Sophisticated, high-end spectroscopy systems are no longer relegated to the lab environment. Thanks to high-performance computing systems, improved cameras and highly developed algorithms, this once lab-only technology has made it on production lines scanning food products for chemical constituents, such as fats and proteins in meats and moisture and chlorophyll levels in produce. It can also check for surface-level foreign bodies, such as metals, plastic and rubber—things some inspection systems miss.
Relatively new to our industry, P&P Optica (Waterloo, Ontario) began life as a consulting and research firm to several industries. For the last five years, it has delved into creating a high-end, hyperspectral imaging system that can operate in real time on lines for products such as meat and produce. Through an IBM-sponsored project, P&P Optica has successfully tested a system at Maple Leaf Foods in Brandon, Manitoba.