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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bio-reactive food expiry label could cut food waste

A researcher has created a use-by-date label that decays as the same rate of food, in order to drastically reduce unnecessary food waste.
Image: Bump Mark
Known as the Bump Mark label, this new bio-reactive expiry date is made from gelatine, a protein that reacts to environmental conditions such as temperature and light - and anything else that affects food.
Developed by Sloveiga Pakstaite from Brunel University in London, the label has been named the UK winner of the James Dyson Award for innovatively tackling the global problem of food waste.
Each year the UN estimates that seven MILLION tonnes of food is wasted in the UK alone, often because it’s passed its marked use by date. However, much of this food would still be fine for consumption.
But the Bump Mark, because it contains an edible substance, can actually work out when something is no longer safe to eat.
"Gelatine sets solid but it has this property that when it is fully expired it loses its structure,” Pakstaite told the International Business Times UK.
The design works by placing gelatine on top of a textured plastic sheet - and when food goes off, the label will feel bumpy instead of smooth. This means it would also help people who are visually impaired to find out if what they were about to eat had gone off.
As Anthony Cuthbertson explains for the International Business Times UK:
“It can be used with different foods with varying expiration dates, such as milk or meat, by increasing or decreasing the concentration of the gelatine, whereby the higher the concentration, the longer the label will last.”
Pakstaite has now received £2,000 from the Dyson Foundation to further develop the device.
Source: International Business Times UK