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Defense & Security

Photonics and Food: Optical Tools Tackle Food Safety Challenges

Presented at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2017.

27 April 2017, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201704.11

Richard Crocombe, PerkinElmer, Business Program Leader - PortablesOptical sensing and spectral analysis play a vital and increasingly important role in ensuring the quality and safety of our food supply. Current applications range from image-driven optical sorting in production, to characterization of fruit ripeness using luminescence spectra. Such techniques can also detect contaminated or counterfeit foods.

In this industry-session talk, Richard Crocombe discusses recent advances in optical tools and how they tackle food safety challenges such as food fraud or adulteration -- horsemeat sold as "ground beef," or "chicken" eggs that have not come from chickens, for example. He also provides an insightful look at what near-infrared can and cannot do, portable instruments, their technology and photonics.

Richard Crocombe is co-chair of SPIE's ‘Next-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies' at DCS. His industrial career has focused for more than 30 years on product development and commercialization of new technologies and applications. For the past 15 years he has worked on handheld and portable spectroscopic instruments: x-ray fluorescence, near-infrared, mid-infrared, Raman and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. He has worked for major analytical instrument companies like Thermo Fisher Scientific and PerkinElmer.

Richard's education was in chemistry and spectroscopy at Oxford University, and then his PhD at the University of Southampton in the UK. He is currently active in several professional societies. He received the Williams-Wright Award for Industrial Spectroscopy in 2013. He was the guest editor for Applied Spectroscopy in May 2016, an issue concentrating on portable spectroscopy.