HYPERSPECTRAL IMAGING IN FOOD QUALITY AND SAFETY
Hyperspectral imaging can detect defects and abnormalities in food products that are not visible to the human eye. It is a well-established method in food industry.
Improve food quality and reduce waste
Hyperspectral imaging has numerous applications in the food industry, from sorting and detecting contaminants to monitoring quality and ripeness. VNIR, NIR, and SWIR wavelengths are commonly used for these purposes.
Hyperspectral imaging is a non-destructive technique that is hygienic and does not damage the food product. It helps reduce waste and ensure that only the best quality food products are released into the market.
Read more: Food quality and composition analysis with hyperspectral imaging
Unlike traditional color cameras, metal detection, or x-ray, hyperspectral cameras can reliably identify materials based on their biological and chemical content. They are used to analyze food products’ nutritional content and detect fraudulent activities such as adding cheaper ingredients or misrepresenting food origin.
Improve production efficiency
With hyperspectral imaging, it is possible to quickly analyze large volumes of food products in real time.
The hyperspectral camera obtains the chemical information across the entire product stream and simultaneously detects the different quality parameters with a single scan, increasing the production process’s efficiency.
Read more: Case Inspectra – bringing fresh ideas to food quality inspection
Read more: Spectral imaging provides tools for moisture content monitoring during the industrial production process
Ensure food safety and avoid recalls
Combined with metal detection and x-ray, the most widely used technologies in food inspection, hyperspectral imaging can provide maximum safety for the produced food.
Please read our article about Hyperspectral imaging and X-rays for the food industry to learn how X-ray and hyperspectral imaging technologies complement each other in detecting different materials.
Meat, fish, and poultry
- Detect foreign objects like bone, cartilage, plastics, wood, rubber, metal, or parasites.
- Measure the product’s chemical composition, such as fat, protein, water content, and tenderness
Read more: Fat content in minced meat
Read more: What’s really in your meat?
Dried food, nuts, and cereals
- Detect discoloration or mold
- Identify and remove foreign objects like shell pieces, wood, stones, and insects
- Identify and sort different nut types such as almonds, cashew, walnuts, pistachio, peanuts
Read more: Highest nut quality with optical inspection
Fruits, berries, and vegetables
Hyperspectral imaging is used for monitoring the ripeness and freshness of fruits and vegetables independent of their color and size. It helps determine the optimal time for harvesting, reducing waste, and improving the products’ shelf life.
- Detect blemishes and bruising under the skin
- Measure ripeness and chemical quality
- Identify foreign objects such as wood, paper, metal, or insects
- Improve quality and ripeness of the fresh products
- Optimize shelf life, reduce waste, and improve profits
Read more: Know your fruits, berries, and vegetables – make the right sorting decisions
Food packaging – heat seal inspection
Airtight packaging is essential for many products, as it prevents oxygen and moisture from entering the package and damaging the contents. Hyperspectral imaging can monitor the quality of heat seal packaging inspection to make sure it remains airtight:
- Detect contamination between the seal and the transparent or color-printed package
- Avoid contaminants, such as molds, fungus, or bacteria, entering the package
Read more: Inspecting heat sealed packages with hyperspectral imaging
Seed and grain
- Predict protein content
- Detect the presence of contaminants, such as pathogens and foreign objects
- Characterize the consistency and produce quality
Hyperspectral imaging is a well-established method for measuring, inspecting, sorting, and grading food products in different stages of the supply chain as it gives reliable information in a rapid, non-destructive and hygienic way, requiring no sample preparation.
Hyperspectral imaging is typically used to study food chemical composition, adulteration, ripeness, freshness, or bruising on various fruits and vegetables, seed classification, detection of foreign objects, or different varieties or blend identification. In comparison to many other technologies, hyperspectral imaging can detect all these quality parameters simultaneously. VNIR, NIR, and SWIR wavelength regions are commonly used for this purpose.
Case study: ImpactVision – Fighting food waste with hyperspectral imaging
Case study: Food analysis with Specim IQ
Moisture distribution in a fresh slice of bread. Image courtesy of Campden Bri.