Many more price look-up numbers will be available for fresh
produce with the transition of the previously unused "8" prefix to
The "8" prefix was previously reserved for genetically
modified produce, but the prefix was never used at retail,
according to a news release from the U.K.-based International
Federation for Produce Standards. PLU codes have been used since
1990 for pricing, inventory control and sales data, according to
The transition, which will yield a thousand more PLU numbers,
comes at a needed time for the industry, according to the release.
Demand for the voluntary codes is increasing in North America,
Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, according
to the release.
"It is important that we make the industry aware of this
re-assignment of the '8' prefix well in advance," Ed Treacy,
chairman of the International Federation for Produce Standards
Board said in the release. "There is more demand for conventional
produce PLU numbers and we've exhausted every attempt to secure
additional number ranges to use.
"To date, we have never seen the 8 prefix used at retail,"
Treacy said. "This is not a statement on the social or scientific
acceptance of GMO items; it is simply that methods other than PLUs
are being used to communicate regulatory and other information to
The group said it doesn't plan on issuing PLUs in the newly
released 83000-84999 series "for some time" but wanted to make the
industry aware the change was coming.
The main requirement for a new PLU code is that it is a unique
variety and is readily available for multiple companies to produce
and market to consumers, according to the release.
The group said the transition to use the "8" prefix won't
effect the current use of the '9' prefix (93000-94999) which will
continue to be used to indicate organic produce items.
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