Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is introducing a new generation of X-ray detection systems.

Thermo Fisher Scientific offering new X-ray systemThe Minneapolis-based company’s NextGuard X-ray detection system is designed to help food packagers and processors meet increasing global calls for more thorough product contamination inspections, said Bob Ries, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s lead product manager for metal detection and X-ray inspection.

He said fresh food product packagers are primarily looking to detect non-metallic contaminants and said the system can detect metal as well as glass, rocks and other dense foreign objects.

Ries said he can see food safety concerns prompting packagers to incorporate X-ray systems as a final Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point.

As price points for X-ray machinery are expected to decrease, X-ray systems remain better suited for fresh packaging operations than metal detection because some commodities interfere with results, Ries said.

He said commodities including spinach contain high iron content and experience difficulty passing through metal detection machines, Ries said.

Operator must desensitize their detection machinery to evaluate such commodities, he said.

“With X-ray, you have no product affected,” he said. “The iron content in spinach makes no difference as the X-rays see right through it. Detection capability would be significantly better.”

Ries said Thermo Fisher Scientific sells many metal detectors for produce packagers.

He said many customers are inquiring about X-ray’s cost advantages and the machinery’s life cycle.

Prices for the NextGuard system begin at $40,000 but said that’s less expensive and easier to use than metal detection machinery, he said.

Typically installed at the end of the line as a final safety check, the system works better detecting product contamination in smaller bags vs. the larger bulk bags and cartons, Ries said.