Deciphering a produce sticker

feb 2013 004

It is very common to see a tiny sticker that appears on fruits. These stickers are called “Price Look-Up”, PLU codes that contains numbers, entered by cashiers / check-out clerks, at the cash register.

While shopping, when the hands move from one fruit to another, we really don’t bother looking at the PLU code because we don’t realize it had special meaning.  Many of us would have probably thought that they help speed up check-outs.  But they really have something to tell us!! It’s amazing to know that this tiny little bar codes reveals secret that the store might not want you to know!

Yes. To know the secret, we need to decipher a produce sticker, in the fascinating world of bar codes.

How to use PLU codes on produce?

A small bar code sticker confirms that our apple has’nt end up in the wrong pile! Just by having a deeper look on the PLU code with 4 or 5 digits, we will understand what it says!.

feb 2013 007Conventionally grown (with pesticides and fertilizers) produce is coded with 4  digits, that begins with 3 or 4

feb 2013 005

Organically grown produce is coded by adding “9” in front of the 5 digits.

Genetically modified produce is coded by adding “8” in front of the 4 digits

Consumers should be aware that not all produce are labeled. Other sources of information may be better for distinguishing  the difference between various forms of produce

cropped-fruits-htn.jpg .