The Best Food Metal Detectors For Nutraceuticals

Food grade metal detection is an importantinspection tool that can be used in the nutraceuticals industryto identify metallic impurities in nutraceuticals. Nutraceuticals are products derived from food sources that offer additional health benefits beyond basic nutritional value. The term “nutraceutical” is a combination of “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical,” coined to describe substances that are not necessarily nutrients (like vitamins and minerals) but may have a beneficial impact on health, prevent chronic diseases, or contribute to the body’s normal functioning. The implementation of nutraceuticals into the food industry can be observed in functional foods, dietary supplements, and health & wellness products.

However, some stages of the manufacturing process can introduce risks of contamination, whether from human mishandling or mechanical faults. A metal detector for food manufacturing can inspect for metal debris concealed within food items, and intercept it before it reaches consumers.

Food grade metal detectors are crucial for safeguarding against both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium and stainless steel. Metal detectors can also serve to protect processing equipment during the production process. Even the smallest metallic particles can cause machinery to malfunction or break-down, leading to costly repairs and operational downtime.

Thankfully, in-line metal detectors can be integrated at various points along the production line and are adaptable to numerous applications. You can browse A&D’s range of food metal detectors here, or scroll down to learn more about how inspection systems can assist your business.

Where Along My Production Line Do I Place My Metal Detectors?

Metal detectors can be integrated at various stages of the production process. It is recommended to conduct product inspections at critical control points or in areas of higher contamination risk, to identify any machinery malfunctions, as well as conducting a final check before the finished product is shipped.

Usually there are three strategic locations for placing metal detectors in a production line:

Start of the Line: Installing a metal detector at the beginning of the line helps protect processing equipment from damage by metal objects such as tags, knife blades, or twist ties. However, relying solely on this initial checkpoint could allow for contamination to occur later in the production process.

End of the Line: Many facilities prefer this placement as a final safeguard before products leave the manufacturing plant and are dispatched to customers. This placement is effective provided the final product is not overly large or dense, which could reduce the metal detector’s sensitivity.

Various Critical Points in the Line: Metal detectors can also be positioned at designated critical control points along the production line to both protect machinery and ensure product safety. The specific locations for these detectors will depend on the plant’s unique operational setup.

What Are the Different Types of Metal Contaminants?

Metals are categorised as either ferrous, nonferrous, or stainless steel. The detectability of these metals depends on their magnetic permeability and electrical conductivity.

  • Ferrous: Ferrous metals, which contain high levels of iron, are both magnetic and conductive. This makes them readily detectable by standard metal detectors.
  • Non-Ferrous: Non-ferrous metals, which do not contain any appreciable amounts of iron, are non-magnetic but are still conductive, which means they can easily be detected with the right correctly installed metal detectors.
  • Stainless Steel: Although it’s considered a ferrous metal, stainless steel is high in chromium. As it’s neither magnetic or conductive, stainless steel can be the hardest of the three metal types to detect, especially if it’s gotten into a product that contains water or if the product has high salt content.

Factors That Lead To False Detections

There are two primary factors that can cause false positives in metal detection: environmental and product-related factors.

Environmental Factors: Metal detectors can sometimes be positioned nearother electromechanical machinery which can significantly increase the likelihood of electromagnetic interference across various frequencies. This interference may disrupt the electromagnetic field of the balanced coils found in single-frequency or multi-frequency metal detectors, resulting in false detections.

Product Factors: Certain product ingredients such as salt, iron, and moisture can affect the detector’s electromagnetic field and potentially trigger false alarms. This issue becomes more pronounced at higher inspection frequencies, which are generally used to identify smaller particles. Consequently, this can lead to substantial product rejections and operational downtime. In the context of nutraceuticals, the probability of false positives is higher due to specialised packaging and the presence of metallic and conductive additives in many supplements.

Measuring Metal Detector Sensitivity in the Food Industry

The spectrum of metal detector sensitivity comes with its own quantifiable metrics. Metal detector sensitivity is commonly measured in millimetres (mm), which indicates the smallest size of a metal sphere that the detector can reliably identify.

