What Do Those Codes On Stickers Of Fruits And Some Veggies Mean?

Although they seem like a nuisance, the stickers or labels attached to fruit and some vegetables have more of a function than helping scan the price at the checkout stand. The PLU code, or price lookup number printed on the sticker, also tells you how the fruit was grown. By reading the PLU code, you can tell if the fruit was genetically modified, organically grown or produced with chemical fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides.

Here are the basics of what you should know:

  1. If there are only four numbers in the PLU, this means that the produce was grown conventionally or “traditionally” with the use of pesticides. The last four letters of the PLU code are simply what kind of vegetable or fruit. An example is that all bananas are labeled with the code of 4011.
  2. If there are five numbers in the PLU code, and the number starts with “8”, this tells you that the item is a genetically modified fruit or vegetable. Genetically modified fruits and vegetables trump being organic. So, it is impossible to eat organic produce that are grown from genetically modified seeds. A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be: 84011
  3. If there are five numbers in the PLU code, and the number starts with “9”, this tells you that the produce was grown organically and is not genetically modified. An organic banana would be: 94011

Incidentally, the adhesive used to attach the stickers is considered food-grade, but the stickers themselves aren’t edible.

And here is the full list from the Environmental Working Groups of fruits and vegetables with the least to most pesticides. When shopping, the most important produce to buy organic are those at the bottom of this list http://www.foodnews.org/fulllist.php .

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  • http://www.awakenedwellness.com Rachel Assuncao

    Has anyone ever seen a sticker with an '8' at the beginning? Since it isn't legally required to label genetically modified foods as such, what requires growers to use this label? I've never seen one, so am a bit skeptical of this part of the numbering system.

  • http://acupuncturechicago.blogspot.com/ Tcm007

    This is great information, I had no idea.

  • JustG

    What about the rest of the numbers? Example, I believe heirloom items start w/ a 3

  • Buddy Wilds

    I have a red bell pepper here…58525 40583… what does THAT mean doctor?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1240297509 Jenny Consiglio Coe

    Thank you for this information!

  • Kreilly

    yes…what do the number 3’s mean……..

  • Anonymous

    Likely the reason you don’t see “8”s are because the US doesn’t sell GMOs very often as produce. Generally, the GMOs we have in this country are corn, soybeans, alfalfa, sugar beets, and cotton. So, the GMOs that people consume (at this point in time, anyway) are in LOTS (basically all non-organic) processed foods. The number system is legit, and had been used since 1990.

  • Jcydking

    Thanks Frank, that’s good to know! ( And knowing is half the batlte…. go joe)

  • http://greenlivingaz.com/ Barbi Walker

    Great info ~ thanks much! I commented on Pinterest about it and tracked you/info down. I am an eco journalist and recently did a story on GMOs, will add to the online version when it prints next month.

    Barbi Walker

  • Survivingseven
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000156256706 Bob Schwartz

    Deb, I have seen a program on TV that the sticker lets you know (which Farm or company grew it) and where it was grown. Other then that it did not specify any other pertinent info.  It’s interesting but is this info you speak about accurate?

  • Anonymous

    Thank you .

  • Elizabeth

    Shelby – that’s an excellent point about the processed foods. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MSX5T4CP5JNTTHGCFZQ5HMUABQ Dore

    Since “genetically modified foods” has only began to be a word as of the past 3-5 years…and I knew my PLU’s by heart from Wal-Mart…I’mma call this one as a LIE.

    Now…tell me about the color of bread ties…now THAT CODE (coded by day made) is TRUTH.

  • Norainva

    Just bought some peppers from costco.  The 4 digit PLU code starts with a 3.  What does that mean?

  • http://www.talkingoffood.com/ Zelie
  • Lmbroyles

    Very interesting – makes you wonder what kind of chemicals we are taking into our bodies and that may explain all the illnesses persons are experiencing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kimberly-Schmidt/100000494222773 Kimberly Schmidt

    Thank goodness for labels so I can make informed choices.

  • GiGi

    Hi Dore,
    you’re right that most people only became aware of GMO recently HOWEVER, genetically modied tomatoes have been around since the late ’80’s early 1990’s !

    I’ve been following this since then and am very upset that the Public was not made aware of this by the Government/ Retailers or Growers by labels.

    This( labelling) has started in the last few years due to “grassroot” demands by Nutritionalists, Healthcare Providers and people in Public ( e.g. Oparah Winfry) who were concious of this and who made the media aware of it. :)


  • Sandra Seelig

    That was excellent and practical imformation, thank you so much…

  • Caitlin G

    It is NOT possible to eat organic produce grown from GMO seeds. The rules for certified organic prohibit ANY use of GMOs.

  • Mjespo125

    Guess what everybody! The leading cause of cancer is digestion! No matter what you eat! How about that! Learn Science, don’t follow trends.

  • Marcella
  • Serendipityorganics

    this is true, I am an organic inspector.

  • http://twitter.com/magicandmayhem Alicia Bayer

    The system is VOLUNTARY so you can’t rely on it at all.  More info here: http://www.examiner.com/article/the-myth-of-plu-codes-and-gmo-foods  I called the overseeing organization myself to verify that it’s entirely up to sellers whether to use the numbers (and of course GMO growers are not going to go out of their way to tell you their produce is GMO if they don’t have to).  Sorry!

  • Penny

    I’ve been buying apples that have a sticker with an ‘8’ as the 1st number of the code for some time. After reading more about gmo issues, I’m now only buying organic.

  • Bonnitacollier

    You go girl!!!  We need more people willing to spread the truth like you!!

  • Bonnitacollier

    Makes you wonder how much he got paid to say that!!

  • Bonnitacollier

    Bet she got paid big bucks to say that!

  • XxVeXeDxX
  • XxVeXeDxX
  • XxVeXeDxX
  • Regan Dixon

    Hi!  I’m hoping this is true…. I have, for example, an orange in front of me sold as organic, labelled 94012, which is consistent with the info in point 3.  But, do producers really keep close track, and are they always telling the truth?

