Meat: smart tags will recognize their freshness

A team of scientists from the Research Institute for Applied Molecular Chemistry (IQMA) of the Polytechnic University of Valencia is developing a “smart label” that will allow determining the degree of freshness of packaged meat food, sources from this group report.

These “smart labels”, composed of a colorimetric indicator, will contribute to greater control of the microbiological and organoleptic quality of meat products, especially those made of chicken and fresh sausages.

The novelty of the project is that these indicators will be printed on the packaging material itself or on optimized substrates that will be subsequently glued to the packaging. “Although it is true that there are currently devices for freshness indicators, they usually come in the form of a sticker and are therefore subject to separation from the packaging during the distribution cycle because they are not protected, they are affected by humidity, temperature, dirt, friction”, IQMA points out.

The project, funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, also involves researchers from the Technological Institute for Packaging, Transport and Logistics (ITENE) and the company Cárnicas Serrano. The goal they are striving for is to create an indicator that can be printed on packaging to reduce application costs for the food industry.

Functioning
The indicator reacts with certain volatile metabolites such as ammonia, biogenic amines, hydrogen sulfide or short chain acids. Through a visual change, easily visible to the human eye, the indicator will reveal whether the product is contaminated or not.

In this way, the sanitary status of the contents of the container can be certified, which ensures its quality during the entire distribution, and the container itself is the one that informs about the danger of its consumption in case of contamination or degradation of the product. drags along.

For their part, ITENE researchers confirm that the development of communication elements that monitor or control the quality or organoleptic properties of food products is a new trend that is currently in the study and development phase.


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