Edible Bar Codes on Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner

Edible Bar Codes on Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner

September 29, 2018

Soon you can aim your smart-phone at a piece of beef and have an app display the meat’s entire history, such as where it was raised, what it was fed, and when and where it was processed.

A new electronic etching procedure developed by Pricewaterhouse Coopers creates an invisible, edible barcode made of non-toxic silicon dioxide.  At first, tags will be embedded in the beef’s primary packaging only, but eventually even individual steaks could be tagged.

The technology will be launched first in Australia and China in the upcoming year.  Such measures will help protect branded names for beef as well as keep food supplies safer for consumers, using the new technology to avoid repeats of multiple past food fraud incidents.

This post is based on the Herald Scotland article, Rog Wood: Hi-tech ways to tell us where our food comes from , by Rog Wood, September 3, 2018; and the Telegraph article, Fake steaks to be exposed by invisible barcode scannable on smart-phones, by Henry Bodkin, August 13, 2018. Image source: Image Source/GIPhotoStock.

Discussion Questions:

1. How will the use of invisible barcodes make the supply chain for meat more transparent?

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