Recalls of poultry products still abound today around the world. Most of them are due to the presence of Salmonella or other pathogens, but many, including three recalls in Europe and another three in the United States so far this year, are due to the presence of foreign materials such as plastic and metal. Recalls obviously cost money and waste resources, and also negatively affect the reputation of companies and even entire sectors of food production. However, a cutting-edge scanning technology being used in many industries is helping to reduce recalls related to foreign materials. It’s known as hyperspectral imaging. Sensors detect bands across the visual and non-visual electromagnetic spectrum and the unique electromagnetic “fingerprint” of any material (meat, bone, plastic, metal) can be determined, making it easy to detect any foreign objects.
The process involves large amounts of information being gathered and processed instantaneously, making it well suited to automated situations where the data can be acted on in real time. Food production lines constitute one such area in which the technology can be effectively applied, but there are many, many more.
In agriculture, hyperspectral imaging is being used to detect stones, shells and other foreign material in nut packaging lines and also to identify defective potatoes. The tech is also being explored to determine crop plant health, and to tell whether there are animal proteins and contaminants in livestock feed. In human medicine, early diagnosis of retinopathy and other eye diseases is being explored. Additionally, with hyperspectral imaging, geological samples can be quickly mapped for various minerals. The tech is also being used to monitor emissions produced by power plants, waste incinerators and other types of factories, to detect temperature differences in many types of situations, to analyse currency and for remote sensing, including military surveillance.