How many times have you bit into a piece of fruit only to find that you’re also chomping on a sticker label? The small yet wasteful labels have long been the bane of waste-conscious fruit and vegetable eaters, but that might all change thanks to new technology that uses a low-energy carbon dioxide laser beam to etch information directly onto produce. No more peeling those annoying labels!
The laser-labeling system is being advertised as a non-intrusive, tamper-proof method of labeling fruit. So far, it is being used on a number of fruits and vegetables in New Zealand, Australia, and Pacific Rim countries. Once the technology is approved in the U.S., researchers from the University of Florida and the USDA Agricultural Research Service hope that it will be used in Florida’s massive grapefruit industry.
In recent tests, the research team found that laser-labeled Ruby Red grapefruits showed no increase in decay or water loss compared to their sticker-labeled counterparts. The grapefruit also remained free of pathogens–meaning the laser-etching doesn’t provide a new entry point for germs.
The FDA is already in the final stages of approving the system. Now that researchers have confirmed the technology’s effectiveness on citrus fruit, you might be pleasantly surprised to see your morning grapefruits and oranges having laser-etched seals instead of stickers in the very near future.