  • Regan Dixon

     Hi.  The information in the article tallies with what my research has turned up so far.  Since there is no mandatory labelling or source-tracking of GMO in either USA or Canada, looking to avoid 8-codes is futile.  Unless a company vouches that its product is made from GMO-free ingredients (sorry, can’t tell you about fruit other than that organic by definition means non-GMO as well), it’s a crap-shoot, and not in your favour.  Nobody keeps track.

  • Regan Dixon

     The Huffington Post article, I mean.

  • Organic industry employee

    Certified Organic produce must be GMO free otherwise the farm will lose certification. This includes GMO seed, and using fertilizers or other products derived from GMO plant material such as canola meal or corn gluten. 

    And as for the 8 on the PLU code determining when produce is GMO? There are no laws requiring the labeling of GMO food, so I highly doubt its an accurate statement. On top of that there is almost no produce sold in North America that is GMO. Its true that 80%+ of processed food products on store shelves contains GMO ingredients, but thats because of the prevalence of GMO corn and canola in the form of high fructose corn syrup and canola oil.

  • Jennika

    Hmmm stickers aren’t edible there’s a news flash!

  • Kcummings545

    What does it mean for a fruit, a papaya, to have a sticker starting with the number 3?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7BV3NEYPQ5O3HYC3FMOSFARWIU Gorgonzola

     Really?  How much does the job pay?  I’d TOTALLY be up for that.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7BV3NEYPQ5O3HYC3FMOSFARWIU Gorgonzola

    but…. but…. stickers are DELICIOUS!1!!

  • Gina

    Until we the people stop this chemical epidemic, our food supply will not get better. There is very little food on the market that is organic. We can pretend the farmers are being honest.

  • Original-healing

    Some additional info with a slightly different take on the subject.


  • Mht33950

    I bought something  with a sticker starting with number 3, what would that indicate?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=529663642 Nita Doo

    What about tomatoes starts with number 6 ie 64701

  • Bakaneferra

    grow your own food, there are natural forms of ‘pesticides’, aren’t there? My opinion, fruits/veggies bare seeds to be re-planted, but people tend to through them away to buy new produce… that in-itself perplexes me!  

  • Bakaneferra

    straight-to-the-point! hahaahah

  • Grama

    How would know what is not labelled with a sticker and who is patrolling all this? Sounds fishy to me.

  • Grama

    If this label issue is true why are they still champaigning to vote to have GMO food labeled in california? Really questionable this coming out when that issue is up for voting and monsanto along with dow contiues to pay millions of dollars to put it out because they are making all the profits from us not knowing what we are really buying and consuming

  • Tracy

    Sorry, this info is false. You really need to fact check. We need this kind of labeling but the best we can do at the moment is organic or not. Please check facts before believing “truth” like this.

  • Gary

    Look at the organic law again, it ALLOWS up to 30% genetically modified organisms in it.

  • Ang

    Did you ever find out what the “6” means? I’d like to know.

  • truthprevails

    Gyo people, gyo, don’t listen to the disinfo idiots talking about eating oragnic/natural is a trend, and the ignoramus with the logic that,”the cause of cancer is digestion” :-/…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/tami.baker.54 Tami Baker

    You are absolutely right, Caitlin!

  • an_star

    yup boiled garlic, tends to be a great way to ward off insects + using companion planting and planting flowers (like marigolds) near flower vegetables like tomatoes also works. You can find alot of ways by looking up Permaculture

  • Copasetic Mat

    the problem lies with this… while you can feel good still at the grocery store produce isle (you have to watch for the “sneaky 8’s”) your pre-made meals in a box or a bag, what we feed our livestock, egg layers, and grains that we universally consume are not labeled with this system since they are not required to by law unlike most of the other civilized coutnries of the world(russia and France lead the way in non GMO. Unfortunately… we all want to eat healthy however we do not want to pay for that level of quality and with the world’s current population we have exceeded our “organic capacity” with farmers on government subsidy, insurance rates through the roof for harvests, and a population whose size requires advancement in cultivation not seen since the creation of the diesel columbine…

  • organicisthewaytogoiknow

    is it truly true if 4 digits that start with 3 or 4 are conventional or not
    i cant find a strand of evidence that says so, based on jefferey smith’s article on huffington post regarding this myth,
    he says that we cannot distinguish between gmo and non-gmo when we look at the plu codes, with the exception of organic, e.g, starting with 9 and five digits, 91235,
    so then what the hell have i been eating all my life?

    here is the link btw,
    please someone for gods sake, answer me,
    this makes no sense i really believed in those plu’s man :[

  • Janet Violet

    What is a 3294 Apple?

  • nEED 2 KNOW


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=780124774 Natalie Rivera

    We can tell the difference by looking at the produce with our own eyes….Market Produce vs Farmers market… Fruit, vegetables etc grown naturally vs market is so much prettier and vibrant

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000484779985 Gene James

    I live in Pa. and yes if you go to the Giant you will see 8’s but only a few ! there are many 4 # PLU’s and even 9’s but there are also some not even labeled

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000484779985 Gene James

    This is true but the GMO corn and Soy are being used in other products not being sold as much as produce but as a sweetner and the Soy in baby formular , 20 years GMO/GE has been out now look at past 15 years when these products starting to spread sickness to the body like cancer, Asthma, ADHD, Diabetis. They label the produce time to label ingrediances too

  • Organic Danny

    I got a PLU sticker on a persimmons that says 69220. The persimmons was from Spain What does the 6 mean?

  • coco

    thanks for this i really wanted to know gmo fruits and organic symbol!!(9 is the number i will look for in fruits!!!)

  • nana

    i have barely never

  • tiff

    the first number only means anything if it is a 5 digit PLU code. to answer someone else’s question…if it is a 4 digit code that starts with a three, that just means it’s most likely an apple. (some apple’s codes begin with 4) it’s really all just so the people ringing up the sale know what they are without memorizing different prices every week…they just know the codes which never change.

