Ben Hooper. Students at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland invented an edible “Tastee Tape” designed to keep burritos and similar foods from spilling their contents during mealtime.
In laboratories and classrooms across the Whiting School of Engineering, students are putting finishing touches on projects they have poured countless hours into developing, testing, and perfecting.
Don’t be a drip
It’s one of life’s most delicious anticipatory moments, but also among the messiest: The burrito (or taco, or gyro, or wrap) is almost in your mouth when the beans and rice and guacamole and salsa fall from the tortilla onto the table—or worse, your lap.
Inspired by their own experiences with messy lunches, a team of chemical and biomolecular engineering students has created Tastee Tape, an edible adhesive comprising a food-grade fibrous scaffold and an organic adhesive that ensures the ingredients in your favorite wrap are kept tucked tightly inside during cooking and consumption
“First, we learned about the science around tape and different adhesives, and then we worked to find edible counterparts,” said Tyler Guarino, who teamed up with fellow engineering seniors Marie Eric, Rachel Nie, and Erin Walsh on the project.
The team tested a “multitude” of ingredients and combinations before settling on a final recipe, which is edible, safe, and has the tensile strength you can trust to hold together a fat burrito.
Because they are applying for a patent, team members declined to disclose their secret formula.
“What I can say is that all its ingredients are safe to consume, are food grade, and are common food and dietary additives,” Guarino said.
Months spent prototyping resulted in rectangular strips measuring half an inch by two inches. These come affixed to sheets of waxed paper. To use, simply remove a strip from the sheet, wet thoroughly to activate, and apply to your lunch, dinner, or favorite snack. The team members put their invention to the test on “too many burritos to count,” but are confident in the quality of their product.
“Tastee Tape allows you to put full faith in your tortilla, and enjoy your meal, mess-free,” Guarino said.