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Tag: conventional produce PLU codes

How to read UPC codes for organic produce

Did you know those PLU codes on produce at the grocery store can be deciphered to give you clues as to what you are buying? Organic, conventionally-grown, and even genetically modified foods (GMO) should follow the produce labeling system.

According to the Organic Food Coupons blog, here’s how to read the codes:

  • PLU numbers on conventionally grown foods should have only 4 digits and begin with 4, for example: 4131
  • PLU codes for organically grown produce will contain 5 digits and begin with 9: 91022
  • PLU codes on genetically modified items should contain 5 digits and begin with 8: 81022

Here are some PLU examples:
Fuji Apples
#94129 Organic
#4131 Conventional

Granny Smith Apples
#94017 organic
#4017 conventional

Gala Apples
#94133 Organic
#4133 Conventional

Unfortunately, you can’t depend on knowing that the food is genetically engineered/modified (GMO) just by looking for the 8 at the beginning of the PLU code. Here’s what the Organic Food Coupons Blog has to say about it:

Initially in 1992 when the bio tech companies thought that we would all
wanted to eat their altered food they wanted to have a new “code” so that we
could all see which food was the altered and would buy it up- ya right! So
they adopted the number 8 to appear in front of their products. Quickly the
industry learned that not only do we NOT want the GMO foods we will
purposely not purchase foods that have been altered they no longer use the number
“8” as part of the code. The only GMO product that still used the “8” code
is Hawaiian papaya.

The only foods that you can be sure are not GMO foods are labeled
“Certified Organic”. Organic producers must follow strict rules to be able to label
their products as organic. Interesting or disturbingly enough the
companies producing the GMO (chemically altered foods) do not have labeling
restrictions- Crazy! Anything else is fair game unfortunately- pay special
attention to products that have corn, cotton seed or soy they may have GMO

As always, it’s up to you to pay attention if you are intent on eating clean, wholesome foods.