  • tiff

    also, the reason some things have these stickers and others don’t is because they fall off ALL THE TIME! Also, certain produce would just be a pain to put stickers on.

  • Alex

    When you see an 8 at the beginning of a 5 digit PLU code the item you are buying is GMO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/arianna.aardvark Arianna Aardvark

    Bought organic banana from Trader Joe’s yesterday; just checked the labeling and as said above, that exact plu #94011 is shown. At least in that regard, we can count on it showing whats going on with the growth of this produce item. Great article, thank you for the education.

  • Cash Snowden

    It is a voluntary standard. TRUE

    “so it is never used” or “so you can’t rely on it at all” is a theory that doesn’t hold up to investigation. Is it POSSIBLE that someone could use a conventional number to hide a GMO? Sure. Is that happening in the real world ALWAYS or even USUALLY? I have yet to see any evidence of that. But GMO activists, and I am one of them, seem to have no problem destroying the credibility of the movement by spreading false claims about this. Mandatory GMO labeling should be law, no question, we all agree. Still, LYING, spreading disinformation, by calling the 5th digit ‘all a myth’ or ‘totally meaningless” doesn’t help us. So far, the facts are not in alignment with that theory that all produce suppliers, wholesalers and retailers are as inclined to use fraud as Monsanto and the FDA are.

    “I have personally checked this out to my satisfaction. I buy from
    reputable health food stores and their produce always has the 9 for
    organically grown. I checked the source of some regular grocery store
    produce with the absence of an 8 or 9 and learned that it was
    conventionally grown, but not GMO and not organic, of course. I also
    checked some produce with the 8 and indeed it was from a GMO source. Is
    this the case all the time…of course not. But after factoring in for
    frauds, it’s a pretty reasonable bet in helping someone avoid GMOs and
    it’s way better then nothing.” ~Grace Joubarne

    While it’s true that the 5th digit for GMO’s is technically not
    mandatory, has anyone got any evidence where a GMO was hiding behind a
    conventional PLU code? ONE CASE? Why not personally take ten or 20 conventional produce products and track down their origin. If you still want to claim they are all practicing fraud, go ahead after that. Stick to the evidence, rather than claiming the technically possible is ALWAYS or even usually the case and that therefore the standards are meaningless. Most reputable business people, given a choice, actually DON’T choose to misrepresent their products, unless they are crooked and fly by night. It isn’t a good idea in a free market where reputation is everything.

  • Bonita

    The wheat that we eat is also genetically modified since the 1970s as well. There’s an article on CBS this Morning “Modern Wheat a “perfect, chronic, poison,” doctor says” The Dr. is William Davis. He has a book called “Wheat Belly”. Another reason to become gluten free.

  • http://www.facebook.com/easeyou Veronica Corcoran

    anyone knows what it is a code 3 ? I never saw that one before …

  • http://www.facebook.com/hamidfst Hamid Rad

    Hi all. IS there any one who know where can I buy gm fruits? (I mean in which country u saw it?) . I am studying on them. My field is food technology and really need to prepare it.

  • Joseph Pina

    Why are you an idiot..

  • Janelle

    I wrote a paper in college in 1993 about the unknowns regarding the GMO tomatoes. It’s been around a lot longer than you realize.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tracy.graves.186 Tracy Graves

    and what it doesn’t mean. It is a voluntary price look up code. What that means in the United States is that you will likely see the 9 for organic because is gets a price premium, but you will never see an 8 for genetically engineered. There is no difference in price between genetically engineered and conventional. Genetically engineered is grown as conventional, most often with more chemicals, that is what the engineered genetics are for. So, the only use consumers have for these stickers is to see if a conventional papaya, sweet corn, zucchini, or yellow crook neck squash, rolled into the stack of organic ones.
    Soon we will be able to be on the look out for oranges and apples too.

  • http://www.jackspirko.com/ Jack Spirko

    This information is completely false totally false. First there are no GM apples, bananas, etc. Once you know that you know this entire article is made up bullshit. 99% of GM product is in just a few crops, canola, rice, soy, corn, sugar beets and cotton. There are no GM Washington apples or peaches. Let me add not yet. Sure they want to do this but given right now none of these things exist it discredits the entire line of thinking here.

  • Sharon

    I have seen an ‘8’ on a package of kiwis from Costco.

  • richard

    what does the honeycrisp appple bar code mean ,, 8283

  • Anonymous

    Please visit http://plucodes.com/ , is the website for the International federation for Produce Standards (IFPS), for any additional information.
    They state that:
    “The IFPS shall be responsible for deciding the assignment and definition of qualifying prefix digits for international recognition. At present, only three digits have been allocated:
    0 Applies to all non-qualified produce and is generally presented without the leading “zero” digit.
    8 Genetically modified
    9 Organic ”

    I hope this helps clarify any confusion.
    Best, Katrine – Be Well Team

  • http://www.jackspirko.com/ Jack Spirko

    There is no confusion there are NO GENETICALLY MODIFIED apples, bananas, etc. the entire article is dramatically misleading!

  • http://www.facebook.com/judyolie Judy Oliver

    I have seen 8 in the code on farmer market sweetcorn from the US and this is here in Canada

  • jazznut50

    That is not true. Just because something says “organic” on it does not mean that it
    does not contain GMs. In fact, it can still contain up to 30% GMs, so be
    sure the labels say 100% organic.

  • dimwit

    actually it contains up to 5 percent. the term organic means 95 percent organic…the term made with organic ing. means 70.

  • dimwit

    where is my reply

  • wasif

    i kill you

  • Sandra

    Does it mean anything that your number is two off mine :)

  • mistadobolina

    what does it mean when the fruit label starts with a 5..ie 58654

  • Anonymous

    I CANNOT THANK you ENOUGH for this info. I will tweet it out, and retweet, till I cannot tweet anymore….

  • Anonymous

    If the system is voluntary, at least it’s a start. Unless they can LIE about it, but then I’ll sue their pants off…
    Are GMO producers putting stickers on their food that says “NON GMO?”

