What do the stickers on Fruit & Veggies mean?

So, you know those bar-code thingies on all the fruit and veggies? I mean, I never pay attention to them other than when I scan them at the self-checkout at Kroger. Well, it turns out you can identify whether your produce is organic or conventionally grown from them. And apparently they are called plu-codes and not just “bar code thingy”.

So I did some digging, lets break it down…

  1. Plu-codes are either 4 or 5 digit
  2. Conventional products are in the 3,000 & 4,000 series (4 digits)
  3. All Organic produce are 5 digits, and start with the number 9. Of course, for any product to even be labeled as organic, it has to be non-GMO.
  4. I have also read online that if there are five numbers, and the first is an “8”, then the product is genetically modified. I am not sure about this, and couldn’t verify this claim, but I am including this here, so maybe if you see it, or if you have info you can weigh in.


For example, this is a conventionally grown (non-organic) lemon above.

Below, is an organic squash. Note the five digits with the first being a 9.


Apparently, there is an organization that labels the produce and assigns the plu-codes. Now the one thing to always keep in mind is, the stores still don’t have to abide by the tags, or they might not have any tags at all. When in doubt, always make sure to check for the organic label, its the most sure way to know.

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