FDA Eliminates Misinformation About Price Lookup Codes | General news
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has corrected misinformation contained in recent social media posts regarding the meaning of Price Lookup Codes (PLUs) commonly known as fruit stickers, which have elicited various reactions among the consuming public.
PLUs are 4 or 5 digits used in fresh produce labeling and usually appear on a small sticker applied to individual pieces of fresh produce for the purpose of identifying the produce, its variety and its size group.
A statement released by the FDA and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said labeling was also used by supermarkets to manage checkouts and stock control.
These numbers, he said, were part of voluntary standards assigned by the International Federation of Commodity Standards (IFPS) for marketing purposes.
The International Federation for Fresh Produce Standards (IFPS) comprises national produce associations from around the world, whose goal is to improve the efficiency of the fresh produce industry’s supply chain through the development and harmonization of international standards.
He said product PLUs are randomly assigned in the 3000 and 4000 series of numbers.
“These individual numbers in the 4 or 5 digit number are generated from a database to represent conventionally grown produce. On the other hand, organic produce has the number ‘9’ as a prefix,” said he declared.
He however indicated that in a press release published by the IFPS on July 20, 2015, a series of numbers with 8 as a prefix (for example -83000 84999) were formerly reserved for products of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but these have never been used.
In Ghana, import and export requirements for fruits and vegetables are part of the core operations of the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture ( PPRS.
Inspections in this regard have been carried out jointly by the FDA and the PPRSD to ensure that all phytosanitary requirements of these exported or imported products have been certified before they clear customs, he explained.
He said that a recent study conducted by the FDA to determine the types of PLUs available in the Ghanaian market showed that most fresh produce did not carry such codes except for a few which carried the codes. of the 4000 series indicating conventional cultivation. , although others carried 5000 and 6000 series codes which were not compatible with the PLU coding system.
“To this end, we can conclude that none of the fresh produce in our markets carries a range of digits with 8 as a prefix to indicate GMO produce.
However, it is instructive to note that conventionally grown produce and GMOs are also safe for consumption as long as they are handled to avoid contamination,” he added.
He said that as the FDA continues to explore effective ways to regulate fresh produce in the country, it has begun consultations with relevant stakeholders to adopt similar coding systems that would provide a reliable and reliable traceability system. would help reduce the myriad of challenges such as adulteration facing the food industry.
He urged the public to turn to the FDA for more information on this and any other regulatory issues.
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