White Paper

Avoiding Cross-Contamination Risks For Food Safety

By Bjorn Thumas


By Bjorn Thumas, director of business development at TOMRA Sorting Food

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 600 million people – almost 10 per cent of the global population – fall ill after eating contaminated food. With safety regulations and global demand for food on the rise, optical and sensor-based sorting has become a necessity rather than a luxury for many producers who have previously relied upon manual sorting and inspection.

As a leading sorting systems manufacturer we see cross-contamination as an increasingly vital aspect of food safety. The reputational and financial impact of a product recall can be devastating for a company but sorting technology can be used to effectively manage crosscontamination issues.

Cross-contamination, or the presence of unexpected food matter in a supposedly homogenous food type, is a serious issue that can have significant implications for the global food industry. Headlines in 2013 reported the scale of the cross-contamination of meat products in the European horsemeat scandal, which wiped hundreds of millions of euros off the market value of well-established global supermarket brands. The impact of such errors can affect a wide range of foodstuffs meaning now, more than ever, the industry must ensure contaminants are identified and expelled from their products as early in the process as possible.