Thursday, July 5, 2012

What's That Number? Understanding Produce Code Stickers

I've never really paid attention to the PLU (Price Look Up) Codes on the stickers on produce...that's all about to change.  Those little stickers are there to let us all have a little more info, that is if we understand what they mean.

Next time you're at the store you'll know whether you have a conventionally grown (Ahh), a genetically modified (Yikes!) or an organically grown (Horray!) apple. 

Here's some helpful information in understanding exactly what your fruit & veggies are saying to you.

Produce that has a 4 digit PLU Codes:
Range from the 3000s to 4000s mean that the produce is conventionally grown.

Produce that has a 5 digit PLU Codes that start with:
0 - Applies to all non-qualified produce and is generally presented without the leading "zero" digit.

8 - Genetically modified produce (GMO).

9 - Organically grown produce.

PLU Sticker Q & A
Q: Why are there PLU stickers on produce?
A:  PLU codes help cashiers accurately identify and price produce. The average person cannot determine whether an apple is a Fuji or a Gala by looking at it. However, these two apples could be sold at different prices. A PLU code tells the store’s database the identity of the item and the cost per weight of each is calculated.

Q:  What is a PLU code?
A:  PLU stands for price look-up code. PLUs are used on items that are sold loose or bunched, by weight or by each (i.e. an individual apple or bunch of greens). A PLU code contains 4-5 digits total. The PLU is key-entered at point of sale in order to obtain the price.

Q:  How is organically grown produce coded on a PLU label?
A:  The number 9 is added to the front of the regular four digit PLU code. (e.g. an organically grown banana would be 94011.)

Q:  How is genetically engineered produce coded on a PLU label?
A:  The number 8 is added in front of the regular four digit PLU code. (e.g. a genetically engineered vine ripe tomato would be 84805.)

Q: How do I obtain a list of PLUs?
A:  A complete list of Global PLUs is available on the Web at More information is available from your Country Organization.

Information obtained from International Federation For Produce Standards PLU Codes User's Guide 2006

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