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Posted: November 14, 2006
Smart ink nanotechnology keeps food safe
(Nanowerk News) Scientists at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow have developed smart technology that could put an end to consumers paying for spoiled food.
Professor Andrew Mills and his team at the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry have created an intelligent ink which detects the presence of oxygen in food packages. If the package seal is broken, either accidentally or by tampering, the ink changes colour, warning the consumer that the food is no longer safe to eat.
The patented ink could be used on labels on any kind of food, from milk to meat, bread and coffee.
Professor Mills said: "Leaking food packages are not uncommon, and they're more than just a nuisance. If the seal is broken, it means oxygen is getting in, drastically reducing the freshness of the food so it may no longer be safe to eat.
"Our technology has the potential to eliminate food poisoning due to poor packaging or tampering. The labels will also reassure customers that the food theyre feeding their families is as fresh and safe as it left the factory."
The ink was created with light-sensitive nanoparticles, which only detect oxygen when they are 'switched on' with UV light. The ink is also inexpensive, making it suitable for use in large numbers of labels.