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One cheeseburger away from the clinker

September 20, 2008 |  9:00 am

As if we needed one more reason to lay off the junk food ... well, maybe we do need another reason.

FingerprintEating junk food could land you in the pokey faster, if you’re criminally inclined. A new forensic fingerprinting technique relies on the fact that people who have diets filled with processed foods may leave metal-corroding fingerprints that are easier to detect.

John Bond (no relation to James, probably), a researcher at the University of Leicester in England and a scientific support officer at the Northamptonshire Police, came up with the concept. Sweaty fingerprints, he believes, contain more salt if the person’s diet consists of processed foods. And that salt can be corrosive to metal. Ergo, a better impression. He and some colleagues have even found a way to boost a fingerprint’s image left on a small-caliber metal cartridge case, even after it’s been fired.

Bond spoke about his findings at a conference on forensic science at the university, and said in a release, "On the basis that processed foods tend to be high in salt as a preservative, the body needs to excrete excess salt, which comes out as sweat through the pores in our fingers."

He went on to hypothesize that there might be a roundabout connection between obesity and the chances of being nabbed after committing a crime, since those who eat a lot of processed foods tend to be heftier.

If Bond could only find a way of getting that darn Cheetos residue off your fingers. That would be helpful. Because those leave a very obvious trail.

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: Steve Osman / L.A. Times

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