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Near Infrared Technology for Quality Control in the Food Industry

There is a misconception that only luxury items deserve the highest standards of manufacturing quality. However, quality should always be equivalent to consumer satisfaction and safety. Hence, regardless of the size and reach of certain companies, they should all exert effort in attaining the greatest level of quality management in every phase of their operations.Most experts believe that the food industry is one of the fields that require maximum quality control attention as the products are consumed and ingested by people. Contaminated food and beverages can certainly poison consumers, and worse, can cause their death. When that happens, manufacturing companies will not only be held legally liable for the injuries inflicted, but will most likely cease in function as well.Thankfully, there are a lot of simple yet accurate ways today on how companies can establish and maintain reputable names in the industry through their top quality items. Of course, those have all been made possible by the various technological innovations such as the development of the near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. This procedure, which is commonly applied in chemical and pharmaceutical industries as well, focuses on the identification and qualification of pure chemical substances or formulations through its well-defined matrices.At its most basic, NIR involves the measurement of the wavelength and absorption intensity of near-infrared light by a sample or product. The light is capable of spanning a specific range and of exciting overtones and combinations of molecular vibrations to higher energy levels; thus, allowing it to accurately identify quantitative measurements of organic functional groups present in substances or items. With that, they have become very suitable for online monitoring and operations control.Apart from rapidness and precision, near infrared transmission processes can also perform analysis through non-invasive means. According to scientific experts, there is only a weak degree of absorption involved; therefore, observations and evaluations can be gathered for analysis through the so-called reflectance mode. Such non-destructive or non-invasive property is extra essential in food businesses as products should always be free from external influence and contamination.For instance, pastry making can use the near infrared technology to create a balanced mixture of breads, and preserve that obtained consistency in making their other products. As claimed by professional pastry chefs, bread mixtures are more than just the flour, yeast, and water. There are a lot of other elements that usually complicate the formulation including rye, cereal flakes, seeds, grain, malt, spices, and other additives. To determine the needed quantity and quality for all these, the NIR spectroscopy can surely help.