Scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have invented an effective way to monitor food quality and freshness in real time. The major factor for food spoilage is the release of volatile gases due to the action of enzymes contained within the food or produced by microorganisms, such as bacteria, yeasts and molds growing in the food. The rate of release of such gases depends on food's storage history. In this technology, a reactive dye locked in a water-repellent material reacts with the gases released during food decomposition, and changes color. Thus a rapid and informed decision can be made about quality of food and its shelf life under the storage conditions used. Since the detection is based on biological processes that are the root cause for food spoilage, these indicators are much more reliable.
This technology provides an excellent alternative to the current methods for assessing food quality that cannot accurately estimate shelf life of food products due to unreliable storage history. This technology is also much less expensive than the current methods. These indicators have been successfully tested on seafood and meats and can be easily adapted to dairy products. This product is fully developed, market-tested and ready for full commercial rollout.
Bill Ronnenberg, JD-MIP, MS
FDA Technology Transfer Program
10903 New Hampshire Ave.
Building WO1, Rm 4214
Silver Spring, MD 20993
OTT Reference No: E-093-1997/0
Updated: August 9, 2015