Keeping food safe with product inspection technologies

Ian Robertshaw, global key account manager, Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection, talks about the importance of product inspection technologies with increasing demand for safe and high-quality products

Food safety is a top priority in the food industry, and with increasing consumer demands for safe and high-quality products, manufacturers must implement robust measures to help ensure the integrity of their food offerings. This article explores the vital role of product inspection technologies in keeping food safe. By automating the detection and rejection of foreign body contaminants, ensuring precise weight and protecting businesses through real-time monitoring of all inspection activities, these cutting-edge technologies are helping to revolutionise food safety practices.

Detecting metal

The presence of foreign bodies in food can lead to serious health risks and costly product recalls. To combat this issue, manufacturers can employ advanced metal detection systems. These systems utilise electromagnetic fields to detect and reject metallic contaminants in various food products, in a pipeline, under free-fall conditions, or on a conveyor. From dry goods like chocolates to wet foods like dairy products, metal detection systems can be seamlessly integrated into the production process, acting as a critical control point for foreign body detection.

Rejecting foreign bodies

Metal detection systems excel at detecting metallic contaminants, but what about other foreign bodies for example calcified bone, dense plastics and glass? This is where x-ray inspection technology comes into play. X-ray systems offer a versatile solution for detecting a wide range of foreign body contaminants, including glass, stones, plastic and even bone fragments. With the ability to identify foreign bodies at critical control points in the production line, x-ray inspection provides a high level of food safety. Importantly, x-ray technology is safe for food products and does not emit harmful radiation.

Additional quality checks

X-ray inspection technology not only detects a wide range of contaminants but it carries out comprehensive quality checks that contribute to overall food safety. By utilising x-ray inspection, manufacturers can verify product integrity, ensure proper filling, detect missing or broken products and confirm the presence of inserts or seals. These additional checks provide an extra layer of assurance to deliver safe and high-quality food products to consumers.

Precise weight

Precision weighing is of utmost importance when it comes to food safety, especially for vulnerable consumers like babies who rely on specific portions of milk, food or powder. Integrated into the production line, checkweighers play a vital role in verifying the weight of individual products. By precisely measuring and rejecting under- and over-weight items, checkweighers can help to mitigate the potential risks associated with incorrect portion sizes. The inclusion of innovative load cell technologies such as FlashCell enhances checkweigher performance by offering rapid and accurate weighing capabilities, even in high-speed production environments.

Additionally, design advancements specifically for harsh washdown environments help product inspection systems to withstand rigorous cleaning procedures, eliminating any potential sources of contamination. This combination of advanced features completes contaminant detection and precise weight control checks, even in challenging production settings, bolstering food safety efforts.

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