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Nine Every Time

Barcodes on Fruits & Vegetables

Code 128 FAQ | Code 39 FAQ | Interleaved 2 of 5 FAQ | ISBN-13 FAQ | UPC FAQ

Ever notice that grocery store clerks often have to stop and type in a number for produce items instead of scanning a UPC bar code? In fact fruits and vegetables don't have bar codes on them. Yet.

The number on the little sticker is a PLU, price look up, number.

The PLU gives you a clue about the fruit or vegetable you're purchasing. Most PLU's are only four digits long and some are five. If the PLU is 5 digits, it's the first digit that you should focus on. A "9" means that the item is organically grown, free from harmful pesticides and fertilizers. An "8" on the other hand means that it's a genetically modified plant, not something you want to eat.

While organic produce may cost more, it's worth the price. Like my father used to say, "I'd rather pay the butcher than the doctor."