Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

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Decoding Your Produce: What Those Little Stickers Mean

Think those stickers on produce are just for the check-out staff? Think again.

The next time you reach for an apple, be sure to pay close attention to the sticker {PLU}. Those numbers hold a wealth of information and are intended to benefit you, the consumer. Since produce doesn't come with nutrition labels, they are given stickers to help consumers identify pertinent nutrition information.

If a PLU (price look up) sticker has 4 digits and begins with either the numbers "3" or "4", the produce has been conventionally grown and treated with weed killers and chemical pesticides.

If a PLU sticker has 5 digits and begins with the number "9", the produce has been organically grown and has not been treated with toxic chemicals.

If a PLU sticker has 5 digits and begins with the number "8", the produce contains a genetically modified organism {GMO}. GMOs are introduced into produce when a farmer intervenes by manipulating the genes of the produce in order to grow a larger or brighter colored produce). Think steroids for your produce. This produce may or may not have also been treated with chemical pesticides.

These codes were first introduced in the 1990s, around the same time that GMOs were first introduced into our food stream. PLU stickers are used by grocery stores and supermarkets to simplify check out and inventory control processes. PLU stickers are affixed to produce using small stickers. While the sticker itself is not edible, the adhesive is.

The next time you are at the supermarket, be sure to look at the stickers. Those numbers are trying to tell you something.

Be sure to check out the "dirty" dozen (a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables that you should buy organic).

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