X-rays are more and more becoming the vanguard for food manufacturers, protecting them from contaminants like steel shards, irregularities in the product, and other defects. That is, at least in part, because of the greater sensitivities of x-ray food inspection, when compared to food metal detectors: food x-ray machines can detect metal shards 1 to 2 mm smaller than metal detectors.
In order to help manufacturers have the maximum safety and integrity in their products, here is a four-point checklist for proper operations.
Step 1: Understand the Regulations for X-Ray Inspection
Because there is, at least potentially, a risk of x-ray contamination, there are a number of rules, regulations, and standards which must be followed when using x-ray equipment. Regulations like the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) programs and the Global Food Safety Initiative can greatly impact the equipment you can purchase, the intensity it can be used at, and the safety measures you must take.
Step 2: Keep Focus on the Product
While things like foil or metalized film packaging will not have an effect on the effectiveness of your inspection equipment, you should understand the way your machine interacts with each product and packaging you use it on. Understanding how density interacts with the inspection, as well as how certain packaging options–glass in particular–can make a huge difference in the safety of your product.
Step 3: Make Risk Awareness a Priority
In compliance with good manufacturing practices such as HACCP, you need to keep encouraging an awareness of the risks you face. Perform thorough manufacturing audits in order to identify and correct them if possible, mitigate the risk factors if not.
Step 4: Only Use the Most Modern Equipment
Like most technologies, the food x-ray machine is constantly being improved upon. It is your responsibility to keep up with and implement these changes when possible. Some unique newer features include measuring mass both gross and zoned; counting components; checking fill levels and more.
As x-ray inspection becomes a more and more common tool for food manufacturers, it is important to always be evaluating and evolving the x-ray process used. By keeping up with the four steps listed above, you can assure that you are on the leading edge of safety and responsibility.