Office of Commercialization Published Technologies
Package-mounted Colorimetric Freshness Sensors for Pasteurized Milk

Package-mounted Colorimetric Freshness Sensors for Pasteurized Milk


Challenge:  Waste of Milk in Cold Chain

Lifespan of pasteurized milk and other perishables varies greatly based on temperature control throughout the refrigerated distribution chain.  Production date is a poor proxy for freshness; batch marking of dates at initial processing does not allow for fine distribution management controls or consumer confidence that product is always fresh before marked dates.  In ideal conditions, milk may be safe and fresh-tasting beyond the expiry date, but dumped by grocers at that time.  More often, temperature abuse results in spoiled product before the marked expiry date.


This Technology:  Colorimetric Sensors Indicate Freshness of Milk in Sealed Cartons

A gas-permeable membrane separates a color-changing material from the headspace of food packaging.  The sensor material reacts with volatile organic compounds related to biological spoilage processes, and resulting coloration corresponds to remaining life of milk.



* Greater consumer confidence than date stamps

* Readable by machine or eye

* Actual spoilation state by package

* Intermediate indication of expected remaining usability


Intellectual Property Protection:

Filed US Provisional Patent Application

Patent Information: