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View Full Version : PLU Codes Do Not Indicate Genetically Modified Produce



Aaltrude
01-15-12, 03:53 PM
by Jeffery Smith
Posted: 2/23/10

Let's put a rumor to rest. No, the 5-digit PLU codes on produce do not tell you what is genetically modified or natural. This urban legend has circulated long enough, even on the best of websites. It's time to take it down.

The 4-digit PLU codes on the sometimes-pain-in-the-neck labels glued to apples, for example, tell the checkout lady which is a small Fuji (4129) and which is a Honeycrisp (3283). She'll know what to charge you and the inventory elves will know what's what. If there's a 5-digit code starting with 9, then it's organic.

These numbers, organized by the Produce Marketing Association, have nothing to do with you. According to Kathy Means, Association Vice President of Public Relations and Government Affairs, this is an optional convention for retailers and their supplier and is not designed as a communication tool for customers. If you want to know which items are organic, look for the word Organic; and stop squinting at tiny codes.

GMO codes are hypothetical

Those that run PLU-universe figured that someday some retailer might want to distinguish between a GMO and a non-GMO for price or inventory purposes. So they created a convention of 5 digits starting with an 8, just in case it catches on. But it hasn't. No one uses that number 8 as far as we can tell. And why would they? Most Americans say they would avoid GMOs if they were labeled.

Some seed companies don't even want gardeners to know which seed is genetically modified. One company that sells zucchini seeds outfitted with virus genes announced that they would refuse to sell seed packets in Vermont, since the state legislature requires GM seeds to be labeled.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/plu-codes-do-not-indicate_b_473088.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

Islander
01-15-12, 05:42 PM
Nice to see this in Huffpost!

Julieanne
01-16-12, 05:41 AM
I think the supposed PLU code has been talked about on JM's site.