Food manufacturers are faced with the challenge of maximizing product quality, while processing large quantities of ingredients to maintain profitability. While many measures can be taken to reduce contamination of food products with foreign material, small particles will often make their way into the product. Optical microscopy provides a means for viewing the contaminant to assess color and morphology, but the identity of the contaminant material may not be confidently established with this technique. Without positive identification, it is difficult to identify the source of the contaminant. Infrared microscopy provides a means for characterizing the visual appearance of small particles and debris, together with compositional measurements, helping quality personnel to identify the possible source(s) of contamination in the manufacturing process.