Food Engineering
Packaging

Food packaging technology: package indicators increase food safety

New "reveal inks" provide return to fridge reminders for products like milk and yogurt.

December 5, 2013

Undercooking and leaving out food for too long at an unsafe temperature were the sources of 21 percent of the outbreaks of foodborne diseases in private homes from 2009-2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thermochromatic inks from CTI display a "return-to-fridge" message
Thermochromatic inks from CTI display a “return-to-fridge” message when a refrigerated product starts to warm up and becomes vulnerable to spoilage. Source: CTI. 

But that may soon change. Chromatic Technologies announced the development of patent-pending “reveal inks” that provide return-to-fridge reminders for vulnerable products such as milk, yogurt and salsa. CTI’s reveal inks are activated by a combination of thermochromic inks.

“When a product such as milk is at a safe temperature, the ink message reads ‘drink milk,’ but when the milk container reaches a target warm temperature, the message’s color disappears, revealing a ‘return to fridge’ reminder to the consumer,” says CTI Chief Marketing Officer Patrick Edson. 

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends refrigerated foods should be discarded if they have been in temperatures above 40°F for more than  two hours. “Most parents know food safety is a big deal, but they need help understanding how long they can keep something out of the fridge. Food companies are understandably hesitant to put warning labels on their packaging, so the problem [of identifying potential spoilage] continues to exist,” says Edson.

The temperature response message can be turned on or off throughout the life of the package. The inks and messaging can be customized and printed onto cans, paper labels, cartons and film.  

 

For more information:
Chromatic Technologies Inc., 719-592-1557, www.ctiinks.com