Safe, tasty and x-rayed

An informative infographic from Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection drives home the safe nature of x-ray inspection, emphasising the important role that x-ray plays in delivering quality products in the food supply chain.

The poster-sized infographic highlights a World Health Organisation (WHO) which established that radiation levels emitted by x-ray inspection systems were perfectly safe for those who both produce and consume food.

Myths linger though. Despite the evidence, some remain worried that absorption of radiation through x-ray product inspection makes food unsafe for people to eat. Some are concerned that working with x-ray inspection systems exposes operators to potentially unsafe levels of radiation.

Neither of these are true. Food that has been through x-ray product inspection systems is just as safe and tasty as it was before – safer in fact, given that potential physical contaminants should now have been detected and removed. X-ray inspection uses a tiny fraction of the radiation used in “irradiation” processes used to destroy bacteria – the dosage size can be up to 10 million times smaller. The food itself spends just 250 milliseconds in the low intensity x-ray beam.

Those operating x-ray inspection systems typically absorb less than 1 microsievert (µSv) per hour of radiation from standing next to a machine. In comparison, just going about their daily life, humans on average soak up something like 2,400 µSv of background radiation every year, from natural sources such as cosmic and gamma rays and medical equipment.

Quite simply, absorption of small amounts of radiation is part of everyday life, and the quantities absorbed by eating food or operating an x-ray inspection system are miniscule. And as well as being great at detecting many different types of physical contaminant, x-ray is also able to perform a wide range of additional product checks, such as identifying missing and broken products, monitoring fill levels, inspecting seal and pack integrity, and measuring mass.

An infographic available from Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection makes all this information available in a fun and accessible way, emphasising that x-ray inspection in the food chain is perfectly safe. Available in poster format (1,000 mm x 256 mm), the infographic helps to spread the word that food which has passed through an x-ray inspection system is just as safe and tasty to eat as it was before it was scanned.

X-ray inspection is fundamentally safe – help overcome long-held misconceptions to the contrary by downloading a PDF version.