Former Lakeland resident invents a clean, green alternative to sticky fruit labels

Machine uses laser to mark fruit skin

TAMPA - If you're tired of peeling off those annoying little stickers that seem to come with every single piece of fruit, a solution is on the way. And you can thank a former Lakeland resident who has created a machine that may zap away fruit stickers for good.

The ubiquitous fruit sticker was first conceived by supermarkets and their compulsion to label everything, but they've been the bane of  consumers and fruit packers  ever  since.

"Neither one of them wanted the sticky label" says former Lakeland resident, Greg Drouillard.

Drouillard's invention, a decade in the making applies a readable label to any kind of fruit without paper, plastic or ink.  Instead, the device uses a laser to vaporize the top layer of pigment in any fruit or vegetable.

The message can be customized on the fly while the machine labels up to  ten pieces of fruit per second.

"It's maintenance free with a ten year life span easily. And there's no consumables, so there's no cost afterwards. Not even ink" said Drouillard.

The conventional labels which are made of plastic are a persistent source of litter and are blamed for clogging water treatment systems when they go down the drain.

And they're expensive.

Drouillard claims his machines, which costs $25,000 each, pay for themselves in less than one year.

Drouillard's machine  has already been approved in South America, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada.

But it took him five years to get our FDA to approve it for citrus fruit only.

You may see lasered fruit in stores later this year.


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