Mother Earth Living

Laser Etching Coming Soon to Produce

A new laser labeling technology may make sticker labels on produce obsolete.
By Kirsten Hudson
November 2009 Web
Add to My MSN

New laser technology may eliminate the waste of sticker labels used on produce.
Photo Courtesy Sunkist

Content Tools

A greener alternative to adhesive sticker labels on fruits and vegetables may soon arrive in the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of approving laser etching technology for produce.

A low-energy carbon dioxide laser beam would cut the information (that identifies the produce at the checkout line) into the outer cells of the peel , eliminating the need for paper stickers. The etching can’t be removed, making it easier to trace the fruit or vegetable back to its source. New Zealand, Australia and others already use the technology and it has been approved in Asia, South Africa, Central and South America, Canada and the European Union.

A USDA Agriculture Research Service study of tangerines and grapefruit found that the laser technology does not enhance decay or water loss. The etching is also too minimal to provide an entry point for food pathogens in the fruit, making it a safe alternative to sticker labels. Testing is also now being done on tomatoes, avocados and other citrus fruits .

The laser labeling won’t change the taste of the produce because the etching just goes on the peel.

More on fruits and vegetables

• Want to eat healthy on the go? Get local, organic fresh fruit delivered to your home or office by The FruitGuys .

• The White House set an example for eating healthy and organically with its own organic food garden . What will the Obama family grow?

• Don’t be afraid to eat your veggies with this tasty recipe for Vegetable Gratin by Chef Gordon Hamersley.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here