A new laser instrument, which will keep a tab on the gas content of packaged food, has been developed by scientists.
The foods are packaged in a protective gas to increase their shelf life but till date no safe and good method had been developed which would check if the gas content is of appropriate level.
In line with this, researchers in Atomic Physics and Packaging Logistics developed a new laser instrument that could solve the problem. The first product is expected to be ready for market launch later in the autumn.
"It will be the first non-destructive method. This means that measurements can be taken in closed packaging and the gas composition over time can be checked," says Marta Lewander, Doctor of Atomic Physics at Lund University in Sweden.
"This will make it possible to check a much higher number of products than at present."
Dr Lewander developed the technique in her thesis and now works as chief technical officer for the company Gasporox, which is commercialising the technology.
Today, spot checks are performed on individual samples, with the risk that damaged products could slip through.
"We hope that, in the long term, this type of equipment could also help to stop people throwing so much food away, because they would know that it is packaged as it should be", she says.
The product that will be launched in the autumn could be used to check and improve how airtight packaging is.
Gasporox estimates that within two years the method could also be used as a means of quality control in production when products are packaged. In the future, shops could also use it to check the shelf life of their goods.