Food Patches: A Test Fighting Against Foodborne Illnesses

By Leili Najmabadi 

            Throughout the history of the food industry, the safety of meats has been debated and now McMaster researchers have provided a test to aim to bring an end to this uncertainty. Six hundred million illnesses in the world can be attributed to foodborne pathogens, and 30% of foodborne cases affect children under the age of five. Mechanical and chemical engineers, as well as biochemists, recently created a patch that can detect if pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella are present in a package of food. Harmless molecules were printed on the transparent patch and this new technology could eventually replace the need to have expiration dates. A variety of simple devices, including smartphones, would be able to pick up on the patch’s signal. The material being used has been named “Sentinel Wrap” based on the research network responsible for its development. Carlos Filipe, Tohid Didar, and Yingfu Li all played important roles in this project. This novel technology has no effect on the contents of the food or drink being tested. As for next steps, implementing this technology on a more global scale would be fairly easy as well as inexpensive, and could greatly affect daily safety concerns in food consumption.


McMaster University. "Transparent patch to detect dangerous food-borne threats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2018. <>.