HEALTH

Does it matter if I eat stickers on fruits and vegetables?

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Does it matter if I eat stickers on fruits and vegetables?

I find myself biting into an apple or a peach, only to find that I’ve eaten half the sticker I put up at the store. Is there any harm in eating product stickers?

Although stickers on fruits and vegetables will not harm you, it is better to remove them before eating.

The PLU sticker, which stands for “Price Look Up,” serves an important function in grocery stores: how much to charge the clerk for that item. In the United States, about half of fresh produce does not come in packaging, so stickers are the main source of information about what type of product it is and how it is grown. (Stickers that begin with the numbers 3 or 4 mean the item was conventionally grown, and those starting with 9 indicate that the item was organically grown.)

“Because product stickers have contact with food, the intended use of these stickers is subject to premarket approval by the Food and Drug Administration, to ensure that any substances that may transfer to food through use of the stickers are safe.” is,” said an agency spokesperson in an email. “Since these stickers are intended to be removed prior to product consumption, the FDA review excludes exposures that would result from regular consumption of these labels. However, since these substances are of low toxicity, stickers may be occasionally used. Any exposure to unintentional consumption would not be expected to cause health concerns.

According to Ed Tracy, vice president of supply chain and sustainability for the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), the organization that invented the product-ticker system decades ago, stickers have three main components. There’s ink, which spells out the PLU number; there is the substrate on which it is printed (usually plastic, plastic composite or paper); And there’s the adhesive, which makes it stick. “Those three should be safe for humans,” Mr Tracy said.

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Although the stickers are edible, they have no taste and no nutritional value. And there’s an environmental downside to it No Removing skins, rinds, and other parts before throwing them away that you don’t eat: The stickers produced are not household compost, so they won’t break down in compost.

When it comes to making stickers biodegradable: “This is a challenge our industry is spending a lot of time, effort and money on to solve,” said Mr. Tracy. “The challenge is adhesive” – ​​finding something that is sticky enough to stick to a fruit or vegetable throughout the supply chain.

“For something to be compostable, it has to be made from natural ingredients – something that was once alive and is now dead,” said Jean Bonhotel, director of the Cornell Waste Management Institute. She explained that every time you forget to remove the label before tossing your banana peel, avocado skin or orange peel in your countertop compost bin, those stray stickers contaminate the compost with tiny microplastics, which This in turn contaminates the soil where that batch of manure is. is dropped.

Another reason to remove the sticker and put it in the trash before enjoying your fruits or vegetables.

#matter #eat #stickers #fruits #vegetables

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