  • Anonymous

    whew! THANK GOD!

  • Guest

    Thank you for that post. Honest in these times and especially about this subject is very important and still evolving. If you haven’t noticed it is very political and hence has a lot of negative propaganda against the very people who are trying to bring the truth to the public which has an extreme impact upon their long term health and possible changes to their genetics.
    Most people do not realize how extremely serious this is …
    The propaganda by the government is really “Transhumanism.”
    If people hate me for what I say, oh well. I’d rather be on the side of truth instead of being treated like their proverbial cattle up for slaughter.
    It seems the brainwashing is complete.
    All you have to do is look at the political and legal connection between the Federal Government and their subsidiaries and Monsanto —

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for that post. Honesty in these times and especially about this subject is very important and still evolving. If you haven’t noticed it is very political and hence has a lot of negative propaganda against the very people who are trying to bring the truth to the public which has an extreme impact upon their long term health and possible changes to their genetics.
    Most people do not realize how extremely serious this is …
    The propaganda or program by the government is really “Transhumanism.”
    If people hate me for what I say, oh well. I’d rather be on the side of truth instead of being treated like their proverbial herded cattle up for slaughter.
    It seems the brainwashing is complete.
    All you have to do is look at the political and legal connection between the Federal Government and their subsidiaries and Monsanto —

  • Anonymous

    WOW! “”Let’s put a rumor to rest. No, the 5-digit PLU codes on produce do not tell you what is genetically modified or natural. This urban legend has circulated long enough, even on the best of websites. It’s time to take it down.””
    No wonder I was totally confused. I could swear that early on that I was told by a reputable website that the “4’s” were the Genetically Modified Foods and here now, recently I’ve been told it is the “8’s.”

    Yes, it all seems like one big scam and one I cannot put passed by U.S. Government and Private Companies whose bottom line is their profits, not my good health and welfare.

  • Stacey

    Yes, 9 means organic and 8 is gmo. view the guidelines on pg 13 and 15.

  • Lucy R.

    And while the fruit is being washed, take off the sticker & toss it in the trash, not down the drain – it’s not bio-degradable & will harm the sewer-water system!

  • suwoo

    josephina is an idiot.

  • wendy

    I understand that some retailers are dropping one number to prevent consumers from seeing that it’s a GMO product. After all ‘money IS money’.

  • Anonymous

    Actually you are wrong. Careful what you think is an urban legend
    without doing any research and the king and queen of urban legend are
    here: http://www.snopes.com/food/prepare/produce.asp

  • tanner

    waht about the number 6 ? i have it on an apple idk if its gmo or chemically spraid or if it came outa the hulks ass ( that`d be organic fyi)

  • Veg E

    I’m at a Safeway where a pile of bananas under a “Go Organic” sign are labeled 4011 AND have a green “certified” sticker with a frog on them. Confused!

  • robsaw

    Please remove this piece of RUBBISH advice, it is quite simply NOT how PLU codes are really used and is blatantly misleading and inaccurate.

  • robsaw

    Umm, snopes is validating that for ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES this is an urban legend. Yes, the code “8” COULD be used to indicate a GMO but as they state, there is NO evidence any company has actually used it for that purpose – PLU is accurate for ONLY one thing – PRICE!

  • robsaw

    As the coding is voluntary there is simply NO reliable determination that “8” refers to GMO or ANYTHING in particular, except a price code. End of story.

  • crush

    nice shirt!!

  • snowcone

    So does that mean we are better off if we use “vegetable oil” instead of canola oil to cook the fried foods us southerners like so much? Or is peanut oil better than both other oils?

  • va

    I use neither. I cook with real butter, coconut oil, and occasionally organic sunflower oil. I havent bought any, but heard that palm oil is great for deep frying. Worth looking into…

  • Earthworm Farm Ga.

    snope’s is junk, they have been misleading people for years.

  • Bobby D

    exactly… I dont trust them

  • Mike

    Gene; Excellent Point, Soy in the baby Formula !!! Soy actually is documented as being one of the Absolute MOST dangerous (it’s the GMO that takes the fun out of going shopping) Chinese and Japanese SOY is *FERMENTED CORRECTLY with the full growth lengthy process….. ” SOY DANGEROUS ” proven to cause Neurodegeneration a now-new -topic. There goes our Chocolate for us chocolate lovers STUDY

  • Ingrid

    did u get an answer regarding # 3? I see a lot of them here and want to know what it means, thanks

  • DarlieB

    Its true


    Q. What is a Price Look-Up (PLU) code?

    A. PLU codes are 4 or 5 digit numbers which have been used by supermarkets

    since 1990 to make check-out and inventory control easier, faster, and more

    accurate. They ensure that the correct price is paid by consumers by removing

    the need for cashiers to identify the product; e.g., whether or not it is

    conventionally or organically grown. They are primarily assigned to identify

    individual bulk fresh produce (and related items such as nuts and herbs) and

    will appear on a small sticker applied to the individual piece of fresh

    produce. The PLU number identifies produce items based upon various

    attributes which can include the commodity, the variety, the growing

    methodology (e.g. organic) and the size group.

    The 4-digit PLU codes for produce are assigned randomly within a series of

    numbers within the 3000 and 4000 series. There is no intelligence built into

    the 4-digit code. For example, no one number within the 4-digit number

    represents anything in particular. The 4-digit codes are for conventionally

    grown produce. 5-digit codes are used to identify organic or genetically

    modified produce. The prefix of ‘8’ would be placed in front of the 4-digit

    code for genetically modified produce and the prefix of ‘9’ would be placed

    in front of the 4-digit conventionally grown code for organic produce. You

    will not see the 5 digit codes in the PLU codes database since they are

    simply prefixes added to the conventionally grown produce PLU codes.

    PLU codes are assigned by the IFPS (International Federation for Produce

    Standards) after rigorous review at both the national and interna

  • luckywoman

    A lot of palm oils are GMO to, not all.

