Etched eggs promise greater freshness, security

Published Sept. 20, 2005|Updated Oct. 24, 2005

David Radlo of Watertown, Mass., wants to protect the nation from agroterrorism, one eggshell at a time.

Radlo, chief executive of egg producer Radlo Foods, is hatching an affiliated company, Born Free Eggs, to market safer and fresher eggs, laser-etched with expiration dates and numerical codes that trace each egg from the farm to the store.

The development is partly a response to a warning from the Department of Homeland Security that eggs are among the foods most vulnerable to tampering by terrorists, Radlo said. But it's also a response, he said, to the growing number of consumers who are demanding that their eggs be organic or come from farms that don't cage chickens.

"It's kind of a red state-blue state phenomenon," Radlo said. "A lot of people from the red states seem to like the homeland security part of it. And a lot of people from the blue states want to make sure they have the best, freshest products they can serve their families."

Born Free Eggs will be the first brand to use laser etchings on eggshells, said the 41-year-old Radlo.

But the laser technology is only one part of a larger "traceability management system" that also includes sensors monitoring the air, water and cold storage on farms, the testing and vaccination of chickens for salmonella and, later this fall, tamper-proof egg cartons.

Sprint Nextel follows cell phone music trend

Sprint Nextel Corp. is becoming the latest cell phone carrier to let its customers listen to music on the devices.

The nation's No. 3 wireless provider said Monday that it and Seattle-based digital media provider RealNetworks Inc. are launching a streaming music service for Sprint PCS customers called Rhapsody Radio.

The service provides streaming radio stations, a freestyle rap service called "Beats N Breaks," music news, videos and podcasts _ recorded audio files that are downloaded from the Internet _ for $6.95 per month.

Wireless companies, inspired by the popularity of Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod and other MP3 players, have raced each other to add music content to their service portfolios.

This month, Apple introduced the ROKR phone, made by Motorola Inc., which comes loaded with iTunes software and allows users to load up to 100 songs on their phones. The service is being sold in the United States by Cingular Wireless.

Verizon Wireless also provides downloadable music videos over its service.

Information from the Boston Globe and Associated Press was used in this report.