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Potato Or Golf Ball? Food X-ray Device Can Tell

February 7, 2014
Written by: , Filed in: Gastrointestinal Imaging
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Is that a potato or a golf ball? Sometimes, you need an X-ray machine to tell.

At least you do if you’re in the food business and you need to peer inside packaging without ripping it open. And, as Kyle Thomas explained, some potato fields happen to be next to golf courses or driving ranges:

During processing, standard X-ray technology is unable to consistently discern between spherical golf balls and similarly shaped potatoes.

Thomas made that statement in a guest article for FoodQualityNews.com. You’ve probably guessed that Thomas’s company offers a solution to the problem. Thomas is strategic business unit manager at Eagle Product Inspection of Tampa, Florida.

Conventional X-ray inspection machines can easily detect such contaminants as ferrous and nonferrous metals, large pieces of glass, bones, mineral stones, and high-density plastics and rubber, Thomas said. But those scanners are not so good, he said, at finding glass shards, low-density plastic and rubber—or golf balls.

Enter Eagle Product Inspection and its Material Discrimination X-ray (MDX) technology. MDX uses both high- and low-energy X-rays. The relative ratios of energy absorbed differ according to the material, allowing the machines to reveal chemical composition in addition to thickness and density variation.

“MDX can detect flat glass and stone in mixed nuts, for example, which conventional X-ray finds very challenging,” Thomas said.

It’s a serious issue. “Brand reputations are at stake,” Thomas said, “and no manufacturer wants to endure the embarrassment, not to mention the short- and long-term costs, of a product recall due to contamination of food by objects that should have been removed before reaching the supermarket shelves.”

* * *

Ultrasound-guided biopsies don’t work as well as a more-invasive procedure for assessing the location and risk of prostate cancer, a new study finds. For details, see our Facebook page.

Related CME seminar (up to 42.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): UCSF Radiology Review: COMPREHENSIVE IMAGING


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