Organic Sticker Codes Start With A 9
I was just like the many other people who would pick up some fruits or vegetables and inspect them for freshness, while looking over the little number coded sticker that was on them. So many things about what we eat and how they are produced are just passed by us so subtly.
These numbers are the PLU code (Price Look Up Code) which contain more then just price information about the item being scanned.
The numbers themselves are different sequences of numbers that inform us to if the fruit or vegetable was grown conventionally, organically, or genetically modified (GMO).
- If the PLU code only has four numbers, this means the fruit or vegetable was grown conventionally with the use of pesticides. The last four numbers of the code identifies what type of fruit or vegetable it is. Broccoli's PLU code is 4060.
- If the PLU code has five numbers and the first number begins with a "9," this means the fruit or vegetable was grown organically and was not grown in chemical fertilizers, and was not treated with most synthetic herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics. Organic broccoli's PLU code is 94060.
- If the PLU code has five numbers and the first number begins with a "8," this means the fruit or vegetable was genetically modified and the genes of the fruit or vegetable were manipulated. Genetically modified broccoli's PLU code is 84060
The issue here is that food producers are not required to use the organic and genetically modified number system, it is totally voluntary. It seems unlikely that a producer of genetically modified foods would willingly label their foods with the genetically modified system, because many people would not buy them and that would likely cut into their profit.