Posted by: TTCLauren | February 5, 2012

Fresh produce ~ how to crack the codes

In shopping for fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) it might not be as easy as you think to know what you’re getting.      The answers you need may NOT be on the “sign” but they ARE on the sticker/label!   Just about every piece of fruit has a little PLU (product look-up) sticker on it that cashiers use to ring up your purchase, and every vegetable has a scanning label associated with it. The numbers on that sticker are code for the way the produce is grown.

 If the item doesn’t have a sticker on it, look at the sign for a 4 or 5 digit item number.

For example:

  • If the number is 4 digits,  (the 4 digits begin with 3 or 4) the product is conventionally grown with chemical pesticides and fertilizers, but not genetically modified
  • If the number is 5 digits, starting with an 8, it is genetically modified
  • If the number is 5 digits starting with a 9, it is organically grown

So, a Kiwi bearing the sticker “4030” means it is not organic, but conventionally grown. It is NOT genetically modified.

The same is true for the melon with the number: “4317”

If an apple sticker said “96584” it would have been grown organically.   An apple with “86584” would be genetically altered.

A customer (who is also a dietician) saw a sign in the grocery store advertising organic tomatoes at a phenomenal deal…or so she thought!    However,  the sticker on the product was only 4 digits, which should mean commercially grown with pesticides.      Did not compute!    When she inquired of an employee, it was determined to be an error on the sign, and the code (4 digits) was correct, but the description (organic tomatoes) was wrong.   The employee apologized for the error, but I wonder how many customers bought those tomatoes believing they were purchasing organic when in reality they were far from it?

I read once about a customer who used a little rhyme to remember the difference…”4 is a bore– 8 I hate– 9 is mine.”

You won’t be fooled if you just remember to crack  the “code.”


  1. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this
    I have found It positively useful and it has aided me out loads.
    I hope to contribute & aid other users like its helped me.

    Great job.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: