Food Labeling: How to Identify Conventional, Organic and GMO Produce

What can you tell from those numbers on fruit and vegetable stickers?

The price look-up (PLU) code system used by most produce distributors has the side benefit of allowing consumers to identify conventional and organic produce at the grocery store. Even though the defeat of Proposition 37 means that genetically engineered information will not be added to labels at this time, PLU codes do have the potential to identify genetically engineered produce. This video shows you how to read PLU codes to unlock the information that is already right at your fingertips.

How to Use Price Look-Up Codes on Produce

    Using Price Look-up Codes (PLUs), the Nutshell:
  • PLU codes are four digit numbers that identify different types of produce. For example, #4011 is the code for a standard yellow banana.
  • The number 9 prefix added to a PLU signifies that an item is organic. For example, #94011 is the code for an organic yellow banana.
  • A number 8 prefix added to a PLU signifies that an item is genetically engineered (GE). For example, #84011 is the code for a genetically engineered yellow banana.
  • PLU codes and their organic prefixes are in wide use but GE codes are rare at best.

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