Watch Out! PLU Stickers On Fruits Can Protect You From Food Poisoning


Watch Out! PLU Stickers On Fruits Can Protect You From Food Poisoning



Have you ever wondered what the stickers on your groceries mean? Or do you just assume that they are price tags? Well, here is news for you: Those tags actually carry some very important information about what you are buying, and they need to be taken seriously.

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PLU codes or Price look-up Codes are identification numbers printed on stickers and attached to produce. They make checking out easier as the codes have already been stored in a database.

Identifying produce

If you are out grocery shopping, here are examples of codes you should watch out for.

  1. Five digit codes which start with 9 show that the item is organic. This means no alterations have been made to the genetic code of the item.
  2. Four digit codes starting with 3 or 4 mean the item is conventionally grown.
  3. Five digit codes starting with 8 show that the item is genetically modified. This means the item has genes from other organisms which are designed to either enhance growth or reduce the risk of infection from diseases that affect plants.


The EWG has compiled lists to help buyers identify which products are the safest to purchase. This list was compiled after samples of products were tested for genetic alterations and pesticides. Their results are summed up in the "Clean Fifteen" and the "Dirty Dozen."


Strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, and grapes top the list.

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Peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, and sweet bell peppers complete the list of tested products.


In some cases, as many as 95% of these products tested positive for pesticide residue.


Avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbages, onions, sweet frozen peas had little or no traces of pesticide residue in them.


Papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplants, honeydew melons, kiwis, cantaloupes, cauliflower, and broccoli complete the "Clean Fifteen."


GMO food and the dangers of long-term consumption

Food which is grown from genetically modified plants often contains elements that do not occur naturally in the food. Also, pesticides can be harmful long term as it builds up in the body system with more consumption.


Furthermore, eating organic products is healthier and reduces the risk of health complications that may arise from consuming GMO products. So next time you are grocery shopping, keep an eye out for the stickers.

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