Many more price look-up numbers will be available for fresh produce with the transition of the previously unused “8” prefix to new items.
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 release.
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 consumers.”
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.
Information on the use of PLU codes is found online.