Surely, you remove the small labels on your tomatoes, apples or other fruits and vegetables. Have you ever asked yourself about the glue used on these labels though? What material is this adhesive made of and is it a problem for a product that will be consumed?
This is a good question. Adhesives used on labels for fruits and vegetables are regulated by Health Canada and the FDA in the United States. Adhesives, whether or not they leave marks on the product, are in “indirect” contact with the food. For all substances in indirect contact with a food product, institutions such as these are studying the composition of the substance, the effects to humans in the short and long run and many other safety factors. They deduct the maximum quantities and define standards well below these amounts, in order to take no chances.
Here is a list of substances and their quantities suitable for these small “pressure sensitive” labels, found on the FDA website.
The question remains though, why put small labels on each individual fruit? In the case of small sized products purchased in large quantities, it is rare to keep the packaging, and often it’s cumbersome, and as a result, important information about the product is lost, such as the variety of your apple, the lot number, its origin… etc. These small labels can identify each fruit and vegetable easily and without needing a packaging process from the start!
In any case, all adhesives are approved by government institutions, and they pose no risk to us. If any doubt remains however, washing your apple before eating it will do it no harm!