Stick-on labels and scanner can improve food safety, claims manufacturer

By George Reynolds

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Color Marketing

Two food quality testing products from Massachusetts-based Food
Quality Sensor International (FQSI) have been launched. One is a
stick-on label that can detect contamination inside a sealed
package from the outside, while the other is a handheld meter that
scans food surfaces for contamination, their manufacturer claims.

Because neither sensor is time or temperature dependent, contamination can be detected even when the meat and poultry has been handled in accordance with safety measures, reducing the risk of human illness or costly recalls.

The freshQ can be applied to the outside of sealed packaging by a meat packer or distributor at the beginning of the process. Using different colours to display the current quality of the product, processors and retailers can continuously monitor freshness during all points of the distribution channel.

When the label detects the bacteria reaches beyond the targeted contamination level, the label colour permanently changes signaling the product is spoiled.

The company said, there is no product on the market that directly and rapidly measures food spoilage bacteriology.

The SensorfreshQ's pocket-sized portability means it can be used to test product's freshness at all points in the distribution channel. The handheld, battery operated meter works with a multi-use disposable cartridge, the QCard, that plugs directly into the handheld unit. The three-step operation and green, yellow, and red LED output makes measuring simple for the user, the manufacturer claims.

Taking physical samples of the meat or poultry and performing bacteriological analysis, requires a minimum of 48 hours, a trained microbiologist in a controlled-environment bacteriological laboratory.

The SensorfreshQ can provide the consumer, the food service operator, the regulatory inspector, and the food processor with an inexpensive and rapid measurement of meat and poultry freshness, the company claims.

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