Have you ever wondered what those little stickers mean on the fruits and vegetables you buy? They are not simply codes for the cashier to properly ring up your food in the grocery line. The numbers on those stickers tell a story about the produce if you know how to read them.
There are three different classifications that the PLU stickers can indicate. Organic, chemically grown and genetically modified. But what do those three categories mean and how do you tell by the PLU code what you are holding?
Organic – The fruit or vegetable was grown naturally without using any chemicals. If you are holding an organically grown product in your hand the number on the PLU sticker will start with the number 9. As an example, an apple with a code of 95001 would be an organically grown apple.
Chemically grown - Chemicals such as pesticides were used on the fruit while it was being grown. This is the code you will probably see most often. Chemically grown fruit and vegetables will have a code starting with a 4 and they will be four digits long. An example would be an apple with the code 4501 on the sticker.
Genetically modified - Scientists poked and prodded the fruit or vegetable and modified it’s genetic makup. Genetically modified fruits or vegetables will begin with an 8 and have five digits in the code. So the code 85001 would indicate that the product was somehow genetically modified..
More information on organic foods can be found at: http://www.organicconsumers.org/