October 19, 2018

New Device Sniffs Out Decomposing Food

A new device called PERES can tell if your food is rotting. Please note that this device does not detect pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella; it just detects volatile organic compounds that decaying or decomposing beef, pork, and poultry gives off.

warning recall signThe device has four sensors to check temperature, humidity, ammonia, and volatile organic compounds. Bluetooth technology transmits data to a smartphone or tablet, which displays results.

Most food that is rotten or not fresh can be detected with a keen sense of smell. Pathogenic bacteria do not emit any type of gas or odor and food contaminated with Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria will not smell, look, or taste bad.

If you don’t have a good sense of smell, this device may be a good investment. But it won’t help protect you from food poisoning, and the ads for the product are a bit deceptive, since the manufacturer mentions that there are 76 million (actually 48 million) cases of food poisoning every year in the United States, as though this device would help prevent that. Almost all, if not all, of those cases are caused by pathogenic bacteria and norovirus, which PERES does not detect.

The army is currently developing a handheld device that will be able to detect pathogenic bacteria, but it is not available either to armed services members or the public.

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