How to decipher produce sticker number meanings

We’re all about putting the best foods into our bodies, right? Whether we’re transitioning to raw, are completely raw, don’t heat our foods or simply enjoy incorporating fruits and veggies in a diet that best meets our needs, it’s important to be in the know about what we’re eating. with labels and laws often changing with the wind, it’s easy for there to be confusion about those produce stickers. Sure, “9” designates goodness yesterday, but today’s a new day. It’s best to stay in the know.

Here’s a closer look at produce sticker number meanings. Technically, those stickers are the PLU codes, or “Price Look Up” codes designed to track quality, purchasing habits and distribution. Hopefully this post is helpful for people who don’t know the meaning of certain codes (sounds so secretive, all this code talk . . . doesn’t it? ha ha). And if you’re up on your Sticker Coding 101 info, consider this a handy reminder.

How to decipher the numbers on produce stickers

Remember those childhood rhymes growing up? Jack Horner and corners and Jill and her hills? Well, perhaps the easiest way to sort through the sticker “madness” is by recalling a rhyme we came across on a helpful web site. It’s been circulating on many sites for a while now and is a good way to remember what’s good and bad. The bottom line is this: “9 is fine and 8 I hate.” Well, there’s more to it, but that’s key.

Stickers that begin with a “9” are fine because that means that the food is organic, non-GMO. Eat away!

If the numbers begin with an “8,” don’t even think about it. It’s GMO.

Ones that start with a “3” or a “4” are conventionally grown, therefore it’s not uncommon for many people to remember that “4 is poor.” They’re not genetically modified and they’re not organic yet they likely were grown with harmful pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, so if that’s not your cup of tea, pass by foods with those PLU codes.

The straight scoop verbatim from good ‘ole USA.gov says the following:

-Conventionally grown food can be identified by a four-digit number, such as 4011 for bananas.
-Organic food is identified by a five-digit number that begins with a nine, such as 94011 for bananas.
-Genetically modified food is indicated by a five-digit number that begins with an eight, such as 84805 for a vine ripe tomato.

So there you have it. Stay happy and healthy!

Sources for this article include:

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