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Headwall Expands Food Processing Capabilities With Exclusive License For USDA Poultry Inspection Patents

New USDA Initiatives To Safely Expand Poultry Processing Rates Require New Sensor Technology for Food Safety Inspection

Fitchburg, MA – May 1, 2014Headwall Photonics, a leading supplier of high performance spectral imaging solutions, has completed the exclusive licensing agreement with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for patents related to the in-line inspection of poultry. The patent licensing agreement builds on Headwall ‘s USDA Commercial Research & Development Agreement (CRADA) that collaboratively focused research activities on the development and introduction of in-line inspection sensors utilizing spectral imaging technology for food inspection.

When coupled with Headwall ‘s patented aberration-corrected hyperspectral sensors, the USDA patents enable disease detection at high-speed line rates to comply with food safety regulations. The combination of Headwall ‘s sensors and USDA patented, disease detection algorithms not only support but enable the USDA‚” proposed rule to increase poultry production line rates for more rapid inspection systems at poultry slaughter plants. The proposed USDA rule will increase line speeds from 35 birds per minute to 175 birds per minute utilizing a single USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) inspector on the slaughter line.

“Food safety and food quality is a very strategic market sector for the commercial deployment of Headwall ‘s hyperspectral imaging technology,” said Headwall CEO David Bannon. “Through close collaboration with USDA researchers, we have developed customized imaging sensors to meet the high-speed, high-performance demands of harsh, critical food processing environments. Bannon also noted that poultry processors in the U.S. alone produce more than nine billion broiler chickens per year. “This is a very large market with unique technology needs.”

In commenting on the patent licensing agreement, Dr. Moon Kim, a leading researcher with the USDA ‘s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) indicated that “These licensed patents represent many years of food safety and food quality research and have been tested with over 100,000 poultry carcasses. And, we have many years of successful experience working closely with Headwall sensor technology and their engineering team. We will continue to collaborate with Headwall in commercializing this next generation of food inspection technology.‚”


Providing industry-leading spectral and spatial resolution, Headwall ‘s patented Hyperspec® platform offers imaging sensors optimized for the UV-VIS, VNIR, NIR, and SWIR spectral regions.

About Headwall Photonics

Headwall Photonics is the leading designer and manufacturer of imaging sensors and spectral instrumentation for industrial, commercial, and government markets. Headwall ‘s high performance spectrometers, spectral engines, and high performance diffractive optics have been selected by OEM and end-user customers around the world for use in critical application environments.  As a pioneer in the development of hyperspectral sensors and imaging spectrometers, Headwall enjoys a market leadership position through the design and manufacture of patented spectral instrumentation that is customized for application-specific performance.

For information contact:

Mr. Chris Van Veen
Headwall Photonics, Inc.

About USDA Agricultural Research Service

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency. Our job is finding solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day, from field to table.

ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access and dissemination to:

  • Ensure high-quality, safe food, and other agricultural products
  • Assess the nutritional needs of Americans
  • Sustain a competitive agricultural economy
  • Enhance the natural resource base and the environment, and
  • Provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole.