Food labelling invention tracks ‘use within’ dates on food products

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 22nd May 2012

The inventor of a ‘smart food label’ believes it could could have far-reaching applications in the food service industry through its ability to reduce waste and save money for companies and consumers.

The UWI Label has been developed by its inventor, Pete Higgins, in conjunction with scientists from Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The UWI Label is a flexible smart label with an embedded chemical-based time indicator strip which displays the elapsed time from opening.

It is suitable for food and drink products which degrade or become hazardous when the recommended “use within” period has expired.

On the label, indicator panels in the label progressively turn green to show the elapsed time from the opening of a product. A red panel alerts the consumer when the “use within” period has expired and the product may no longer be safe to use.

Time ranges on the UWI Label can be set as hours, days, weeks, months up to a six month total and this desired time period is pre-set at the point of production manufacture.

Inventor Pete Higgins said, “The label reacts as a soon as a food jar or packaging is opened, then gives a visual warning when the product is no longer safe to consume.

“Beyond the obvious application for food production, the technology is also suitable in other sectors where products have a critical shelf life once opened – including industrial glues and sealants, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, blood transfusion services and veterinary,” he added.

The UWI Label is due to go into mass production before the end of 2012.