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SMS from dinner: eat me, I’m going off

London - If you have trouble deciding what to have for dinner, help could soon be at hand – with your food texting to tell you it needs eating.

Scientists have developed a computer chip that can be inserted into food packaging and is able to assess when the contents are nearing their use-by date.

File photo: Existing detection methods often require bulky equipment and tedious sample preparation by a trained operator, said the study. Credit: sxc.hu

The chip could alert the owner by sending a text message telling them they need to eat the food.

The new technology would be far more effective than sell-by dates, which cannot take into account the conditions the produce is being stored in. This could radically reduce the amount of food being thrown away.

An EU committee in the Netherlands heard the chip was “quite close to commercial production”.

Committee chairman Baroness Scott of Needham Market said that the current practice of a best-before date “assumes that everything’s equal; it just assumes that you all keep your food at the same temperature. Whereas this would actually respond to what the real conditions are.”

Baroness Scott added: “I’m having enough trouble with my text messages without the fridge texting me. Realistic or not, it’s interesting to see where innovation can lead.”

Waste reduction group WRAP said UK households throw away around seven million tons of food every year. It says just over four million tons of produce could be saved if households were less wasteful. The estimated cost of the waste is £12-billion. - Daily Mail

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