The IPKat is endebted to his friend Andrea Glorioso for this tasty morsel of news from the New York Times. Pears (as well as organic apples, waxy cucumbers and delicate peaches) are assuiming the role of "laser-coded information delivery systems with advanced security clearance" following the introduction of 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 on to the outer layer of the fruit's skin. Laser coding could mean the end of those tiny stickers that have to be picked, scraped or yanked off produce. The stickerless technology has a broad purpose: to identify and track, whether for profit or for security, everything Americans eat. Moreover, from 2006, federal regulations will require all imported produce to be labelled with its country of origin. Other tracing methods are also being tested, such as miniaturised bar coding and cameras with advanced recognition technology that can identify fruits and vegetables at the checkout counter.
The IPKat is not so impressed. He's waiting for genetically modified fruit to grow its own bar codes. Merpel says, this is just the beginning. Wait till apples and pears carry laser-tattooed messages from corporate sponsors ...
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