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How To Read Produce Codes at Your Grocery Store

By : natalie Viglione

OK, we've all seen them a million times. The produce codes... now, here's the IMPORTANT question: 

What Does the Sticker on Your Fruit or Veggies Really Mean?

Here are 4 Facts About Produce Stickers

The stickers you see on your produce are universal, at least here in the US. They are not specific to the store you're shopping at. Each sticker contains the PLU (price look-up) number, but produce stickers are full of information about the fruit and veggies you purchase at the supermarket. 

The next time you’re at the grocery store, take a look at the labels on your produce! Here’s what those stickers really mean. 

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This example is PLU #94640 taken from the salad I ate today- this means that it is TRULY organic and does NOT have toxins and chemicals (pesticides, monsanto's evil round up "weed killer,"etc.)

1. Conventionally grown produce has four digits on the PLU Code

If you buy say a banana for example and it has a four-digit code (4011 is the code for bananas) then that banana was conventionally grown with the use of pesticides. All conventionally grown produce will have stickers with four digits. 

2. Organic produce stickers have five digits and start with the number ‘9’

If a fruit or veggie was grown organically, the sticker will have five digits, starting with the number 9. An organically grown banana’s PLU would be 94011, for example. 

CHOOSE ORGANIC because the pesticides and chemicals are LETHAL to humans, insects, and animals. They've lied for DECADES AND DECADES but the truth is out now! Buy from local markets as often as you can, you'll find you're not spending that much more.

3. Genetically modified produce stickers have five digits and start with ‘8’

Genetically modified foods ... this is a whole other post, but produce stickers also have five digits, but these codes begin with the number “8.” The most common types of genetically modified produce you’ll find in U.S. grocery stores include: 

  • Corn
  • Soybeans (primarily used in animal feed and vegetable oil, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be buying genetically modified soybeans directly)
  • Potatoes
  • Papaya (Hawaiian-grown papayas are more likely to be genetically modified)
  • Squash 

4. Remember that all produce codes are universal

No matter where you shop (in the US, perhaps elsewhere has this same coding system), the produce code for a banana (and all other fruits and veggies) will be the same. 


Shopping at your local farmer’s is a great way to avoid produce stickers, too!

RECOMMENDED READING: (Book) Monsanto VS. The World, by Jason Louv 

Monsanto is one of the MOST evil companies that has ever existed ... EVER.