Laser labeling of citrus is safe and doesn't open it up to pathogens or decay, according to yet another study.

For several years, the Food and Drug Administration has been considering laser labeling as a replacement for stickers or decals on fruit and vegetables, according to a news release.

Former University of Florida scientist Greg Drouillard, now with Sunkist Growers Inc., Fontana, Calif., invented the laser-labeling system.

Ed Etxeberria, a horticultural sciences professor at the UF Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, Fla., said he's found the system to be cost efficient and a time saver.

Unlike stickers that can be removed or changed, laser labeling is permanent.

Etxeberria led a group that looked at whether Salmonella bacteria could more easily contaminate orange peels after laser etching.

The answer: no.

They also found no Salmonella in juice taken from etched oranges.

Throughout the FDA review, Drouillard has been tweaking the system to improve the legibility of words and numbers.

Whereas at one time it could only make squared-off letters, it can now create curved lines, allowing for logos.

The FDA has issued a 30-day comment period for laser labeling, but challenges are typically rare at this stage, according to the release.