TTI: new developments

Time-Temperature Integrators (TTIs) are "intelligent labels" that simulate bacterial development, as a function of time-and-temperature parameters. As soon as a critical threshold is crossed, a change in colour alerts the consumer that the foodstuff is unfit for consumption, with possibly unacceptable levels of microbiological contamination. This technology was first applied by the military and pharmaceutical sectors but has taken a long time to reach the food sector. Monoprix , a French retailer, equipped 400 distributor's-brand products with TTI- world-leader Temptime's Fresh-Check as early as 1995, but this did not boost TTI sales as hoped, mainly because of their cost. However, Temptime sells over 1 billion labels annually and has lowered its unit costs by 0.02-0.03 €, bringing them down to half their price 3 years ago. Since November 2005, Carrefour, equips several types of fruit and vegetables sold online via Cora is in the process of testing a transparent label for meat products; part of it darkens as soon as the cold chain is broken, making it impossible to read the bar code. In the US, Food Quality Sensor International just introduced freshQTM a new stick-on freshness sensor label that is applied by the meat packer, distributor or grocer to the outside of fresh-wrapped meat and poultry packages. freshQTM is being test marketed with Unified Western Grocers and Premium Protein Products. Composed of food-grade materials, it costs less than 1% of the total value of the average package. At Anuga FoodTec in April 2006, Ciba Specialty Chemicals (Switzerland) and FreshPoint (Israel) presented OnVu™, a "revolutionary" new system supplied either as printing inks or labels which can in principle be used for any product that is sensitive to temperature. OnVu™ TTI technology relies on the properties of pigments that change colour over time and when temperatures fluctuate. Process, September 2006 Consult the IIR Informatory Note entitled Temperature Indicators and Time-Temperature Integrators: