Insights from industry

Expertise in the Food Inspection & Safety Industry with Thermo Fisher Scientific

insights from industryKimberly DurkotField Marketing ManagerThermo Fisher Scientific

In this interview, AZoM speaks with Thermo Fisher Scientific about its food inspection and food safety solutions in this heavily crucial industry.

Could you provide an overview of Thermo Fisher Scientific’s experience and expertise in the food safety inspection industry?

Thermo Fisher Scientific is a leading global provider of scientific products and services, including a comprehensive selection for the food product inspection industry. With decades of experience, Thermo Fisher has established itself as a trusted partner in ensuring the safety, quality, and compliance of food products.

We offer a wide range of advanced technologies specifically designed for food product inspection. These include state-of-the-art metal detection systems, X-ray inspection systems, and checkweighers. These technologies are carefully engineered to detect and remove foreign objects, such as metal contaminants, glass fragments, and other impurities, thereby minimizing the risk of product recalls and ensuring consumer safety.

How do Thermo Fisher’s inspection systems identify contaminants like metal or glass within food and beverages?

Thermo Fisher's inspection systems utilize advanced technologies such as X-ray scanning and metal detection to identify contaminants in food and beverages, including metals or glass. X-ray inspection systems shine high-energy radiation through substances to create images of the products, allowing for the detection of foreign objects based on their density and composition. These systems can detect contaminants regardless of their shape, size, or location within the product.

Metal detection systems, on the other hand, use electromagnetic fields to identify the presence of metallic contaminants. They employ highly sensitive detectors that can pick up on even small traces of metal particles in food and beverages. These systems are designed to identify different types of metals, including ferrous, non-ferrous, and stainless-steel contaminants.

These inspection systems come equipped with advanced algorithms and software that analyze the collected data and provide real-time feedback to operators. This enables quick and accurate identification of contaminants, ensuring the safety and quality of food and beverages.

How easily can Thermo Fisher’s product inspection solutions be integrated into existing food processing and packaging lines?

In a word: very easily. Thermo Fisher's product inspection solutions are designed to be integrated into existing food processing and packaging lines. They are equipped with flexible configurations and interfaces, allowing for seamless integration within various production line setups. Thermo Fisher provides a number of options, including metal detectors, X-ray inspection systems, and checkweighers, which can be integrated at different stages of the production process. Additionally, we offer comprehensive service and support expertise to assist with the integration process, ensuring minimal disruption to existing operations.

How does X-Ray inspection help manufacturers of packaged food? What are the challenges when using these methods? 

X-ray inspection allows manufacturers to ensure the safety and quality of their products by detecting foreign objects such as metal, glass, or plastic contaminants within foods. This early detection gives manufacturers the chance to remove the foreign material, thus preventing potential hazards and protecting consumers from harm.

Additionally, X-ray inspection can assist in verifying the integrity of the packaging itself. It can detect any defects or irregularities in the packaging materials, such as leaks or improperly sealed packages, which might compromise the product's freshness and quality.

X-ray inspection technology gives manufacturers the ability to perform various quality control checks, such as measuring product fill levels; detecting missing or misshapen products; and identifying inconsistencies in product weight. These capabilities help manufacturers maintain product consistency and adhere to regulatory standards.

It should be noted that there are a few challenges associated with using X-ray inspection methods. One challenge is the potential for false positives or false negatives in the inspection results. X-ray inspection systems must be properly calibrated and set up to achieve accurate and consistent detection. Regular maintenance and calibration are necessary to ensure the reliability of the inspection equipment.

Another challenge lies in the expense: X-ray inspection systems can be relatively costly to install and maintain, which may pose a challenge for smaller manufacturers with limited budgets. However, the benefits of ensuring product safety, quality, and regulatory compliance often outweigh the initial investment costs.

Overall, despite any challenges, X-ray inspection remains a valuable tool for manufacturers of packaged food, enabling them to enhance product safety and quality control processes.

What are checkweighers, and why are they important to the food safety inspection process?

