While you wouldn’t necessarily send a hot plate of syrupy pancakes through an x-ray scanner, plenty of food products pass through our scanners every day. The food industry is acquiring x-ray machines to screen for threats in your food and scientists are even using x-ray technology to study the structure of foods we eat. Scanning of food products is necessary for health, safety, and research which we explore in more detail below.
Detecting Foreign Materials: X-ray machines can find dense, dangerous materials in foods such as metal, plastic, glass, stones, and calcified bone. Last September, Tyson Foods recalled over 132,000 lbs. of fully cooked chicken nugget products after consumers complained about finding pieces of hard plastic in their foods. Sending food products through an x-ray scanner is simple and safe – it protects consumers and saves food manufacturers from potential headaches (and lawsuits) down the road.
Match with Shipping Manifests: Vegetables, fruits, flowers, and other types of produce are shipped in containers, crates, and pallets every day around the world. Scanners are used to detect suspicious materials, usually hidden, that do not match up with the contents stated in cargo shipping documents. A few years ago, border officers in Canada seized over 280 lbs. of cocaine from a shipment that was documented as 55,000 lbs. of food. Thanks to x-ray technology, the deadly drugs were seized, confiscated and did not end up in the hands of criminal organizations.
Food Science and Research: Scientists at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, are using x-rays to study the molecular structure of edible fats. While fats are important for our bodies, too many fats can lead to obesity and significant health problems. By using x-ray technology scientists are discovering the structure of the fatty foods that make them so irresistible to our taste buds and better help us incorporate healthier food options.
Astrophysics x-ray scanners support a variety of markets – from aviation and transportation to customs and border control. X-ray technology is making the world a safer place by detecting threats that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Weapons, illegal substances, and hazardous materials are some of the many objects our machines detect. These threats may be hiding inside luggage bags, on personnel, or even inside foods! These are only a few of the many fascinating uses of x-ray scanning technology that impact our everyday lives. Explore our website to learn other uses of this amazing technology.