Scientists make smart labels that change colour, warning when food has gone off

The days of getting food poisoning from spoiled food could be a thing of the past after a team of scientists at Clarkson University, New York created a pioneering paper sensor capable of detecting when food is no longer edible.

With over a million cases of food poisoning reported in the UK each year, this could be the breakthrough the industry and consumers need to help them stay healthy. The paper labels monitor the levels of contaminates, antioxidants and free radicals and change colour when the food is no longer safe to eat.
The team also hopes to develop labels that could identify potentially dangerous bacteria, such as salmonella and E. Coli. Team leader Professor Silvana Andreescu also stated that the sensors could be used for more than just food products, saying that they could be utilised in the cosmetics industry warning consumers when a products is no longer safe to use.

The industry has welcomed this new development in smart labels, which could help to combat food wastage in the UK. Recent figures from the Waste Resources Action Programme (wrap) state that the average household throws away over £700 worth of food each year, and estimates that around half of us throw away food that is still edible due to confusing use-by dates.

The team at Clarkson University, New York are still in the testing phase of these sensors and hopes to get them to market in the near future.

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