Sensing a Problem

I promise I don’t hate technology. I’m not writing this on parchment paper in a cave. But when I read about this scannable, edible patch, I wasn’t thrilled.

A Tufts professor has created a patch made from gold (Gold?! ) and plastic (yum!) that your smarty talky gizmo smartphone reads to note how much bacteria is on your food.

As seen in the local news coverage, the patch is supposed to communicate both whether or not food is still good and also whether it may have a food borne illnesses like e. coli. I think the latter can be quite useful, but the former will lead to much edible food being tossed–like we see at the end of the news segment (Argh!).

The problem, as I see it, is that the sensors will enhance the notion that we aren’t able to tell for ourselves whether or not food remains good. And it’s not going to err on the risky side. Thus, it will encourage more discarding of edible food. A better, lower-tech solution, is to trust your senses instead, as the mom interviewed says she’ll just have to do while waiting the 3-5 years for the sensors to come out.

Note to TV producers: Putting an edible sensor on a banana peel isn’t the best.

Note II: How will this thing save us money?

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