Packaging material can warn of bad food

April 20, 2011 at 7:41 PM
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MUNICH, Germany, April 20 (UPI) -- German researchers say they've developed a food packaging material that can warn consumers when packaged fish or meat has begun to go bad.

A sensor film developed by the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies can be made part of the package and will change color to alert buyers of food spoilage, an institute release said Wednesday.

The film is integrated into the inside of the packaging, where it responds to biogenic amines, molecules produced when foods, especially fish and meat, decay.

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," Fraunhofer scientist Anna Hezinger said.

"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," Hezinger said.

The research was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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