'New York Times' Readers: Mommy, Can I Eat Sticker?

We've all been wondering.

Produce -  apples. Tesco Extra, Crewe, Crewe, United Kingdom. Architect: N/A, 2018.. (Photo by: Ed R...
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It’s often hard to read the New York Times and not think, who is this for? Wealthy, out-of-touch whites who love “The Mini,” we know, but who are they? What makes them tick? Today we’ve gotten as clear a glimpse as I can remember into the psyche of the paper’s demographic, via its health advice column “Ask Well.”

A reader writes in to “Ask Well” columnist Sophie Egan, “I keep finding myself biting into an apple or a peach only to find I’ve eaten half the sticker the store put on there. Is there any harm in eating produce stickers?”

Yes, in general, as people, we are always wondering this: Can we eat stickers? Is stickers yummy food and good for belly, or is stickers no-no yucky? And furthermore, will stickers grow baby to be strong? To be clear, the matter of whether we are eating our yummy stickers is settled: We are eating them. But just for our peace of mind we’d like to know: Is stickers good or bad, for eating?


“While the stickers that get placed on fruits and vegetables won’t cause you any harm, it’s probably best to remove them before eating,” Egan writes, and baby is not happy about this. A spokesperson from the Food and Drug Administration said, “As these stickers are intended to be removed before consumption of produce, the F.D.A.’s review does not include the exposure that would result from regular consumption of these labels.” Okay, but luckily they also added: “However, as these substances are of low toxicity, any exposure from the occasional, unintentional consumption of a sticker would not be expected to be a health concern.”

But we are eating these a lot. Sometimes baby bites into an apple and baby thinks: Good crunch, not enough sticker. We save the sticker for one of the last bites so we have it to look forward to, but sometimes we can’t wait. Baby is thinking of buying a ream of stickers online to add more to the fruit. Is that okay?

Ed Treacy, vice president of supply chain and sustainability for the Produce Marketing Association, says the stickers have three components: ink, the plastic or paper the ink is printed on, and the adhesive. “All three of those have to be safe for humans,” he said.

Well, well, well. “Though the stickers are edible, they have no flavor and no nutritional value,” Egan wrote, following Treacy’s bombshell revelation that stickers is good food. As if we care, Egan. We are going to eat the stickers. You can pry them from our cold, dead (not due to sticker consumption) intestines.