Low-Energy Laser Etching Could Replace Annoying Fruit Labels

by , 11/04/09

sustainable design, green design, produce, groceries, agriculture, packaging, laser etching, grapefruit, fruit, energy

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!

sustainable design, green design, produce, groceries, agriculture, packaging, laser etching, grapefruit, fruit, energy

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.

Via PhysOrg

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  2. Eric Robert November 17, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    interesting, now I wonder if this is more expensive or cheaper of a setup for these companies. Sounds like a good idea if its the same cost

  3. oopslalala November 16, 2009 at 11:43 am

    people don’t really understand the words on labels,
    sometimes, you don’t really have to post everything on a tiny fruit, just have to make sure,

    the shopper is honest, and post the right info for fruit, such as “dates? birth country? how were them grown?…..etc”

  4. bugmenot November 7, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Strange, we rarely have stickers on fruits here in Europe.

  5. davidwayneosedach November 6, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    I like it! Those paper labels are not very tasty!

  6. Stef O November 6, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Produce stickers are edible and biodegradable, but also give you a lot of information about the product.
    Pesticides, genetically modified, or organic – your choice when you can read the label.

  7. anneawong November 5, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Yes, they are annoying… but don’t exactly contribute to waste. Turns out they are edible and compostable… and make for a much prettier still life pic than laser etched. But it’s really nifty to have that kind of tech

    Here’s the article: http://cbs5.com/consumer/produce.stickers.labels.2.1289623.html

  8. Greengeek November 5, 2009 at 2:53 am

    It’s not ink, it’s a laser etch.. the characters are burned into the surface of the skin with a laser. Should be perfectly safe for zesting.

  9. guest November 4, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Is that ink? What is it made of…?
    Honestly, I have some reservations about zesting that into my lemon squares…

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