Fruit in Europe may no longer come with sticky labels, now that the European Union has approved the use of iron oxides and hydroxides, hydroxypropyl, methyl cellulose and polysorbates on the skins of fruit.
Using these chemicals creates contrast to allow the laser markings to stand out more clearly, and prevent the laser from penetrating the skin of the fruit.
A Spanish company developed the laser system, which can brand up to 54,000 pieces of fruit in an hour.
Spanish company Laser Food has developed a method of branding fruits with a laser to replace the small stickers currently in use
The company, Laser Food, developed the technology in 2009 and has been in talks with the EU to obtain approval ever since.
A significant stumbling block has been removed now that the EU has approved the use of iron oxides and hydroxides and other chemicals on fruits.
The laser markings will contain information such as logos and place of origin and, according to trade magazine The Grocer, bar codes which could be scanned to access further information about the produce and QR codes that can be scanned with smartphones.
The laser system can be used to inscribe brands and other information onto fruit such as melons, citrus and pomegranates
The EU has approved the use of some chemicals in labeling fruit, but so far only fruits that are usually peeled such as citrus
Producers will know where their produce is being sold, and consumers will know the exact provenance of their fruit.
Jaime Sanfelix, managing director of Laser Food told The Grocer, ‘Consumers will have absolute certainty the product they are buying is fully guaranteed.’
On the top, kiwifruit with the commonly-used stickers, and below, kiwi branded with lasers by Spanish company Laser Food
According to the ruling, the technology will be used on fruits which are usually peeled and the skin discarded:
‘[The chemicals] are to be used in small quantities and only on the external part of fruit and are not expected to migrate significantly into the internal part. For that reason, the treatment of fruit of which the peels are not commonly consumed is not liable to have an effect on human health. It is therefore appropriate only to allow…for marking of citrus fruit, melons and pomegranates…’ says the report.
The report also notes that the new technology will save on environmental costs of paper and glue needed for sticky labels.
The system will open up marketing opportunities for retailers too, who will be able to brand fruit with various motifs and logos.
Attribution: Alex Greig, Mail Online