Have you noticed the little “model” stickers on your bananas, apples, peaches, pears, mangos, kiwi, and different seasonal fruits? Those stickers are helpful for the store clerk, as they don’t have to tell apart the difference between Fuji apples from Gala apples. That little helpful sticker has the value lookup (PLU) code to hurry up the check out process. However do you know that the lookup number also tells you more? Do you want to know what?
The number on that little sticker, not only is the price look number, it also tells how the product is grown or created. This has made news just lately with the release of the new guidelines for “natural” labeling.
For conventionally grown fruit, the PLU code on the sticker consists of 4 numbers. Organically grown fruit have a 5-numeral PLU starting with the number 9. Genetically engineered fruit has a five-numeral PLU starting with the number 8.
When I read about this labeling, I decided to scout my refrigerator for the little stickers. The bananas and apples both had been four digits – that means conventionally grown fruit.
So utilizing this numbering system, a conventionally grown banana could be 4011, an natural banana would be 94011, and a genetically engineered banana can be 84011. Attention-grabbing isn’t it?
Who developed this numbering system? The numeric system was developed by the Produce Electronic Identification Board, an affiliate of the Produce Advertising and marketing Association, a trade group for the Produce Labels industry.
While the stickers are useful to the cashiers to accurately identify and value produce, there are plenty of complaints about how well the stickers stick!
In line with the Produce Advertising Association, some shippers have begun utilizing stickers designed with tabs that make them simpler to lift off, and are buying equipment that applies adhesive to the sticker but not to the tab.
Corporations are additionally experimenting with different sticker materials, equivalent to vinyl, that hold up underneath a wide range of temperature and moisture conditions.
The adhesive now used to attach the stickers is food-grade, however the stickers themselves aren’t edible. To remove stubborn ones, soak in warm water for a minute or two. As a kid, we used to argue over who got the sticker off the bananas to wear as tattoos! They weren’t a problem…just not enough on a bunch.
So the next time you pick up that kiwi, melon, pineapple, apple or banana, check out the numbering system. Is it conventionally or organically grown? Or, is it a results of genetic engineering? It’s all in the number – which can also be the worth search for code for the cashier. A easy number for a fancy situation.