High-tech upgrade for fruit possibly heading to U.S.

Posted June 29, 2015

Fruit is getting a facelift on produce shelves in Europe, and the new look could be heading to the United States.

Instead of using stickers, melons and other fruits now have a high-tech upgrade, sporting a sleeker look called the laser label.

“This is not a melon anymore, it’s a branded melon—a melon that has its own mark,” Stephanie Merit of Laser Food said. “You could have one on each of these melons, its own traceability number.”

Merit said labels are etched onto melons and citrus fruits using a dye that is safe.

“It’s an idea that was born of an identity crisis of sorts,” Jonathan Vigliotti of London said. “When a piece of fruit loses its sticker, you can’t trace it back to where it was grown.”

He says laser labels protect against that and stop shoppers from cheating the system.

Merit says grocers frequently pass off cheap fruit as organic.

“Customers were swapping labels between cheap and expensive labels,” Merit said. “This happens more than we think.”

Not everyone likes the new look.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea because you don’t play around with fruit,” produce stand owner Michael Conder said. “Just stick with it; keep it normal.”

European regulators disagree. They're allowing laser fruit in France, Spain and Poland, with more countries lining up for this taste of the future.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet given the green light for producers in the U.S. to use the laser labels.


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