The chances are that most of us at one time or another have noticed those little stickers you find on pieces of fruit. Apart from the bright logos they have on them, there’s also a digital PLU code (or Price Look-Up Code). It turns out that fruit producers are not only trying to advertize themselves here, they’re also providing us with important consumer information.
We decided to tell you all about how to understand what these numbers mean and the secrets they contain.
A four-digit code beginning with the number 3 or 4
If there are only four numbers on the sticker, then it means the fruit (or vegetable) was produced with the help of modern agronomic techniques — including abundant amounts of fertilizer and pesticides.
A five-digit code beginning with the number 8
When you see this sticker, the fruit has been genetically modified as part of the growing process. Yes, that’s right. This is the GMO food that continues to cause so much controversy. Research shows that melons, bananas, and papayas are the types of fruit that are genetically modified the most often.
A five-digit code beginning with the number 9
If you see this kind of code, it means the fruit was grown using the old farming methods of our ancestors: with their own hands and without any chemicals. These are organic products.
If the fruit has no PLU code
Most people try to find fruit without stickers. But this could actually be dangerous: fruit that’s imported from abroad should always be labeled in this way. If there isn’t a label, the chances are it’s been removed for a specific reason — and one that isn’t likely to be to your advantage as a consumer.