When buying meat and fish, determining spoiled from good is easy. Physical damage can be seen easily. Microbial spoilage and rancidity are identifiable by discoloration and emission of bad smell. Early signs of microbial spoilage cannot scape the sharp nose of meticulous buyer. However there are instances that onset of spoilage cannot be detected.
1) Package products. Thick plastic package can prevent the emission of foul odors. You will discover that it is spoiled after opening.
2) Sometimes buyer’s nose is not sensitive enough to detect bad smelling meat and fish, especially during onset.
3) Bad merchants are processing the product to hide the spoilage, the popular strategy of botcha / double dead meat sellers. Meats are processed to lechon, tocino and longganisa.
Scientist developed the so called electronic noses to determine food spoilage. It is accurate in determining various signs. Its implementation is somewhat expensive. It will add to product cost and will make it less affordable. Not a good idea in a competitive marketplace.
Fraunhofer Institute developed another mean of detecting meat and fish spoilage. It is a film that respond to biogenic amines emitted by spoiled foods. Amines are volatile compounds responsible for meat and fish unpleasant smell. The food is spoiled when its color changes from yellow to blue. It is placed between the protective layer and the plastic package to prevent any migration. The protective layer is permeable to amines so it can reach the indicator film.
Indicator film has the following advantages:
1) It is cost effective. Product integration will have only slight impact on price.
2) Cheaper than electronic sensors or electronic noses.
3) Integrated to plastic packaging of meat and fish to provide early and accurate detection of spoilage.
4) It is more effective than expiry date. The product expiration date is only an estimate of shelf life. It might be spoiled long before the declared expiry. Indicator film is real time.