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Color Me Spoiled

Is your lunch fresh enough to eat? Now the plastic wrap can tell you

Consumers often throw away perfectly edible food because they think it has “gone bad.” As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that food scraps constitute 12 percent of municipal landfills, making food the single largest component of the country’s waste stream.

To help prevent consumers from prematurely throwing away food, researchers are developing a plastic wrap that will change colors when the food is no longer safe to eat.

Made from “intelligent plastics,” the wrap will alert consumers when food is about to lose its freshness because it has broken or damaged packaging, has exceeded its “best before” date or has been poorly refrigerated.

An inexpensive wrap would be much more cost-effective than current technology that inserts freshness indicators inside the labels or food-industry packaging.

Not only would this color-changing wrap cut down on waste, but it would help save lives as well, as an estimated 76 million Americans contract food poisoning every year.

The researchers at Scotland’s Strathclyde University have received over $500,000 in funding form Scottish Enterprise, a government board. Hopefully soon they’ll be able to say, “that’s a wrap!”


Image: dvs/Flickr

2 Responses to “Color Me Spoiled”

  1. Can you tell us more about the colors it turns based on safe food and not safe foods? How does this work? Is it the temperature of the food?

  2. Will this work on chicken liver sandwiches

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