Danish x-ray company, Innospexion, said its high speed X-ray detection system, Modulinspex, can increase process and packaging quality control through its image quality, reduced radiation level and compact design. The company said the new technology is the outcome of an EU-funded research and development project aimed at facilitating the design of an X-ray system that can compete with traditional X-ray systems from the US and Japan through modular design and low cost. Innospexion managing director and coordinator of the EU project, Jørgen Rheinlaender told FoodProductionDaily.com that the new inspection system offers processors added value through the ability to detect small details. These range from fish bones and gravel in grain and baked goods, to worms and snails in salad pouches, which traditional technology does not allow, he added. Safety recalls While detection systems for foreign objects in food are increasingly sophisticated, high-profile problems can still occur. In November last year, UK retailer Marks & Spencer and baked goods maker United Biscuit pulled a range of biscuit products after processing managers raised the alarm that pieces of thin metal wire had fallen into the finished products. Pieces of metal can cause distress and physical injury to consumers if swallowed, especially if the pieces are sharp or jagged. However, traditional metal detectors can often not distinguish between 'legitimate' metal, such as clips on the ends of sausages or aluminium tins, and rogue contaminants. Low energy "Our detection system uses low-energy rather than high-energy X-rays, thus enabling processors to employ less robust safety precautions while providing unrivalled images of high contrast at speeds up to 500mm per second," said Rheinlaender. "As the X-ray images have a resolution of 0.1mm it is possible to detect tiny impurities in raw materials before they enter the final processing stage. This reduces final product wastage and enable cost savings for processors." Rheinlaender claims that the detection system has successfully demonstrated the ability to detect any irregularities in the seals of plastic jars and pouches in trials, thus reducing the risk of bacterial contamination of produce. He added that the stainless steel system can be tailored to a food processor's particular requirements, which can vary depending on the speed of their production line and the type and size of products being scanned.