I must admit that, although I have seen them on various fruits and vegetables for years, I did not know anything about them (other than assuming they helped identify fruit for pricing purposes...
... until today. As regular readers might remember, I posted an article last month on Carron Farms, a local certified sustainable and organic farm (located in the Holland Marsh). fyi, they have a food share program that starts June 20th and runs in to October and a Jacob's food program that helps deliver fresh produce to local families in need.
This morning, my curiosity aroused by a promotion by another local organic farm, I started researching PLU Codes.
Let me preface my findings with this warning, if you feel this information is important to you, confirm it for yourself, and then tell people you care about. There seems to be a lot of information and misinformation out on the interweb (apologies to Brent Butt - on whose show "Corner Gas" I first heard this term).
PLU labeling applies to loose produce (fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, herbs, flavourings and nuts) that have not been additionally processed.
The leading digit qualifier (the first of five numbers) can either be a "0", "9", or an "8".
0 - applies to non-qualified produce and the zero is often skipped resulting in a four digit PLU code
8 - Genetically Modified
9 - Organic
A four digit number starting with a "3" or a "4" (and/or a five digit number starting with "0" having a second digit "3" or '4"), would indicate produce traditionally grown (possibly using herbicides and pesticides).
There is a free iPhone "APP" that will help identify what these codes mean. Search for WHATVEGGIE.
Now, again, those who know me, know that I rarely "preach". I prefer to ask questions and give information and suggest you investigate for yourself and make your own informed decision...
Until this year, our family has put little value on "organically" grown. We have seen that they are normally more expensive and not appreciated the value of them. But our opinion has changed.
I do not know much about Genetically Modified produce, but, given the choice, would prefer to stay clear of this type of produce. My research into this topic lead me to some information on irradiation. This is another process that I would prefer to avoid in foods I and my loved ones consume.
Proponents of irradiation tend to promote that the process can reduce pathogens, but, imho, at what cost? If this topic might concern you, I would suggest you investigate for yourself and make your own choice.
Likewise, I prefer to buy food that does not contain steroids and/or anti-biotics. There is much information available on these topics and I would urge you to visit / re-visit the issue and make your own informed choices.
As we learned of these processes, we gradually made the choice to gravitate to more locally grown fresh produce (the additional benefit to the planet was also a mitigating factor). This year we have made the choice to try and buy more organic food (meat, milk/milk products, nuts, fruit and vegetables) versus traditionally grown produce and also to attempt to grow more of our own fruit and vegetables.
Over time, I want to see if it is possible for us to buy fresh local produce in season and can or freeze for use in the off-season. My father used to grow tomatoes (for example) and as a child, I loved the taste of a fresh tomato. Now, I do not like the taste of what most supermarkets sell as fresh tomatoes. It is my understanding that produce such as tomatoes are picked on farms far away (usually green) in advance and transported to us, that they are induced to turn a more appealing colour (using a gas such as ethylene or similar process).
If you are interested in learning more,
this IFPS document on Produce PLU might be informative
Here is a video with some more questions and some information
... this video, though presented in a controversial manner, has some good information in it. Again, I advise anyone and everyone to research and make choices that you feel are right for you and your loved ones.
Are you interested in moving out into an area where you can buy fresh local meats and produce? ... where there is an abundance of fresh locally grown organic meat and produce? Call me, Chris Smith, @ 1.866.936.3500 (or e-mail me at Realtor4lyf@gmail.com for information and assistance in helping you achieve your Real Estate Goals.
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage