Laser Labeling on Vegetables and Fruit

Need a better way to label

Do you dislike the difficulty of having to peel off those pesky adhesive paper stickers on your vegetables and fruit that means also taking some of the peel off with them and then having to take off gum residue, having the labels stuck to your fingers or the counter, or possibly being overlooked and being bitten into or swallowed when they are inedible? Do you want a better form of traceability and better security in these days of food safety issues where the information cannot be peeled off, washed off, or changed?

Laser is the answer

Laser labeling or etching is the answer and is a very interesting concept that uses a laser beam to place traceback information on each piece of produce. That makes it possible to know where it was grown and packaged as well as other important data such as date and time, plus it is already able to work in 14 different languages. The numbers are permanent and are easier to read because they are larger.

A code number and country are etched only into a few outer cells of the peel of such items as onions, potatoes, garlic, citrus, avocados, cucumbers, etc. and exposes the underlying layer for a contrast that makes it readable. The only produce that it does not work on is leafy greens.

Inventor

This fruit topography technology was invented and patented by engineer Greg Drouillard, owner of Laser Application Technologies in Peachtree City, GA. He is also Sunkist Growers Inc.’s Director of Research Technology for Laser Development. He sold the rights to Durand-Wayand of LaGrange, GA in 2002, who licensed the system to Sunkist. Drouillard controls the licensing. This technology was named one of the best inventions of 2005 by TIME magazine.

Testing

Much testing has also been done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Citrus and Subtropical Products Laboratory in Florida to ascertain the safety of the system and that it does not cause deformity or decay or reduce shelf life. In fact, the beam actually sterilizes the area and eliminates the growth of organisms that cause decay.

Many benefits

Ironically the cost of the laser labeling is much less than the adhesive labels, does not require the huge amount of storage that the labels do because of a different label needed for each item, dispels the problem of the labels sticking to other items, is energy efficient, has low cleaning and maintenance costs, can be used to mark produce that paper labels cannot, is a natural process, does not go anywhere near the part of the produce that you eat, and is much faster with the ability to etch up to 14 to 17 pieces per second.