A few weeks ago, we received a phone call from one of our customers who complained that the apples we sold were not organic because the certification number starts with 4. I explained to him about the difference between PLU code and the Organic Certification number and he realised that he had made a mistake.
He was not the first one to comment about this. That Apple No.9 is always organic has become common knowledge in organic food markets in Singapore and Malaysia. Most of the organic shops operators teach the consumers that the way to recognise organic apples is to read the PLU label. If it starts with 9, it is organic as shown below:
However, most people do not understand that what the PLU code is .
Why do we need it? Are all fruits and vegetables required to have PLU code? Here is the definition of the PLU code from http://www.plucodes.com/faqs.aspx#q1 as shown below:
“PLU is actually PRICE LOOK-UP code. PLU codes are 4 or 5 digit numbers which have been used by supermarkets since 1990 to make check-out and inventory control easier, faster, and more accurate.”
Is it required to label produce with PLU codes?
The answer is from IFPS (International Federation for Produce Standards), which is the organization manages PLU codes.
Hence, this tells our customers that not all apples starting from number 9 are organic. Our organic apples came from a group of organic family farms in South Tyrol. Bio Sudtirol is a cooperative formed by these farms with the organic certification number BZ-42859-B as shown below this post. This is not the PLU.
It is however easy to understand that the number was mistaken for the PLU. At Zenxin we want to serve our customers to the best of our ability, so I decided to write this article. I have included the organic certificate of Bio Sudtirol and the pictures of the apples to show the organic authenticity to you. When we receive the organic apples, each carton of the apples is clearly labelled as organic with the EU Organic logo in this case.
We hope this sharing helps you to understand about the myth of organic apples no.9. Do let us know if you want to know more about Zenxin organic apples. We will continue to bring in the best quality organic apples with valid organic certification, grown by dedicated organic farmers.
Sengyee, with the Zenxin Organic team.