April 14, 2011
MUNICHResearchers at Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies EMFT have developed an inexpensive packaging sensor film that changes color when it detects spoiled meat, poultry or fish.
The sensor film is integrated into the inside of the packaging where it responds to biogenic amines, which are molecules produced when foods decay. Amines also are responsible for their unpleasant smell. If amines are released into the air within the packaging, the indicator dye on the sensor film reacts with them and changes color from yellow to blue.
Once a certain concentration range is reached, the color change is clearly visible and assumes the task of warning the consumer," said Dr. Anna Hezinger, a scientist at EMFT. Unlike the expiration date, the information on the sensor film is not based on an estimate, but on an actual control of the food itself. Food safety is ensured by a barrier layer between the sensor film and the product itself. This barrier is only permeable to gaseous amines. The indicator chemicals cannot pass through."
Hezinger noted other solutions, such as electronic sensors, are expensive and would lead to a significant price increase of packaged meats.
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