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RFID in My Food

“Um. . . excuse me, waiter. There is an RFID tag in my food.” Yes, another interesting concept to use RFID for. Over the years we have heard of many applications for RFID. As with any new technology, I think we sometimes get carried away.


Edible RFID chips? RFID tags on packaging could have some benefits, but what about RFID tags actually embedded in our food?

Where are the flying cars? Why can’t we teleport? Why don’t we inhabit other planets? Even though these are great ideas, at the moment we don’t have any of these technologies because they are not practical or feasible.

A colleague told me about the idea of putting RFID tags in food and having a smart plate to tell you what you were eating, how many calories are in the food, how old is the food, what farm the food came from and anything else you would want to know or not want to know about the item that you are eating. Well, that brought out the “old grumpy man” syndrome in me. I immediately started saying that is the worst idea I have ever heard in my life and started explaining why it was a bad idea. My colleague forwarded over to me the article and the idea of NutriSmart.

After reading the article, I admit that they have a few really good ideas and concepts. It’s a great idea to have a smart refrigerator that reads RFID tags in food and let you know if something is about to expire or perhaps even how much is left in the container. That wouldn’t be too hard to accomplish with an RFID tag in the food packaging. Kudos for that idea!


The Smart Plate in the NutriSmart system has an RFID reader embedded in the bottom. It scans the edible RFID chip embedded in food and sends the dietary information via Bluetooth to a computer.

My big problem is with the smart plate. How would it handle food items that are portioned out? How does it know how much pasta sauce or butter you put on the plate? How do you know the data is accurate? Are they going to have thousands of RFID tags in your food? What if someone adds their special ingredient to give the food that extra kick? If you are cutting up vegetables, do you put an RFID tag on each slice?

I know I am rambling now, but this makes absolutely no sense to me. Not to mention the extra expense this would add to food prices. With poverty levels being high around the world, it makes perfect sense to make food more expensive so that less people can afford to eat it (being facetious here).

Where does RFID make sense?

  • Inventory Management
  • Asset Management
  • Pallet Label Tracking
  • Security
  • Animal Tracking
  • Contactless Payments
  • Data Center Management

Obviously this doesn’t represent every RFID application, but it gives a nice short list.

So keep coming up with great ideas for RFID applications; please, though, don’t put RFID tags in my food.

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