Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Optics firm aims to improve food safety

P&P Optics of Waterloo garnered a $3.1-million investment from Fulcrum Global Capital of Kansas City this week to further its development of food-scanning technology.

It has spectrometers that can scan food at processing-line speeds for foreign materials, such as plastics.

It’s the fastest scanning equipment on the market, the company says.

It could also scan fat content in meat.

The company has used its spectrometers technology in the biotechnology and medical research and to measure oil content in the Alberta oilsands.

In recent weeks, there have been a number of huge food-industry recalls because of metal and plastic shards in the processed products.

As an example of what might soon be practical, the company said it has been able to scan the chemical composition of spinach as it was passing along on a conveyor belt.

“That was one of our first forays into the food business,” said chief executive officer Olga Pawluczyk.

She said P&P Optics is working with companies in both Canada and the United States, including some in the meat industry.

P&P Optics began its food-industry project with the University of Guelph, Conestoga College and Ipolito Produce.