Monday, October 1, 2012

Produce Sticker Codes – Watch for them

Someone else posted the link for this, but I thought it was so important, I wanted to make sure we all understand this labeling system. Although they seem like a nuisance, the stickers or labels attached to fruit and some vegetables have more of a function than helping scan the price at the checkout stand. 

  • The PLU code, or price lookup number printed on the sticker, also tells you how the fruit was grown.
  • By reading the PLU code, you can tell if the fruit was
    • genetically modified
    • organically grown
    • produced with chemical fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides.
Here are the basics
of what you should know: 


Four numbers in the PLU - produce was grown conventionally or “traditionally” with the use of pesticides.

    • The last four letters of the PLU code are simply what kind of vegetable or fruit.
    • An example is that all bananas are labeled with the code of 4011.


  • Five numbers in the PLU  - and the number starts with “8″, this tells you that the item is a genetically modified fruit or vegetable.
    • Genetically modified fruits and vegetables trump being organic.
    • It is possible to eat organic produce that are grown from genetically modified seeds.
    • A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be: 84011


  • Five numbers in the PLU code, and the number starts with “9″, this tells you that the produce was grown organically and is not genetically modified.
    • An organic banana would be: 94011
Start looking for those numbers!

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