May 8, 2015

Finnish research senses food spoilage

Ethanol, in addition to carbon dioxide, was found to be the main volatile spoilage metabolite in fresh-cut fruit. When detected in a package, information given by the sensor is transmitted to the customer by means of a RFID tag.
Ethanol, in addition to carbon dioxide, was found to be the main volatile spoilage metabolite in fresh-cut fruit. When detected in a package, information given by the sensor is transmitted to the customer by means of a RFID tag.
VTT

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a sensor that detects ethanol inside food packages. The chemical is formed when food spoils.

The information picked up by the sensor is then transmitted from the package to the customer by means of a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag, which can be wirelessly read by a smartphone.

The freshness data can be stored in real time in the cloud. Use of the sensor will assist with controlling food quality throughout the distribution chain and also prevent waste caused by spoilage. More than 100 tonnes of food products end up going to waste each year in Europe, and the amount is set to rise to 126 million tonnes by 2020.

The sensor and the RFID tag are manufactured into a label or sticker at low cost, and are easily attached to food packages via printing techniques.

The sensor’s potential also extends to other applications, such as in alcometers.

VTT is seeking a partner with which to commercialise the sensor.

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