UK researchers develop new ‘intelligent’ indicator for perished foods

A packaging system that sends out a warning when food is no longer safe to eat could soon be available to food producers and consumers.

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, north of London in the UK, have developed an indicator, made of ‘intelligent plastics,’ which changes colour when food has perished or when it has been spoiled. 

Lead researcher, Professor Andrew Mills, of the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, said the indicator would help reduce food wastage and ensure better food safety.

"At the moment, we throw out far too much food, which is environmentally and economically damaging,” he said.

The indicator will be used as part of a form of food packaging known as modified atmosphere packaging, which keeps food in specific conditions that prolong its shelf life.

The researchers have said it will be far less expensive than conventional ‘freshness’ indicators that typically take the form of labels inserted into food packages.

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