Fruit Tattoos

August 31, 2009

1 Min Read
Fruit Tattoos

WASHINGTON—Sticky labels on produce may eventually be replaced by laser “tattoo” technology, or laser etching, now being tested on grapefruit by Agricultural Research Service and University of Florida scientists.

During initial tests, a carbon dioxide laser beam was used to etch information into the first few outer cells of the fruit peel, then the laser label was covered with wax. Further testing has shown the wax may be unnecessary, since the tiny holes etched into the grapefruit peel are sealed by the carbon dioxide, preventing decay and food pathogen entry. In testing for fruit decay, the fruit was inoculated with decay organisms and then etched with the laser. No pathogens were found in the peel or the fruit interior. Wax coverage is recommended to eliminate water loss.

Testing is also being conducted on tomatoes, avocado and other citrus fruits. The process would have to be approved by the FDA before it could be used commercially.

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