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B-PHOT scans for carcinogenic substances in waffles - a DIGITALIS project for Dimabel


B-PHOT and technology company Linea Recta are collaborating to enhance the detection of carcinogenic substances, particularly acrylamide, in Dimabel's waffle products. Optical spectroscopy, studying the interaction of light with the waffles, enables continuous checks for dangerous substances benefitting food safety while minimizing food waste.

The baking time and temperature at Dimabel's waffle bakery are critical factors in the formation of acrylamide, a known carcinogen that forms during the high-temperature processing of starch-rich food products. Traditionally, the presence of acrylamide in their products has been assessed through periodic quality checks using chemical analysis on product samples. However, a continuous monitoring system based on optical spectroscopy could provide a non-destructive and in-line solution.

Linea Recta
, in collaboration with Dimabel, came across the research of B-PHOT during their search towards non-destructive optical sensors for food product evaluation. Professor Lien Smeesters, an expert in spectroscopy at VUB’s photonics research group, previously successfully applied optical spectroscopic detection technologies for the accurate monitoring of acrylamide within French fries production. She is leading the current initiative to address two primary challenges:

  • Validating the comprehensiveness of the detection method for acrylamide monitoring within waffles.
  • Integrating this technology into a production environment where speed and real-time analysis are crucial.

Prof. Smeesters explained the initial success of their efforts: "We have successfully applied our optical detection technology to a wide variety of waffles. By linking our optical signals to the acrylamide content in the waffles, using machine learning algorithms, we have developed a non-destructive method that requires no chemicals; we simply illuminate the products. Thus, all screened waffles remain edible."

This innovative approach could be highly beneficial for other food companies, significantly improving product quality and enhancing public health.

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