Role of Machine Vision System in Food Quality and Safety Evaluation

Ashwin Judal, A Bhadania
In India the ever-increasing population, losses in handling and processing and the increased expectation of food products of high quality and safety standards, there is a need for the growth of accurate, fast and objective quality determination of these characteristics in food products continues to grow. Number of mechanized processing lines has been developed for commercial production. But the visual inspection and quality control is done by human eyes. Human inspection is a slow process, has
more » ... oor repeatability and result varies from person to person. Machine vision system (MVS) is an image processing/analysis technique which is used for objective evaluation of quality parameters. Its speed and accuracy satisfy ever increasing production and quality requirements, hence aiding in the development of totally automated processes. Mass production of food was also associated with two major problems. The first one is the decline in food quality, and the second one is the "waste" problem associated with processing and preparation operations. The wastage in many cases is a direct consequence of the quality problem, where the quality decline reaches unaccepted limits. Hence, is the need for quality inspection and assurance mechanisms to be installed in the production lines of such mass food processing and producing plants. MVS can perform many functions simultaneously in a food processing line such as segregation by species, by size, by visual quality attributes, determination of composition, volume, measurement of shape parameters, and quantification of the meat colour, automated portioning and detection of defects. MVS system is also being used in food industry for the detection of defects in apples, oranges, olives, cherries etc., sorting of potatoes, online monitoring of baking conditions, measurement of browning in chips. It is also being used for checking ripening stages of banana, tomato, cherries etc. Also it can be used to classify different varieties of cereal grains and check their adulteration. MVS considered as investigative tool to evaluate the functional properties and quality attributes such as shrinkage, texture and colour of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. This paper critically reviews the progress and application of MV technology in the food industry with a special emphasis on meat, poultry, seafood, and other foods. Recent developments in MVS and supporting technologies has resulted in general acceptance of the feasibility and profitability of implementing visual inspecting systems in quality assurance operations.