By Pavithra. G1 and Dr. R. Dakshayani2


India boasts the world’s most extensive livestock population. Annually, India contributes approximately 5.3 million metric tons of meat and 75 billion eggs. As the leading producer of buffalo meat and the second-largest producer of goat meat, India holds significant positions in the meat industry. Poultry processing rates currently stand at 6%, while meat processing levels reach 21%. India’s poultry is highly vertically integrated, demonstrating efficiency comparable to many Western countries. The Indian government has initiated measures to modernize municipal abattoirs, aiming to ensure the safe delivery and hygienic meat to consumers. The meat production in Indian share is as follows: poultry meat (36%), buffalo meat (22%), goat meat (18%), pig meat (9%), sheep meat (8%) and other meat (6%) respectively. Major meat-producing states in India are Uttar Pradesh (23%), west Bengal (12%), and Andhra Pradesh (7%) respectively. The major egg producers were Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, whereas the major poultry producers were Haryana, west Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra (as per the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries). Export status of meat and poultry worth around USD 5bn (2014-2015) of which buffalo meat contributes about USD 4.8 Bn, mainly exported from Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia.

 Meat has become an important constituent of the human diet and is a consumer favourite owing to its nutritive values, namely protein, fat, iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6, and B12. Besides nutrients, the consumers were concerned about its contamination, adulteration, and its associated health issues. Hyperspectral imaging is one such technology that has the ability to perform real-time assessment.

Hyper spectral imaging 

Hyper spectral imaging relies on the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and the material under observation (sample). The meat and poultry samples exhibit unique behaviours in reflecting, scattering, absorbing or emitting electromagnetic energy at specific wavelengths. These distinctive characteristics form a spectrum, akin to materials’ spectral signature or fingerprint. Theoretically, the spectral information captured in hyper spectral images allows for the characterization, identification, and differentiation of various materials into distinct classes or types. Hyper spectral imaging systems consist of a sensor, spectral bands, data acquisition system, optical system, data storage unit, and processing unit.

Table 1. Hyper spectral imaging parts and their functions 







Captures electromagnetic radiation (reflected, scattered, absorbed or emitted) across multiple bands from materials under observation


Spectral bands


Records narrow bands across a wide range of wavelengths, unlike traditional systems


Data acquisition system


Collects and processes sensor data, ensuring accurate recording for analysis


Optical system


Directs and focuses radiation onto the sensor, ensuring data accuracy and quality


Data storage


Manages massive data generated, storing extensive spectral information


Processing unit


Applies advanced algorithms to extract valuable information about samples


These components collaborate to enable hyper spectral imaging, offering detailed insights into applications like agriculture, environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics as well as in the food sector. 

These components collaborate to enable hyperspectral imaging, offering detailed insights in applications like agriculture, environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics as well as in the food sector.


Hyper spectral Imaging – Application  

  • Tenderness assessment, pH, colour, chemical composition, and microbial spoilage in beef 
  • Classification, and grading of beef 
  • Sensory attributes and muscle discrimination in pork 
  • Authenticity detection and adulteration in lamb 
  • Contamination detection, tumour identification and bacterial spoilage, and freshness in fish 
  • Quality detection in ham 
  • Contaminant detection, authentication, and fraudulent detection in all forms of meat


Hyper spectral imaging in the meat and poultry sector promises enhanced quality control, safety and efficiency by precisely characterizing and identifying different components. This technology has the potential to improve contaminant detection, ensure compliance and elevate overall product quality, contributing to a more reliable, less time-consuming, non-destructive, in-line detection in the processing line and transparent supply chain.


Kamruzzaman, M., Makino, Y., & Oshita, S. (2015). Non-invasive analytical technology for the detection of contamination, adulteration, and authenticity of meat, poultry, and fish: A review. Analytica chimica acta853, 19-29. 

Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries,, Agricultural and Processed Food Exports Development Authority and other relevant websites

About the Authors

1III year, B.Sc (Hons) Agriculture, Anbil Dharmalingam Agriculture College and Research Institute, Dindigul Main Road, Muthukulam, Navalurpattu, Tamil Nadu. 

2Independent Researcher, Thanjavur.