Time for the food sector to stop taking chances with cheap imports.
Andrew Onions, Director at MacLellan Rubber, explains why it is time for the food industry to stop talking a good game and ensure the entire supply chain is Food Safe
We've said it before and well no doubt say it again, but sooner or later the food sector will need to start addressing the issue of cheap imports and the problems that can cause with possible contamination further along the process.
Just last week we saw the latest high-profile product recall come to light, a product recall that causes serious reputational damage and negative PR, not to mention the financial cost of putting the situation right.
The major producers are very rarely the cause. They invest heavily to ensure they are fully compliant, but this stringent focus doesn't tend to continue throughout the supply chain and the industry appears to be happy enough to take a light touch approach to enforcement.
We believe that less than 10% of the rubber used in gaskets and seals is purchased from the UK or Europe, which means the vast majority are sourced from the Far East and less likely to meet the Food Contact Regulation EU 1935:2003, 2023/26 and FDA 21 CFR Part 177.
There has definitely been a decline in the quality of imported rubber sheeting from the Far East and Asia. That's not guess work, that's results from independent tests revealing that high levels of chemicals leach from the material or are released when temperatures are raised.
Being Food Safe is a legal obligation and manufacturers shouldn't assume because the material their suppliers are using is white or blue that it meets this requirement. They need to dig deeper into the supply chain and obtain the necessary documentation and evidence to prove compliance.
The big issue is that the people involved in purchasing are making their decisions based on price and not on quality or compliance. This has to change.
With a little more up-front investment in Food Safe rubber, the industry can eliminate any risk that seals and gaskets could be the cause of the contamination.
MacLellan Rubber is a specialist in the manufacture and distribution of polymer and rubber sheets and rolls, high quality industrial matting and high performance sealing solutions.
Established in 1871, the company has just signed an exclusive agreement that sees all of its food grade rubber sheet material manufactured within Europe, sourced from European compounders and 100% batch tested. The latter means the firm can offer full raw material traceability and compliance to all of the relevant quality standards.