Intelligent Wrapping Tells When The Food Goes Bad
An intelligent wrapping tells when the food goes bad by changing its color?! Yeah, you have heard it right the researchers in Glasgow have developed an amazing color alternative for the traditional sniffing test by developing an intelligent wrapping technology.
The scientists are exploring various uses of intelligent wrapping . Until now the scientists could develop a technology where wrapping changes color when the food becomes stale.The smart packaging alerts the user to use the contents of the wrap on their own risk by changing color. Scientists say that this type of intelligent wrapping will help people to detect the exact use-by dates. Also, this type of packaging will put an end to malpractices practiced by dairy and meat manufacturers.
The intelligent wrapping also discards the need for indicator labels, which are inserted in food packets to indicate the proposed use-by date. These indicator labels are costly and they add to the cost of the food product by couple of units. But the new plastic wrapper is designed to work like a part of wrapping itself.
As said before there can be various uses of intelligent wrapping, but at present this type of intelligent wrapping can work well for foods such as meat, salad or fish that has been sealed in "modified atmosphere". In such modified atmosphere the oxygen is replaced with nitrogen or carbon units and these gases slow down the natural decaying process. The new plastic is developed so to change the color when the levels of oxygen rise beyond the set limits. The plastic also responds to the chemical changes brought about by food spoiling.
This intelligent wrapping project was lead by Prof Andrew Mills from the Strathclyde University. He added that "At the moment we throw out far too much food, which is environmentally and economically damaging." It is estimated that an average British household throws out 8.3 million tones of perfectly edible food each year.
Scientists believe that uses of intelligent wrapping can be more intense and elaborate than expected. Mills said that at present this technology will aid us in eating better and will literally help us to curb the unnecessary wastage of food. Mills also added that this sort of technological packaging may have direct and positive impact on the meat and seafood industries. This project was part funded by £325,000 grant from Scottish Enterprise's Proof of Concept program. This program aims to concentrate on technology which helps in commercializing research ideas.
Andrew Mills is quite hopeful that the first set of smart wraps will hit the market in two years.
This productive wrapping technology will lead to increase in production of the petroleum - based plastics. The real question that remains is that - do we need to rely on plastics anymore to preserve our food?
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