Produce stickers come in all shapes and colors but not really sizes. There was once a time when you could crunch into an apple without ever encountering one. That was before 1990 and sticker FUN.
Heh, you got to admit stickers are FUN - just ask any kid!
And yes the kind I'm talking about you can eat - the paper their made of and the glue their stuck on with are edible.
Stickers are creeping up on us - like it must be the way to go - in fact, stickers have become the organizing principle of our reality.
Google Plus,Twitter, Facebook and even Hubpages (longer stickers!) are effectively streams of stickers floating before our eyes.So the world has gone sticker mad!
....And so it was inevitable.... this afternoon, I notice these offline fruit stickers on an apple and think to share what I learned(or failed to!) with my fellow hubbers.
A plethora of stickers for fruit and vegies abound and each contains some important information.
Numbers on these stickers can tell you whether the fruit or vegie is organically grown (code begins with 9) or just grown (mundanely?) code 0 or 0 missing; or, whether it is an engineered fruit or vegetable (code must begin with 8)- i.e. genetic modifications have been made.
From a sticker search on Google, my journey took me to a far flung region on the internet I had not come to before. The PMA.com website. PMA stands for The Produce Marketing Association.
Typing 'produce stickers' into the search input here delivered some interesting albeit very granular information which then took me to a pdf on PLU codes which I had never EVER encountered before...new found land!
I stayed here a litlle, the sun shone - I was reminded of a fruit called a TAMARILLO and also found the following:
a list of regional codes - presumablely this is the country of origin for produce.
A-P = Asia-Pacific Region
EMEA = Europe, Middle East, Africa Region
LA = LatiNorth America Region
NA = North America Region (Canada & USA)
So there you go my travels were not in vain!
Before you crunch down or munch, bear a little thought for the journey your nutritional spectacle has taken to arrive at your mouth - perhaps many seas were crossed to finally arrive at your toothy pegs!
According to the PLU coders, there appears to be size specs for labels - font-size, the background (make it contrasting so it's readable!) and even width to height ratio standards were specified. Little stickers with big ideas! Please ensure if the width is smaller that your sticker is no less than one third it's height.
In 2001, a bunch of PLUcoders met and decided to form a group to administer what could and could not happen to these little labels - also called Price Look Ups. Order came to Chaos and Harmony ensued. This seminal group is now known as the International Federation for Produce Standards and it is they who set about creating, updating and maintaining important standards for our produce labels like fruit stickers.
As my journey went further and further into this unexplored territory, the plot thickened on these little noticed (by me!) labels and, in a world looking more and more like a stream of stickers(as I've said), I found the crowning url.
This intriguing site http://plucodes.com has a lot of clout when it comes to these little stickers.
Seek no further - here was everything I longed for and as granular as...well...grains of granular sand - I was to be on this little island for some time and got to know some of the intriguin inhabitants with their fruity customs and standards.
This pdf informed me that supermarkets have been using these little critters not only to help consumers identify what produce they are buying but to keep better inventory - presumably the regular guy or gal who works in the green grocery section is going to have a better chance of identifying the difference between similar looking types of produce. Moreover, the supermarket is going to be in a better position to know which one sells better and, importantly, not sell any at the wrong price! etc...
But what are these stickers made from? 'People seem to ask this a bit and it's question, which seems to crop up for people who like to know if eating the label or adhesive on the label is going to be harmful.
I personally don't think so.
Most are made of paper but there appears to be some contention about the other ingredients that go into their making - this may depend on level of paranoia!
I have read that the adhesive is not poisonous but others have said be sure to remove the sticker and wash your fruit as some have a plastic/vinyl surface over them to protect them from going soggy when wet or dewy.
Is that bad? Eating plastic is bad - I don't think I will argue with that!