.

Good Food Safety Practice

As demonstrated at this rice processing plant, Magnetic Separators will separate magnetically susceptible metal (including work-hardened stainless steel) prior to any product reaching the consumer.  Annual reviews with the suppliers of the equipment will provide assurance of metal-separation performance.

For more information on good Food Safety practices and removing metal contamination, or to request a Magnetic Separation Audit, please contact the Bunting team on:

Phone:  +44 (0) 1442 875081

Email:  sales@buntingeurope.com

Via the website

Fine Iron on Bunting Grate Magnet
Fine iron captured by a Bunting Magnetics Europe Rare Earth FF Drawer Grate Magnet

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