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Application Scheme-Evaluation of Infrared Thermal Imager in Food Quality and Safety

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Evaluation of thermal imaging camera in food quality and safety

Infrared thermal imaging is an emerging non-invasive analysis technology. Recently, thermal imaging technology has been used in various food processing applications, including process monitoring, product development, and storage analysis, suitable for monitoring and verifying the temperature in food.

Temperature control and monitoring during food manufacturing is critical to ensure product quality in processes (eg cooking, pasteurization, sterilization) and product distribution throughout production, transportation, storage, and sales processes to maintain cold chain integrity Importantly, the heating of many foods is also critical for taste, food safety and shelf life. In the food industry, non-contact methods and temperature mapping techniques have become more and more popular due to higher temporal and spatial resolutions. Compared with the invasive sampling test using a conventional thermometer, infrared thermal imaging has the advantages of high-speed, non-invasive analysis and prevention of cross-contamination.

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The picture shows the infrared thermal image of red delicious apple


Infrared thermal imaging has been used to promote controlled heating and cooling cycles on the surface of food samples. The study shows the following 5 cases:

1. The potential of infrared thermal imaging in real-time determination of the internal temperature of cooked chicken in industrial production lines to verify that the lowest end temperature has been reached.

2. Infrared thermal imaging has been used to plot the temperature distribution caused by microwave heating of food, demonstrating the application of thermal imaging technology in microwave oven design as part of the drying process.

3. Use thermal imaging technology to determine the hot spots and cold spots in the microwave heating process of rye and oats, or to classify the microwave heating modes in various food formulas.

4. The thermal imaging camera can continuously record the temperature record, and can be estimated on the conveyor belt, using thermal imaging to simulate the dehydration kinetics by measuring the temperature distribution of citrus fruits during drying. This can be used to determine the final drying point, or it can be used to develop an online control system. Infrared thermal imaging can improve calorie consumption and fruit quality control

5. In addition to temperature monitoring and verification, infrared thermal imaging is also used in the food industry to monitor the efficiency of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems to track the entry of potentially contaminated air, thereby reducing food contamination of the air.

Infrared thermal imaging is an emerging tool for food quality and safety assessment in the food industry. Studies to date have shown that it has huge application opportunities in food quality and safety control. Modern infrared thermal imaging technology is a fast, non-invasive, and radiation-free technology, and as technology advances, it becomes more reliable, friendly, accurate, and cost-effective. Considering these attributes and the cases discussed, the food industry may adopt this technology more to increase efficiency.


Reference materials:

A.A. Gowena, B.K. Tiwaria, P.J. Cullenb, et al. Applications of thermal imaging in food quality and safety assessment [J]. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 21:190-200, 2010.

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