The nature of fresh and perishable products means that there can be great variability in raw materials and ingredients, to be sorted out in the manufacturing plant. In the farm-to-fork food supply chain, x-ray machines and supporting advanced software help detect contaminants to keep products safe and provide valuable information to enhance the traceability needed in today’s business environment.
There are several links in the farm-to-fork food supply chain. If the strength of the chain is dependent on each link, then each of the links need to be as tough and full-circle as possible. These days, those links need to be more visible too. With greater interest in a growing legislative mandate for traceability, x-ray technology cannot only allow you to find and reject contaminants and discover product inconsistencies, but support your effort to provide traceability to customers, whether for an audit, product recall or a question from an importer.
Perishable products that begin on the farm pose unique challenges, particularly for food safety. To prevent contaminants from moving forward in the farm-to-fork chain, manufacturers can scan incoming raw material and ingredients from the farm or feedlot using advanced x-ray technologies that can detect things like metal, stainless steel and aluminum, bone fragments, glass and stone. If you have several raw ingredient vendors, x-ray tools can help you classify and validate product quality and safety by vendor.
Throughout the manufacturing process, x-ray machines, like Eagle’s RMI 400 for poultry, Bulk 415 PRO for dry bulk applications and Pack 430 PRO, among others for packaged products, find and automatically reject foreign objects and allow you to capture important images and product information as part of an overall move toward greater food safety and traceability. For items with variations in density, like mixed salad leaves, potatoes and bulk meat, Eagle’s dual energy Material Discrimination X-ray (MDX) technology is especially valuable.
Eagle’s proprietary software, including the SimulTask™ PRO for image analysis and quality assurance traceability, and TraceServer™ for enhanced data collection, provides easily-accessible, easily-retrievable information for tracking purposes. If needed, you can go back in time by accessing images and data during a particular time span or for a particular product run. You can determine when the run started and stopped, and thereby find out, if needed, your exposure for a possible recall.
Traceability is important for safety and quality. It is also useful in product consistency and improving operational efficiency. The links in the farm-to-fork food chain are strengthened in both food safety and product quality leading ultimately to customer satisfaction.
Click here to learn about how one produce company discovered the multi-tasking benefits of x-ray technologies, for safety and traceability.
Click here to learn more about Eagle’s TraceServer software to enhance traceability and overall quality assurance.
About the author:
George Humphries is Senior Technical Specialist for Eagle Product Inspection.