Burritos seem like the perfect self-contained meal, but they’re actually ticking time bombs, as even a masterfully wrapped one can come apart at the seams, leaving your hands and clothes dripping with salsa and sauces. But there’s a potential solution enroute, as engineering students have created what might be the world’s first edible sticky tape that can be applied to other foods.
The burrito isn’t the only form of edible Russian Roulette, of course. Really anything contained in a thin doughy wrapper—from gyros to shawarma— has the potential to create an awful mess if not diligently consumed from inside an additional paper wrapper that’s you painstakingly peel back, bite by bite. Are the risks really worth it? Absolutely. These are some of our most delicious dining options, and so important to college life that students from Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering dedicated themselves to make eating wraps far less risky.
Instead of re-engineering the napkin, or developing fabrics impervious to guacamole stains, the team of chemical and biomolecular engineering students have developed a new product they’ve called Tastee Tape. After delving into the science of regular adhesives, the students tested various ingredients and eventually came up with an edible alternative which they’re attempting to patent. That means they’re not ready to share the exact ingredients list just yet. But they can confirm it’s made from additives already used in many foods, and is completely safe to consume.
The product is delivered as pre-cut two-inch strips attached to sheets of wax paper, and using a piece simply requires water to be applied to fully activate its adhesive properties. The students are confident their creation has enough tensile strength to securely contain even the most overstuffed burritos, but the applications potentially go much farther than just fragile wraps. Amateur bakers could use Tastee Tape to repair or reassemble a crumbling cake, and the potential to fix other culinary fails in the kitchen is staggering.