Printing nutritional info on an egg with an Eggbot

Thingiverse member Dnewman has produced some nutritional templates for Eggbot owners (Eggbots are devices designed to print on eggs, ping-pong balls, grapefruit, etc). Clever!
Dnewman's solution is beyond elegant. Why not just print the nutritional information right on the produce using an Eggbot?? I just LOVE this idea! I would absolutely buy eggs from any producer that did this. Not only is this idea so so so cool, but it opens the door to all kinds of other food labeling robots. I mean, who wouldn't want a Mangobot 2000? Oh, and if you're going to buy an apple, pear, or other fruit or vegetable where the exterior is consumed, why not just print with an edible ink? 12
Truth in Labeling


  1. Too bad the printing would likely increase the cost too. And the average consumer goes for cheap not clever. But the idea is pretty sweet.

  2. Conceptually, this is pretty cool! Although it definitely won’t make sense to print that info on an egg. Or fruit or anything else that you buy in bulk. Think, “not labeled for individual retail sale”. They already have that info on the egg carton or fruit bin.
    I’m thinking they would make some awesome easter eggs.

  3. Isn’t the real elegant solution printing ONE nutrition facts panel that applies to all the eggs on the side of the carton? The eggs from Trader Joes have exp. dates printed on them, I think it’s kind of gross.

  4. I saw something on the Food Network once (I think) about etching the information from stickers onto the fruit with lasers. That makes more sense to me than tattooing food. I suppose lasers would be more expensive and impractical for things like eggs, but you don’t have to keep buying laser cartridges.

  5. Gotta agree with Unmutual and others: it’s a good gimmick, but I’d deliberately avoid any such produce as it’s clearly a huge waste of time and resource. Why don’t we just put RFID tags on each egg instead?

    On the other hand, etching the details onto fruit rather than labels would make sense: no paper, no printing, less waste.

    1. If they put RFID tags on the eggs, the article would be about how horribly Orwellian that was. Don’t you get boingboing memes? RFID = Bad.
      Weird Printers (that print on eggs, make 3d objects, etc.) = Good. A Weird Printer that was Steampunk, particularly a DIY Weird Steampunk Disney Printer, would be the absolute definition of awesomeness here.

      1. I think you forgot to add that the print design has to be DRM-free, part of the creative commons, and designed by said blogger’s “good friend.”

        It’s amazing how the “nerd” aspect of certain folks’ brains around here overrides the “common sense” aspect. Printing shit on eggs? Seriously? Thankfully, my farmer just re-uses old egg cartons to distribute her eggs. No packaging, no robot printers. I guess since her way of doing it is similar to how they did it in the 1800’s, you could say she’s kind of “steampunk.”

  6. How about putting the label on the container the food is in instead of putting crap on my food? What a concept!

  7. I can’t say that I want nutritional info when it could be printed on the carton (it’s not like I’m buying free rolling eggs) but I would like some sort of art on there, flowers etc. I think you’d have to print it with squid ink or something though because the shell is permeable to some ink. I used to teach an intro virology lab where we made flu vaccine(using an attenuated strain) in chicken eggs and everyone started off by labeling the eggs with sharpies, but the techs figure out that the sharpies were causing premature death of the chicks, so your vaccine production would fail. After switching to pencils, we had much better results.

  8. Nutritional info is already printed on the carton for eggs.

    Fruit and vegetables vary so much in their nutritional qualities that printing info onto them would be disingenuous.


    1. One egg = 71% of your RDI of cholesterol? Yikes!

      Bear in mind, though, that dietary consumption of cholesterol is almost entirely unrelated to serum cholesterol.

      Your body can make its own cholesterol (and a good thing, too – you’d get very sick without it) even if you never eat any.

      There are plenty of people who consume no cholesterol whatsoever and yet still have very high serum cholesterol levels; and, conversely, plenty of people who consume large quantities of cholesterol, and yet have very low serum levels.

      High serum cholesterol levels are associated with risk of heart disease. But dietary consumption of cholesterol has very little relation to serum levels.

      Indeed, there’s a very good chance that serum cholesterol’s relation to coronary disease isn’t causal – that they’re both the result of some other condition – like, say, undiagnosed hypothyroidism.

      Anecdotally, my mother had high serum cholesterol for years, despite eliminating it entirely from her diet. My father, OTOH, never had high cholesterol, despite eating two eggs, two slices of bacon, and buttered toast almost every morning of his adult life.

