The plastic lid is integrated with a sensor that can detect when bacteria start to form on the food.
A group of Japanese scientists has created a small device integrated into a transparent plastic lid that can detect when foods such as meat or fish are in poor condition, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported today.
It is a “smart material” one centimeter long that reacts when placed on these products, and the use of which would prevent cases of food poisoning, according to its creators, a group of researchers from Yamagata University in Japan.
The sensor is capable of detecting histamine, a substance created when bacteria begin to break down amino acids in food, and is capable of causing symptoms of food poisoning even in small amounts.
The device consists of a microcircuit printed on semiconductor material in a plastic casing, and in the future it could be integrated into packaging capable of automatically reporting bad food conditions.
Currently, there are other similar sensors in the development phase, although much larger, Japanese scientists point out.
According to the Nikkei newspaper, from this prototype the researchers intend to develop a device that can be sold in about three years.
A team at Yamagata University, led by scientist Shizuo Tokita, is also working on a system to connect this technology to mobile phones, with the aim of enabling consumers to receive information on product status remotely.