Foodborne illnesses and other contaminants are a big problem in the United States. It has been estimated that about 48 million people become ill every year from foodborne diseases. That is one out of every six people in the nation. Another 128,000 people will be sent to the hospital for food poisoning and three thousand will die. If you are a food manufacturer, you need to find the best tools and equipment to make sure your products are safe and free of both bacteria and other contaminants. Food Engineering magazine looked at how companies should pick the right x-ray equipment for their food inspection needs.andnbsp;
They report that using either metal detection or x-ray machines for food inspection can be effective for preventing foreign items and pathogens from getting into food products. For companies just starting out, the task of picking the right x-ray food inspection equipment can seem like a daunting task.
In order to keep your food and beverages safe, work has to begin before you have even begun to make your products. This is because the potential for contamination exists at all stages of the process. Bob Ries, who heads up the x-ray inspection and metal detection department for Thermo Fisher Scientific says that food manufacturers have to start at the very beginning of the process if they want to really protect their customers.
When you are looking at both x-ray technology and other metal detection, it is important to really know how they are different. Before you begin to think about what kind of technology is going to be best for your business, it is important to have a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) audit done to ascertain what kinds of contaminants your product line may be subject to. Different kinds of food and beverage producers will have different threats. Some include plastic, rubber, bone, stone, metal, and glass. All of these things have the potential of getting into food and beverage products.
Knowing what threats your products face can help you select the right food inspection systems but that is only the start. The kind of packaging you use can also have an influence over what kind of equipment that will work best. Metal detection equipment can prove problematic if the packaging has metal in it. At the same time, some food and beverages are better served by being tested with a metal detection system. Dry goods, bulk powders, loose products, and pumped products can be tested well with metal detection equipment.
There are products for which x-ray technology is probably a better bet. This kind of technology can be used to find a wide variety of contaminants in food and beverages. This kind of technology is tailor made to find foreign objects buried in food products. These systems can be great for finding glass, calcified bone, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, rubber, plastics, and steel.
Experts say that advancements are being made in x-ray technology all of the time to make these systems better for finding foreign objects in food. They say that this kind of technology can be used for a number of different kinds of products ranging from small chocolates to large containers of other food products. There are almost no food products that cannot be examined with this kind of technology. Because these advancements are being made all of the time, the number of problems they can find is always increasing to make the technology more and more useful to food manufacturers.
The newest line of x-ray machines are able to use a better and more fine-tuned ratio of the signal to the noise which allows more accuracy in the inspection process. Moreover, these new lines of machines have the capability of seeing inside the food and providing more detailed images than ever before.
There are a lot of reasons food and beverage producers need to spend a decent amount of time making sure they get the right food inspection machines for the products and the packaging that is used. Not only can contaminants in food cause huge PR problems but can be dangerous for all of your customers.