Benefits and risks of artificial intelligence for food processing

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the food processing industry. From sorting to safety and compliance to ensuring employees’ personal hygiene procedures, it’s becoming such an important aspect of the industry that it’s expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 45% between now and 2026.

The most prominent component of the food processing industry being overhauled by AI is the sorting of food and products. Formerly a very rigorous process requiring large amounts of human labor, the sorting process is now managed primarily by machines that use technologies such as cameras and X-rays alongside algorithms to analyze different aspects of food and identify any deficiencies.

Likewise, AI can improve food safety. Food processors use optical fluorescent imaging and ultrasonic sensing technology to recognize food residue on equipment, which can contaminate an entire product line. AI technology can also ensure workers have personal protective equipment, do temperature checks and grade food cleanliness, similar to quality grading.

But that does not mean AI in food processing is without risk — both operational and financial — as demonstrated by recent shutdowns and supply chain disruptions.

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