Uses of x-ray inspection systems in the food industry

If your manufacturing company is within the food industry, you probably already know the importance of carefully inspecting your products. During processing, your products could be at risk to a variety of contaminants including machinery hardware or other food sources, and it is your obligation to remove contaminants before any food reaches your customers. 

Whilst there are a lot of different food inspection methods out there, x-ray inspection systems are the most thorough and accurate way of checking your products. Using x-rays allows you to develop a consistent and precise screening process, with the overall goal of keeping your products free of contaminants every time. In this article, we’ll be exploring what these systems are and the important role they play within the food industry. 

What is x-ray food inspection? 

X-rays use high energy to penetrate solid materials, which can then be turned into radiographs. Radiographs allow you to see things that are not visible to the naked eye, and to pinpoint their location within a product. The radiograph image will be coloured according to the density of the materials being screened, with lighter colours indicating less density. 

Also, it will allow you to analyse your products in real time and easily identify any anomalies. In some cases, x-rays can help you see if something is missing from your final product, such as if the mass level is too low. 

How are industrial x-ray inspection systems used? 

X-rays can be used throughout your production process, including during sorting and as a final check before packaging. Inspection systems can be used in conjunction with checkweighers, and metal detectors will integrate faultlessly with your conveyor systems, meaning you can create an inspection centric and comprehensive operation. Additionally, by ensuring your x-ray food inspection system is maintained regularly, you can improve the longevity and accuracy of your process and minimise inspection costs over time. 

A key thing to keep in mind when putting x-ray in place within your manufacturing is that you will need to have a Radiation Protection Supervisor to comply with ionising radiations regulations. The individual you appoint will have to be suitably trained with the machine to make sure your business is adhering to the best practices in your x-ray inspection, as well as effectively managing health and safety surrounding the use of x-ray. Your supervisor can be an existing staff member, or you might prefer to specifically recruit for the position, in any case you should factor this into your budget and business planning. 

What contaminants can an x-ray find? 

The main reason why an x-ray system is the best solution when it comes to checking food products is the extensive number of contaminants it can identify. While other systems like metal detection in the food industry, are limited to only finding specific contaminants, x-ray allows you to find imperfections in many different forms. This makes them ideal for various applications within the sector, from granulated products to frozen food and everything in the industry overall. Some of the contaminants an x-ray will be able to find include but are not limited to: 

  • Glass 
  • Metal 
  • Stone 
  • Plastics 
  • Bones 
  • Produce clumps 

There are certain contaminants an x-ray won’t be able to find, materials that are particularly low density like paper, cardboard, and insects for instance. So, it is important that x-ray inspection systems only make up part of your processes and should not be your only way of checking your products. 


X-ray food inspection systems have a variety of uses within the industry and are highly beneficial to manufacturing when used in combination with other important inspection systems. If you need help finding and implementing the right inspection systems into your production line, contact our team at FESS today. Alternatively, you can book a free site survey to get started with us. 

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