Frequently Asked Questions




about Food X-ray Inspection

What foreign contaminants can X-ray systems detect?

X-ray systems can detect various physical contaminants in food, e.g. metals, glass, stones, or dense plastics. The inspection is based on the characteristics and density of the food product and foreign objects as the X-ray system images the product and detects materials that absorb more X-rays than the good-quality food product.

A good-quality food product is used to create a recipe for each product type. The system takes an image of each product and then compares it to the product recipe to detect any anomalies within them. The recipe allows natural variation between the production batches but detects and automatically rejects every product that contains hazardous foreign objects or unwanted quality defects.

The exact detection capabilities are defined in the X-ray Application & Performance test.

Can X-ray detect metal objects inside metalized packaging?

The packaging is a part of the good-quality product recipe that is taught to the X-ray system and will not affect the detection of foreign contaminants after teaching the recipe.

For example, metallic film or an aluminum tray is accepted by the system but anything additional will be picked up as a foreign object.

This gives the food producers the freedom to also change their packaging type or material without the need to completely update their Critical Control Points.

Are X-ray systems dangerous to operators and other production staff?

Food X-ray inspection is not dangerous to the operators or other production staff. The radiation levels are highly regulated, and the operator will not receive any additional radiation exposure.

The food X-ray systems are usually classified as cabinet X-ray systems, meaning that the cabinet/enclosure protects the users from the X-rays generated. Also, keeping the X-ray system well maintained and serviced ensures the safety and flawless operational functionality.

Safety is our top priority, and there are a lot of regulations related to the radiation levels of food X-ray inspection. We make sure to comply with all of them. We also offer radiation safety training as a part of the X-ray implementation to ensure that the production staff is well educated on the use of our systems.

Does X-ray affect or cause changes in food products?

The X-rays do not affect or change the food products in any way. The X-ray power levels used in our inspection systems are extremely low and will not affect the food products.

Also, the product spends very little time in the actual X-ray beam. During that time, the radiation dose remains so low that it doesn’t affect the product’s flavor, texture, or nutritional values in any way.

Why do X-ray systems cost more than metal detectors?

The main reason for the price difference can be found from the system components. X-ray technology is more advanced and requires the use of high-value components, i.e. the X-ray generator and detector. However, the price difference between X-ray and metal detection technologies has come closer to each other, while the difference in value that the technologies can offer is greater than ever before.

Nowadays, the X-ray versus metal detection comparison doesn’t revolve around the initial investment cost, and even the total cost of ownership is also becoming more insignificant. The real interest and comparison involve the total value of the technologies, and that is also where X-ray technology becomes the most attractive inspection solution surpassing all the other options.

Why consider X-ray inspection instead of metal detection?

There are some self-evident reasons why food producers should choose X-ray inspection over metal detection, e.g. the possibility to detect other foreign materials in addition to metallic ones. X-ray technology also gives versatility by not being sensitive to packaging materials, humidity, or product’s salt content.

Having an X-ray to inspect the primary packaged products brings out the major benefits, such as overall quality assurance (ensuring product integrity and content) and pack-for-pack traceability. The X-ray system takes an image of each food product and that works as an insurance for the food producer in case there would be a foreign object claim or quality complaint since they can always go back and see what was produced and shipped out in a particular production batch. The benefits mentioned above are extremely valuable to any food producer, and that alone is a great reason to implement X-ray technology.

Why Choose X-ray?

With MEKI X-ray systems, the German fish producer, Hawesta GmbH can put their popular products on the market and provide their customers with food that’s delicious and safe to eat.
"It’s really effortless to implement into our operations. By using Mekitec systems, we are able to bring our food safety to a whole new level", concludes Robert Fischer who works as the Head of Quality Management at Hawesta.

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