Toyota Tsusho Canada, Inc. (TTCI) will team up with McMaster engineers and biochemists to move a promising new food-safety technology from the lab to the marketplace. TTCI will contribute up to US$300,000 over two years to commercialize a bacteria-detecting patch that can signal when food has been spoiled by E. coli or other common food pathogens. The team will be led by Tohid Didar, Carlos Filipe and Yingfu Li from McMaster University.
Mechanical and chemical engineers at McMaster, working closely with biochemists from across campus, have collaborated to develop a transparent test patch, printed with harmless molecules, that can signal contamination as it happens. The patch can be incorporated directly into food packaging, where it can monitor the contents for harmful pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. If you go to a store and you want to be sure the meat you’re buying is safe at any point before you use it, you’ll have a much more reliable way than the expiration date. If a pathogen is present in the food or drink inside the package, it would trigger a signal in the packaging that could be read by a smartphone or other simple device. The test itself does not affect the contents of the package.