Have you ever noticed numbers on some of the foods you buy? Do you know what these numbers mean? If not, it is time that you find out, as they are much more important than you thought.
Stickers usually have some digits printed on, known as the price look-up code (PLU).
4-Digit PLU Code Apples,
for instance, have stickers with four-digit PLU codes, which inform the checkout lady which of them are small Fuji (4129) and which ones are Honeycrisp (3283). Thus, this lady will know how much to charge you and the inventory elves will know what is what. A PLU code with four numbers indicates that the product was conventionally grown (with the use of artificial pesticides and herbicides).
5-Digit PLU Code
1. Starts with ‘8’: in case that the five-digit code begins with ‘8’, it means that the thing you have bought is genetically modified fruit or vegetable. A genetically engineered banana for example would be signed 84011. As the World Health Organization states, GMOs can be described as organisms whose genetic material (the DNA) has been changed in a way that does not happen naturally.
2. Starts with ‘9’: if the five-digit PLU code begins with a nine, it means that the product is organic. This fruit or vegetable is organically grown and it is not genetically modified. An organically grown banana would be signed 94011.
How Reliable Are These PLU Codes? With the exception of the number 9, the rest of the numbers are pretty much useless. Why is this so?
The purpose of the design of number 8 was not for it to be used by consumers. This number was designed in the first place so that retailers could know if the product is GMO or not in order to determine the price or for inventory purposes.
The law of our country does not require GMO labeling and the majority of the grocery stores do not use the number 8. This is understandable, taking in consideration the fact that people claim that they would avoid GMOs if they were labeled.
Differently put, it won’t mean anything to you if you see a four-digit code on a product, as it does not guarantee that the product is non-GMO. Take a look at this graph and see which ten crops in the USA are GMO, approved for commercial use.
4 Tips To Avoid GMOs
– Always try to buy organic food
– Find and download the non-GMO Shopping Guide
– Always look for “GMO free” labels on the products you buy
– Always opt for foods that are locally grown and foods in season