Monday, March 23, 2009

How to tell if a fruit or vegetable is organic or conventionally grown - PLU Codes


Have you ever wondered why there are stickers on your produce and what they really mean?
Price Look-Up codes, or PLU codes, are identification numbers put on produce and other products to make check-out at stores faster and more accurate. You’ll be surprised to know that those stickers can also tell you whether or not a product is organic or conventionally grown.

The first step is to count the number of digits on the sticker.

  • A conventionally grown product (grown with chemical assistance) will have a 4 digit PLU code. (Example: conventionally grown Red Delicious apple: 4015)

  • An organic product will have a 5 digit code starting with the number 9. (Example: organic Red Delicious apple: 94015)

Below: A PLU code of 94090 on a bag of organic spinach.



picture courtesy of bedfordind.com

8 comments:

DawnS said...

Hello! I'm over from FMFY and am following your blog. This looks like exactly what I need - great info!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Stopping in from MBC's FMFY - Great information here...I'm loving it! I'm a new follower... ;)

Janice said...

Wow, I never knew this. Thanks for the great information.

alison -- surefoodsliving.com said...

Great info!! Thanks -- I will do some sleuthing at the market next time I go.

Liz D said...

Thanks! I knew about the 9 BUT NOT the 8 :)

E. Marie said...

I recently saw PLU numbers at a local Whole Foods beginning with #2 and #3 - I don't recall if they were four or five digits. I didn't have time to ask anyone at the store what PLU's beginning with 2 or 3 meant.

Do you know?

Anonymous said...

My mind = blown

Anonymous said...


"A four digit code beginning with a 3 represents produce that was irradiated, or exposed to radiation to kill microorganisms." http://www.collegegreenmag.com/how-to-understand-fruit-vegetable-product-codes