Food dyes could improve deli slicer food safety

Meatingplace reports this morning that two approved red food dyes, FD&C No. 3 and No. 40, stain the protein and fat in bologna and turkey lunchmeat and may help deli managers quickly determine areas of listeria contamination, according to a study by University of Arkansas researchers funded by the American Meat Institute Foundation.

Researchers noted that use of a 1:1,000 dilution of the dyes could enable deli managers to determine whether additional cleaning is required before sanitizing the slicker or beginning operations.

Researchers also found that heating deli slicer components in moist oven conditions caused a five-log reduction of listeria within three hours at 82 degrees C. However, because this treatment would not be feasible to use on an assembled deli slicer because of potential damage to the electrical components, continuing research involves using various sanitizers alone and in combination with moist heat to reduce potential listeria contamination of disassembled stainless steel and aluminum deli components.

Color-changing bar codes could indicate safety

I knew Mom wanted us to have dinner with the family, so when my stomach started growling on the four-hour drive to her house I dutifully chose a strawberry milk at the truck stop over the fried chicken I knew was at the counter.

My husband and I both got a bottle of pink moo juice (which is markedly different from yellow cow water) and one was past its “Use by” date.

When I walked back in to tell the cashier, she simply said, “Ew,” and held out her hand for the offending product while I went to get a new one.

I knew the date on the bottle told me when my drink would taste the best; it didn’t really say much about whether it was safe.

Safety is a result of a product’s history.

Brett Lucht and William Euler — chemistry professors at the University of Rhode Island – came up with a nearly invisible dye that will turn red when a package of food gets above 40 F.

That could tell me whether a bottle of milk was likely to be safe before I bought it.

The professors also have a patent for a two-bar code system that uses one made with color-changing dye to mask the one that’s typically scanned at the checkout when the product has warmed up too much.

Sounds pretty cool. I wonder which manufacturers would be willing to use it?