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An end to pesky stickers?

Consumers tired of picking those tiny stickers off pears, peaches, and plums can take heart: Fruit with edible "tattoos" is on the way. A new technology uses lasers to etch fruits and vegetables with their names, identifying numbers, countries of origin, and other information. The stickerless technology is part of the produce industry's effort to identify and track everything Americans eat. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the industry has been encouraged to develop "track and trace" technology to allow protection of the food supply at various stages of distribution. The tattoos will also help consumers and cashiers distinguish among the different varieties of fruits and vegetables. "When there was only one kind of apple at the super market, it was easy," says Don Harris, a vice president at Wild Oats, a national market chain. "But now at some supermarkets, you will have 12 different kinds of apples."

Will some consumers shy away from tattooed produce for aesthetic reasons? "Anything that permanently changes the fruit is going to be a hard sell," says Harris, "especially to buyers of organic produce."
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Title Annotation:laser tattoos on fruits
Publication:New York Times Upfront
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 10, 2005
Previous Article:Noted & quoted.
Next Article:Reaching the top, seven times over.

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