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Smarter sausages with oxygen sensors for retail environments

Oxygen sensors and fluorescence filters could combine to keep supermarket sausages looking smarter for longer in the years to come.

Research has shown that the environmental conditions in which some foods are stored can affect their appearance and longevity.

Preserving stock from damaging light

Some larger supermarkets, for instance, use different lighting in their wine aisles, to avoid causing degradation to the bottled beverage.

Now a study in the journal Food Packaging and Shelf Life has looked at fluorescent lighting and oxygen levels, and their impact on cured boiled sausages.

The team at the Fraunhofer-Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV found shorter wavelengths of light have greater negative impact on discolouration – something fluorescence filters could help to combat.

And unsurprisingly, higher residual oxygen concentrations led to greater negative impact, something oxygen sensors could detect in the retail setting.

Keeping foods fresh with fluorescence

The study is a valuable reminder of the behind-the-scenes science that goes into keeping foods fresh for longer in modern retail environments.

For the retailers themselves, it is also a strong economic argument in favour of sensors and filters to detect and control potentially harmful substances – even if they are otherwise harmless gases like oxygen, or even simply certain wavelengths of light.