Canadian researchers develop plastic strip to see if food has gone bad.
E-coli is the biggest fear in the food industry.
It can strike suddenly.
It can get into any kind food.
And it can kill people – lots of them.
And if doesn’t kill you it can make you violently ill.
The food industry is in fear of it because once it is known that their food supply is contaminated and it leads to costly recalls, stopped production, costing millions of dollars.
And to make matters it is difficult to detect the source of the outbreak.
And for consumers the biggest problem is that they can’t tell whether the food they bought is e-coli contaminated.
For example, you can’t tell by looking at the food or smelling it.
But what about – if you could just look at the plastic packaging of the food and you tell it was safe to eat?
And that is exactly what scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, are working on.
They have developed the Sentinel Wrap, a thin plastic patch that changes colour under ultraviolet light when it comes in contact with e-coli contaminated meat.
Consumers will be able to use an app on a Smartphone or other mobile device to “read” the fluorescence to see if the food inside the wrap was spoiled. And while the strip looks simple enough, it has taken 15 years of research and development to get it to work, says Tohid Didar, an assistant professor in McMaster’s chemical and mechanical engineering department.
The patch is not yet commercially available.