By Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N, M.S., CFMP
You know those little stickers on fruits and veggies? They’re called price look-up (PLU) codes and they contain numbers that cashiers use to ring you up. But you can also use them to make sure you’re getting what you paid for. If you are interested in staying healthy, here’s what to look for:
• A five-digit number that starts with a 9 means the item is organic. Eating organically—or better yet, biodynamically—grown produce is paramount. This can be
identified at the grocery store by a five-digit bar code starting with the number “9,” or purchased from your local biodynamic grower.
• A four-digit code beginning with a 3 or a 4 means the produce is probably conventionally grown. For example, regular small lemons sold in the U.S. are labeled
4033, large are 4053; small organic lemons are coded 94033, large are 94053. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of food quality when it comes to the
prevention of disease. Sure, a conventionally grown bell pepper (identified by a sticker with a four-digit bar code starting with the number “4”) will contain the healthy
compound beta-cryptoxanthin, but it will also come with a whole host of cancer-causing chemicals on it.
• A five-digit code that starts with an 8 means the item is genetically modified (it has genes from other organisms). You won’t see many of those because only
genetically modified versions of corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, papaya, and squash are now widely sold. And because PLU codes aren’t mandatory, companies can label
those items as conventional.
The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Grisanti and his functional medicine community. Dr. Grisanti encourages you to make your own healthcare decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. Visit www.FunctionalMedicineUniversity.com for more information on our training in functional medicine. Look for practitioners who have successfully completed the Functional Medicine University’s Certification Program (CFMP) www.functionalmedicinedoctors.com. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Dr. Grisanti is required.
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