In Australia and New Zealand, the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Code provides the guide for metal detection standards for the food processing industry.

Key Requirements For Metal Detection in the Nutraceuticals & Pharmaceutical Industries

In order to make sure your food grade metal detector is running at an optimal level, make sure you’re adhering to the following core requirements:

  • Regulatory Compliance: Regulatory compliance ensures that metal detection systems meet specific industry standards such as HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) for food safety management and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) for consistent quality across various industries.
  • Sensitivity & Detection Limits:Understand what your detector is capable of consistently identifying in terms of the smallest possible metal contaminant. This is important for eliminating foreign metallic particles from products.
  • Product & Packaging Variability: Consider how different types of products and packaging materials may influence the metal detector’s response and its effectiveness in identifying contaminants.
  • Integration with Production Lines: Take the time and necessary steps needed to correctly integrate your metal detectors into your existing production lines without disrupting workflow or reducing efficiency. Ensure all nearby machinery are not interfering with the electromagnetic fields of the metal detector.
  • Validation & Calibration: This means making regular routine checks and adjustments so as to ensure that metal detectors operate correctly and maintain accuracy over time.
  • Data Logging & Reporting: This involves the systematic recording and analysis of detection data to track performance, identify trends, and maintain compliance with regulatory standards. A lot of modern metal detectors have data capture recording capabilities, so it’s best to discuss this feature with your system supplier prior to purchasing.

Why A&D’s Metal Detectors Are Best for You

A&D’s modular in-line metal detectors can effortlessly identify ferrous, non-ferrous, and stainless steel contaminants, while providing you with quality data capture capabilities to support your quality assurance reporting.

The AD-4976 Series Metal Detectors, rated with IP66 (SUS304), are well suited for the food and beverage industry as well as the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical sectors. Offering outstanding levels of high sensitivity, this series also boasts an intuitive interface, consistent repeatability, and automated monitoring capabilities.

Food metal detectors have different aperture sizes to accommodate a variety of product sizes, shapes, and packaging types.

Metal Detector AD-4976 450/250 Aperture

This large aperture is ideal for scanning bulkier or larger packaged products. It can accommodate larger boxes, bigger bags of food products like cereals, grains, or large blocks of cheese and meat.

Metal Detector AD-4976 350/250 Aperture

This aperture is slightly narrower than the 450mm width, making it suitable for medium-sized packages such as mid-sized bags or boxes of food products, smaller trays of prepared meals, or medium blocks of food products. It’s a versatile size that balances sensitivity and the ability to accommodate a wide range of product sizes.

Metal Detector AD4976350/100 Aperture

This model is well-suited to smaller food packages where the product packaging does not exceed the maximum pass height of 80mm.

This series is IP66 dust and water-resistant, and features a hygienic design that allows for the entire system to be gently washed cleanly. It can integrate into HACCP programs and offers an automatic sensitivity setting function. The 7-inch colour touch panel ensures easy operation, while the variable belt speed can be adjusted from 10-50m/min. With standard Ethernet I/O, the system can easily connect to a network via LAN. It includes an inspection history function that can store up to 100 inspection results in internal memory, with the option to expand capacity using USB memory.


Metal detection inspection is a critical safety measurefor the nutraceuticals industry, designed to detect metallic contaminantsin food products. As metal particles and other similar foreign materials can inadvertently enter food products during production, food grade metal detectors act as a strong line of defence against food contamination that may result in expensive recalls and fines.

A&D’s in-line metal detectors can integrate smoothly into your production line with checkweighers and rejectors. Whether your application is in the food and beverage sector, pharmaceuticals, plastics, packaging, or other industries, A&D Inspection is dedicated to assisting you in delivering the highest quality products to your customers.

You can browse A&D food metal detectors here, or head over to our homepage to check out our other products and services. Got a question? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here, and our friendly staff will help you find what you’re looking for.