Smart Sensors May Be Able to Tell You When Food is Spoiled

Nowadays, if you want to make sure your food hasn’t spoiled, you are limited to some very unscientific options. You can check the date, look at it, and/or smell it. None of these methods are completely reliable, leaving it possible for you to become sick from eating bad food. Cosmetics have an expiration date, too, and using them after they have “gone off” can cause skin irritation and eye infections. Or they could make you susceptible to skin cancer or sunburn if they contain a sunscreen on which you’re relying for sun protection.

The days of not knowing whether food or cosmetics have become spoiled may soon be over.  Researchers at Clarkson University of New York have invented an inexpensive, portable, paper sensor that can detect contamination and spoilage in both food and cosmetic products. The easy-to-use sensor can also identify new medicinal plants and tell you whether or not the wine or tea you’re drinking is authentic.

3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net

The paper changes color when it comes into contact with spoiled food or cosmetics. The more the color changes, the more severe the level of spoilage or contamination. The process works by reacting to certain specific bacteria. For example, one of the contaminants it currently reacts with is ochratoxin A, which is a fungal toxin found in products like cereal and coffee. Scientists hope its use could be expanded even further and that the sensors will be able to identify salmonella and E. coli in the future. These two contaminants are responsible for thousands of severe cases of food poisoning every year.

Not only can these sensors tell you when food has gone bad, they also, by default, let you know when food is still okay to eat. Thousands of pounds of food are thrown away each year because people rely heavily on expiration dates to tell them when food is no longer safe to eat. Often, food that is past its printed date is still perfectly safe to eat if it has been stored correctly. This is because those labels are more reliable for telling consumers when food might not taste as good. They are meant to be used as “best by” dates rather than “must use by” dates.

These sensors are currently still in the testing stages, but their developers hope to have them in the hands of consumers as soon as possible.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • The Tallest Unoccupied Building In The World

    Coming in at a whopping 105 stories and 330 meters tall the Ryugyong hotel is a pyramid-shaped skyscraper in Pyongyang in North Korea. The name of the hotel actually translates to “Capital of Willows” and is one of the names that historically was used to refer to Pyongyang. Some, however,...

    Read More
  • It Would Take You 6 Billion Years To Beat This Supercomputer

    This ultrapowerful supercomputer is so fast and shiny it puts every other supercomputer to shame, just unveiled in a ceremony at the physics laboratory in Tennessee, it is named Summit. At this moment it has not been confirmed but it is believed to be the fastest supercomputer in the world. The interesting point for the...

    Read More
  • Every Panda In The World Is Owned By China

    No matter where the panda is or in what realm of the world he is wandering, one thing they all have in common is they are actually all owned by the Chinese government. And they make quite a hefty sum of money from leasing them out every year. The panda...

    Read More
  • Switzerland Has Accidentally Invaded Liechtenstein Three Times

    You may not have heard of the small country of Lichtenstein, a tiny country in central Europe which is landlocked by Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. It is a microstate, and still has a constitutional monarchy with the Prince of Liechtenstein at the top. But that didn’t stop Switzerland accidentally invading...

    Read More
  • Prehistoric Frogs Show Us Life From 99 Million Years Ago

    Scientist and archeologists together have been able to shine a light into a lost world, finding frogs trapped in a sticky amber resin from over 99 million years ago. These frogs have been preserved in the resin and have most likely been there since the end of the Age of the Dinosaurs. [caption id="attachment_4700" align="aligncenter"...

    Read More
  • Walking Through A Door Can Cause A Loss In Memory

    It has happened to all of us, we think we know what we are looking for and suddenly you do not. As you enter the next room, you are left wondering why on earth did you walk through the door? You run upstairs to grab your phone before going out, and then when you get...

    Read More
  • When One Team Was Defending Both Nets

    When it comes to strange football matches there have been many, some point to the 31 goals Australia put passed American Samoa or the infamous AS Adema 149-0 win over SO l’Emyrne. But actually, the strangest match of football was between Barbados and Grenada during the 1994 Shell Caribbean Cup. ...

    Read More
  • Ball Lightning The Mysterious Glowing Phenomenon

    For years ball lightning has stumped scientists and caused panic all around the world. Many times it has been mistaken for UFOs and caused confusion, even causing damage to homes. And for many centuries it was a mystery, it made no sense when confronted with the norms of science. Was it something supernatural? [caption id="attachment_4691"...

    Read More