I love science. It was the only subject at school that came naturally to me, heck I graded better in Science than I did in PE for goodness sake (which won’t necessarily surprise many of my Crossfit cohort).

Use By or Best Before dates’ days are numbered then, despite their obvious benefit in the past. Unfortunately Best Before and Use By dates do have their limitations, and frankly, the bods that come up with them play it reeeaaallllyyy safe to cover their arses, which is entirely understandable.

The problem is it’s terrible for the environment and costs the food industry (and the taxpayer) billions year on year. Fortunately then these dates may be a thing of the past, but how and why?

It all has to do with a ‘patch’ that has be developed by a multi-disciplinary team of mechanical and chemical engineers, as well as biochemists from McMaster Uni, and recently published in journal ACS Nano.

The patch is transparent and can be easily integrated into food packaging so that it can quickly and easily tell you if your grub is ACTUALLY ready for the waste bin. The patches contain scientifically proven harmless molecules which signal contamination to the foodstuff as it happens (not when the legislators ‘think’ it might happen).

If a pathogen is present in the food then a simple scan on a smartphone app would soon tell you what it is and if it’s safe or not. This could have a profoundly positive impact on food waste, but also the prevalence of foodborne illnesses such as e.coli and Salmonella.

The World Health Organization states that food borne pathogens result in approximately 600 million illnesses and 420,000 deaths per year. To compound this further, about 30 per cent of those cases involve children five years old and younger.


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