Scientists have invented a new technology that may help with food poison prevention.
A team of researchers from China and the US have created unique NFC labels designed to be attached to food packaging that can send out a rotten food warning to smartphones, reported the Daily Mail.
Every year, 3,000 people die from foodborne illness.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, 48 million people in the nation get sick from foodborne illness. Of this vast number, approximately 125,000 people are hospitalized for food poisoning and 3,000 die.
These new NFC labels created by a team of researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and Nanjing University in China, is a wireless tag that uses Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to detect when meat goes bad. These gadgets could help reduce the millions of meat-related food poisoning cases that occur annually.
The NFC label can sense meat decomposition and send out a warning.
The wireless tag created by the scientists are not unlike those that are used in the security protection labels found on a variety of items ranging from DVD’s and alcohol to clothing.
According to the team of researchers, whose research findings were published in the journal Nano Letters, they built a polymer-based gas sensor that is capable of detecting biogenic amines (BAs). These are substances given off by meat as it rots, which is also responsible for the bad smell that accompanies decomposing meat.
These polymer-based gas sensors have been integrated into the NFC labels and are placed next to the meat. The researchers discovered that the sensors detected significant amounts of BAs from meat that had been stored for 24 hours at 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Using the NFC tech, they could then transmit this information to a nearby mobile phone.
“The amines released by spoiled food will increase the resistance of the polymer and switch on the modified NFC tags,” said Professor Guihua Yu, one of the team’s researchers, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“When a mobile phone gets close to the tags, a warning will be sent to the mobile phone. NFC technology is proven to be a convenient and precise approach for consumers, avoiding complex equipment and trained personnel.” Yu added.
The NFC labels are not yet ready for the market, however. The devices still require some technical improvements before they can be considered practical applications.