The important role of optical sorting for food safetyLondon, United Kingdom, 04/24/2015 For processors of frozen fruit and vegetables, ensuring food safety and security are increasingly the most prominent issues affecting their businesses. However, quality control and safety processes can help to provide a consistent product level, by removing colour defects and extraneous vegetable matter, including sticks, stones and stems, as well as more serious or dangerous content, including foreign material such as plastic or glass. There is currently no actual legislation regarding foreign materials, but there is legislation which states that all food manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their food and that food must not be unsafe or harmful to consumers’ health. For example, from the Food Safety Act 1990 to the General Food
Regulations 2004, manufacturers are required to show due diligence and conduct ‘reasonable practicable’ measures to prevent foreign material contamination. As a result, food companies must have processes in place to eliminate these risks and manage any risks that are identified.
Fortunately, food safety often goes hand in hand with food quality. A benefit of manufacturers facing the implications of foreign body contamination is that they are becoming more vigilant about safety which results in greater quality products for consumers to enjoy. Thankfully, there are various ways frozen food manufacturers can resolve safety issues and remove foreign materials, while retaining high quality product, using superior precision optical sorting equipment.
With over 150 years of experience tackling the industry’s challenges and a high level of sensitivity to the changing needs of the market, Bühler supplies a full range of superior precision optical sorting equipment for grains, pulses, spices, nuts, rice, vegetables and fruits, as well as non-food products such as plastics, by colour and shape. With a great understanding of the challenges faced by the industry, and as a global leader in optical sorting solutions for all foods, including frozen fruit and vegetable processing, Bühler has built a reputation for providing effective and flexible technology and reliable expertise.
For example, its SORTEX optical sorters offer the highest standards of quality and cleanliness for produce, combining Enhanced InGaAs cameras, high resolution bichromatic cameras and PROfile™ (shape) technology. The InGaAs technology identifies a wider range of contaminants than previously possible, particularly for packaging fragments, whilst Bühler’s PROfile™ (shape) technology intelligently detects and virtually separates touching objects, allowing for higher capacity shape sorting. The use of such state-of-the-art, high quality components always means the maintenance of Bühler equipment is
inexpensive when compared to other market technologies.
SORTEX machinery can be used at various points in processing including during cleaning, helping to remove defective products, foreign materials or extraneous vegetable matter, and before bagging to ensure the quality of a product. The calibre of the SORTEX technology also dictates that no additional requirements are needed for machinery to operate in freezing temperatures, whilst the accuracy of the machinery means it provides a far superior yield when compared to the same work being done manually, eliminating the risks of human error.
In addition, by removing defective products, foreign materials or extraneous vegetable matter, frozen food manufacturers, using superior precision optical sorting equipment can not only ensure a higher quality product, but by retaining only good products can reduce wastage and increase shelf life.
Future proofing innovation
In order to continue developing the technical innovations to remove foreign materials and enhance food safety and security, Bühler started its own Food Safety Initiative three years ago. By listening to its customers and working with global food safety experts, the initiative is helping to address and manage
emerging risks by educating the industry, developing new solutions and building knowledge through collaboration and innovation. The team behind the initiative are already working towards a range of new solutions to enhance foreign material detection, as well as transforming the hygienic design of
equipment, to help decrease cleaning time and reduce hazards on the production line.
As global leaders in the field of optical sorting, Bühler customers in the frozen food industry are able to rely on its expertise, experience and reputation enabling them to provide assurance to the retailers they work with. In addition, Bühler customers are provided with the assurance that using its equipment they can produce safe food, reduce waste, comply with legal requirements and gain the trust of their consumers. They are also helping to contribute to safe and sustainable food production – while ensuring a premium product, with dramatically reduced chances of imperfections and helping to secure loyalty along the supply chain as well as introduce greater financial yield.