Reduced food waste through non-destructive testing

This article discusses the need to reduce food waste, which can be achieved through the introduction of non-destructive testing and its methods.

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Reducing food waste is an important goal for customers, organizations and authorities looking to stay on budget, increase food production levels, reduce global warming, minimize plastic consumption and preserve the environment. environment.

Need for food waste reduction

According to the United Nations Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index report, 931 million tons of food were wasted each year in 2019 from homes, shops, cafes and other food premises, representing 17% of total food supplied to consumers.

This waste is taking place while 690 million people are starving. Minimizing food waste has several benefits for humans and the environment, including improved food supply, fewer emissions, cost savings, reduced stresses on the ecology and atmosphere, and creation of opportunities for the economic system. Accordingly, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3 sets a concrete target of reducing per capita food losses by traders and buyers by 2030.

What is non-destructive testing?

Non-destructive testing is a way to assess the quality of the substance for surface or interior defects or mechanical quality without compromising the substance’s disintegration or its ability to function. Non-destructive testing (NDT) is the detection and characterization of defects in the exterior or interior of objects without breaking the substance or physically altering it.

In other words, NDT describes the process of evaluating, evaluating and inspecting items to characterize or detect faults and imperfections in accordance with particular criteria without altering the original characteristics or harming the thing under test. . NDT methods provide or give an inexpensive method of evaluating a specimen for individual examination.

Use of non-destructive testing

Non-destructive testing has found its application in various industrial applications. The surface quality of spacecraft castings, especially the engine cowling, is carried out by CND. The piston crowns of various automobiles go through NDT for a thorough evaluation of their endurance. Ballistic testing of equipment also uses this technique, as well as its extensive uses in the defense industry. Reusable waste is identified using NDT to reduce costs and increase productivity.

Benefits of non-destructive testing in the food industry

CND is used in a high-quality control scheme and complements other well-established approaches. Non-destructive examination refers to the surface examination of fruits and vegetables without the use of invasive techniques that could alter the appearance or freshness of the food. Non-destructive analysis techniques provide information on food qualities such as structural, morphological, physiological and thermodynamic composition. Using non-destructive testing is the best method of meat processing.

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Background of NDT for the food industry

The integrity of a wide range of foods depends on the continued preservation of appropriate thermal variables in accordance with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) concepts under food handling laws. In general, heat is the most influential element in preventing the microbiological degradation of food.

In addition to temperature and shelf life, product type, contents, post-processing, manufacturing contaminants, and container shape all influence the rate and extent of spoilage. Temperature testing is therefore essential for customer safety and compliance with food standards requirements for wafers, refreshments, ready meals, processed foods, and frozen and chilled products.

Temperature Testing Techniques for the Food Industry

Traditional techniques require the insertion of a metal gauge into the packaged food to determine the degree, which is usually done at the base of the probe. To measure the degree of heat of a product, position the sensor so that the end is in the center (or thickest section) of the food and leave it in place until the measurement stabilizes.

To minimize cross-contamination between data, the sensor should be thoroughly disinfected after the measurement is collected. It is important to note that if the sample is injured during the testing procedure (for example, if the package seal is broken), it is not safe to eat and should be discarded.

Advantages and disadvantages of the main types of non-destructive testing

Non-destructive testing technologies are traditionally classified into two types: remote infrared cameras and microwave thermometry. Infrared cameras can accurately assess the temperature rise of objects at a distance.

Their advantages are that they are non-destructive and fast, but their main disadvantage is that they detect the outside temperature, which is not always the exact heat capacity of the food, especially if the sample is encapsulated in packaging. In recent years, there has been considerable improvement in the application of machine vision in the food industry.

Cameras with image analysis methods are used to automate optical assessments. In the food industry, this approach has been used to inspect and assess food quality. It is inexpensive, fast, cheap, hygienic and reliable. Its applications are widely used for form categorization, defect identification and performance evaluation.

Microwave temperature measurement equipment offers the significant advantage of evaluating the overall product and quickly and accurately generating an average temperature for the final cohort. New variants of this technique are being studied to maximize productivity and further shorten damping methods.

Another famous technique, the acoustic approach, is an intriguing way to assess the quality of food and agricultural products. It is fast, inexpensive and non-destructive. Due to these advantages, mechanical acoustic approaches have become increasingly popular as effective instruments for measuring meal quality. The acoustic system consists of a noise generator, an absorption system, and procedures for determining the pitch fluctuation, the freshness of the meals being determined according to the noises produced by crunching them.

When a tested food product is rejected, it can be handled in a variety of ways. It can be disposed of in landfill or incinerated, or the food can be physically removed from its container and used as livestock feed or to generate energy through anaerobic fermentation. However, because these choices are costly in terms of money and the environment, most food manufacturers are turning to non-toxic pest control approaches.

According to studies, despite an increase in activities and knowledge over the past decade, food loss remains a major problem with serious ecological, societal and economic implications. Due to increasing urbanization and increasing financial activity, cities in both developed and developing countries have become centers of food waste. He says other approaches and procedures need to be explored to make it more effective in reducing food waste.

Further reading

Envirotec Review, 2021. Non-destructive testing – an opportunity to reduce food waste?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 14 January 2022].

Saha, D. & Manickavasagan, A., 2021. Machine Learning Techniques for Hyperspectral Image Analysis to Determine Food Product Quality: A Review. Current Food Science Research, Volume 4, p. 28-44. Available at:

Pandiselvam, R., et al. 2022. Rapid detection of adulteration in desiccated coconut powder: vis-NIR spectroscopy and chemometric approach. Food Control 133. 108588. Available at:

Gupta, M., Khan, MA, Butola, R. and Singari, RM (2021). Advances in Nondestructive Testing (NDT) Applications: A Review. Advances in Materials and Processing Technologies, 1-22. Available at:

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