Home Interesting Facts Here’s What The Grocery Store Produce Stickers Really Mean

Here’s What The Grocery Store Produce Stickers Really Mean

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Want to know the reason why I don’t eat apples from the grocery store ever? Because I can’t stand those dang stickers and I feel like you can never get the stickiness off. Well apparently the adhesive they use is edible, but I still don’t trust it!

These stickers help the grocery store cashier check out your fruit and produce, because they have a PLU code on them. I didn’t even know that PLU meant “price look-up” but the sticker actually means more than that.

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These codes on these stickers can actually inform you more about the produce more than you know. These innocent looking stickers will tell you whether what you are buying was genetically modified, organically grown or produced with chemical herbicides, fertilizers or fungicides.

The following is what these dang codes actually mean:

1. When there are only four numbers on the PLU, it means that the produce was grown traditionally with the use of pesticides. Additionally, the last four numbers on any of the stickers indicate which food it is. This is apparently true no matter where you live.

Next time you go to the grocery store, pick up a banana and it will say 4011.

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2. Next up, when there are five numbers and it starts with an eight, it means that the produce has been genetically modified. What does that really mean? Basically you can’t find these in the wild. Genetically modified produce has been cultured over years in labs to make bigger or taste better.

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3. Say the PLU starts with a 9, that means that the produce was grown organically and has no genetic modifications. Make sure you don’t eat those dang stickers by the way, they aren’t edible even if they have a 9 on them.

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Now if you are looking for some fruits and veggies that are pretty much always safe for you check out the Environmental Working Group’s research. They made two lists that detail what the cleanest foods are in general when it comes to pesticides, along with a dirty list that include produce that is usually pumped with chemicals.

The Top 3 pieces of produce that are supposedly clean are:

1. Avocados



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2. Sweet Corn

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3. Pineapple

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I guess that Avocados and Pineapples make sense since they are hiding their goods with their skin. I’m also used to corn that isn’t in the husk, but if that’s the case then that makes sense too.

Along with the clean list, the Environmental Working Group made a “Dirty Dozen” list. The top 3 of the worst produce items include:

1. Strawberries

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2. Apples

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3. Nectarines

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Again, strawberries and apples sure those make sense. People eat the skin there and that’s directly how the pesticides get into those fruits. Nectarines though? I’m surprised about that, so be careful if you are eating those often!

Overall, just wash your fruits and veggies after buying them and you should wash away the pesticides.

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