Tattoo fruits and vegetables

Julia Moskin wrote a front page story for the July 19 New York Times about the rise of tattooing as an alternative to those annoying stickers on every single piece of produce you buy these days.
  • The tattooed fruit is created using a laser which etches the price look–up number (PLU) and any other information the retailer wishes directly onto the skin of the fruit or vegetable.
The tattoo is permanent, removing only the outer pigment to reveal a contrasting layer underneath and make the tattoo readable and scannable.
  • The lasers cut and cauterize the skin of the fruit or vegetable almost simultaneusly, similar to lasers used in surgery; the skin of fruit that has been laser–etched remains airtight.
It's possible to barcode the produce with its origin, when it was picked, even how many calories it has per serving. Advertising might cover a green pepper using the same technology.
New technology replaces stickers on produce with lasers that tattoo fruits and vegetables with identifying numbers, countries of origin and other information that helps speed distribution.
  • Photo marks are burned onto outer layer and are visible to discerning consumers and befuddled cashiers alike

Technology, which government says is safe, is also part of food industry's effort to identify and track, whether for profit or security, everything Americans (people all around the world) eat.

  • Other tracking methods being tested include miniaturized bar coding and, in Japan, scannable bar coding etched into wax of apples.
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