Widnes, Cheshire, UK - Sherwood Technology Ltd. announces that its DataLase Edible color-changing foodstuff technology can safely image information onto the coated surface of hard- and soft-skinned fruit, vegetables, and other edible products. The edible chemistry is applied to the fruit surface and then activated by a low-power CO2 laser to produce high-contrast information such as date of picking, country of origin, best before date, and product look-up codes. This removes the need to apply labels to the fruit, which can fall off, harbor bacterial growth, and cause a choking hazard if consumed.
The technology does not interfere with the surface of the fruit, because the image is formed in the edible coating rather than using lasers to burn or ‘tattoo’ images into the skin. Studies indicate that ablating data onto fruit can result in the protective skin being vaporized resulting in rapid deterioration in the freshness of the product. Additionally, for light-colored non-edible citrus fruits, such as lemons, insufficient contrast is achieved with ablation, requiring companies to add an additional food dye to make the images readable.
The patented laser responsive foodstuff formulation can be applied via a spray coating process, then activated by a low-power CO2 scribing laser to produce graphics on the surface coating of the fruit that have great image quality and are produced using 100 percent edible components.
For more information, visit www.sherwoodtech.com.
Editor’s note: ILS was one of the first to publicize this marking application in the June 2004 issue. Recently we heard a discussion on National Public Radio relative to use of this technology to produce ads on individual pieces of fruit and vegetables, a rather disturbing thought. - DAB