A novel method has been developed for the detection of the presence of a whole or part of invertebrate materials - such as insects, arthropods and molluscs - in a sample of non-invertebrate material - such as plant material, food stuff including salads, vegetable, fruits and flowers.


  • fast
  • specific
  • non invasive
  • detection through layers of plant matter
  • detection through plastic bag
  • can be used on production line
  • outcome reading adaptable to user (eg: acoustic/visual signal).

In 2012, insect contamination was the second most complained about foreign object in food incidents reported to the FSA. The nature of outdoor food crop production means there is always a risk of contamination with insects remaining difficult to completely detect and remove from a production line.

Current methods used to identify and remove insects from salads include visual inspection, sieving and sampling. These methods are found to be fallible and may allow full or parts of invertebrates through.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia have developed a unique spectroscopic technique which allows detection of the presence of whole or parts of a variety of invertebrate species. This sensing technique works even when the invertebrate materials are hidden behind non-invertebrate materials such as salad leaves. This technique even has the potential for detection of insect larvae inside fruits and vegetables. Further this technique of detection works even through plastic bags normally used to package the salad materials for marketing. This non-invasive detection process is fast enough to be used on a production line.



Patent granted in the US US9410888 B2 and a patent application in Europe EP2737310 A1.


Principal Investigator

Team led by Dr Jas Jayasooriya


Further Details

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