Pesky Produce Stickers

Chipwellness's Blog

Ever wonder why stickers are put on fruits and vegetables?  They seem to be on all produce – from McIntosh apples to beefstake tomatoes. Those stickers are called produce look-up number (PLU) stickers, and the number on the sticker identifies the fruit or vegetable when run across the scanner at the checkout line.  Just think – with the dozens of varieties of apples, melons, potatoes, and squash available, we would be in the checkout lines forever watching a frustrated cashier try to determine whether to ring up a carnival or delicata squash. Those pesky stickers do have a purpose!

The codes on the stickers reveal something else – how the fruit or vegetable was grown.  It is a voluntary system, but pretty reliable. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables have a four digit number on the label beginning with the number 4.  Genetically modified (GM) fruits and vegetables have a five…

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