  • wickedwoman

    There ways to plant to plant and flowers the act like pest control all natural, This work very well for me. Dawn dish soap used to work but I did find out it a GMO to. you can plant organic corm and use the stalk as for beans,peas, or other vine growing veggies and the ground around the stalk you can plant punkin, squash,cucumber, etc. this will keep week down, plant Marigold flowers around some plant to keep all types of bugs mostly worms.There many way of doing natural. My family 100% organic and natural Home made products, like all my soap, banana pills meats (Inside Skin) for brushing teeth and whiting,also I use every now and then salt or lemons or baking soda to brush my teeth.I have so many thing we have learned to get what we need and make it our self’s, best way to no your food is buy 100% Organic or Heirloom seeds, make your own compost, only use organic decaying food only on the compost. I rake my leaves up and add wood fibers and other decaying stuff and organic decaying foods, newspapers, you can use the ash after burning of paper, newspapers,paper, cardboard and so on, I use rabbit or horse, chicken manure, make sure you turn the compost at least 3 to 4 time all season. you can add earth worms to help brake down the compost faster, Oh do not fear they will have plenty of food from the organic decaying foods. By the time growing season in I have fresh compost.

  • Fritz Goldberg

    I have a 3107 on these beautiful Oranges, but the inside was yellow as a lemon, and it has a chemical taste to. I purchased from (What I like to call Ralph’s Old (Food 4 Less), what does 3107 mean is it a secret GMO code?

  • Fritz Goldberg

    Well genetically modified foods, genetically modify my body? Am I being targeted for extermination, thru genetic?

  • jack

    I eat stickers all the time

  • Chris J. Slater

    And be sure to read these COMMENTS! Guess there is NO truth in advertising! Are we FOOLS to put our FAITH in government regulators?

  • Eric Kirk

    I use organic canola, also lots of olive, coconut, and sesame seed etc. oils as well. Canola takes long to spoil where as sunflower and safflower turn quickly. Most all fresh (imo except soy/ inorganic vegetable oils are good for most people.

  • Molly B

    The ONLY sure way to get non-GMO foods is to grow your own fruits and veggies using Heirloom seeds and organic mulch from your own land or land on your area you know is “clean”. Use organic tried and true pesticides and herbicides. Buy local free range non-GMO fed poultry and eggs, beef, etc., etc. The extra cost is worth it.

  • Molly B

    Oops! I meant to say “land in your area”.

  • polka

    “First of all, if canola oil is processed from rapeseed oil, which is
    highly toxic to humans, can canola legitimately be labeled “organic,”
    just because the farmers aren’t using pesticides or chemical
    fertilizers? Let’s go back to the drawing board on this one and figure
    this out before we all consume a boatload more of “organic canola,”
    thinking the coast is clear. The organic farming movement arose in the
    1940’s in response to the industrialization of agriculture. Seventy
    years later, there are strict regulations and vigorous inspections to
    make sure anything carrying the USDA organic seal is legitimately
    organic. Organic food also means that there is no irradiation, no
    synthetic inputs and absolutely no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
    or chemical additives. Though organic food is safer and healthier than
    conventional food, no companies can make that claim, so how does canola
    fly under the radar and gain that organic seal when it comes from
    rapeseed? Did you know that bio-diesel is also derived from rapeseed?
    Rape is actually a weed and

    even insects won’t eat it, so
    why are millions of people eating canola every day whether it’s organic
    or not? Is “organic canola” really inorganic? Let’s figure this whole
    thing out. (http://www.laleva.cc)

    Canola oil, organic or not, inhibits enzyme function Wait, did you think
    there was a canola plant, like corn, soy or sunflower? Did you think
    making canola is just about pressing seeds? Want to put a “hex” on your
    health? Insert “hexane” and wait for problems to rear their ugly head.
    Hexane, a vapor component of gasoline, is used to process oils and has
    been since WWII. Yes, hexane is flammable. So how is this organic? Good
    question. Hexane is a chemical made from crude oil, the mainstream
    solvent extraction method of the entire Western world. So how does rapeseed
    oil magically turn into canola oil? Is it bleached, deodorized or
    cooked at high heat to remove the stink? The omega-3 fatty acids of
    processed canola oil are transformed during the deodorizing process into
    trans-fatty acids. The reason why canola is particularly unsuited for consumption is that it contains a very long-chain fatty acid called

    erucic acid, which under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions.”

  • polka

    actually, an “ex” told me years ago that they were edible…gullible. i never bothered eating one, though.

  • polka

    Reputation isn’t “everything.” It doesn’t trump profit. Tarnished reputation = time to re-brand!

  • ace


  • Dr. A. Turrón

    Why don’t all of you take an AP environmental science course and verify it yourself. This, according to the various sources I have used, is accurate. Next time you are going to argue, bring a source! Or perhaps learning how to determine what sources are considered referable would be more beneficial. Just don’t run around blasting fallacies at everyone. Being misled is understandable, but believing an urban legend over verified sources will just hurt your reputation. I’m probably never going to return to this blog, but denying this well known fact made it worth my time to respond and let everyone know that a troll was attempting to misguide them. Again, the information in this article is accurate.

