Decoding Fruit Labels

By Charlie Nardozzi

Organically grown fruit has a label that starts with a 9. You may have noticed the individual stickers on many fruits in grocery stores. They're not just there to help checkout clerks record the price. The PLU numbered code on the stickers actually can tell you how the fruit was grown. Conventionally grown fruit has 4 numbers on the sticker. Organically grown fruit has 5 numbers always starting with the number 9. Genetically engineered fruit also has 5 numbers, but they always start with the number 8. Now you have an easy way to double-check the fruit in stores to see if it was grown as claimed on the produce shelves. For more information on the food you buy, contact the Organic Consumers Organization Web site (

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