Checkweighers are systems used to check the weight of packaged products. They are typically found at the end of a production line, though they may be installed at points along the process as well. In the food industry, they are used to measure the weight of products to ensure that products meet predetermined specifications and comply with legal requirements.

Checkweighers play a crucial role in the food safety inspection process for several reasons. They help maintain product quality and consistency by ensuring that each item meets the desired weight. This is important for both consumer satisfaction and brand reputation.
Checkweighers help food producers comply with legal requirements and industry standards. Many countries have regulations in place that specify the minimum and maximum weights for certain food products. Checkweighers provide a reliable means to verify compliance and prevent potential penalties or recalls.

Can you briefly describe “multiscan technology” and the main features and benefits of the Thermo Scientific Sentinel Multiscan metal detector? 

The Thermo Scientific™ Sentinel™ Multiscan Metal Detector utilizes an innovative new technology to overcome the limitation of fixed single or dual frequency metal detectors that can miss metal contaminants hidden by a product’s own signal. Multiscan technology scans a combination of up to five user-selectable frequencies from 50 to 1000 kHz.  It is like having five metal detectors in one!
The Sentinel is designed to overcome the challenges posed by complex products, such as those with high conductivity or varying moisture levels. Several features contribute to the instrument’s effectiveness:

•    Autolearn: The system rapidly establishes optimal settings to improve operational efficiency.
•    Color touchscreen:  A high intensity, washdown, color touchscreen combined with easy-to-use software reduces training and eases operation.
•    Noise scan:  Frequencies susceptible to electromagnetic interference from the plant environment can be avoided, which helps to optimize performance and increase product safety.
•    XR signal processing software:  The software algorithms are designed to enhance metal detector performance for challenging applications with high product effect.


When prospective customers are deliberating on which food safety product inspection system would be the best to implement, how can Thermo Fisher Scientific support its clients during the decision-making process? 

Your Thermo Fisher Scientific representative will work closely with you to determine which product inspection technique is right for your specific application. It is helpful to understand the following questions about your process:
•    What type of food products are being inspected?
•    What is the nature of any anticipated contaminants?
•    What packaging materials, if any, are being used?

Product testing is a complimentary service that we provide to help determine the optimal inspection solution and provide an accurate performance estimation.

In many cases, metal detection and X-ray inspection actually offer complementary strengths, meaning it can often be beneficial to employ both techniques – for instance, combining a metal detector to scan raw materials with an X-ray inspection system to guarantee final product integrity. A Thermo Fisher expert can evaluate your situation and counsel you on which technique—or combination of techniques—fits your application best.

Why should customers choose Thermo Fisher products for food safety product inspection? 

For more than 65 years, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s product inspection systems have been helping companies protect the safety and quality of their packaged and unpackaged products, with analytical solutions expertly tailored to customers’ needs. From the consistent accuracy of our checkweighers, to the sensitivity 
of our metal detectors, to the detection performance of our X-ray systems, our solutions have been proven effective time and time again.

How will Thermo Fisher’s contributions and innovations shape the future of food safety product inspection?

Thermo Scientific food product inspection systems cover all steps in the food manufacturing process, before and after final packaging. From the sensitivity of our metal detectors to the detection performance of our X-ray systems, and the consistent accuracy of our checkweighers, we are committed to helping food manufacturers, processors and packagers eliminate errors and ensure the highest quality and safety standards of their products. We apply technological advances that reliably increase operational performance and improve product quality. Our portfolio of products and services deliver accuracy, reliability, and performance that help improve your bottom line and protect the reputation of your brand. We are committed to continuous innovation and development of cutting-edge technologies to meet the evolving needs of manufacturers in detecting foreign contaminants in food products.

About Kimberly Durkot

Kim Joined Thermo Fisher Scientific in November 2021 as Field Marketing Manager for the Product Inspection business. In her role, Kim collaborates across multiple functions to enable our customers to accelerate production, improve consumer safety and protect their brands. 

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Thermo Fisher Scientific – Production Process & Analytics.

For more information on this source, please visit Thermo Fisher Scientific – Production Process & Analytics

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

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