X-ray inspection systems can detect a wide variety of foreign contaminants, looking straight through food packaging to make sure the contents within are safe to consume. In fact, X-ray food inspection can detect stainless steel fragments as small as 1.5 mm or less in some cases.
But as powerful as these food X-ray machines are, they aren't perfect. Different types of food packaging require different inspection solutions, which is what we're here to talk about. Keep reading to find out how packaging materials can affect food inspection.
Cartons, Plastic Containers, and Tubes (Oh my!)
These materials are all considered low-density packaging, and they're used for a wide variety of food. Some of the most common foods packaged in these materials include snacks, yogurts, and cereals. These materials have a distinct advantage in that they don't present any challenge to food inspection equipment. The shape and diameter of these packages is usually the only challenge when it comes to food inspection. Other than that, these composite, low-density materials are excellent in terms of ease of inspection.
Metal cans typically encase items like beverages, fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables, infant milk powders, and meat. They're what's known as medium-density containers, and they present a little bit more of a challenge for food inspection. Factors like ribbing, rung pulls, and even size can affect contaminant detection sensitivity. Fortunately, food inspection techniques are so advanced that it's extremely rare for any contaminant to pass through undetected.
Glass Jars and Bottles
Glass containers, despite their popularity, pose a unique risk to food because of what's known as glass-in-glass contamination. Just because glass is transparent doesn't necessarily mean it's easy to spot glass fragments inside a container. Thanks to advanced food inspection technology, it's possible to attain optimal glass-in-glass detection. And still other technologies can even remove glass from this packaging without disrupting production lines.
Food inspection is an incredibly important process, and it's important to know how different kinds of packaging can affect it. Next time you're opening a jar of pickles, don't forget what goes into making it safe to eat.