Food technology is a big part of food safety and quality, particularly as new advancements in the field bring about better standards and practices. Hyperspectral imaging is an emerging technology with the ability to impact different aspects of the food industry, resulting in data-driven quality assurance and quality control measures as well as improved farm management practices.
Your training in food technology, safety, and quality will provide you with unique insight into the fundamental principles of quality assurance. Here’s a look at the benefits of hyperspectral imaging, which you might encounter during your career.
Hyperspectral Imaging Explained for Students in Food Safety and Quality
Ensuring good food quality and safety depends on various factors, making technology a key part of the process. As an example, spectral imaging techniques have been developed as detection tools used in the food industry to monitor and control the quality and safety of food items. Hyperspectral imaging is an on-line tool that uses the electromagnetic spectrum to identify objects and detect processes within the pixels of an image. This technology is used to monitor food processes, with notable features like:
- Producing spatial and spectral information
- Providing data on the breakdown of the sample’s components
- Picking up on sensitive objects found in the sample
- Creating chemical maps/prediction maps that track the distribution of quality parameters
The Benefits of Using Hyperspectral Imaging for Food Quality Assurance
Unlike some other techniques, hyperspectral imaging offers quick, accurate, and non-destructive detection. For instance, this study shows how maps generated by hyperspectral imaging can be used to predict the internal quality of kiwifruits, analyzing their firmness, soluble solids content, and pH levels. Researchers have been studying this technique with multiple food items, discovering that hyperspectral imaging can:
- Monitor fungal growth by analyzing chemical composition
- Detect bacteria/contamination in food items by developing spectral profiles
- Generate colour scales that indicate microbial loads in different parts of the sample
- Measure biochemical changes to monitor the development of spoiled beef
In this way, hyperspectral imaging produces valuable data that can benefit multiple players in the supply chain, making it easier to conduct food quality control oversight.
What Implementing Hyperspectral Imaging Means for the Food Industry
Having some understanding of how hyperspectral imaging influences the food industry can help students who are working towards earning their food technology diploma. This imaging technique generates a lot of data, which can be used to help draft actionable strategies that effectively work to enhance food safety and quality. For example, the information provided can help those working in the food industry to anticipate a product’s shelf life, better categorize foods based on their freshness, as well as separate items based on their chemical attributes. By using this data efficiently, the food industry can drastically reduce waste and improve food processes.
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