Thursday, March 3, 2016

A better quality control tool for veggies

Kevin Turnbull, vice-president of sales for P&P Optics outlined how spectroscopy is being used to reveal and chemical profile of foods.

The company has filed an application to use the technology to cull fresh spinach at the rate of 3,300 pounds per hour.

Optical scanners now in use can cull on the basis of shape, colour and size, but about two-thirds of what’s culled is perfectly safe and nutritious.

Spectroscopy can be used to also cull on the basis of moisture, degradants, impurities, chemical reactions and leaf health.

It can sort spinach into various grades and the technology can be applied to improve food safety.

Now the company is working on meat, such as spiral hams for which it can identify bone, fat and lean and therefore could be applied to grade primal cuts.

All of this can be done as food moves down the processing line. The chemical analysis will also spot any product formulations that fail to meet specifications and any contaminants.

The team is now working on identifying harvesting readiness and crop health.