Frugal Living » Sticker Shock

Sticker Shock

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You might have noticed that fruits and veggies have cute little stickers on them in the grocery store. That sticker is called a PLU which is short for “Price Look Up” and contains a code that offers quite a bit of information that you might not be aware of, but could greatly affect the health of your family.
We’re all aware of sticker shock- the horrible feeling you have at the grocery store when the prices have soared unexpectedly due to some recent issue- drought, flood, a freeze that wipes out a crop, etc; However, this kind of sticker shock is a little bit different. The type of sticker shock we’re referring to here directly affects the well being of your family members because these stickers tell you how and where the produce you’re about to purchase was grown.

Oftentimes, either directly above or directly underneath the code, the sticker will display the country the produce was grown in.

Here’s what the codes Mean:

4-Digit PLU in the 3,000’s or 4,000’s(example 4952)- means the produce has been conventionally grown- meaning that the produce was grown with the use of fertilizers, pesticides

5-Digit PLU that begins with a 9- (Example: 94952) this means that the item has been organically grown

5-digit PLU that begins with an 8– (example 84952) means that this item is FrankenFood- that is to say, genetically modified. Its seeds were genetically engineered/created in a laboratory and were spliced with various viruses, bacteria, pesticides and more.

In short, the next time you’re looking over the fruits and veggies, picking and choosing the best looking ones, don’t forget to look at the PLU Sticker for MORE than just the monetary price or you may just pay a bigger health price down the road!

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5 thoughts on “Sticker Shock”

  1. wow! i never knew all this information was on the fruits and veggies plu. this is great knowledge and definitely one i will use on my next and future shopping trips.

    thanks for all the tips, this site has been a great source of information for me.

  2. i was curious about the accuracy of this post, specifically with reference to the gmo code, so i went to a site that is generally recognized as a place where you can confirm the accuracy of internet information. (i’m not sure if i’m allowed to name the site.)

    the information i received there indicates that while this article is accurate, it is incomplete. the use of these codes is voluntary, and as of may 2013, they know of no supplier or vendor that has used the leading 8 to indicate gmo. the speculation is that if those suppliers or vendors suspect that consumers won’t buy them, they will not label them.

    this is the heart of the controversy sweeping the country right now about gmo protection.

    however, there is another way to be sure you don’t buy gmo produce. it is illegal to label any gmo produce as organic. so if you stick to organic produce, you’ll assure yourself that it isn’t gmo.

    i have opted to grow as much as possible of my own produce, using heirloom seeds that are certified non-gmo. that way i know for sure.


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