Food Physical Safety Analysis

Intertek’s food physical analysis process involves an evaluation of the rheological attributes, which have been identified as critical to hazard levels.

Depending on the product type, these factors may have different levels of importance in terms of assessing overall hazard. Leading external medical resources in the areas of feeding and swallowing, as well as airway obstruction, consult with Intertek to identify critical attributes for food product analysis.

Food products are evaluated to determine whether their physical properties have the potential to create a hazardous condition for airway obstruction, the potential for injury in the event of an injury, and the effect of their characteristics that may mitigate any of this injury potential. Packaging used for food products is evaluated in conjunction with the food product to determine if intended consumption behaviors increase the potential and severity of an airway obstruction incident.

Data provided from the evaluation of rheological attributes is presented in a clear and useful manner. An agglomerative hierarchical method is used to identify clusters (groups of products). Products that cluster with products of known low hazard level are likely to have a low hazard level themselves. Likewise, products that cluster with products of known high hazard level are likely to possess a greater potential to be associated with airway obstruction injury. We offer design recommendations that effectively mitigate airway obstruction hazards presented by food products.

In addition to airway obstruction, Intertek evaluates food products and food packaging for burn injury potential. Intertek has constructed the Virtual Child™ Burn Injury Hazard Assessment model. This model includes a program that simulates burn degree as a function of time. Appropriate skin construction (i.e., skin thickness for the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous fat layer) has been modeled based on the adults in the experimental burn injury studies and available children’s skin data. Thermal properties of the skin have also been obtained from the literature. Skin thickness and thermal property data appropriate to age group and body region can be inputted to the burn injury hazard assessment model. Intertek uses the Virtual Child™ Burn Injury Hazard Assessment Model to understand whether food products and packaging have the potential to cause serious burn injury.

 

*Intertek consulting services provided for Consumer Goods are carried out by consulting experts of a separate legal entity who have no influence over any aspect of Intertek Notified Body activities.

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