Smart labelling system detects fresh food

By Nichola Murphy
Monday, 04 September, 2017

Perishable foods and their expiry dates are a difficult aspect of food production, as organisations must conform to strict legal regulations to ensure safety.

European regulations are continuously attempting to ensure the estimated expiry date of a product matches its freshness. As part of a European Commission funded SME program, packaging research institute ITENE has developed Freshcode, which is a smart labelling system that provides a visual indicator guaranteeing the freshness of packaged chicken breasts.

The colour indicator suggests the ideal consumption period for filleted and deboned chicken breasts in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). It achieves this by placing the Freshcode label containing intelligent ink inside the packaging film, which detects the emission of volatile gases released when the chicken begins to spoil. While the label is originally white, the ink colour becomes darker with these gases and eventually becomes black when the product is no longer consumable. The freshness can be evaluated by comparing the label colour to the reference colour.

Unlike previous smart packaging, Freshcode has high technological value that ensures the reliability of the product from both a distribution and consumer perspective. It allows individual food safety controls for distributors, increases demand and sales for poultry product processors and packers, and reduces the risk of food poisoning for consumers.

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