  • JC Ciccone

    I found a 3110 code. I didn’t buy

  • Nate

    I would like to share a few higherlevel broader spectrum suggestions/ideas. Consider consuming produce with bug bites, because if bugs WON’T eat it, maybe you ought not to as well. This is not to say bug bitten plants aren’t gmo’s, but it is at least one sign that that organism is not killing off things that try to eat it, and therefore potentially less likely to harm you. Some cultures shop for produce on the grounds of looking FOR imperfections like this, for this very reason. Also, consider eating less “out of season” produce in your local area, as truly healthful foods don’t deliver very well, considering various things want to and do consume quality produce quickly, because those foods have evolved to be desirable and healthy to consume (as opposed to modified to be poisonous and unappealing to eat by competing “consumers”). The reason poorer quality or somewhat poisonous foods can be sold/fed to the likes of you and I, is because we often purchase produce primarily based on APPEARANCE, and up front with cash before even trying it. No wonder its so easy to pull fast ones on us! Learn to reverse this kind of conditioning, as things are not always as the appear, visually. Lastly, consider beginning to grow your own foods or source them more locally from individuals you can trust and or form real personal relationships with. Foster localization, and ween your contributions to and dependencies on methods of economic centralization, because only one of those two ends of an economic spectrum will maintain the best interests of INDIVIDUALS (you, and I and our children). Increasing personal responsibility for meeting our own needs (as opposed to remaining highly specialized laborers, highly dependent on enormously complex supply chains) while maybe intimidating, truly is to the best of my knowledge the only effective, ethical, or sustainable way for the INDIVIDUALS of any system to seize the power to provide a healthy and quality life for themselves. Power and responsibility, after all, generally do go hand in hand. If you’re interesting in taking more responsibility (and of course the corresponding power to foster more quality and health in life) know that the principals of (and community surrounding) a thing called “permaculture” are already well established and available for helping this aim. Not only are the principals of permaculture ethical and sustainable, they are also not your great grandpas method of pouring blood and sweat into the earth for a yield, or today’s method of pumping oil into tractors for a yield. There are better, significantly EASIER ways to live. It begins with soil and keeping it covered, avoiding monoculture, and simply doing things on smaller and slower scales. Work hard, but hey, take it easy too. Let just get our priorities straight and the rest will fall into place. Food? Drink? Air? Shelter? Relationships? All wonderful things to place priorities in seeking quality of. Forget all the other frivolous junk!

  • veggievrigin

    If they are going to go through all that trouble with the 8a and the 4ever why not just make a GMO sticker? This is a load of crap.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for all the good ideas, Nate!

  • Vic Hanes


  • Anonymous

    Maybe because he is the “Paid Idiot.”

  • 1ldailey

    Palm…extremely high in cholesterol. AND typically very irresponsibly farmed. Orangatangs are becomong extinct over the deforestation happening so that planting palm can happen for huge profits. Dont buy palm.

  • 1ldailey

    Veg. oil is highly processed with chemicals. Rice bran oil can take very high heat and is best for frying.

  • 1ldailey

    Labels only tell half the story…honest. You really need to be researching this stuff all the time!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelliemurray65 Kellie

    This is not great info. It is only a PLU…price look up code. Nothing more. PLU codes are used voluntarily by stores and do not signify if something is GMO or not. Do some research and see for yourself like I did.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelliemurray65 Kellie

    It means nothing to the consumer…neither does the rest of the numbers. the PLUs are only used by stores to look up the price, nothing more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelliemurray65 Kellie

    Interesting but untrue. PLU codes are used voluntarily by stores and are used to look up the price, nothing more. You cannot tell if a product is a GMO by looking at the PLU code.

  • bob

    most vegetable oils are made from gmo soybeans

  • sls_19

    The four digit 4s are grown traditionally (with the use of pesticides); the five digit 8’s are genetically modified; and fruit or vegetables with five digit 9’s are organic…(no pesticides and not genetically modified).

  • Suzanne Alva

    if you check out http://www.stopthecrime.net
    you will understand what they are up to. They really want to depopulate the country. It’s their one world government idea of control. I hate to sound like a radical but that is what the signs are pointing to. They think we are taking up space and food, and are useless. We are in the end times Revelation 9

  • Johnny Appleseed
  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus

    ‘Organic’ does not mean ‘no pesticides’. This myth has to end. Organic farmers are allowed to use certain pesticides from botanical and mineral sources. And you bet they do! Good luck growing *anything* on a large scale without any sort of pesticide whatsoever.

  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus

    You just turned down a perfectly good apple. There is no such thing as genetically modified apples!!!!! The number you saw was either a 4-digit PLU code (which means nothing) or was part of the UPC digit. Or you are full of crap….

  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus

    4-digit numbers starting with any number (3, 4, whatever) do not mean anything. They are for store inventory only. Stop worrying

  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus

    Please do not buy palm oil. 1ldailey is right, the way palm oil is farmed is very destructive to our planet, for several reasons. Watch the first episode of ‘Years of Living Dangerously’ on Youtube.

  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus

    Vegetable oil = soybean oil. All vegetable and seed oils – canola, soy, sunflower, peanut, grapeseed, any nut – are unhealthy for you due to high levels of PUFAs. They are often rancid too.

    Use butter, coconut oil, and homemade rendered animal fat.

  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus

    Most produce is not GMO to begin with. Do not worry about PLU codes. Whether a 4 digit code begins with 3 or 4 is meaningless, they are only used for inventory purposes, period.
    No, you cannot tell if a food is GMO by looking at the label because there is no law requiring GMO foods to be labeled. But, again, for MOST types of produce, there is no GMO version that exists anyway. You only need to ‘worry’ about a short list – papaya, corn, zucchini. Do not freak out over your apples or oranges being GMO or not because there is no such thing as GMO oranges or apples.

  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus

    GMO tomatoes aren’t on the market anymore though.

  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus

    Hahahahaha that’s the UPC label. Not the PLU. PLU is only 4 digits, or a 5-digit number starting with 9, the 9 meaning it is organic. Nothing else about the numbers can tell you anything.

  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus

    No. There is no genetically modified wheat being grown anywhere in the world. THERE IS NO GMO WHEAT, PERIOD. Wheat has been *hybridized* over decades, but so have ALL fruits and vegetables, even organic and heirloom ones. Please learn the difference between gene-splicing technology (GMO) and hybridizing (breeding and ‘artificially’ selecting the best crops).

  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus


  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus

    Why? It’s just a PLU code. It means nothing.

