Are the stickers on apples edible?

In this article we will answer the question, “Are the stickers on apples edible”? and we will discuss the purpose of the food stickers.

Are the stickers on apples edible?

No, the stickers on the apples are not edible.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever eaten an apple’s produce sticker by accident?! Every single one of my pals has a PLU sticker, or product lookup sticker, in their stomach, according to an informal survey I conducted among my friends. Because there are so many misleading claims regarding those PLU stickers on the internet, we wanted to clear the air on a few common questions.

·         These vegetable stickers, for the most part, are not biodegradable and must be removed before composting.

·         Although eating a PLU sticker would not kill you, it is not “edible” and should not be consumed.

·         We’re not aiming to get rid of PLU stickers, which are a supply chain marvel, but we believe the industry should do a better job of considering end-of-life when developing them.

·         The fruit label (and the composting disaster it may cause) serves as a reminder of why we must design for optimal end-of-life performance.

Produce Stickers: Are They Biodegradable?

Produce stickers are not biodegradable. A thin coating of plastic, most often vinyl, is used to make these stickers (though occasionally paper is used). Plastic is crucial because it allows the stickers to survive water, sprays, travel, and packing as they go from the manufacturer to the shipper to the merchant.

However, because these stickers are made of vinyl and other thin plastic films, they will not compost or biodegrade, therefore you need to remove them before composting.

Unfortunately, many individuals are unaware of (or forget!) this, particularly when the sticker is on the peel, as with citrus, avocados, and bananas.

Agricultural composting facilities are eager to accept our food waste, but they are having a difficult time dealing with the PLU sticker contamination problem. It takes a long time and effort to screen out these stickers. Because stickers are so small, thin, and flexible, they frequently slip through the screens meant to trap them, resulting in a sticky, plastic mess in the compost.

Some firms, according to Modern Farmer, pick them out as the worst contaminant they deal with. When you consider how much plastic is going to wind up in our soils as a result of the composting process, it’s a little scary.

PLU stickers, however, frequently end up as litter. Apples are peeled and tossed to the ground by children. Alternatively, they stick to garments and shoes and end up outside. They will eternally pollute our waters and lands once they become trash (until, depressingly, they are ingested by marine life).

Fortunately, if you’re stumped as to what to do with producing stickers, the solution is rather easy.

Before you put fruit in your fridge or bin, peel off all of the PLU stickers as soon as you get your goods home. Then make certain that every sticker is disposed of in a landfill. Looking for a way to recycle these stickers instead of throwing them away?

Some have taken to collecting them or creating art with them, which is pretty cool and creative!

Stickers from produce should not be eaten.

Let’s get one thing straight: don’t eat vegetable stickers. I think that once you realize that these stickers are generally made of plastic, you won’t want to eat them anyhow, but it’s worth noting.

Because there are so many claims on the internet claiming PLU stickers are composed of “edible paper,” it’s vital to reiterate: don’t eat produce stickers.

Don’t be alarmed if you eat an apple with a sticker on it. It will pass through your system without a hitch, just like chewing gum (which is also made of plastic). However, don’t make it a habit to eat fruit stickers simply because they’re available.

Where did the idea that these stickers might be eaten originate? Although PLU stickers are “FDA approved,” they are not edible. FDA compliance implies that a substance is safe for direct food contact and that no residue from the material will remain on the food after the food and material have been separated. This sort of material, often known as “food contact substances (FCS),” is commonly used to manufacture, package, transport, or store food.

Families around the country use plastic wrap or bags to preserve food, but they are aware that they should not consume plastic wrap. It’s the same thing!

What Are the Best Ways to Use Produce Stickers?

We should all try to limit the amount of waste we send to landfills and recycle wherever we can, but in the case of producing stickers, it’s better to remove them as soon as possible and toss them in the trash (for now). While many environmentally aware customers are choosing for a more locally centered food diet, many of us don’t have access to a farmers market all year. Because of the global supply of produce, PLU codes and produce stickers are expected to remain in use (and of tremendous benefit to retailers and consumers).


In this article, we answered the question, “Are the stickers on apples edible”? and we discussed the purpose of the food stickers.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.