A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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This Color-Changing Plastic Will Tell You When Food Goes Bad!


Hey all moms out there -- how do you tell if your refrigerated food has gone bad? Do you smell it, look for an expiration date, or risk your taste buds by trying a small piece?

If you said yes to any or all of these questions, know you are not alone. We've all done at least one of these methods in the past, for both refrigerated and non-refrigerated items. After all, since the average American consumes 90 pounds of chicken every year, whose to say that seven-month-old frozen chicken isn't good anymore?

However, moms everywhere can rejoice as a new scientific discovery aims to take the guessing out of knowing if food is safe to consume or not. Braskem, a Brazilian company has recently discovered a method to make plastic food and beverage containers change color when the pH of its contents change. A change in pH is a surefire sign that the contents are spoiling, and Braskem is trying their hardest to ensure it is clear to the consumer that their food is unfit for consumption.

How it would work is easy. There would be a color code on the bottle that would indicate whether or not the product was fresh with a healthy pH level.

The idea for the technology originated in Brazil after the country had started to experience a wide variety of food safety scandals. Most notably, in March some food service employees allegedly bribed government food inspectors to pass rotten food chock full of salmonella. The country has also experienced a rise in food packaging tampering, from both the production facilities and transportation.

With this in mind, Braskem decided to create an easy way for consumers to ensure their health was protected when eating or drinking. And so while 66% of consumers have tried a new product because its packaging caught their eye, Braskem's new invention could help consumers put that plastic packaging to good use.

For now, Braskem's invention is still experimental, which means it won't be coming to a grocery store near you anytime soon. That being said, it can't get here soon enough. Food waste is at an all-time high, and according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans alone throw away $218 billion worth of food every single year. Even though the NRDC believes that this amount can be dramatically reduced by implementing standardized date labels, there is a lot of confusion surrounding the difference between sell by and use by dates.

Typically, sell buy dates are used for the grocery store to ensure fresh stock is in the correct rotation, and there is a rule of thumb that the product is good for another week after that date, according to the Washington Post. However, there are plenty of factors that affect this, so we simply learn to rely on our senses to figure out if something is good or not.

Braskem hopes to roll out this forward-thinking plastic technology worldwide within two to three years. Until then, moms will have to rely on their senses to decide whether those leftovers can survive another day.


  1. interesting to learn about, but will this plastic be recyclable...?

  2. This is great! I'll be watching for this.

  3. Color-changing plastic sounds like a great idea! Very useful!

  4. I don't have a good sense of smell so often don't notice when something goes bad, I could sure use this!


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