After pushing shopping carts through various crowded supermarkets over the years, we’re rather familiar with the coded stickers on fresh produce … what they actually mean?
Not so much. PLU codes, the numbered sequences printed on top, are more than simple attempts at advertising.
Holding valuable pieces of information, they’re revealing secrets good enough to eat!
Let’s start with the basics: four-digit PLU codes.
Fruits or veggies with this particular sequence are grown according to agronomic standards. Rather, they sprouted with the help of powerful fertilizers and pesticides.
While this harvesting process might sound scary or unhealthy, it’s actually relatively common! This method is refered to as growing with ‘conventional methods.’ Fruits such as lemons and sananas are perfect examples.
Next on the grocery list: ‘supernatural’ produce.
A five-digit code beginning with the number eight corresponds to -you guessed it- genetically modified fruits and vegetables.
In addition to “standard farming practices,” their genes were somehow enhanced or chemically altered during their growth cycle. These types of labels are usuaoly reserved for rather tropical fruits such as melons, bananas, and papayas.
Moving up the ‘sticker ladder’, we finally get to the good stuff!
Any produce posting plu codes beginning with the number nine and five letters in length? They’re the ‘best of the best.’ In general, these are the organic, rather pricey, fruits and veggies.
100% natural, these fruits and vegetables were grown without the help of any chemicals or pesticides. All in favor of a healthy snack?
… and the fruits and veggies without any visible PLU codes, you may ask?
In general, produce items without a PLU sticker are imported. While they don’t require a particular code or number, they should include an ‘imported’ label.
No sticker at all? Not to worry, they’ve been known to fall off during transit.
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