When you're at the grocery store, have you ever noticed that all the fruit has a little sticker with some numbers on it? These generally indicate where the fruit is from, but it can also tell you a whole lot more if you know what to look for.
First of all, did you know that these stickers are edible? Yes, that's right, you can eat them. Now, I definitely wouldn't advise it because they don't taste good at all, but in case you accidentally ingested one, it wouldn't kill you.
Additionally, each sticker tends to have a four-digit code which can tell you about the fruit itself. If the first digit is a 3 or a 4, for instance, then the fruit was likely grown conventionally (with pesticides). If it's a five-digit code that starts with a 9, then it's organic fruit. If it starts with 8, it's genetically modified.
This number is the same throughout the United States, regardless of the grower/manufacturer.
The variety of stickers is endless, but the numerical codes always work the same way across all varieties.
In China, for instance, some growers attach letter-shaped stickers on their fruit. This way, when it's time for harvesting, they remove the stickers to create an "imprinted" message on the fruit's skin. This method is a bit expensive though, and these apples can cost upwards of $100!
Barry Snyder has started to collect fruit stickers, which he uses to create colorful works of art! He even gets donations of stickers from people all over the world.
They are currently developing stickers that will come off with water, which will make removing them while cleaning your fruit a lot easier.