Tarry for the Nonce

July 19, 2005

Tracking the Fruitcakes

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 3:53 pm

Do you want your fruit tatooed?

new technology being used by produce distributors employs lasers to tattoo fruits and vegetables with their names, identifying numbers, countries of origin and other information that helps speed distribution. The marks are burned onto the outer layer of the skin and are visible to discerning consumers and befuddled cashiers alike.

The process, government approved and called safe by the industry, may sound sinister. But it was designed with the consumer in mind: laser coding could mean the end of those tiny stubborn stickers that have to be picked, scraped or yanked off produce . . .

The tattooed fruit is being sold in stores nationwide as other tracing methods are also being tested, like miniaturized bar coding and cameras with advanced recognition technology that can identify fruits and vegetables at the checkout counter . . .

Whether on a sticker or in a tattoo, the numbers serve a purpose. The Produce Marketing Association and the International Federation for Produce Coding have established global standards for the price look-up numbers associated with all produce.


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