P&P Optica, a startup that uses hyperspectral imaging to assess food quality and safety, announced yesterday that it has received a $1 million investment from Export Development Canada (EDC), Canada’s Export Credit Agency (h/t to RestoBiz).

Installed on a food production line, P&P Optica’s imaging technology uses light to examine fruits, vegetables and meat to assess their qualities like protein, water, pH balance, and also detects any foreign matter that might be present. Understanding these factors allows food producers to better grade the food they are shipping while reducing food waste by not discarding food that is still good.

The Ontario, Canada-based P&P says it will use the funding to continue development of its Smart Imaging System, and expand its footprint across North America.

P&P will have some competition in the form of ImpactVision, which also uses hyperspectral imaging to assess food quality and uncover foreign objects in food production. ImpactVision has raised $2.7 million (counting shipping giant Maersk as an investor) and is among the first cohort of Chipotle’s Aluminaries accelerator program.

ImpactVision also recently revealed that its technology is being used by Beta San Miguel, Mexico’s largest sugar producer, for detection of non-magnetic foreign objects. ImpactVision’s cameras scan for contaminants in the sugar, and when a foreign object is found, the production line automatically rejects that affected area. This, in turn keeps foreign objects out of the bags of sugar in the first place, so they don’t have to be recalled after reaching the market.

Foreign matter in our food has been in the news lately as Tyson had to recall more than 36,000 pounds of chicken nuggets because they may have contained rubber.

Using hyperspectral imaging like P&P Optica’s and ImpactVision’s has the potential to mitigate those types of issues before food leaves the production line to save food producers headaches, money while reducing food waste.

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