Do you know what the stickers on your fruits and vegetables mean? I admit that until recently, I thought that they were placed on my apples to help the cashier scan items more efficiently. That may be true, but they are also useful to us and contain good information. Here is an article by Dr. Frank Lipman that explains the stickers very well.
~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 or produced with chemical fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides.
Here are the basics of what you should know:
- If there are only four numbers in the PLU, this means that the 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.
- If there are five numbers in the PLU code, 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. So, it is possible to eat organic produce that are grown from genetically modified seeds. A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be: 84011
- If there are 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
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