What do numbers on your fruit’s label mean?

Fruits that you find in the super-markets usually come with sticks – with 4 digit or 5 digit codes. These are the PLU – Price Look Up Code. The codes have been in use since 1990. Currently, there are over 1300 universal PLU codes assigned. While the PLU codes are identification numbers affixed to produce and other products in grocery stores and super-markets to enable easier, faster and accurate check-outs and facilitate inventory control, these PLU codes can also help us decipher whether that particular fruit was organically grown, genetically modified, or produced with regular chemical fertilizers, herbicides or fungicides.

4 digits and begin with a “3″ or “4″ – This means that the produce is conventionally grown. This means that this produce was sprayed with conventional weed killers/chemical pesticides/fungicide.


5-digits and start with “8″ – This means that the produce was genetically engineered. Genetically modified means that plant’s genes were manipulated to produce a more resistant/larger/brighter colored fruit. This produce may have been chemically treated.

5-digits and start with “9″ – This means that the produce was raised organically, and that this produce was not treated with any chemicals/fungicide/pesticides.

A easy way to remember the codes and their meaning through a rhyme way:

Conventionally Grown: Four (4) is a Bore
Genetically Modified: Eight (8) I Hate
Organic: Nine (9) is Fine

So, on your next visit, go and find out which of the fruits that your super-market’s selling are boring 4, hate 8 and fine 9!

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