There’s nothing worse than biting into a luscious red apple and after a few bites discovering you’ve chewed that little sticker you didn’t notice before. As you attempt to dislodge fragments of paper and glue from the far reaches your molars, you think to yourself that there has to be a better solution to mark produce.
And indeed there is. The EU is now allowing the use of Laser technology in the service of produce labeling. No more wasteful use of paper and glues. No more “surprises” in the mouth. How exactly does this work?
A laser is used to etch whatever design or information is required on the skin of the fruit or vegetable. There’s actually no burning of the surface of the fruit. Instead, a microscopically small area of fruit skin is removed. It discolors rather than burns the product without touching or harming cells in the skin surface. In order for the etching to be more prominently visible, iron oxide or hydroxide is used.
The information etched on the fruit can be brand, PLU code, farm and harvest information, as well as QR codes.
The laser etching technology has been developed by a Spanish Company called Laser Food, and is starting to gain traction in Spain and northern Europe. Probably not a fit for blueberries, but would make sense on fist sized produce and larger sizes. Florida Citrus growers have been testing the laser system, which has been submitted for FDA approval.
Coming soon to a farmer’s market near you?