Novel "smart sticker" to detect pathogenic bacteria in perishable food

S.J. Chaves, M. Grynspan, R. Castro, J.S. Chaves
Instituto Tecnologico de Costa Rica, CR

Keywords: nanotechnology, smart sticker, pathogens, food

Summary:

Each year, millions of people around the world get sick or die due to food poisoning. Almost always, the people getting sick do not realize they are consuming perishable foods tainted with harmful bacteria. Bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria and Campylobacter are appearing in foods and causing people sickness such as gastrointestinal flu, septicemia and in some cases death. The “sell by dates” and “expiration dates,” is the most commonly used system to indicate food freshness. This system is clearly inadequate in today’s world where raw meat products from one part of the world are shipped to other parts by land, sea, and air. For these reasons, we developed a “smart sticker” utilizing nanotechnology to determine the presence of pathogenic bacteria in raw meats, including, but not limited to, beef, poultry, pork and fish. Our improved smart sticker indicates the quality of the meat to the consumer by providing a color change. The smart sticker can indicate to the customer: (1) if the appropriate temperature to handle the meat was compromised, and more importantly (2) if the presence of any harmful bacteria has increased to levels, which is considered harmful for human consumption.