Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Incredible Edible and Vanishing Fruit Sticker

   Love fruit but hate peeling off those darn tiny stickers? So do we! I mean, at least the Chiquita banana stickers have some humor, but most fruit stickers are tiny, tell you next to nothing and are a royal pain to remove before you can get at the fruity goodness.
   Fret no more! Help has arrived from three promising new "stickers".
   First up, the edible sticker. Scientist at Tufts University have created a sticker using silk and gold that will let you wave your smatphone over it and tell you if your fruit is still good. Now, we are smart cookies and can tell if fruit is good by doing the squeeze test...but the sticker can also be dropped into liquids, like that milk that's been hiding out in the back of the fridge. The silk on the sticker acts as the glue, so no more sticky sticker! Think of the possibilities of this sticker....You could scan your eggs to see if they are from a local organic farmer or from a conglomerate chicken factory. Or you could scan fruit to make sure you are only buying local produce. You could scan to see if your product comes from a company that uses pesticides or if they use only natural products. The full report is listed here. The University of Illinois is interested in using this sticker on people; to tell if they are coming down with anything from a cold to cancer.
   If you like your function before form, then the dissolvable sticker is for you. FruitWash labels look like any fruit sticker at the grocery store, but just add water and the label dissolves into soap that washes away wax, dirt and bacteria to leave you with a clean and label-less piece of fruity goodness.
   The last option is currently working it's way through the Food and Drug Administration. In 2009 scientists at the University of Florida came up with a carbon dioxide laser beam that tattoos your fruit. No more label, no more waste; just a permanent stamp of where your fruit came from. Think of what this will do for recalls; no more debating over where the fruit's origin, or if there was a label mix up. You will be able to know for a fact that your grapefruit came from Bob's Grapefruit farm in Florida. The tattooing process simply removes the top layer of the fruit's skin, leaving you with all the info you need and you can eat it too!
   With springtime and farmer's markets fast approaching, we can put off out sticker ennui for a couple of months, maybe by then some of these stickers will be in use at the store.

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