Why do Fruits and Veggies have Stickers?

English: Apple PLU #4130 Deutsch: Apfel PLU #4130

English: Apple PLU #4130 Deutsch: Apfel PLU #4130 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the longest time, I always thought that produce had stickers for scanning and inventory purposes. Than I came across an article on what the numbers actually mean.

First off a sticker should have the country of origin on it, be wary of this matching the advertisement price banner as many times It says Grown In Ontario on the sign and Product of U.S.A on the produce.

So what does it mean? Would you be surprised to know it actually can tell you how it was grown? If it is organic,chemically grown or genetically modified?

Most items in the outer areas of the grocery store(where we are told to shop) contain ingredients that have been genetically modified. You would never find a fruit and vegetables with a nutrition label(general rule is 100 calories per piece of fruit,50 for veggie, it is just an estimate, but most apples don’t fall to far from the tree. ha ha ha get it?)

Here is the info on the apple from the picture.

PLU Commodity Variety + Variety Info Size Restrictions Botanical Rev Date
More Info 4130 APPLES Cripps Pink Large Malus pumila 6/1/2002 12:00:00 AM

The number on the sticker is a PLU (PLU – Price Look Up Code) which contain important information. The sticker will tell you whether the fruit was organically grown, genetically modified, or produced with chemical fertilizers, herbicides or fungicides(some herbicides and fungicides are naturally produced i know, but because of the cost involved the grower will proudly fly their organic flag).

PLU stickers that have 4 digits and begin with a “3″ or “4″: (See the apple above?) means that the produce is conventionally grown by being sprayed with weed killers and chemical pesticides.

PLU stickers that have 5-digits and start with “8″ means the produce was genetically engineered (man intervened by manipulating the genes to produce a larger or brighter colored food). This produce may have been chemically treated, like some strawberries and grapples.

PLU stickers that have 5-digits and start with “9″: produce was raised organically. You can be sure that this produce was not treated with any chemicals. YAY!!! Usually these stickers have a big ORGANIC on top of the PLU# and the country of origin below.

If you see other variations of code on your produce, you can check out this website here http://www.fruitsticker.com.

FYI The adhesive used on the sticker is edible but the sticker itself is not.

There are over 1300 universal PLU codes assigned to produce.

The system is overlooked by the International Federation for Produce Standards, http://www.plucodes.com/ and you can find he Produce Marketing Association here http://www.pma.com/

Check your fruit and have fun looking them up!! REMEMBER 5 DIGIT NUMBER THAT STARTS WITH 9 IS A GOOD THING!.


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