It doesn't happen a lot, thankfully (though it did happen recently), but getting leveled by spoiled restaurant food is an occupational hazard, that has lasting effects beyond the obvious physical ones, kind of like culinary post-traumatic stress. I'd give just about anything to dodge that living hell again. Today in its report on the national meeting of the American Chemical Society held here last week, the Trib says University of South Carolina chemist John Lavigne has developed a "dipstick" that changes color when it comes in contact with "non-volatile biogenic amines"--which occur when bacteria break down proteins during the decay process. Lavigne hopes to have a commercial version--discreet enough to apply to the mackerel foam in that 34-course degustation--available for restaurant-goers in a few years.
Too good to be true? Could be. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a little more data here, including some skeptical words from a few of Lavigne's critics.