Food waste is a global problem caused in large part by premature food spoilage. Seafood is especially prone to food waste because it spoils easily. Of the annual 4.7 billion pounds of seafood destined for U.S. markets between 2009 and 2013, 40 to 47 percent ended up as waste. This problem is due in large part to a lack of available technologies to enable rapid, accurate, and reliable valorization of food products from boat or farm to table. Fortunately, recent advancements in spectral sensing technologies and spectroscopic analyses show promise for addressing this problem. Not only could these advancements help to solve hunger issues in impoverished regions of the globe, but they could also benefit the average consumer by enabling intelligent pricing of food products based on projected shelf life. Additional technologies that enforce trust and compliance (e.g., blockchain) could further serve to prevent food fraud by maintaining records of spoilage conditions and other quality validation at all points along the food supply chain and provide improved transparency as regards contract performance and attribution of liability. In this chapter we discuss technologies that have enabled the development of hand-held spectroscopic devices for detecting food spoilage. We also discuss some of the analytical methods used to classify and quantify spoilage based on spectral measurements.
Part of the book: Innovation in the Food Sector Through the Valorization of Food and Agro-Food By-Products