Eat Bar Codes? It's For a Good Reason

I'm wondering.  We're not so crazy about food that's been monkeyed around with -- see genetically modified foods. But would we be averse to actually eating bar codes, mashed into our food?

The idea is a good one.  It's to thwart counterfeit drugs, according to Janet Fang at She writes, "Honolulu-based startup TruTag Technologies is bringing to market edible bar codes that can be integrated directly into both edible and non-edible products. Businessweek reports."

She notes that we won't even know it's in our foods. "These TruTags are the size of a speck of dust (a gram contains over 12 million unique tags), and they can be scanned to authenticate a product," she notes. TruTags are made entirely of silicon dioxide, also called silica, a compound that is inert, edible, and incredibly durable (with an infinite shelf life and the ability to survive temperatures up to 1,000C), she recounts.

Fang explains how the whole thing works:

  • Microscopic bar codes are etched into silica wafers using equipment similar to the semiconductor industry’s.
  • The engraved wafers are ground into a white powder that can be mixed directly into foodstuffs (like baby formula) or incorporated into the coatings of pills.
  • These safe-to-eat tags also work for non-edible goods, such as car parts and cell phone components.
  • Once the marked goods are scanned, sending decoded information to iPads or iPhones reveals details such as where and when the product was manufactured.
Counterfeit goods suck $1 trillion annually from the global economy, Fang reports.  The company is trying to bring the technology down to the consumer level.  Speculates Fang, "If they could actually incorporate the technology into a smartphone, any consumer could authenticate their own drugs or baby milk powder by themselves."


Popular posts from this blog

Think You're Pretty Smart? You May Actually Stink at Visual Skills, Crucial in Today's Digital World

Leave Your Ego at the Door

End Your Texts With a Period? Don't