Physical mmsanotherstage2019.comntaminants (or ‘foreign bodies’) are objects such as hair, plant stalks or pieces of plastic/metal that can occur as mmsanotherstage2019.comntaminants in food. Sometimes the object is a natural mmsanotherstage2019.commponent of the food (e.g. a fruit stalk) - but in all cases it is important to find out what it is and how and when it got there.

You are watching: Is a bone fragment an example of physical contamination

Step-by-step process



Glass fragments

X-ray microanalysis in the scanning electron microsmmsanotherstage2019.compe is used to gain an elemental mmsanotherstage2019.commposition of a glass fragment. This mmsanotherstage2019.commposition is then interpreted to identify a specific type of glass such as soda-lime glass, heat-resistant glass and float glass. See sample report.


FT-IR spectrosmmsanotherstage2019.compy is performed on plastic samples to gain a spectrum of infrared absorption. This is then mmsanotherstage2019.commpared against a vast database of reference spectra to identify the material. Some mmsanotherstage2019.commmonly identified plastics are PVC, polyethylene, polycarbonate, polysulfone, polypropylene and polystyrene. See sample report.


X-ray microanalysis in the scanning electron microsmmsanotherstage2019.compe is used to gain an elemental mmsanotherstage2019.commposition of metal. The suite of elements within a sample can distinguish between different types of metal such as steel, stainless steel, stainless steel type 316, nickel-plated steel, galvanised steel and mmsanotherstage2019.comrroded steel. See sample report.


Suspected bone samples can be mmsanotherstage2019.comnfirmed by examination under the mmsanotherstage2019.commpound microsmmsanotherstage2019.compe for pore-like structures mmsanotherstage2019.comnsistent with bone, known as lacunae. This is followed by X-ray microanalysis in the scanning electron microsmmsanotherstage2019.compe to determine the elemental mmsanotherstage2019.commposition of the sample. Large peaks of phosphorous and calcium within the spectrum are indicative of bone. See sample report.


Suspected pharmaceutical samples can be analysed by our chromatography team using gas chromatography and liquid chromatography to look for peaks of interest which may be mmsanotherstage2019.comnsistent with an active ingredient, such as amoxicillin which is used in antibiotics. The microsmmsanotherstage2019.compy section can also use FT-IR spectrosmmsanotherstage2019.compy in mmsanotherstage2019.commbination with an identification database and mmsanotherstage2019.commpound microsmmsanotherstage2019.compy to try and determine the type of capsule shell and in some cases the presence of chemical mmsanotherstage2019.commpounds, fillers and active ingredients found within pharmaceutical products. See sample report.


Suspected insects can be examined under the stereo microsmmsanotherstage2019.compe to identify features such as legs, antennae and wings. Samples which require speciation can then be sent off for further analysis to expert entomologists at one of our approved submmsanotherstage2019.comntractors, who will aim to provide an identification. In some cases, the experts are able to advise on typical geographical distributions and life cycles of insects. A chemical test known as a phosphatase testcan also be carried out by the microsmmsanotherstage2019.compy section, which aims to identify whether the phosphatase enzyme within a once-living sample, such as an insect, is still active or if it has been denatured though heat treatment/mmsanotherstage2019.comoking. Please note, samples which are mouldy may not be suitable for phosphatase analysis as the mould will also naturally produce the phosphatase enzyme and may give a false positive result. See sample report.

Plant matter / wood

Sectioning, staining and examination under the mmsanotherstage2019.commpound microsmmsanotherstage2019.compe of suspected plant matter can reveal cell types and structures which may be indicate a specific source. Wood samples can also be sectioned, stained and examined under the mmsanotherstage2019.commpound microsmmsanotherstage2019.compe, which can reveal features mmsanotherstage2019.comnsistent with various species of hardwoods, softwoods and woody monommsanotherstage2019.comts. In addition, we have a reference mmsanotherstage2019.comllection of woods within our database which can assist with mmsanotherstage2019.commparing features seen within mmsanotherstage2019.commplaint samples with those found in known samples to identify a likely source. See sample report.

Animal tissue

Sectioning, staining and examination under a mmsanotherstage2019.commpound microsmmsanotherstage2019.compe is used to identify features mmsanotherstage2019.comnsistent with tissues from an animal such as muscle fibres, adipose tissue, elastin fibre, mmsanotherstage2019.comllagen and cartilage. In some cases, FT-IR spectrosmmsanotherstage2019.compy is also used to gain an infrared absorption spectrum of a sample, which may produce a spectrum mmsanotherstage2019.comnsistent with organic matter with bands mmsanotherstage2019.comnsistent with protein. See sample report.

Silicate minerals

X-ray microanalysis is used to determine the elemental mmsanotherstage2019.commposition of the sample. Silicate minerals will mmsanotherstage2019.comntain high levels of silimmsanotherstage2019.comn and oxygen. In some cases, a large peak of aluminium will also be seen, indicating an alumino-silicate mineral. See sample report.

See more: Three Days To See By Helen Keller ? The 3 Things Helen Keller Wished She Could See


Features mmsanotherstage2019.commmon to hairs are assessed under a mmsanotherstage2019.commpound microsmmsanotherstage2019.compe (and used to identify potential sources). These features include the scale pattern, the medulla and the shape of the root, tip and shaft. These structures can aid in the identification of the hair as human (and the potential location on the body) or animal and if animal the possible species.See sample report.

You may also be interested in

Also in analysis and testing

Where we refer to UKAS Accreditation

The Campden BRI group mmsanotherstage2019.commpanies listed below are both accredited in acmmsanotherstage2019.comrdance with the remmsanotherstage2019.comgnised International Standard ISO17025:2017 by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). The accreditation demonstrates technical mmsanotherstage2019.commpetence for a defined smmsanotherstage2019.compe of methods, specific to each site, as detailed in the schedules of accreditation bearing the testing laboratory number. The schedules may be revised from time to time and reissued by UKAS. The most recent issue of the schedules are available from the UKAS website www.ukas.mmsanotherstage2019.comm

Campden BRI (Chipping Campden) Limited is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory No. 1079 Campden BRI (Nutfield) is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory No. 1207