Control chemical lean, control profits

Chemical lean impacts profit margins for burger, sausage, and ground meat producers

Sensorx Magna Equipment

Everything counts in the meat processing industry, and chemical lean (CL) determines the value of meat trim more than any other factor. With increasing pressure to measure CL as quickly and precisely as possible, X-ray fat analysis is overtaking traditional methods as the new industry standard—and with good reason.

In this article, we explore the critical role CL plays in determining profits and how X-ray technology is giving processors unprecedented control of the fat analysis process.

Why is CL accuracy so important for processors’ bottom lines?

For the meat industry, it’s crucial to determine CL as accurately as possible as it is the biggest determiner of meat pricing. Knowing the precise CL of meat enables processors to control their incoming raw materials, minimize giveaway, maximize saleable meat, and ultimately capitalize on the true value of their products.

Recent trends are also placing growing pressure on meat producers to label their products’ CL reliably. Health conscious consumers want to know exactly how much fat is in their meat, supermarkets want to avoid costly fat claims, and stricter regulatory standards demand fully traceable processes.

These pressures pose a number of challenges. Traditional fat analysis methods including laboratory methods and table-top reference methods such as NIR (near infrared) spectroscopy are slow, prone to errors, and wasteful of lean trim, which means that thorough testing comes at the cost of valuable time and yield. 

To keep up with growing demands, producers of burgers, sausages, and ground meat are now turning toward newer and more effective X-ray fat analysis technology that can guarantee correct CL values without destroying yield and giving away profits.

X Ray Meat Inspection For Bone Detection And Rejection

X-ray technology measures CL with far greater accuracy

For decades, the Soxhlet laboratory method has been the industry standard for fat analysis. However, in more recent years dual energy X-ray technology has been emerging as the new standard for CL measurement.

A side-by-side comparison of these two main methods shows the clear advantages of X-ray technology.

Soxhlet technology

Dual energy X-ray technology


Involves weighing a small sample of meat in the lab to calculate fat percentage.

Inspects 100% of raw material to determine the CL and detect hard contaminants.

Placement in production

Offline; takes place after grinding and mixing.

Inline; takes place before grinding and mixing.

Detection capabilities

Measures fat content only.

Measures fat content and also detects bone and other hard contaminants such as metal and glass.


Time-consuming, takes hours to get a test result.

Scans run in real-time, without delay.


Limited to checking a tiny sample of a batch of a meat product. This can be very accurate but it is highly dependant on the sample preparation process.

Checks everything as it is being processed through the production line and provides highly repeatable, consistent results.

Protein and moisture

Does not provide protein or moisture values.

Can provide protein and moisture values to allow accurate control of product formulation.

Get CL on target from the start

SensorX Magna is an innovative X-ray inspection system for analyzing the CL of incoming meat supplies as well as detecting and rejecting bone.

Gaining control of the CL of your raw materials is vital to capitalize on the true value of your products. By automatically measuring the CL of the incoming meat in an instant, SensorX Magna gives you unprecedented control over blending fat and lean meat, enabling you to meet the target fat content of the final batch right from the start.

By performing fat analysis inline and automatically instead of relying on conventional methods, you can greatly minimize labor costs, time-consuming delays, and inaccurate measurements that can lower your yield and lead to costly fat claims.

SensorX Magna makes everything count

Even seemingly small percentages of lean meat giveaway can add up to significant losses. The infographic below shows how SensorX Magna can potentially increase company profits by hundreds of thousands of euros or more per year by improving CL accuracy.

SensorX Magna information

Learn more about SensorX Magna

Want to learn more about what makes SensorX Magna the industry leader in monitoring and enabling control of fat to lean? Our experts are close by and ready to answer any questions you may have.

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