Can This Device Save You From Food Poisoning?

Photo: PERES
Photo: PERES

If your fridge is a graveyard of expired foods, listen up. PERES, a handheld device designed to identify when meat has gone bad, could help you decide whether or not it’s time to toss that beef, pork, poultry or fish. While our eyes and nose might conclude a cut of meat is safe to eat, some brands use tricky methods, like adding carbon monoxide into beef packaging, to maintain the red color associated with freshness. Plus, how you store meat in a fridge sometimes contributes to faster spoilage. But can a scanner the size of a TV remote really tell when that chicken goes bad? 

“After experiencing food poisoning myself, I decided to create a device that would help me and my family easily check the freshness and quality of our food,” writes Augustas Alesiunas, the CEO of PERES who has spent the majority of his professional life developing innovative food and agricultural products. He’s brought his latest idea to the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, where the PERES campaign has already exceeded its goal of raising $50,000 (the campaign ends on May 31, 2014).   

PERES food poisoning

So how does this so-called “electronic nose” work? Developed by a Lithuania-based food and agriculture tech company, PERES is outfitted with gas, temperature and humidity sensors that transmit information via Bluetooth to a mobile app. To detect the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that result in spoilage, PERES employs metal oxide semiconductors (MOS), a technology commonly used for detecting toxic gases like carbon monoxide.

The PERES development team hopes its innovative device will reduce the number of instances of food poisoning — which strikes approximately one in six Americans each year — while also minimizing the amount of food waste by letting consumers know when meat is still edible. If production continues according to schedule, the first beta testers will receive the device in July 2014. Until July (and even with a fancy device on hand), it’s important to keep playing it safe when it comes to the meat we may or may not choose to ingest.

Would you trust a device to tell you if your food has spoiled? Share your take in the comments below!

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