Engineers Dutch Waanders and Christine Schindler are the masterminds behind a new product. They both studied biomedical engineering at Duke University. They thought that there should be an invention that detects foodborne illness. Therefore, they designed PathSpot, a device that uses spectroscopy or beams of light to identify contaminants such as E.coli, salmonella and norovirus. It uses the colors red and green to show impurity.
This summer, an experiment was conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to test cleanliness in restaurants. In a test kitchen, 383 people were watched preparing turkey burgers. Fewer than 31% of the people washed their hands for the recommended 20-30 seconds. After examining the kitchen, 41% of the objects such as refrigerator handles and spice containers were found to be contaminated. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that there have been 48 million illnesses and 3,000 deaths yearly due to food contamination.
Katrina Raben, C&C Science teacher, was asked about PathSpot and food contamination. “That’s really cool,” she said, “It’s interesting to see this technology.” Katrina believes it is important to be clean at all times, “especially when you are working with large groups of people.” Katrina’s advice is, “Wash your hands all the time.” She also advises people to use moisturizer. She thinks it would be an amazing idea for farmers to use PathSpot when handling our produce and on products leaving a packaging facility.
Schindler and Waanders have big plans for the future. They hope to create a device that can spot peanut oils in schools. This idea is extremely beneficial, because many people have peanut allergies and this product can help prevent cross contamination. PathSpot Technology is also planning to design products that detect flu and staph infections.
Overall, maintaining a clean environment is crucial. If people do not wash their hands properly, food and other objects can be contaminated and harm other people. Therefore, make sure to keep your hands clean in order to keep our community safe.