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Smart Tags Change Color When Food Spoils

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Smart Tags Change Color When Food Spoils
Photo American Chemical Society

Tired of sniffing milk to know if its still good? Well, those days may be over thanks to new smart tags developed by Chinese scientists.

Researchers from Peking University in Beijing came up with the innovative tags that work like stickers that change color to indicate when food has gone bad, CBS reports. This way you can say goodbye to spoiled milk, sour yogurt and even canned goods that have gone off.

Scientists used tiny compounds made of gold and silver called nanorods, which are naturally red, to create the smart tags. The tags are about the size of a corn kernel and also contain agar agar, vitamin C and acetic and lactic acids. All of these elements interact with each other and overtime change from red (which indicates freshness) to yellow and finally green. (which means the item has spoiled).

The technology had great results when tested on milk. "We successfully synchronized, at multiple temperatures, the chemical evolution process in the smart tag with microbial growth processes in the milk," lead researcher Dr. Chao Zhang, a scientist at Peking University in Beijjing, said in a statement.

This is great news for chefs and consumers who have long tried to tackle food waste. In Europe, for instance, experts estimate that 50 percent of edible food goes to waste.

In recent years, researchers have battled food waste by developing products like the food huggers, silicone sleeves designed to make food stay fresh longer. It's still uncertain when the smart tags will hit the market but it's fair to say this new technology seems very promising. 

Check out this nifty infographic to learn more about why food waste has become a global concern:

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