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What the Sticker on Your Produce Actually Means

Price Look-Up codes (PLUs) are printed on the small stickers attached to fresh produce at the grocery store. These codes are used to make check-out and inventory control easier for the store. They also tell you key pieces of information about the produce, such as how it was grown.

  • Conventionally grown food can be identified by a four-digit number, such as 4011 for bananas.
  • Organic food is identified by a 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.

PLU codes are created by an international body and can be searched online.

If the sticker also has the USDA organic seal, then you know it’s been certified by the government through the National Organic Program. To be certified, products must be inspected and meet the USDA regulations. Learn more about organic label.