Recalls: Look For Prevention Not Blame 

News stories this week have reported a steady rise in recalls with pressures on manufacturers from consumers being cited as part of the problem. So how do we fix the problem?

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Recalls: Look For Prevention Not Blame


Do you remember the episode of Friends where Monica caters for her mother’s dinner party and loses a false nail in a main course?

Having once been served a dish called Vegetable Mess after a pastry disaster and attended a fondue fire, these low-key catering mishaps happen to us all (who doesn’t occasionally apply the ‘5 second rule’?).

It’s a more professional dinner party host whose story we often hear on the likes of Dragon’s Den. Individuals who have made the bold step towards manufacturing their culinary delight to the wider public.

Bold and brave, not for entering the Dragon’s Den, but for entering an industry where litany, consumer demand and pressure on cost is hitting small manufacturers hard.

The pressure to increase productivity and reduce cost to meet consumer demand is one of the factors that manufacturers believe is leading to the escalating number of recalls we are experiencing according to a recent survey by insurer Locktons.

In 2017 we saw Asda and Lidl remove glass-contaminated pastry goods from Peters Food Services from their shelves.
Tesco removed a batch of Quorn Mince after it was discovered to contain metal.
Family run sweet manufacturer, William Santus and Co. recalled some of their ‘Uncle Joe’s’ mints when it was found metal had contaminated the product.

Analysis by the FSA has shown a 200% rise in choking hazards appearing in our food and drink over the past 6 years.

A research study by Queen’s University in Belfast showed that most recalls (56%) were the result of operational mistakes. With the speed and intensity of current production demand, these mistakes are likely to continue and possibly increase.

We have seen a huge increase in demand for our x-ray inspection systems as manufacturers look for a more sophisticated means of ensuring product safety.

The two most commonly asked questions from our customers are:
“How can I ensure I capture contaminants?”
How can I ensure we reduce the number of false rejects?”

For these two reasons, Sapphire pioneered low energy inspection. Low energy inspection, along with world class engineering has enabled us to produce inspection systems that are unbeatable for speed and sensitivity.

For manufacturers this means that the opportunity to capture contaminated products accurately whilst maintaining a fast production line.

At Sapphire Inspection Systems, we continue to improve our machines, making them adaptable to fit into compromised floorspace, making them versatile to examine multiple factors and making them affordable so that manufacturers of any size needn’t feel compromised on ensuring product safety.

To go back to our original point, operational mistakes occur on every level. Our job at Sapphire, is to find ways to stop those mistakes reaching the shelves without slowing your production line.

This year will see even greater advances in x-ray inspection capability from our engineering team. As consumers demand greater quantity and value from the food and drink industry so does the need to develop systems that meet these expectations and safeguard brand reputation and product safety.

We consult with food and drink manufacturers of all types and size. If you’d like to find out how we can help safeguard your production visit us at

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