Friday 2 May 2014

Sensor technology for food safety inspection.

Satisfies new USDA initiatives safely to expand poultry processing rates

Headwall Photonics has completed the exclusive licensing agreement with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for patents related to the in-line inspection of poultry. The patent licensing agreement builds on Headwall's USDA Commercial Research & Development Agreement (CRADA) that collaboratively focused research activities on the development and introduction of in-line inspection sensors utilising spectral imaging technology for food inspection.

Headwall's patented Hyperspec® platform offers imaging sensors optimised for the following spectral regions:
Visible: 380 to 780 nanometers
Visible - Near Infrared: 400 to 1000 nanometers
Extended VNIR: 600 to 1700 nanometers
Near Infrared: 900 to 1700 nanometers
Short Wave Infrared: 1000 to 2500 nanometers
When coupled with Headwall's patented aberration-corrected hyperspectral sensors, the USDA patents enable disease detection at high-speed line rates to comply with food safety regulations. The combination of Headwall's sensors and USDA patented, disease detection algorithms not only support but enable the USDA'S proposed rule to increase poultry production line rates for more rapid inspection systems at poultry slaughter plants. The proposed USDA rule will increase line speeds from 35 birds per minute to 175 birds per minute utilising a single USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) inspector on the slaughter line.

"Food safety and food quality is a very strategic market sector for the commercial deployment of Headwall's hyperspectral imaging technology," said Headwall CEO David Bannon. "Through close collaboration with USDA researchers, we have developed customized imaging sensors to meet the high speed, high performance demands of harsh, critical food processing environments. Bannon also noted that poultry processors in the U.S. alone produce more than nine billion broiler chickens per year. This is a very large market with unique technology needs."

In commenting on the patent licensing agreement, Dr. Moon Kim, a leading researcher with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) indicated that "These licensed patents represent many years of food safety and food quality research and have been tested with over 100,000 poultry carcasses. And, we have many years of successful experience working closely with Headwall sensor technology and their engineering team. We will continue to collaborate with Headwall in commercializing this next generation of food inspection technology."

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