Figuring out whether it's still safe to eat meat that may be a day of two past its sell by date can be tough. Sure, it might smell okay, but they put that date on there for a reason, and nobody wants to come down with a case of food poisoning.
A new device called the Peres aims to take some of the guesswork out of the process. A small handheld sniffer samples the air around the meat, measuring the levels of volatile organic compounds and ammonia along with the temperature and humidity, then transmits the data to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. Once analyzed, an app tells you whether the food is fresh, still okay but should be eaten straight away, or only fit for the trash can. Those results can then be shared through your social media accounts, although quite why you would want to tell the world about the rotten meat in your fridge isn't clear.
Developed by researchers at the Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania, Peres can measure the safety of beef, pork, poultry and fish, so it isn't quite as versatile at those little indicators we saw last month which can also test your medicine. On the plus side, Peres doesn't require any participation by the food supplier, so it should work with fresh meat, poultry and fish from any supplier. I suppose you could even bring it into your local supermarket to test stuff before you buy it, although I'm not sure if the butcher is going to be happy about having you sniffing around with your Peres.
Peres launched with an Indiegogo campaign, and is currently more than half way to its funding goal with over a month remaining. If you want to get in on the ground floor, a donation of $120 will secure you one of the first units off the line when they start shipping this fall. Until then, you're going to have to keep using the human sniff test.