Minimizing Food Contamination: How X-Rays Are Improving Food Safety

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inspecting apple through an x ray

Product inspection is a vital part of almost any industry, but when it comes to the things we put into our bodies, like food and medicine, thorough inspection becomes even more crucial.

Food contamination can lead to serious consequences for a company. In case a customer is harmed by such contamination, the food production company is liable. But for mass producers, one may wonder how are all of the products inspected in a timely and effective manner?

X-ray food inspection methods are implemented by food production companies nationwide and are used in conjunction with metal detectors for magnetic and non-magnetic metals that may have fractured and contaminated a food product.

How Food X-Ray Machines Work

Since these contaminant and food metal detectors can’t be invasive, they have to implement unique technology that allows the inspector to see inside the product without opening it. While that may seem impossible, you may be surprised.

These machines use a technique called radiographing, which allows the contents of a container to be determined based on density and consistency. For example, if there was a shard of metal or glass inside a can of green beans, the x-ray food inspection machine would be able to identify the shard based on the fact that metal and green beans have very different makeups.

The x-ray is converted into an electrical signal, which is then converted into an image. Darker images signify that a part is more dense, while lighter images indicate the opposite. If there is a foreign object sealed in the container, it will appear in the image clearly, and the food product will not be sent out for further packaging.

These metal detectors, when used with a proper wet or conductive product, can detect 1.5 mm of stainless steel, so even the smallest amount of metal can be traced.

What Kind of Contaminants Can Be Detected?

In addition to metal, there are a number of other materials that can be detected inside food packaging containers. Glass, stone, bone, and a number of other high-density materials that do not belong in packaged food can be detected using this x-ray technology. Think of it similarly to the security scanners used by the TSA. Almost any anomaly can be traced if its density differs from the intended product.

If you operate a food packaging plant, you obviously want your products contaminant-free. Consider contacting TDI Packsys for a quote on our x-ray food inspection equipment.

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