Blog: Dean BestJapanese use barcodes to battle faked sell-by dates

Dean Best | 26 August 2009

A Japanese design outfit has come up with a clever solution to faked sell-by dates with labels that change colour as the food product gets older.

The new design, using a pigment derived from red cabbage, changes colour based on the level of ammonia the food emits as it ages.

After it has passed its expiration date, the barcode is no longer readable, making it impossible to sell.

The designers at To-Genkyo say they wanted to do something to improve the poor presentation of printed sell-by dates with something more understandable and graphic.

They also wished to address the growing problems of food safety in Japan where recently some food firms were found to have lied about food freshness.

To-Genkyo hopes to have the labels in shops by the end of this year adorning mostly meat items as the designers said the reactive ink seems to work best with animal products.

Michael Fitzpatrick

Barcodes to battle faked sell-by dates


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