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John Hopkins University Created an Edible Tape For Holding Burritos Together That ‘Allows You to Put Full Faith In Your Tortilla’

11:59 AM PDT on May 18, 2022

photo: The Tastee Tape Team at John Hopkins University

While readers of a certain member-supported taco website in Los Angeles can reasonably be expected to know how to roll, maintain, and even eat burritos without losing their heads or their frijoles, you may be surprised at how often the rest of the world struggles with the ins and outs of such everyday Mexican foodstuffs, not to mention other starch-spooled forms of sustenance.

How else to explain the advent of Tastee Tape, an edible adhesive label for keeping burritos, tacos, gyros, wraps, and the like sealed and intact? The clever product was invented and recently highlighted by a team of chemical and biomolecular engineering students for “Engineering Design Day” at John Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering.

The intelligent, enterprising youths won’t tell us what exactly goes into the half-inch-by-two-inch tape, only that it’s an exhaustingly tested, edible adhesive made from some kind of organic, food-grade “fibrous scaffold” that manages the “tensile strength” to ensure your burrito doesn’t spill all over your lap. It closely resembles nori, with some sort of beige, gummy glue bleeding through its pores.

We’ve always been pretty content to just use the bottom part of the foil our burritos come wrapped in to manage their girth in our grasp. Maybe even treat it like a second course and eat it after we eat the flour tortilla part of the burrito? Hell, there was even this viral meme going around of another genius who created a mock-up of a contraption to make tacos from all your burrito leftovers? Again, we’re not exactly John Hopkins material.

Tastee Tape comes on a sheet of wax paper the user will pull the labels from before wetting and applying them to the food they intend to keep together. The students are applying for a patent to get these suckers out onto the market, where they could become gazillionaires once Chipotle catches wind of their efforts.

"Tastee Tape allows you to put full faith in your tortilla, and enjoy your meal, mess-free," co-inventor Tyler Guarino tells JHU Hub, with no elucidation on how he broke the news to his parents that he was spending the majority of his time at a prestigious institution contemplating burritos.

But while it’s easy to scoff at the students’ life work, as well as these geniuses' inability to eat burritos proficiently, the invention imaginably carries some potential of reducing waste, conceivably replacing the environmentally unfriendly plastic wraps and aluminum foil typically used to wrap burritos and other foods with a small label that disappears in your mouth.

Likewise, a new generation of parents may never have to send their kids to school in fear of the lunches they’ve just put together falling into pieces. In other words, maybe it’s brilliant? However, the verdict is still out on how this burrito tape will work on ultra-thin Sonoran-style flour tortillas that you can almost see through. Anyway, there’s no exact word on when a product like this may be revealed in the real world. At which point it will likely face the true test of its abilities, trying in vain to keep the seams together on a five-pound "Manuel Special" at Boyle Heights’ El Tepeyac.

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