Sticky Issues

July 15, 2008 at 12:32 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment

Have you ever wondered why are there small sticky labels on fruits like apples, bananas, kiwis etc? Some are relatively easy to peel off like those on apples while those on prunes are tougher to get rid of especially when they have ripened. Whenever I have difficulty peeling them, I will just use my razor sharp teeth to bite off the area. :p I wonder if the residue left behind by the glue can cause any health hazard in the long run?

Anyway, I have always thought these tiny labels are just different ‘brands’ for the fruits that tell you the country of origin or even the farm it came from.

So “Zespri” is the “brand”, “Green” means this is the normal green kiwi,
“New Zealand” is where this hairy fruit came from. So what’s the number for?
Lucky 4D number for you?

But after my recent birding trip to Malaysia, I realised these little labels have a much bigger function. One of our more health conscious and elderly friend told us this: the numbers on the flabels tell you the way fruits are grown! A “conventionally grown” fruit has a four-digit label; a five-digit one starting with ‘9’ represents fruits grown organically without any pesticides; while a five-digit label starting with ‘8’ means these fruits have been genetically engineered!

Same brand, same country and same number but with a “9” in front.
In case consumer dunnu, they tell you straight in your face that this is
an organic kiwi.
Notice that the organic fruit is much smaller than
the “conventionally grown” one?

According to this site, this numberic system was developed by the Produce Electronic Identification Board, an affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association, a trade group for the produce industry.

I have not really noticed the numbers until now. I tried the two different kiwis and found the organic one to be a little bit more sour. Other than that both fruits look equally attractive to the uninitiated consumers. I think most people will say organic fruits are better for health since they are mostly naturally grown and without the use of pesticide. But I guess people will not forgo the conventionally grown ones totally as they are still more affordable than the organic ones. Washed thoroughly, I think they should still be safe for consumption, otherwise they will not be allowed to be placed on the shelves in the first place. Not too sure which are the kinda ‘genetically engineered” or “modified” fruits available but will definitely keep a look out for them now!

So I will not complain about the hassle of peeling off labels from fruits anymore because now I know these tiny labels are there for a purpose – to help consumer choose what they want to eat.

So next time before you pick up your favourite fruit, do look out for the numbers on the label and be an informed consumer!


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