The Meaning Of Fruit And Vegetable PLU Sticker Codes
PLU Sticker Codes
Do you ever look at the little stickers on your produce? They are the Price Look Up (PLU) code. I used to overlook them and focused only on inspecting my fruits and vegetables for freshness, until I learned about their importance.
You use scanners to scan the PLU code to find out the price of the item you intend to purchase, but the PLU code stickers contain more than just the price information.
The PLU code contains different sequences of numbers that identify what the item is, and if the fruit or vegetable was grown conventionally, organically, or was genetically modified (GMO). Find PLU codes here.
4 Number PLU Code – Conventional
A PLU code with only four numbers only identifies what the produce is. Each kind and variety of fruit or vegetable has its own unique 4-digit code. A small Granny Smith apple’s PLU code is 4138. Generally, the 4-digit PLU code is used to identify conventionally grown produce, though producers could use it on organic and GMO products.
A producer of conventionally grown fruit and vegetables could use harmful synthetic pesticides and herbicides and even sewage sludge to grow crops.
9 + (4 Number PLU Code) – Organic
A PLU code with 5 numbers beginning with a 9 identifies organically grown produce. Producers cannot use certain “more” harmful synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics to grow organic produce, and the produce cannot be GMO. Though producers cannot genetically modify produce they can hybridize produce to alter their genetic and chemical makeup. An organic Granny Smith apple’s PLU code would be 94138.
Legally producers can only label organic produce with an organic PLU code.
8 + (4 Number PLU Code) – GMO
Some people may want to buy GMO produce and a PLU code was made to distinguish GMO produce from organic and conventional produce. A PLU code with 5 numbers beginning with an 8 identifies the produce as being GMO. A genetically modified Granny Smith PLU code is 84060
Legally producers can only label GMO produce with a GMO PLU code. Food producers are not required to use the organic and genetically modified PLU number system and can use the 4-digit PLU code.