While you should wash your fruits and vegetables and remove the sticker before enjoying, if you accidentally consume one it likely won’t cause harm. According to the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)’s Chief Science Officer, Max Teplitski, PhD, the stickers can be ingested, and they will pass through you without being digested. The stickers contain food-grade ink and adhesives. Most aren’t biodegradable or compostable, so be sure to remove them even from peels you don’t consume before discarding them.
Why are there stickers on our fruits and vegetables? They were originally created by the Produce Marketing Association in the late 1980s to ensure accurate pricing in grocery stores. Each sticker contains a price-lookup (PLU) code so that your cashier can quickly tell the difference between varieties of produce, since many can look similar or be grown differently, ultimately altering the price for each piece of produce.
Learn even more about fruit and vegetable stickers here.