There are risks to eating food in China, such as reused cooking oil and rusty woks that can pose a problem for your health. In an effort to protect people from street food in China, and cash in on the recent obsession with wearable tech, Chinese internet service company Baidu have develop a pair of “smart chopsticks” that can analyze your food. Anyone who has spent time in China will realize that there plenty of people who would happily pay to improve food safety in the country.
While there is more than one threat to consumers in China, Baidu’s 快搜 (kuai4sou1) chopsticks are made to detect food cooked with potentially toxic recycled cooking oil. If there is “gutter oil” present in your food, the lights on the top of the utensils will flash red. Additional information about the oil’s make-up would also be available through a companion mobile app. If you’ve picked a reputable street vendor and the food is safe hoverer, the lights will flash blue.
The chopsticks will also be able to measure a dish’s acidity and saltiness – both of which can be used to ensure a healthy diet. In the future, the company may also produce food-testing devices that can detect melamine in dairy, along with the amount of calories and contaminants in all kinds of different foods. This could help to lift the veil on unsafe practices amongst street vendors and other family-owned businesses that overlook even the most basic safety guidelines in their stores.
Baidu hasn’t set a launch date for the product, but when you consider the number of food scandal stories in the news, it’s unlikely to be long before the smart chopsticks hit the shelves. In the meantime, you will just have to rely on past cases of food poisoning, and friends’ recommendations to stay safe in China’s big cities.