Produce Labels

January 29, 2010

In a recent edition of Mary Jane Farms there was a page on produce labels. I learned something new!apples with PLU

Those little stickers on the produce – those little oval jobs on your apples  – they have numbers on them called price look-up codes or PLU – and they tell more than just a code for the cashier  – it contains important information for us consumers too.

On that little sticker is a four or five digit number.

…A four-digit number means the produce has been conventionally grown using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  A five-digit number beginning with 8 means the produce was genetically modified.  And a five-digit number beginning with 9 means you’re getting organically grown goodies.  (Note: This number isn’t found in barcodes. It will typically be printed on a sticker affixed to an item.)

So – keep an eye out for 5-digit numbers beginning with a 9.  And remember, it is most important to aim for organic when the produce has an edible skin.



  1. I have seen now from several sources that apples and potatoes are the two produce items we should definitely buy organic. They use the most pesticides when traditionally grown, and the pesticides are In THE FOOD not just on it. It is tough to walk away from all these local apple orchards in upstate New York.

    • it gets easier and easier to buy organic the more I imagine ingesting pesticides and fertilizers. I’d rather buy less food and more organic than buy more food that’s not organic. The kids are adjusting, but awfully slowly. They still prefer processed ick.

  2. Cool! I didn’t know that!!

  3. Very, very good things to know – Thanks! Lately I’ve been buying a lot of bagged fruit – there must be a label somewhere on the bags, too, right?

  4. How are you liking the magazine, Mary Jane’s Farm? Worth trying?


    • I don’t know yet – have only seen one issue – but it is probably worth picking up off the rack someplace if you can.


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