Labels on produce provide savvy consumers with product’s origin and more

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – You may be looking for ways to eat healthier by adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. But sometimes shopping the vast supply of produce can seem overwhelming. Labels on the produce have a story to tell if you know how to read them.

“I know how to look at if it is fresh or if it is not so good,” said shopper Chris Bush. “But as far as where it came from I never thought about it. It never crossed my mind.”

Bush is used to going through the produce department looking for the freshest foods but he never thought to look for where his avocado, tomato or bag of salad came from.

At the Bigley Piggly Wiggly in Charleston, West Virginia and in grocery stores across the country products are labeled using the Country of Origin Labeling Program (COOL).  

“Some people really do want to know where it actually came from. And I think that comes from when there are recalls on stuff from different areas, different parts of the world,” said Tom Keaton, General Manager of the Bigley Piggly Wiggly.

The sticker also has a PLU code or price-lookup code. Those numbers have been used by grocers for decades. The four or five-digit code helps identify the produce. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are labeled with a four-digit code. Organically grown fruits and vegetables have labels with five digits that start with the number 9.

Click here for more information about produce labeling and a link to look up the PLU on your favorite fruit or vegetable. You can also read more here.

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