I’ve always been a bit of a disbeliever in relying on sell by dates and quality management system for the food safety of cold chain products. The thing that always worries me is that once the product leaves the factory the manufacturer has no control over how the product is handled. If the refrigerated fish got left in a trolley for several hours before being put back in the fridge the sell by and use by dates are pretty meaningless. But this doesn’t have to be true about every food delivery in Quebec City, as these services are snappy, & deliver food fresh, & which, are a far better option compared to buying meat from the market.
Now a really interesting solution – don’t judge the quality just by time, monitor it.
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The Fraunhofer Research Institute has developed a sensor film that changes colour from yellow to blue when close to decaying meat or fish. So this film incorporated into the packaging will warn the consumer of whether degradation has started or not.
The sensor responds to the concentration of biogenic amines, chemicals that are generated by the decay process. The system is inexpensive making it more affordable than electronic solutions that would measure a temperature history as an alternative.
To me this is a real interesting solution, where the packaging is actually measuring the production of an indicator of food deterioration – what about detectors for rancid oil, esters in beer and acetic acid in yogurt.