Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Food 'Tattoos' An Alternative To Labels For Identifying Fruit

Date:
October 5, 2009
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Those small and sometimes inconvenient sticky labels on produce may eventually be replaced by laser "tattoo" technology.

Laser "tattoo" technology now being tested by ARS and University of Florida scientists may one day replace sticky labels on produce.

Those small and sometimes inconvenient sticky labels on produce may eventually be replaced by laser “tattoo” technology now being tested by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of Florida (UFL) scientists.

Related Articles


Called laser etching, the new technology puts a tattoo on grapefruit and other produce so it can be identified at the supermarket checkout lines. The technology was invented by former UFL scientist Greg Drouillard, now with Sunkist Growers. Grapefruit has always been labeled with sticky paper labels that mar the fruit and stick to one another in storage. The labels are also easily removed, making it more difficult to track a piece of produce back to the source if the need arises.

Microbiologist Jan Narciso at the ARS Citrus and Subtropical Products Laboratory in Winter Haven, Fla., and UFL researcher Ed Etxeberria investigated laser technology as an alternative to sticky paper labels.

A carbon dioxide laser beam was used to etch information into the first few outer cells of the fruit peel. The mark can’t be peeled off, washed off or changed, offering a way to trace the fruit back to its original source. This permanent etching into the fruit peel does not increase water loss or the entrance of food pathogens or postharvest pathogens if the laser label is covered with wax.

Further testing shows the wax may be unnecessary, since the tiny holes etched into the grapefruit peel are effectively sealed by the carbon dioxide, preventing decay and food pathogen entry. However, wax coverage is recommended to eliminate water loss. 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.

Narciso and Etxeberria found that the laser cauterizes the peel, much like when a laser is used on human skin. The cauterized area is impenetrable to pathogens and decay organisms and resists water loss. Testing is also being conducted on tomatoes, avocado and other citrus fruits. The process would have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration before it could be used commercially.

This research was reported in the scientific journal HortTechnology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Food 'Tattoos' An Alternative To Labels For Identifying Fruit." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002105026.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2009, October 5). Food 'Tattoos' An Alternative To Labels For Identifying Fruit. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002105026.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Food 'Tattoos' An Alternative To Labels For Identifying Fruit." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002105026.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) Video of pandas play fighting at the Chengdu Research Base in China will make your day. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) 3-D printing helps another two-legged dog run around with his four-legged friends. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the adorable video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins