Have you ever noticed the little stickers attached to fruits? Maybe you even ate one. On oranges, there’s always a little cartoon orange smiling up at you. But before you throw your stickers away, look a little closer at it. See those numbers? They’re called a PLU code (also known as price lookup code). The stickers aren’t just meant for inventory, but also for providing us with some very important information.
If you buy something with a 4-digit code (that starts with a 3 or a 4), it means that the fruit (or vegetable) was grown with an abundant amount of fertilizer and pesticides. It was produced with the modern day agronomic techniques. Everyone knows that pesticides are bad for your body. Check that code twice!
5-digit codes beginning with the number 8
If you purchase something that has a 5-digit code starting with the number 8, it’s telling you that the product was genetically modified. While the science isn’t 100% for or against GMOs, many people believe they’re bad for you. Bananas, papayas, and melons are known to be genetically modified the most.
5-digit codes beginning with the number 9
Another 5-digit code to look out for is one that starts with the number 9. When you see this, it’s safe to say that these fruits and vegetables were grown without pesticides and GMO. These were grown and harvested using the old farming methods we picked up from our ancestors. A lot of foods are labeled organic for this reason.
Many fruits and vegetables come without any PLU code at all. Why is this? To make a long story short, it’s probably best that there aren’t any codes on these fruits. These products were grown with harmful chemicals that no one wants you to see. After all, they could lose business if we knew what they were doing to our produce. It’s also not against the law to not put PLU codes on produce.
What will you do after you learn the meaning of these PLU codes? I personally buy organic, but I’m looking into growing my own produce now. Be sure to warn your friends and family about this, too!