What do PLU Sticker Codes on Produce Mean?

PLU Stickers

PLU (Product Look Up) codes are 4 or 5 digit numbers which have been used by supermarkets since 1990 to make check-out and inventory more efficient and accurate. They ensure that the correct price is paid by consumers and identify the product; e.g., whether or not it is conventionally or organically grown.

So what exactly do those PLU numbers mean?
9-organically grown
8 -genetically modified
3 and 4- conventionally grown with pesticides and fertilizers. (1)

The remaining  numbers indicate the type of produce

For example if the sticker label number is 94024, you would have an organic pear Bartlett/Williams/ WBC, small. If the pear was large the number would be 94409.

You won’t see a lot of produce labeled with a sticker starting with the number 8, mainly because genetically modified versions of corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, papaya, and squash are now widely sold. Because PLU codes aren’t mandatory, companies can simply label those items as conventional.

 

Want to Learn More
To read the PLU codes in alphabetical order click here

To read the PLU codes in numerical order click here.

The list is adapted from the 55-page listing supplied by the IFPC (International Federation for Produce Coding), an affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association.

 

 

References:
(1) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2010/05/what-do-plu-codes-say-about-your-produce/index.htm

 
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