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 production efficiency with hyperspectral imaging

  • Analyze large volumes of products in real-time
  • Obtain the chemical information across the entire product stream
  • Detect the different quality parameters simultaneously with a single scan

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: Hyperspectral Imaging for reliable meat quality evaluation

Meat with RGBMeat with hyperspectral imaging
Hyperspectral imaging

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

RGB image of nuts.Hyperspectral image of nuts.
Hyperspectral imaging

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: Assessing the ripeness and aging of fruits and vegetables with hyperspectral imaging

Read more: Know your fruits, berries, and vegetables – make the right sorting decisions

Frozen berries on a sorting machine.

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

Measured heat sealed package.

Seed and grain

  • Predict protein content
  • Detect the presence of contaminants, such as pathogens and foreign objects
  • Characterize the consistency and produce quality
Seeds on a conveyor belt.

Food science

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. 

Related products:


Specim IQ

Specim FX10

Specim FX17

Specim GX17