At-Line Analysis Using ED-XRF Spectroscopy to Detect Metals in Food

Attention to food safety has been growing since the early 19th century. Most countries have enacted increasingly stringent food and safety legislation. Some regulations focus on “adulterants”, a legal term for substances that producers add to foods to increase quantity. Other regulations focus on “contaminants”, substances such as metals that might enter the food supply unintentionally through various stages of production, packaging, transport, and storage. Traditional lab-based quality control elemental analysis methods, ICP-OES or AAS, have been used successfully for years but add substantial costs and delays to processing schedules.

Promising to change all of this is a new generation of high-resolution rapid screening technology that uses ED-XRF spectroscopy in an instrument designed specifically to conduct lab-quality elemental analyses right at the production line.

This paper explains how the new, portable instruments are being used for rapid at-line elemental analysis to detect metals in food and shows the precise analytical results that they can provide.