  • https://google.com Miley Cyrus

    it’s an apple. eat it

  • Michał Kowalski

    see #3.1+/ #3.95B. The.Most.Important.Knowledge.You.would.Ever.Read.Implement.and.Live.up.to.Forever @ http://foreverthemostimportant.com/



  • Renay

    So the lawsuits against Monsanto in June of 2013 didn’t happen? They didn’t find GMO wheat in Oregon and Kansas? Between 1998 and 2005 16 states did field trials. Regardless if it was continued, the GMO genes are now out there and have cross contaminated other fields. Hybridizing and GMO are TWO different creatures for sure. The first is the natural way things should be done, the second infuses engineering by scientist to make a crop more resistant to the pesticides they douse them in.

  • Confused

    Ok there is so much confusion that I don’t know who to believe or what to believe. I will just stick to growing my own food.

  • T-Ozzy Czernik

    I am so sick of these MURDEROUS P.O.S. – “they” will NOT EAT what “THEY” are trying to “ONLY OFFER” on markets!

  • T-Ozzy Czernik
  • Steve

    Seems like were in a no win situation, we got a health care system that poisons us and a goverment bought and paid for big business that appoints more corrupt people

  • DustUndertheHill

    Produce is different than product. A product in a box can have varying items of produce contained in it.

    An example of a product would be a box of taco shells, in contrast to a rind of corn which is produce.

    Organic produce cannot be genetically modofied, or it is not organic.

  • https://google.com buddha cat

    no, you just got a shitty orange, lmfao

  • leatherlady Sam

    I read & watched a video that # 3 &4 were GMO , 8 was conventional & 9 was organic, which is the only one that seems to be consistant! So eat those with #9 if you can afford it or grow your own. The produce that mostly comes to us from other countries that do not have the so called same laws & bought our ddt when it was banned in the us. So buy local from the farmers that charge double for organic, ask what organic means. It means 3 to 5 years to prove by state soil testing & documenting everything you do on an organic farm, including water testing all of which is expensive!!! I used to have a small farm just as organic was becoming a WV big deal & stores had an organic area. You cant just say organic you have to have an actual licensed organic farm, not just say organic! A friend that worked at a large welknown chain grocery store said that all produce trucks were locked up & gassed to kill any bugs to make sure the foregion country huge spiders & other bugs were killed, then put in the store in yes the organic sections!!!! She was fired for questioning the produce that was placed in the organic section & it was her word against the stores! Buy TV from your local farmers, meet them at the farmers market then drive out to buy from their farms, it will cost you less except in gas!

  • Anonymous

    TODAY, June 24, 2014, I saw apples and white nectarines with a code beginning with the number 3. What is THAT about?

  • Berkley Aguilar


  • corina

    now i know to get the nine

  • Kyoshi Ito

    If you are reading this because you are actually on the side of needing seals or tape for your products, visit Tyden Brooks. They have commercial products that you probably need but don’t know where to find.

  • JeremyHSnell

    these posts are so outdated – so is the article – things change too quickly to rely on a two yr old article or posts by a handful of arguees

  • Brian Anderson

    Snopes is a married couple living in the San Francisco area. Somehow they have convinced a good amount of people that they know everything about everything. Think about that. Is it even close to possible??? I doubt it.

  • Anonymous

    Junk science is evolving faster than you think.


  • Anonymous

    @too long; didn’t read — Take a pill. Maybe it will help you focus on matters critical to your health.

  • https://google.com buddha cat

    It does not mean anything. All produce has a 4 digit code for inventory purposes, the checker just punches it in so they know what the exact type of produce it is. The 4 digit number can start with any number and it does not mean anything. Starting with number “3” does not mean anything.

    A five digit number that starts with “9” means it is organic. That’s the only “beginning number” that means anything, this article is full of BS urban legends.

  • https://google.com buddha cat

    If you actually read the article you would understand that that is just a plain PLU code. Starting with the number “3” does not mean anything.

  • https://google.com buddha cat

    What is the full PLU code? (4 or 5 digit)

  • https://google.com buddha cat

    the bar code is not the same as the PLU code. the bar code number is irrelevant.

  • https://google.com buddha cat

    A four digit PLU code starting with the number 3 is just a plain PLU code. It means the produce is probably not organic. It does not mean anything else. The PLU code is used for inventory purposes.

  • https://google.com buddha cat

    It does not mean anything. All produce has a 4 digit code for
    inventory purposes, the checker just punches it in so they know what the
    exact type of produce it is. The 4 digit number can start with “3” or “4” and it does not mean anything. Starting with number “3” does not
    mean anything.

  • https://google.com buddha cat

    It does not mean anything. All produce has a 4 digit code for
    inventory purposes, the checker just punches it in so they know what the
    exact type of produce it is. The 4 digit number can start with a 3 or 4 and it does not mean anything. Starting with number “3” does not
    mean anything.

  • nichole

    Why do so many people have to be so rude… people who want organic just want something that they can eat and it have no harmful pesticides or modified in order to get the produce.. so many people are so quick to jump on ppl these days.. if u don’t care about it then don’t down anyone else.. if u have proof as to this being wrong.. bring ur researched findings… some ppl actually care about what harmful things are being put into our food supply.. and some of us have health issues that need solved the herbal and organic way.. so take that as u will..

  • Warren Lauzon

    This is baloney. There is no such thing as an 8xxxx code. Yet this stupid thing keeps getting repeated all over the internet.

  • Steve
  • SayNoToGMO

    8 is definitely GMO!!
    Grapples and CottonCandy Grapes are fine examples of this practice

  • Aml

    What does it mean if it starts with a 3?

  • acne

    yes , but now a days few shops removes these stickers to avoid customers to read it , so we people are hopeless eating these applies .

    what kind of problems may occur if we eat these genetically modified apples regularly ?


  • Gina

    Does anyone knows why Meyer lemons from Visalia, California have PLU# 14451? Highly confusing as I never saw the 5 digit PLU’s starting with number 1. Thanks.

  • http://www.eibass.org Dane E. Ericksen

    is the sticky residue left on the fruit after removing the label safe? That is, what evidence exists for non-toxicity?

