Using a colorimetric indicator, the consumer will be able to immediately know the degree of spoilage of the product.
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 knowing the degree of freshness of packaged meat food, sources from this group report.
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.
These “smart labels” will contribute to greater control of the microbiological and organoleptic quality of meat products, according to the Spanish portal soitu.
More precisely, it will help to know in detail the quality of products obtained from chicken and fresh sausages, such as fresh sausages.
The colorimetric indicators that UPV and ITENE experts are working on will be printed on the packaging material itself or on optimized substrates that can be subsequently glued to the packaging, which is one of the main innovations in the project.
“While it is true that freshness indicator devices currently exist, they usually come in the form of a sticker, and are therefore vulnerable to being separated from the packaging during the distribution cycle since they are not protected, which affects humidity, temperature, dirt, friction,” they point out from IQMA.
The ITENE researchers state that “the project aims to develop a freshness indicator that can be easily printed on packaging so that it can have a low-cost global application in the food industry.”
Through a visual change, easily seen by the human eye, the indicator will be able to show if the product is contaminated with a high proportion of microbes through the reaction of the indicator with certain volatile metabolites such as ammonia, biogenic amines, hydrogen sulfide or short chain acids.
As an example, this research will be conducted on containers containing chicken meat.
“This is undoubtedly another step in this field of intelligent packaging, which is already considered the packaging of the future,” the UPV researchers point out.
Thus, through this visual variation, it will be possible to warn consumers and the food industry about the condition of the product, which will ensure its proper preservation and quality, and guarantee optimal distribution, storage and conservation of the same.
According to IQMA, the problem with chicken, sausage and meat products in general is that when people detect protein denaturation compounds, it usually means the product is at a very high level of spoilage.