On June 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that Waveform Lighting's NorthLux™ T8 LED Tube Lights (6500K) have been approved for use in grain and commodity inspection applications.
As a part of the USDA's work in food safety and inspection, the AMS agency performs testing, standardization, grading of agricultural products. Grain products are inspected by the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) and include commodities such as corn, wheat, rye, oats, barley, flaxseed, sorghum, soybeans, triticale, mixed grain, sunflower seed, canola, and other food grains, feed grains, and oilseeds.
Grain product inspection is a visually intensive process, and requires appropriate and standardized lighting conditions. When evaluating a grain sample, different light color, spectrum or brightness can lead to differences in visual appearance, making accurate comparison nearly impossible without standardized and consistent lighting equipment in laboratory settings.
The NorthLux™ line of products offer 95 CRI and 6500K, which perfectly and consistently replicates the full spectrum natural daylight that comes in from a north-facing window, and is an excellent match for a lighting application such as grain inspection. As the FGIS program notice explains, it is critically important to use "artificial illumination that adequately simulates north-sky daylight in all grading laboratories to support grading accuracy."
The NorthLux™ T8 LED Tube Lights can be purchased direct from the Waveform Lighting website. Additional requirements for use include:
- Only the 6500K color option is approved. The 5000K color option has not been approved by the USDA. This is to ensure standardization across inspection locations.
- Fixtures that are used for inspection may only contain lamps of the same technology, and cannot be mixed or combined. For example, if one lamp in the fixture is an approved fluorescent lamp, all of the remaining lamps must also be an approved fluorescent lamp.
- The inspection surface should have an illuminance level of 150 - 200 footcandles. An inexpensive light meter will provide basic illuminance data and would be indispensable for verifying that sufficient light is falling onto the inspection area. If illuminance readings are outside this range, adjustment of lamp quantities or fixture placement may be needed.