Quick Tip: Know Your Produce
Have you ever wondered if the produce you are buying at your local supermarket or health food store is, in fact, organic? I know I certainly have wondered from time to time. I am an avid label-checker when it comes to buying any product at the grocery store, as I want to know exactly what ingredients are contained in any product that I am going to consume. With that being said, I have been purchasing organic produce for the past 11 years. I have always relied on the honesty and integrity of the market I was shopping at to ensure that my fruits and veggies are truly organic.
When shopping at a store that does not carry exclusively organic produce, I would often wonder: What if a conventional apple fell into the bin with the organic apples? How will I know the difference? Luckily, I just finished reading a sensational book on health and wellness called Integrative Nutrition by Joshua Rosenthal, founder, director and primary teacher of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. One of the amazing chapters contained in this book is called “What, When and How We Eat.” Contained within this chapter is information on “Unlocking the Produce Code” and an answer to my questions above. The following passage is quoted from Integrative Nutrition:
“One way to spot organic produce in the store is to check out each food’s price look-up number or PLU. You’ll find a PLU label on each piece of produce, attached as a sticker. The International Federation for Produce Coding standardizes PLU codes for every grocery store in the country.
Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables have 4-digit numbers and generally begin with a 3 or a 4. Organically grown fruits and vegetables have 5 digits and begin with a 9. Genetically modified fruits and vegetables also have 5 digits and begin wih an 8.
For example, the PLU for a conventionally grown banana is 4011; for an organic banana it’s 94011; and for a genetically modified banana it’s 84011.”
Joshua Rosenthal encourages shoppers to become “Food Detectives”, and I love that idea! I was so excited to find this little quick tip – among other little gems of information – in Integrative Nutrition! With the price of organic produce being considerably higher than conventional produce and the quality of the food we eat being of utmost importance to keep us healthy, this is a neat little way that we all can ensure that we know what we are buying.
Happy, healthy shopping to you!