Laser Application Technology Launches Sustainable Produce Labeling System

Laser Application Technologies has received FDA approval for its patented Natural Light Labeling System on citrus.

Laser Label Lime

Laser Application Technologies reports that its receipt of FDA approval to use its patented labeling system on citrus marks a change in how the world labels produce. The Natural Light Labeling System (NLL) provides a more economical, efficient and environmentally friendly method to label produce that also enables item level traceability and in turn, heightened food safety, the company notes.

The NLL technology facilitates printing on produce with precise control without degradation to the product. This precise control of emitted light removes the pigment from the surface of the produce to reveal a contrasting sub-layer. Since this removal process has been designed not to penetrate the surface or "skin" of the produce, it therefore does not promote decay. Not only is each piece of produce permanently coded, the specific information can be stored electronically for any period of time. Product look-up codes (PLU), country of origin (COOL), grower lot numbers and any other requested security information can be implemented. The print-on-demand technology permits the immediate changeover of the message printed as well as having the ability to print images and logos. The NLL printing is a green process that is earth-friendly as it uses no consumables to label the produce.

The Natural Light Labeling System has been specifically designed to easily integrate into and interface with the customer's current or new packinghouse equipment. It eliminates the cost of adhesive labels and the additional associated costs which include the storage of label inventory, expired adhesive labels and maintenance costs due to the resulting clean-up made necessary by their misapplication. The implementation by packinghouses results in not only a more efficient and superior produce labeling system; it also delivers an immediate cost savings to the industry, the company notes. In addition, it provides the industry with the ability to print on hard-to-label produce such as cucumbers, potatoes and carrots.

Consumers will no longer have to fight with removing the pesky labels. Retailers will no longer suffer the economic losses caused by the switching of labels from lower priced non-organic items with organic ones as well as the delays and mistakes that are made when produce arrives at the checkout without the label. NLL is environmentally friendly as there are no consumables and it assists in reducing unnecessary waste going to our wastewater treatment systems and landfills.

Food safety and, in turn, produce consumers are the recipients of the technology. With true item level traceability, government agencies are able to track the cause of food borne illnesses quicker and more accurately, resulting in fewer illnesses. It also helps eliminate the potential for catastrophic losses that industries, like the tomato industry in 2008, endured when they were incorrectly named as the culprits of a Salmonella outbreak. This technology permits government agencies to implement and mandate the traceability measures required to increase the safety of the US food supply.

Laser Application Technologies is presently petitioning the FDA for approval for the NLL system to be used on avocados, bananas, melons, mangos and kiwis, anticipating approval within the next six to twelve months. Petitions for other fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, peaches, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers are planned for the fall of 2014.

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