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All you need to know about PLU Numbers on Produce

As any good shopper will notice, fresh produce that is individually available has these stickers on them with either a 4 digit or 5 digit number. These numbers have definite meaning, and it is in our best interest as consumers to know the basics.

First any 4 digit number that begins with a 3 or 4 is a conventionally grown product. Therefore, pesticides and herbicides were likely used in its production. For example, the picture of this avocado to the left.

Now 5 digit numbers are different and the two most important ones to be aware of are those that start with an 8 or 9. Those starting with an 8 are GMO based products and can contain DNA from other species. You will rarely see these as individual products like the avocado above since many companies will package these products together. Once that is done, they do not have to show the PLU#, and since the use of GMO foods is not required to be on the label, most producers will not indicate it in any way.

On the other hand, 5 digit codes that start with a 9 are Organic, and by definition cannot be GMO, and can only have natural pesticides and/or herbicides used on them. An example is the picture of the organic tomato to the right. Now you can always check that what you think you are buying is indeed what you want by simply knowing these basics.

I hope you have found this helpful! Have an awesome and healthy day!

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