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PLU Codes: How to Read Them

Produce PLU Codes

PLU codes are 4 or 5 digit numbers and will appear on a small sticker applied to the individual piece of fresh produce. The PLU number identifies produce items based upon various attributes which can include the commodity, variety, growing methodology (e.g. organic), and the size. These numbers are assigned by the IFPS after rigorous review at both national and international levels. PLU codes ensure that the accurate price is paid by consumers by removing the need for cashiers to identify the product and whether or not it is conventionally or organically grown.

Four-digit PLU codes let us know the produce was grown conventionally with the use of pesticides.

– A 4-digit code, which starts with the number 3 or 4 shows that the produce was loaded with pesticides. Moreover, it also indicates that the fruit or veggie was conventionally grown.

– In case the sticker has a code with 5 digits beginning with the number 3, it shows that the fruit or veggie was irradiated or electronically pasteurized.

– If the sticker has a PLU code with 5 digits that start with the number 8, it means that the produce was genetically modified. Unfortunately, no one can grow organic fruits or vegetables by using genetically modified seeds.

– PLU code begins with the number 6, it suggests that the produce was pre-cut.

Produce does not have any stickers, means that it is not imported or the sticker may be removed for some reason.

Five-digit PLU codes tell us the product is not traditionally grown. For example, a five-digit PLU code starting with the number “8” is genetically modified. A five-digit PLU code starting with the number “9” is organic.

One pneumonic device to help us remember organic from genetically modified organisms is 8 you hate and 9 is fine.

If you want to find out what the codes mean before you buy your produce… go to SearchPLU.com

Sources:
Identification PLU Codes
How to Read Produce Codes
Here’s Why you don’t buy Fruits with these PLU Codes
PDF: IFPSGlobal Download

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