NIR Technology to Evaluate Wholesomeness of Food


Fraunhofer is developing a near infrared (NIR) spectrum scanner to evaluate the wholesomeness of food products. Currently the scanner is suitable for homogenous products such as tomatoes and ground beef but has not yet been adapted to complex foods with numerous ingredients.

An infrared beam directed onto the surface of a product is reflected and the spectrum is analyzed by the instrument. Scanned data is transmitted by Bluetooth to a cloud-based library of spectra. By comparison against known patterns, ripeness of a fruit or degradation in quality can be evaluated. It may be possible to determine spoilage associated with bacteria or even to detect the presence of pathogens with further refinement.

Fraunhofer is continuing development and will deploy a prototype unit for testing in supermarkets in late 2019.