CANADA – Canada’s P&P Optica (PPO), a food processing solutions company that provides industrial application solutions in food processing, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding for its food safety inspection technology, which uses hyperspectral imaging to gather quality metrics on the food inside of processing plants.
The round was led by Ag Capital Canada, with new investor Synovus Family Office as well as existing investors Fulcrum Global Capital, Export Development Canada (EDC) and others.
The Waterloo, Ontariro-based PPO says it will use the new funds to implement its system across more food processing plants in Canada and the U.S.
The PPO Smart Imaging System uses hyperspectral imaging to “see” inside of foods like produce and meats so as to gather more precise information on overall food quality.
PPO’s tech can determine the fat-to-lean ratio for bacon and sausage, measure the tenderness of a steak, and even detect foreign matter like rubber, cardboard, or plastic.
Wood, bone, and even certain types of metals can also be found in food items, and often not detectable by traditional x-ray machines.
While PPO’s physical imaging system itself is meant to be used inside the food processing plant, users can access data on food remotely, from a cloud-based dashboard.
The company says that thanks to an AI element, the system can learn over time from what it sees and in doing so detect contaminants faster.
ImpactVision is the other notable company with a hyperspectral imaging system for food producers. The company was recently acquired by Apeel, and its tech will be used to assess shelf life and quality of produce items.
PPO’s system, on the other hand, is at this point more for meat products. AgResearch is also developing a similar award-winning tech known as “The Clarospec system”, designed to analyze meat cuts in real time, as they go through a meat processing plant, using hyperspectral imaging to provide objective measures of meat quality.
AgResearch says the technology can provide information on key aspects such as structure and composition that influence flavor and texture.
Being able to see inside food could potentially help companies catch safety issues before food leaves the plant, saving them from performing recalls and wasting food and money.
PPO says the new funding will also go towards expanding the company’s analytics software, including the aforementioned AI tool.