Handling contaminants is an essential part of GMP in pharma and HACCP in food production. Foreign materials can trigger production stops, product rejections and recalls and lead to loss of business.

Foreign bodies or contaminants are any extraneous matter of a physical, chemical or biological nature, that are not part of the planned pharma or food production process. Identifying them is crucial to ensuring product safety and quality, protecting consumers from potential health risks and upholding industry standards such as Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in pharma and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) in food production.

Knowing exactly what the particle is allows for faster identification of the source of contamination so that it can be eliminated and normal production reestablished.

Examples of foreign bodies in pharma and food production
Examples of identified particles. SEM images: (1) Paper, (2) Cotton fibres, (3) Hair, (4) Wood, (5) 316 Steel wear particle, (6) Cork. Optical microscopy (7) Cotton fibres, (8) 316 Steel wear particles, (9) Polystyrene particle. 

Identification of foreign bodies in pharma and food production ensures quality  

Our skilled characterisation team can identify unknown particles and materials on a surface, extract particles and other foreign bodies from samples, including liquids, identify micro/nanostructures and map whether a material contains air pockets or foreign particles on the outer surface.  

Determine unknown materials on any surface in dedicated laboratory 

We can manually isolate and identify particles and fibres smaller than 100 µm and determine their material composition. Elemental composition can be determined in points down to approx. 1 µm x 1 µm. We perform all tests in a dedicated surface characterisation lab that prevents potential product contamination and ensures the integrity and quality of the analysed materials. 

Get qualified foreign body identification fast 

We offer short delivery times for identifying foreign bodies like particles extracted from production or impurities on surfaces. When you submit a foreign body test specimen, you can expect a qualified response from a surface characterisation specialist within five working days. We can revert in two working days for an additional fee if it is urgent, for instance, when production is halted or information about the contaminant is needed to release a production batch. 

Get in touch to find out how we can help you identify foreign bodies in your pharma or food production and avoid expensive production halts, product recalls or incompliance.  

Equipment for identifying foreign bodies

  • Optical microscopy in a stereo microscope 
  • SEM-EDS - High magnification microscopy with element analysis 
  • FTIR – Identification of organic materials 
  • SEM - FIB-SEM - Characterisation of surface layers and thickness 
  • ESEM - Microscopy of non-conducting test material 
  • 3D optical microscope and AFM - Surface and roughness characterisation  
  • XRD - Determination of chemical composition for crystalline material 
  • 3D x-ray CT - Non-destructive imaging of the inside of materials and products 
  • X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy - XPS - Chemical state of surfaces