PLU Coding on Fruits & Vegetables: Malpractices in Indian Market

PLU Coding on Fruits & Vegetables: Malpractices in Indian Market:

PLU Code –Price Look Up code is a sticker system initially started by the Association of Farmers -International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS) in 2001 to introduce PLU numbers globally on Fruits & Vegetables like apples, bananas, kiwi, oranges, mangoes, pears , cucumber, date, corn ,grape ,Mushroom etc. for better traceability, origin also to differentiate it from organic and conventional (non-organic) varieties.

Coding is done on small stickers, tags or bands on fruits & vegetables with series defined as- Non-Organic produce having four digit PLU codes in the 3000 and 4000 series. For Organic Produce it is done by prefixing the four-digit, non-organic PLU with a "9". For example non-organic apple are 4011, while organic apple 94011.

For future also the 83000 and 84000 series will be used , however, unlike the "9" prefix, the leading "8" initially fixed for the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) products but it was opened for general use after GMO growers didn’t use them. Some PLU codes are fixed to use on a particular crop itself like series 4193 – 4217 can only be assigned to apples and series 3170 – 3269 free to use on any goods other than fruits & vegetables.

In Indian Market, malpractices such as using stickers to charge more price or to hide decay or defect on the product are still going on. Due to low awareness level of PLU coding also Indian Traders, Manufacturers & Consumers are giving more Prices for imported fruits & vegetables. It is observed from previous two-three years that all the USA Apples supplied in Indian market of 3000 – 4000 series contain Pesticides. The quality of the adhesives & ink used in stickers also not known, may contain harmful chemicals which may impact the health of consumers.

The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a Guidance Note to remove the stickers properly, wash Fruits/vegetables and must peel or cut away the skin of the fruits before consumption.

We at TUV India are ready to help our Indian Traders, Retailers, Manufacturers, Ready meal Providers , Restaurants & Hotels by monitoring the supply chain from Farm / Port of landing to Fork by 2nd Party Inspection ,FSSAI schedule 4 based Inspection , Safe food Trainings ,FOSTAC Trainings, Certification - Organic NPOP, GMP, cGMP, HACCP ,ISO22000 along with Globally Approved Schemes – BRC,IFS ,FSSC 22000, Costco Addendum, PLU Code Verification & Testing. TUV India is well equipped with high expertise personnel, best quality latest machines of testing which gives residue results in micro ppm, ppb level.