Montezuma's revenge, the toilet two-step, the potty party—no matter what cutesy name you call it, food poisoning is not fun. Enter Peres, a new gadget that aims to take the dread out of dinner. This "electronic nose" can scan your food for indications of spoilage and then let you know via an app on your phone if you should partake or pass on Grandma's special chicken.
Peres uses four types of sensors—detecting temperature, humidity, ammonia, and volatile organic compounds—to scan beef, pork, poultry, and fish for signs of spoilage, and can sense three different levels of decay: fresh, unsafe, and spoiled. According to one of the founders, Augustas Alesiunas, "unsafe" means that you probably shouldn't eat the food if it contains raw meat such as sushi, carpaccio, or tartar, while "spoiled" means that there is a high risk for getting food poisoning from that item, regardless of the ingredients.
While Peres cannot detect specific bacterium like E. coli or salmonella (nor can it alert you to recalls of certain products), Alesiunas says it really puts the power back in the hands of consumers. "Once you have proof that something is spoiled, you can demand a refund from a store or even suggest a recall if all the items are rotten," she says. Eventually Alesiunas says he hopes to see consumers demanding Peres or similar technology in every store to make sure food is safe before they buy it.
Raw meat is thus far the only type of food Peres can analyze, but the company is hoping to expand its capabilities in the future to include more perishable items. In the meantime, the CDC recommends using a meat thermometer to make sure your meat is cooked to the proper temperature. Ground meats should be cooked to 165 F; steaks, roasts, and chops should be cooked to at least 145 F. Other cuts (such as wings or legs) should be 165 F. In addition, do not leave raw meat unrefrigerated or cooked meat sitting out for more than one hour.
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