Food "tattoos": an alternative to labels for identifying fruit.
Article Type: Brief article
Author: Narciso, Jan
Pub Date: 04/01/2010
Publication: Name: Agricultural Research Publisher: U.S. Government Printing Office Audience: Academic; General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Agricultural industry; Biotechnology industry; Business Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 U.S. Government Printing Office ISSN: 0002-161X
Issue: Date: April, 2010 Source Volume: 58 Source Issue: 4
Accession Number: 237601128
Full Text: Technology called "laser etching," developed in part by ARS researchers, uses lasers to "tattoo" produce and could someday replace current labeling practices. A carbon dioxide laser beam is used to etch information into the first few outer cells of the peel on grapefruit, creating a mark that can't be peeled off, washed off, or altered in any way.

The tiny holes etched into the grapefruit peel are effectively sealed by the carbon dioxide, which prevents decay and entry by pathogens, but a coating of wax can further protect against water loss and pathogen entry. The original testing was conducted on grapefruit and has now been extended to include other citrus fruits, tomatoes, and avocados. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing its application for commercial use. Jan Narciso, Citrus and Subtropical Products Research Laboratory, Winter Haven, FL 33881; (863) 293-4133 ext. 119, jan.narciso@ars.usda.gov.
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