PRODUCE STICKER CODES
Be a Stickler for Stickers
I wanted to do a quick post about the PLU code on your produce as I’m working on an article for the Vegetarian Resource Group and this is the topic!!
Today it can be quite confusing distinguishing what is organic, conventional, or GMO at the supermarket. A great way to discern if produce is USDA organic is to review the PLU code displayed on the sticker.
What’s a PLU code?
PLU code stickers on produce have been used by supermarkets since 1990 to make check-out and inventory control easier, faster, and more accurate. The PLU number identifies produce items based upon various attributes, which can include the commodity, the variety, the rowing methodology and the size group. The PLU number contains a 4 – 5 digit number, known as a Price Look-Up (PLU) code for which the stores use to identify produce and distinguish between conventionally grown, GMO, and organic. PLU codes are assigned by the IFPS (International Federation for Produce Standards) after rigorous review at both the national and international levels.
WHAT MEANS WHAT
A 4-digit PLU in the 3000s and 4000s means conventionally grown produce (such as 4011)
A 5-digit PLU starting with the # 9 means organically grown produce (such as 94011)
A 5-digit PLU starting with an 8 means genetically modified produce (such as 84805)
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PLU codes are created by an international body and can be searched online at http://plucodes.com
If the sticker also has the USDA organic seal, then you know it’s been certified by the government through the National Organic Program. To be certified, products must be inspected and meet the USDA regulations.
Labeling GMO produce with a PLU code of 8 is actually optional and not mandatory. Today, most companies don’t use an 8 PLU code even if the produce is genetically modified and will label the GMO items as conventional with a PLU code of 4.
If you don’t buy organic, then you may possibly be unintentionally buying genetically modified produce.
What are GMO’s?
GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.
Among the population, biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute warns that “children are the most likely to be adversely effected by toxins and other dietary problems” related to GM foods. He says without adequate studies, the children become “the experimental animals.”
DID YOU KNOW THAT..
Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had warned about all these problems even in the early 1990s. According to documents released from a lawsuit, the scientific consensus at the agency was that GM foods were inherently dangerous, and might create hard-to-detect allergies, poisons, gene transfer to gut bacteria, new diseases, and nutritional problems.
They urged their superiors to require rigorous long-term tests.[xxvii] But the White House had ordered the agency to promote biotechnology and the FDA responded by recruiting Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, to head up the formation of GMO policy. That policy, which is in effect today, denies knowledge of scientists’ concerns and declares that no safety studies on GMOs are required. It is up to Monsanto and the other biotech companies to determine if their foods are safe. Mr. Taylor later became Monsanto’s vice president.
The problem is that although an estimated 60 to 70 percent of food items sold, including packaged goods, have genetically modified ingredients, little is known about the long-term effects of consuming them, and concerns have been raised about an increase in allergies and other health issues.
DID YOU KNOW..
The Bt-toxin produced in GM plants, however, is thousands of times more concentrated than natural Bt spray, is designed to be more toxic, has properties of an allergen, and unlike the spray, cannot be washed off the plant.
To help change this you can sign the petition to tell the FDA we want GMOs properly labeled and you can also download an app to avoid GMOs here.
TO READ MORE ABOUT PROPOSITION 37 CALIFORNIA’S RIGHT TO KNOW
TO LEARN HOW TO AVOID GMO’S