      My mother’s cholesterol levels improved somewhat after her hypothyroidism was diagnosed and treated.

    2. A simple question for you: why do you think cholesterol is bad, and why do you think a bureaucracy mandated RDI is some mythic intake that defines good health?

      I know the answer is: “because all the doctors and nutritionists say cholesterol is bad.”

      As GlenBlank said, there is little correlation between dietary cholesterol intake and serum cholesterol levels. The fact that people with atherosclerosis have elevated “bad” cholesterol levels and plaques in their arteries does not mean the atherosclerosis was caused by eating too much cholesterol. Correlation does not equal causation – how many times does that need to be said???

      Cholesterol is the molecule used by the body to repair lots of damaged tissue, including inflammation in arteries. An alternative hypothesis to the conventional wisdom of “eating cholesterol kills you” is that high cholesterol levels are your body’s response to some sort of damage or inflammation. The real question should be, what is causing the damage and inflammation to arteries that the cholesterol was sent by the body to repair?

      Please just research alternative theories to the cholesterol=heart disease hypothesis. It is laughably full of holes. There is no credible evidence that dietary cholesterol, by itself, leads to heart disease.

      inb4 “LOL don’t you know all doctors agree cholesterol is bad LOL”

  9. What a great way to subsidize food like this. I mean if Golden Palace Casino could put ads on the eggs then that could make them cheaper for us.

    1. Subsidizing never really happens. Ads in theaters were supposed to make ticket prices cheap. What happened? Tickets prices are through the roof and we still have to watch a ton of ads. All they do is get more $ at our expense and we accept it because we think we are getting a deal.

  10. It’s definitely a waste of time and money to go that far. But, just to play along, what about stamping a QR code with a link to the nutritional info onto the eggs? A 1 or 2 cm^2 stamp wouldn’t be affected all that much by the curvature of the egg (or could be designed to fit it). Eggland’s Best already stamps their logo onto every egg. Same could be done with a QR code that would carry useful information, at a lot less of an expense than printing or etching across the full shell.

  11. I don’t think you guys need to get so worked up on the impracticality of tattooing nutritional info directly onto single serving foods. I’m pretty sure this is intended as a work of art, not an actual method for labeling food.

    At , Dnewman (the author) describes the source image file as art: “The file nutrition.svg is the original artwork,” and the MakerBot article does seem to be written a bit facetiously.

    1. Then, in the interest of your own mental wellbeing, I’d advise against ever visiting the European Union where every single egg has at least a date printed on it.

      Seriously, not an issue AFAICT. It’s such a minuscule amount of ink (food coloring?) that it pales in comparison to the calcium deposits you get when boiling eggs.

  12. The (cage-free) eggs I buy come from a company that buys them from a bunch of different farms, and stamps a code on each egg so you can go to their website and look up what farm it came from. It’s a pretty small stamp just a few characters, so it probably doesn’t use any particularly fancy technology.

    Marshall McLuhan’s 1967 book The Medium is the Massage included a photo of a raw, open egg — a puddle of egg white with a yolk sitting in the middle, no shell — with printing on the yolk. McLuhan says in the text that the printing was done through some kind of “no-contact, no-pressure printing technique”, but doesn’t give details.

    1. You’d be surprised, my friend, at how much fancy technology is in your cage-free eggs. I’m willing to bet the farms that they come from are indistinguishable from the factory farms you’re trying to avoid. “Cage-free” is a meaningless term, especially with eggs, because most caged birds are for meat, not for eggs. Egg-laying hens basically roam around in their incredibly-cramped houses and lay every day. If they have the infrastructure to stamp each egg, set up a web system, and merely use the label “cage-free,” I’ll betcha anything that if you were to visit their farms, you’d be pretty appalled. The best thing you can do is find yourself a farmer nearby that lets you visit their farm and establish a relationship with them. Ours charges $3.99 for a dozen eggs, which is really reasonable for something that’s truly pasture-raised (chickens that actually roam around on the grass all day.) Farmer’s markets usually charge 6 bucks at least. in case you’re curious!

  13. That would really screw up the minimalist aesthetics of a soft boiled egg served in a egg cup.

  14. It’s amazing how long we’ve lasted as a species without nutritional information printed on our food.

    I mean really, if you need to read the label, you’re probably eating badly.

  15. If the nutritional label is printed in edible ink and intended to be eaten, the nutritional content of the ink will have to be taken into account in the nutritional statistics. Which will in turn change the amount of ink used… See

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