Magnets and chicken nuggets — What could be more well-loved? But do you know the connection? Magnets have long been critical in the food industry, helping with sorting and separating any metal scrap away from product, but they’re also involved in research and testing related to food quality and consistency. We’re not just talking about any food, but chicken nuggets specifically.

Magnets Used to Keep Nuggets Metal-free

In case you didn’t already know, we’re here to break the news — chicken nuggets aren’t shaped that way naturally. During prep, different kinds of chicken need to be chopped and pressed into a particular size and shape. After a while, the machines that compress the nuggets can chip and fragment, with pieces winding up on the conveyor belt. Left unchecked, the consumer may end up ingesting metal. 

The solution? Industrial magnets in cross-belt or belt magnets (overhead magnetic separators). These permanent magnets are suspended over a conveyor, attracting tramp metal as it passes by. Even if there is a power fluctuation or outage, the magnet will continue to attract and hold the metal. 

Magnets Used to Test Nugget Consistency

Last year, a study was published that looked at quality indicators in food. They decided to test seven types of chicken nuggets, each with a different coating, using a completely novel sensor that mimics or corresponds with the sensory capacity of human teeth. The sensor was constructed from a probe with a permanent magnet, a linear slider, spring, and circuit board. The linear slide activated the motion of the probe to simulate “chewing.”

Ultimately, two magnetoresistive elements and an inductor successfully measured and tracked the motion. It translated this data into compression force, evaluating things like repetitive durability. Researchers confirmed it was an effective way to measure and evaluate the consistency of the nuggets and their different coatings.

Apex Magnets Loves Innovation

We are always thrilled to hear about the innovative ways magnets are used, both for tried-and-true methods like food separators, and interesting new research (especially as it relates to chicken nuggets). Never hesitate to contact us about how you might use our products for your next study or business application.