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Smart labels on red meat and poultry packaging

In the US, a prototype is being studied, it will measure freshness in real time

Smart labels could help consumers feel more confident about the freshness of red meat and poultry. In the US, Ynvisible, a company specializing in intelligent technology and printed electrochromic displays, recently partnered with Innoscentia, a food technology company, to integrate custom sensors and produce a prototype of a smart label specifically designed for the meat and poultry industries.

“The main advantage of this technology is that it can save meat because it can extend the shelf life of the product. Traditional labels bearing the expiry date have a safety margin which guarantees that the product can be consumed up to a limit threshold, regardless of whether the rules for a perfect state of conservation have been observed", said Philip Holgersson, Business Developer at Ynvisible. "By combining Innoscentia sensor technology with our displays and experience in printed electronics, we can create a label that measures the freshness of meat in real time. A technology that allows the monitoring of food quality in real time can reduce food waste by minimizing the quantity of spoiled product". In essence, therefore, a solution that aims to significantly reduce food waste and detect that spoiled on time, even before the expiration date.

According to a portal specializing in news and analysis for the global poultry industry, more than 48 million Americans are affected by a foodborne disease each year, and of these 3,000 remain victims, estimates the Center for Disease. US Control and Prevention. Contaminated or spoiled poultry meat is the underlying cause of 19% of deaths attributed to foodborne illness.

The display of the label prototype under study is made with printed organic electronics and contains three indicators whose parameters change as the state of freshness of the meat changes at the time of purchase. Consumers will also be able to scan the label with their mobile phone to view more information about the product itself. "The display is a crucial component of these new labels, acting as an interface between the human being and the smart label packaging", explained Holgersson. "From the industrial point of view it has low production costs". The display can also be combined with other sensor technologies to serve different purposes or for different products, which in the future could range from sensing pH to temperature, humidity, chemicals and more.

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EFA News - European Food Agency