Fruit and Vegetable PLU Codes

by Jhet Bhlak on August 3, 2009


appleHave you ever wondered what those little stickers mean on the fruits and vegetables you buy? They are not simply codes for the cashier to properly ring up your food in the grocery line. The numbers on those stickers tell a story about the produce if you know how to read them.

There are three different classifications that the PLU stickers can indicate. Organic, chemically grown and genetically modified. But what do those three categories mean and how do you tell by the PLU code what you are holding?

Organic – The fruit or vegetable was grown naturally without using any chemicals. If you are holding an organically grown product in your hand the number on the PLU sticker will start with the number 9. As an example, an apple with a code of 95001 would be an organically grown apple.

Chemically grown - Chemicals such as pesticides were used on the fruit while it was being grown. This is the code you will probably see most often. Chemically grown fruit and vegetables will have a code starting with a 4 and they will be four digits long. An example would be an apple with the code 4501 on the sticker.

Genetically modified - Scientists poked and prodded the fruit or vegetable and modified it’s genetic makup. Genetically modified fruits or vegetables will begin with an 8 and have five digits in the code. So the code 85001 would indicate that the product was somehow genetically modified..

More information on organic foods can be found at:

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheri August 26, 2009 at 10:47 am

Who decides whether or not an item gets the GMO label? Is it legally mandated that GMO produce get GMO produce numbers? What agency oversees this, assuming there is one?


Jhet Bhlak August 26, 2009 at 11:04 am

That is actually a really good question. I’m not sure but I’m going to try and find out!


Acid Alkaline Diet August 31, 2009 at 12:19 am

Nice trivia. Actually, it is proven fact that regular consumption of fruits acts as potentially diuretic in nature. As a result of fruit consumption at a regular basis reduces urine density and accelerates the rate of excretion and flushes out the unwanted toxins out of the health system. Due to low sodium count, fruit diet works as natural salt free diet for the diabetic and hypertension patients.


Lori November 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Please add that all foods with a number beginning with a 3 and having four numbers is irradiated. These foods are nutritionally defunct and should be avoided!


Jhet Bhlak November 2, 2009 at 3:46 pm

That’s good to know Lori! I had not heard that before. Do you have any sources that show this information? I’ll try and find some as well but if you have any links it’s would be appreciated. Thanks again!


AlexandraWinton February 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm

After all this comments I got just one solution, eat organic fruit or from local farmers where you know that there fruit is not filled with bunch of chemicals.


Hydroponic grow system September 11, 2010 at 2:05 am

All this information is so helpful. I grow my own vegetables, prepare them, and lose weight for my efforts. I am also well liked by my neighbors because I share.


Scott October 2, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Warn enough people that GMO (POISON) fruits and veggies start with the number 8 and we can put the bastards out of business just like they outlawed GMO in Europe!


Jeff November 27, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Check this out:
A prefix of “8″ indicates GMO, but a GMO product doesn’t legally have to have a prefix of “8″.


Jhet Bhlak November 27, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Thank you for that excellent find Jeff!



Mazal Suzy Levy March 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I am very interrested to know about non-gmo fruits and vegetables.Please keep me updated whenever possible.Thank you.signed Suzy


Jim March 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

Very interesting subject…good to know info!


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