Many of us have no idea what the stickers on our vegetables and fruit are there for than just for price scanners.
The PLU code, or price lookup number on the sticker can help in determining if the product is genetically modified, organic, produced with chemical fertilizers, herbicides or fungicides.
A 4-digit code beginning with the number 3 or 4, means that the produce was grown conventionally. the last digits of of the code signify the type of fruit or vegetable you are purchasing. (Ex. bananas are labeled with code 4011)
2. If there is 5 numbers, and the first number is “8”, then the product has been genetically-modified. In that case, an example would be that GMO bananas would be labeled “84011.” With a number 8 as the first number signifies you aren’t purchasing organic.
3. Any 5-digit number that begins with a “9” is organic. Organic bananas are labeled with the code “94011.”
EWG (The Environmental Working Group) examined pesticide residue testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration, to form rankings in these favorite produce items.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has warned consumers that the consumption of pesticides can cause health issues such as “birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time.” Children are at a high risk for harm from these pesticides.
Fruits and Vegetables to Always Buy Organic
The Dirty Dozen Plus
These foods have high amounts of pesticides and should be purchased organic or grown yourself:
Sweet Bell Peppers
The following foods were found by EWG to be safely low in pesticide residues.They may be good options for those on a tight budget.
5 Sweet Corn [Editors Note: beware of genetically modified varieties. If you want to avoid GMOs, eat only organic corn/]
12 Papayas [Editors Note: beware of genetically modified varieties. If you want to avoid GMOs eat only organic papaya.]
14 Sweet Peas
15 Sweet Potatoes
The EWG notes that 99% of apples, 98% of peaches and 97% of nectarines had tested positive for one type of pesticide residue. The average white potato has more pesticides by weight than any other produce on store shelves.
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