Food Dyes for Better Use

May 20, 2011

Food dyes have been hit hard lately, but now designers from around the web are using them for more educational purposes.

Food dyes have been hit hard lately; they were vaguely linked to attention disorders in kids, food intolerances, and even cancer (in animal studies). But now they are being used for more empowering educational purposes - printing nutrition labels on food. First debuted on the Martha Stewart TV show, the eggbot is the first printer that can draw images on spherical objects, transferring the design from a computer, onto any (for now) small object you can imagine; which could even done at home. 

Far beyond designing eggs for Easter or even ornaments for other holidays, designers are experimenting with labeling foods. In a post on Thingiverse, an online space to share and collaborate digital designs with the global tech community, one user, Dnewman, recently designed a nutrition facts label printed directly on an eggshell. Having nutrition facts panel labels directly on the foods makes them almost impossible to ignore. No question that this technology can be used to help people understand nutrition and health issues more readily. 

Now printing or stamping foods with ink is not a new idea, in fact the USDA currently stamps inspected cuts of meat with a grade or number. Consumers often do not see these stamps because they are found on the larger wholesale cuts of meat. If you’re worried about the dye, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service states that, “The dye used to stamp the grade and inspection marks onto a meat carcass is made from a food-grade vegetable dye and is not harmful.”  

Innovating food labels can empower consumers to become avid label readers; the technology is at our fingertips and it’s our duty to use it to the best of our ability.