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    Butchers Beware: China Launches ‘Meat Sniffer’ to Check Flesh Freshness

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    Researchers at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), the main contractor for the Chinese space program, have designed a handheld gadget to determine the freshness of meat.

    According to Xinhua, the "freshness sniffer," as researchers at CASIC's Beijing Institute of Radio Metrology and Measurements call the tool, employs special sensing technologies to determine the freshness of meat. 

    "It can tell you whether the meat is fresh or not so fresh and needs to be cooked well, or if it has already been spoiled," Institute engineer Niu Ye told Xinhua.

    ​"You open the device and an application on your mobile phone and then place the device very close to the meat for about 10 seconds," Niu explained.

    "It's not so hard for an immoral vendor to trick consumers' noses and eyes. And, unfortunately, it's not so easy for us to determine whether a piece of meat has begun to spoil, especially at the beginning of the process," Niu explained.

    The "freshness sniffer," which can be connected to mobile phones through Bluetooth, detects and measures levels of ammonia and other volatile organic compounds being released from the uncooked meat. It then analyzes the levels of such compounds to determine the amount of bacteriological activity in the meat. The results are then displayed on your mobile phone. 

    The device can be used on all types of meat including pork, beef, mutton, chicken and fish. So far, the first design of the gadget is about 80 to 90 percent accurate.

    Adaptations to the device's hardware are expected to improve its accuracy. The gadget will be particularly useful to people who buy meat from unlicensed vendors in rural areas or those who forget to place fresh meat in the refrigerator after purchasing it.

    "We intend to mass-produce the device and promote it on the home market," Liu noted.

    This device is the first such device developed by Chinese engineers, although there are similar products in foreign markets.

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