When you're chowing down at a restaurant in the U.S., you don't usually have to worry about the quality of the food. I can count on one hand the number of times I've gotten food poisoning from eating out.
Having done some traveling in Europe and South America, however, I know that's not the case everywhere. And it's definitely not the case in China.
In recent years, China has been rocked with scandals involving everything from toxic milk to glow-in-the-dark pork. Earlier this month, a cook at a hotel in the tourist town of Hangzhou was put on trial for painting food with “inedible pigment” to make it look more appealing.
Yikes! In the U.S., we only paint our food to make it look good in commercials - watch this video to see what I mean.
That being said, an even bigger problem in China is contaminated recycled cooking oil and water being used in preparing food. It's such a big problem that one Chinese company is working on a high-tech solution.
The Chinese search site Baidu - which is trying very hard to be the Chinese Google - has created what it calls "smart chopsticks." These chopsticks have sensors that can tell if cooking oil is fresh or has contaminants.
The chopsticks can also measure things like pH levels, temperature, sodium level and calories. An LED gives you feedback. You'll be able to tell at a glance if food is safe and healthy.
See them in action in this video.
If you're one of the many people who can't get the hang of eating with chopsticks, don't worry. I'm sure the same technology will make its way to forks and other utensils.
Baidu hasn't made this claim, but I'm sure some future version will probably also be able to detect ingredients that could cause an allergic reaction. UCLA scientists tried something similar with the iTube smartphone app and test-tube system back in 2013, but it doesn't seem to be gaining any commercial traction just yet. A tester that comes in a more portable package would be easier for people to get behind.
Back to the smart chopsticks, it's still just a prototype, so there's no pricing or release date. Still, it's an example of the future where everything in your life is computerized or modified for other tasks. Learn how the Internet of Things is going to take over your home.