In food applications, the small size and anomaly type being detected is more challenging and the rapid speed required means a computer, not a person, must make the decision. In fact, in many cases, the real challenge isn’t finding the contaminant, it’s finding it while simultaneously ignoring the product, packaging or environment. False detections caused by improper use or specification can be costly and frustrating.
Most raw foods and ingredients originate in a natural environment such as a field, orchard, or farm. As the food is harvested, foreign objects such as stones or glass can be picked up and transported into the processing plant. Additionally, objects found in manufacturing facilities – such as metal and plastic – can find their way into the processing stream as the result of machinery or process failures. Lastly, fragments of bones, pits or shells removed during processing can end up hidden in the final products. These risks, and associated costs, have driven more demanding detection policies worldwide.
How can food processors ensure that the end product is free from unwanted contaminants? By integrating X-ray detection as part of an overall food safety program.
An advanced X-ray detection and inspection system installed close to the end of the line augments an upstream metal detection program. With such a system, an X-ray beam passes through the product as it is conveyed through the system. The detector creates a line-by-line image of the product for vision analysis before the product leaves the system. The computer makes a good/bad decision and automatically rejects any contaminated product. While there are numerous ways to configure an X-ray system, the fundamental operation is always the same: scan, analyze, then pass or reject.
Sophisticated X-ray systems can distinguish between contaminants (like metal, glass, stone, plastic, and other dense foreign objects) and packaging materials (such as metalized film or foil).
Finding contaminants and inspecting your products is critical to ensuring food safety. The latest technologies in X-ray detection for food applications can play an important role and protect both your brand and consumer health and safety.
For additional information, read the 10 Key Facts Food Processors Should Consider white paper.