  • kick


  • dan

    then buy organic.. it may be expensive in the short run.. but way less expensive than being sick.. (in the long run).

  • Mark
  • Tracy

    I bought a Granny Smith Apple with PLU 94017 but it’s been sitting on the counter, sliced in half, for 15 hours now and it’s not even a little brown.

  • junebug

    buddha cat…..but the pesticides are made from plants and natural substances that just so happen to irritate insects…not poisonous to people unless you have an allergy to it….mostly those pesticides have a strong odor which is how they work

  • Terry

    My doctor told me to get off of soy. Easier said than done. It is in everything. I finally found mayo without soy. When did it become the go to filler?

  • Terry

    My doctor told me to get off of soy. Easier said than done. It is in everything. I finally found mayo without soy. When did it become the go to filler?

  • originseeker

    I bought different kinds of apples and I am looking at them right now. YES, the apples with 5 digits that start with the #9 are ORGANIC. It even tells me it’s organic on the sticker. The other two apples I have in my hand start with a 4 and they do not say organic on them, so they can be either conventional or modified, depending on whether the seller wanted to disclose the number or not. If it has an 8 before the PLU it means that it is modified, so definitely stay away from these. If you can’t afford organic, you’re still safer buying the ones that start with a 4.

  • Jasmine

    AGMO DOES NOT TRUMP ORGANIC. REAL food trumps fake food created in a lab that creates disease within people !

  • DoC BiC

    If anyone has a resource for fact checking more reliable than Snopes.com, please post it rather than criticize & tear down folks trying to make a beneficial difference in this insane world where so little can be trusted anymore, and walking in faith scares most rational thinkers. Otherwise, back to Snopes for some degree of help.

  • DianneP

    If I cannot determine source from bulk produce for example, corn, I ask the produce guy who usually has no idea and insist he or she checks with their manager with one question… is it BT corn? The manager can say yes or no and then I explain to the grocery guy who is confused that BT corn is poison. Some are actually interested.
    If in doubt meaning the manager is a blockhead, I do not buy.

  • DianneP

    If I cannot determine source from bulk produce for example, corn, I ask the produce guy who usually has no idea and insist he or she checks with their manager with one question… is it BT corn? The manager can say yes or no and then I explain to the grocery guy who is confused that BT corn is poison. Some are actually interested.
    If in doubt meaning the manager is a blockhead, I do not buy.

  • Stubby

    I have a garden with about 10 beds, I use organic seeds, and I never use pesticides. My garden is pretty awesome every year.

  • Lawrence Bruse

    what is 49011 -it was on bananas labeled organic……… but is it really…would appreciate sane responses…. thanks , people…………………

  • http://www.pinterest.com/gconsciousness/ Greenconsciousness
  • http://www.icareservicecenter.com/ Jeba Sheela

    Cheers! You have really allured me; I have no words to explain my feelings about your post.

    Skin doctors in Chennai

  • Sammy Jackson

    The biggest joke of all is the fact that growing with pesticides is classed as traditional. Organic non gmo should be the only way. If all companies had to stick to this standard then the prices would be lower and everyone would be much healthier. The world is full of idiots who want to take shortcuts at the detriment to other people and food manufacturers can be the worst culprits of the lot. When profit becomes more important then contribution to the world then you will always have a problem. Using pesticides means you a poisoning people so how it is justified is beyond me

  • DJ

    ELD on a yellow pepper……..what does that mean?

  • DJ

    Is a four digit number starting with 3 an inferior product? It is always the cheapest.

  • bible thumper

    We need to put big ag out of business by supporting organic and local farmers…We can do it…yes we can. And the FDA can go hang.

  • Nicabod

    You say, “”last four letters” — I call those numbers.

  • http://www.belvinhouseartstudio.com JJ Bell

    30% is a hell of a lot better than 100%

  • http://www.belvinhouseartstudio.com JJ Bell

    Can anyone tell me what the 6 means in front of the code on pumpkin seeds?

  • KCummings

    The healthiest we can eat is to grow our own food, and pushing for clean, impeccable organic standards with the Organic Consumers Organization.
    What GMO corn does to rats makes it importantly clear we need to avoid GMOs in everything!

    See http://www.thomhartmann.com/bigpicture/full-show-72012-conversations-great-minds-jeffrey-smith.

    The Food Babe has also warned us and shown what GMOs fed to rats do. It’s ghastly!

  • Lion King

    Normal bananas that are sweet are all GMO so how can it have 4 digits. It can be organically grown but still be GMO. Don’t let them fool you.

  • Lion King

    Well said bro.

  • ala valova

    Just about everything is GMO in Canada and US (and I would dare that everywhere in the world). It is foolish to buy expensive product in organic store, cause they don’t have seeds neither. YES, that means they are GMO. There is no such a thing as hybrid to get seedless veggies or fruit. Think about it! What do you cross peppers with seeds with to get peppers without seeds? ! Nothing. You don’t cross, you imply virus to the pollen to mutate the product. Research it if you don’t believe it! Also, another issue. Where do farmers get seeds?! From stores and government. Seeds that are already from GMO plants. Yeah, I’d say we are doomed. Unless you are lucky enough and kept seeds from your last 20 crops and use those to grow your own.

  • TheNamelessOne

    thank you so much! I had this as a research question and you gave me a perfect and understandable answer! :D

  • guy

    errr you mean at thOP of the list? No 1 is apples – they have the most pesticide residues, yes?

  • wildstyle203

    did u also know that the normal bananas u get in the store arent even real bananas??? they are hybrids…there are a few fruits/veggies that a are hybrids….so that would make it gmo regardless if they were grown with or without pesticides etc…..theyre not supposed to exist lmfao

  • KCummings

    The bananas we buy all have 4 numbers starting with a 9. They are the healthiest bananas available, and people need to know medjool dates have more potassium than bananas.

  • nettiewash

    what does a 3 mean?

  • Pascual

    Does anyone know if the PLU contains the harvest date? I’m tired having to return fruit that has been warehoused for months before getting to the store