Food scientists are developing a milk carton suitable for a future in which most people own a smartphone, Cornell University has announced.

The cartons would reduce food waste by helping consumers tell whether their milk (and, presumably, other beverages) are still in good quality and suitable for consumption.

In comparison, existing ‘Best by’ dates are often imprecise.

Though milk cartons at this point in time feature a ‘best by’ date, these differ from ‘use by’ dates in that they only point toward the peak quality of the product rather than when it is likely to sour.

However, consumers often interpret these dates as expiration — rather than quality — indicators and throw away their milk once that date arrives.

More often than not, the product hasn’t actually spoiled at that time.

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