Tuesday, September 08, 2015

3-D Printed Plastics to Detect Milk Spoilage

The website Plastemart.com is reporting on a new 3D-printed plastic cap with embedded electronics that can detect the freshness of milk. Well, since it's 3-D printed, it's gotta be good, right? (Just like 30 years ago, anything that was done on a supercomputer had to be right. Gee, when was the last time you even heard the word "supercomputer"?)

You can read the article and see that it is some clever chemistry and engineering, but with no/none/zilch/nada-chance that this will ever make it to a grocery store near you. Of ALL the items in a grocery store, milk takes the cake for being the most price sensitive. Ground beef is a close second, but most stores end up selling milk for no profit, or even for a loss, just to get people to come into the store. So now these researchers are asking the store to take a bigger hit by paying for this fancy lid?

Furthermore, unlike other foods such as ground beef contaminated with e. coli or cold cuts rife with listeria monocytogenes, spoiled milk will not kill you. It probably won't even make you sick. The smell of spoiled milk should be enough to knock you out, but even if your nose is plugged and you missed the horrific odors, the taste and consistency will certainly have you spitting it out well before you could ever consume a large enough quantity to endanger you. Seriously, have you ever heard of someone dying from spoiled milk?

But there is one place where this technology could be useful: at the dairy farms themselves. Mastitis and other dairy diseases can greatly impact the quality of raw milk and when mixed with larger volumes of milk from healthy cattle, can lead to serious loses. The dairy industry is always in the need of faster and more robust tests and this might fit the bill. But consumers? Forget about it.

Previous Years

September 8, 2011 - Deuterated Gels

September 8, 2010 - Raising the Tg of PLA

September 8, 2010 - Interviewed by Chemjobber

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