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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Laser labeling, a safe technology to label produce

item Sood, Preeti
item Etxeberria, Ed
item Ference, Christopher - Chris
item Narciso, Jan

Submitted to: Florida State Horticultural Society Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/7/2009
Publication Date: 4/14/2009
Citation: Sood, P., Etxeberria, E., Ference, C., Narciso, J. 2009. Laser labeling, a safe technology to label produce. Florida State Horticultural Society Meeting. Paper No. HP14.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Laser labeling of fruits and vegetables is an alternative means to label produce. Low energy CO2 laser beams etch the surface showing the contrasting underlying layer. These etched surfaces can promote water loss and potentially allow for entry of decay organisms. The long-term effects of laser labeling on produce during storage have not been addressed. Studies were conducted to measure water loss, peel appearance, and potential decay in grapefruit, tangerines, tomatoes and peppers during storage as affected by laser labeling. Laser labeled produce was stored at 10 °C and two relative humidities (i.e., 95% and 65% RH) for 5 weeks showed no increase in decay compared to control non-etched produce, suggesting that laser labeling does not facilitate decay. Water loss from etched areas and label appearance were determined during storage. Water loss from waxed etched surfaces reached control levels after 24 hours in storage. Label appearance slowly deteriorated during 4 weeks in storage and was proportional to laser energy levels and ambient relative humidity. Waxing the labeled surface reduced water loss by 35% to 94%, depending on the wax formulation used. We conclude that laser labeling provides for a safe alternative means for labeling grapefruit without enhancing decay.

Last Modified: 09/24/2017
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