If a new protective technology pans out, tamper-resistant lids and freshness dates on dairy products won’t be the only indications of product safety. Called lab-on-a-chip sensors, these miniature, disposable devices can be attached to current packaging to safeguard products and consumers. They are designed to detect a wide variety of poisons, including naturally occurring contaminants and intentionally introduced toxins. The device needs no power supply and uses no electronic parts.

Developers at a Wisconsin-based company are concentrating on the milk supply because of its national distribution and quick dispersal from farm to consumer. This technology has received the backing of the Department of Homeland Security.