Using near-infrared spectroscopy, producers can measure and control the core temperature of sausages. Photo: Jens Petter Wold ©Nofima

Project Year 2018

Smart tech means better food

 Raw materials and process optimisation  

Full control of temperature and water content results in better sausages and French fries. This can now be measured in the production line.

In the SmartSensor project, scientists from Nofima and Sintef Digital are developing a rapid measurement instrument for direct use in the production line.
“This instrument will be of great value to food producers, because detailed data will make it easier to handle varying raw material quality, which will reduce waste,” says project manager Jens Petter Wold.

Better control = increased profitability

For Nortura, the main goal is better control of the core temperature in sausages. To be entirely safe to eat, sausages must have a core temperature of above 72°C, but if the temperature exceeds 78°C, they can become dry, and profitability decreases. Core temperature is currently measured on a random sampling basis. The new prototype will allow continuous measurement and control.
The water content of potatoes affects what they should best be used for. For example, French fries are best made from potatoes with a high solids content. Using the SmartSensor technology, Findus can sort the potatoes directly on the production line.
The salmon producer Cermaq wants to see if this technology can measure the quality of whole salmon.

Further advances

The technology in the prototype is based on near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and is unique in its ability to measure extremely quickly and to penetrate objects, e.g. salmon skin, without coming into contact with the food.
“Until now, NIR instruments have not been able to measure deep enough inside products with dark surfaces such as salmon and potatoes. Now we are able to combine both speed and depth, providing food producers with huge savings. Today we have a promising prototype that we believe and hope can become a commercial product,” says Jens Petter Wold.

Nortura, Findus, Cermaq, TOMRA and Sintef Digita

The Research Counsil of Norway and participating companies

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