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End of the 'best before' date?

Use-by and sell-by dates have been heavily criticised for being inaccurate, especially when it comes to meat - resulting in tonnes of food being thrown away unnecessarily. To solve this problem of wastage, a more accurate method has been devised by a student from London that uses food labels filled with gelatine.

The Bump Mark label is smooth to the touch to begin with, but as the food inside the packaging decays, the label becomes bumpy. This means all anyone, including blind people, can quickly identify when food is safe to eat, and when it should be thrown away.

HOW DOES BUMP MARK WORK?

This means all anyone, including blind people, can quickly identify when food is safe to eat, and when it should be thrown away.

Bump Mark was invented for the James Dyson Award by Industrial Design and Technology student Solveiga Pakstaite from London's Brunel University.

‘Using gelatine to model the decay process of food, Bump Mark is able to tell you exactly the condition your food is in, simply by running your finger over the label,’ explained Pakstaite

‘If it’s smooth, then you’re good to go, but if you start to feels bumps as the gelatine breaks down, be cautious.’

Earlier this month, the UN food report stated 40 per cent of all the food produced in the US is never eaten, and in Europe, residents throw away 100 million tonnes of food every year. Part of the issue was blamed on bad shopping habits and throwing away food even when it’s safe to eat.

Pakstaite’s label is filled with gelatine, set over a bumpy plastic sheet. Because jelly is solid when it sets, the bumps cannot be felt at first, but as the gelatine decays, it becomes a liquid. This means that the bumps underneath the plastic sheet can be felt, letting the user know it has expired. Gelatine is protein, so it decays at the same rate as protein-based foods.

The label simply copies what the food in the package is doing, so the expiry information is said to be far more accurate than a printed date.

Source: www.dailymail.co.uk - 30 July 2014