Tomra fights aflatoxin threat to food manufacturers

As a global pioneer in sensor-based sorting, Tomra has collaborated with food manufacturers and processors to eliminate the threat of aflatoxin from the food manufacturing process.

Aflatoxin is a toxic natural substance produced by fungus and mould found in certain foods, such as: rice and corn, soybeans, cooking oils, and nuts. Research shows that the chronic intake of foods infected with aflatoxin can increase the risk of dying from liver cancer by up to 66%. As it is colorless and tasteless, it can be extremely difficult to identify, while the substance can also withstand temperatures up to 280℃, meaning it cannot be destroyed or removed by cooking or boiling.

Aflatoxin is not only a major health threat, but also a commercial and logistical issue for many food exporters. Grains and nuts exported from countries, such as China, Kenya and Mali are frequently rejected by customs officers at international borders due to excessive aflatoxin levels.

Tomra’s detox laser utilizes a special optical design that can detect aflatoxin contamination. It works by identifying the extremely low intensity of light reflected by the aflatoxin mold and fungus in a variety of food types, from peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts to dried fruit, such as figs. Infected food can then be removed and eliminated from the production process, helping to ensure a compliant end product.

The Nimbus BSI free-fall laser sorting machine combines a number of ground-breaking technologies, including the Detox laser, to help reduce the threat of aflatoxin. The machine is capable of detecting all challenging and critical defects and foreign materials that are typical for these industries.

The result is the removal of food that is a threat to public health, as well as meeting increasingly high quality demands from consumers. This technology contributed to the Nimbus BSI being awarded the Innovation Award at the World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress.

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Food and Drink Technology