Believe it or not, those annoying stickers on produce really do matter! So next time you decide to purchase that apple or take a slice of that cucumber consider the PLU sticker. This sticker will tell you whether the fruit was organically grown, genetically modified, or produced with chemical fertilizers, herbicides or fungicides.
PLU stickers that have 4 digits and begin with a “3″ or “4″: produce is conventionally grown. This means that the produce was sprayed with weed killers and chemical pesticides. If you are shopping on a budget you can check out this list I posted which tells what fruits and veggies are okay to purchase conventional.
Any number that starts with a “9″ means that piece of produce is an organic good. Organic basically means that the soil that the product is grown in has been untouched by pesticides, chemically contaminated fertilizers, pesticides and antibiotics. Organic food not only tastes better, but it has been scientifically proven to have healthier benefits inside the body. Eat up!
Finally, try to stay away from produce with a sticker beginning with an “8″ . This means your food has been genetically engineered and has been created by a person or machine in order to maximize productivity. Needless to say, this process is detrimental to the produce, and very dangerous to your health.
Knowledge is power, and now that you know what you are buying, you can feel comfortable and informed on your next grocery store stop. Also, remember to support your local farmers by visiting farmers markets and local food stores, and you can also join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) exchange to ensure that you know where your food is coming from. It is one thing to buy organic items at the grocery store, but it’s another thing to get the opportunity to shake the hand of the farmer who just grew your dinner!
Eat, cook and be healthy, Sproutlings!