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Is That Food Organic? Labels Tell You: 3 4 8 9 ???

What do these labels mean on fruit and vegetables?

What do these labels mean on fruits and vegetables?

These PLU numbers are the “Product Look-Up Numbers”.  The leading number gives you useful information, if you know the code…

I remember the code on fruit and veggies using a simple rhyme…

8, I hate. It’s GMO!  :-(

9 is fine.  Organic.  :-)

All others, like 3 or 4, are neither GMO or organic.  They are conventionally grown.  This means the growers could have applied poisons to the food, including pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizer.  But the food itself is not genetically modified.

8, I Hate

I never buy food labeled 8, because that’s the one I hate. GMO food has not been sufficiently tested for safety, in my opinion. Where are the studies showing GMO food is safe? And why are companies like Monsanto and Bayer modifying the genetic code in a lab instead of through natural selection?

[Edit, Jan-15-2013:  I have since realized that Evolution is a lie, a false religion.  There is no credible evidence to support Evolution.  I looked and found none.  God has designed all the food that is good to eat.  God is perfect and already made the plants to be good.  Companies that genetically modify the plants for financial gain are going against God's design and are asking for trouble.  The love of money is the root of all evil... 1 Timothy 6:10 KJV]

These powerful corporations want to prevent you and me from saving our seeds and growing our own food. They use the government to enforce their patents and to prosecute farmers. There is so much written about this already on the web, so if you want to learn more, a simple search will tell you a lot.

3 or 4

An orange with PLU code 3107

An orange with PLU code 3107

If we buy 3 or 4, we are sure to wash the food thoroughly before cooking or eating.  The orange peel above could be saturated with poisons, so I would not use the peel in any recipe.

Mango grown conventionally.

Mango grown conventionally.

This mango's PLU code (4959) starts with a "4", meaning it is conventionally grown.

This mango's PLU code (4959) starts with a "4", meaning it is conventionally grown.

The mango above is not organic.  It is conventionally grown.  I don’t like that word choice because it sounds so… normal.  It is a sad state of our farming practices when it is “normal” to spray food intended for human consumption with poison.  No wonder people continue to get sicker.   If you see on the label a number beginning with a 3 or 4, that food could contain poisons like pesticides and herbicides and could have been grown with synthetic fertilizer from petroleum.  I would much prefer a mango that had a PLU code starting with a “9″, which is “fine”.

If an apple is conventionally grown and starts with a 3 or 4, I wash the apple, then peel the skin off and discard.  There are probably poisons sprayed on the skin and I do not feel right about feeding that to my family or myself.

9 Is Fine

Organic apples, Fuji variety

Organic apples, Fuji variety

9 is fine.  This is the good stuff.  It’s organic, not genetically modified and not coated with poison.  This is how food had been grown for thousands of years until the recent changes made by corporations, tainting our food supply with their poisons.

An organically grown Fuji apple

An organically grown Fuji apple

If an apple has the leading digit of “9″… it’s fine…it’s organic.

This PLU sticker has a leading number 9, which is fine:  it was grown organically.

This PLU sticker has a leading number 9, which is fine: it was grown organically.

I read that apple skins are healthy, as long as they are organic without applied chemicals.  I might eat the apple’s skin if the PLU code starts with “9″.  If the PLU code starts with a “3″ or “4″, I will surely discard the apple peel.  If the PLU code starts with “8″, which I hate… well, then, that apple would never make it to my house as we wouldn’t buy it.


Know your PLU codes and live healthier and happier.

9 is fine!

Reference:  http://energyfanatics.com/2009/04/24/fruit-label-organic-genetically-engineered/

28 Responses to “Is That Food Organic? Labels Tell You: 3 4 8 9 ???”

  1. 1

    To whom it may concern,

    I’ve been reading about PLU codes and have done my own investigative work here
    locally at a couple of grocery stores. I have seen traditional PLU’s and organic PLU’s
    but nothing with an 8 followed by four digits indicating GMO. Where are the GMO’s, not
    that I’m in a hurry to cunsume any?



  2. 2

    Foods which have labels beginning with a 3 are genetically-modified, such as the papayas that are commonly sold across the USA.

  3. 3

    How do you know that 3 is genetically modified? Could you cite your source?

  4. 4

    The numbers are part of an international PLU code. This doc I am linking is an actual source document for these numbers and their meaning. Look on page 7. http://www.plucodes.com/docs/Users_Guide_July_2012_FINAL.pdf

  5. 5

    Here is another good source of info on this topic. http://news.consumerreports.org/health/2010/05/decode-your-produce-what-do-plu-codes-mean-when-to-buy-organic-fruits-and-vegetables.html

  6. 6

    Sorry, Janelle, I checked both documents you sited and there is no mention of a four digit code beginning with a 3 that is GMO. It does mention that spraying with pesticides is present. Back in the 1990’s when all this started, I use to see all the codes except for the 3 code. Since then, many sources of all types have declared the 3 code to point to heirloom produce. But, according to the docs you presented, they state that the 4 and 3 codes are both conventional. One, the 4, being North American, East; and 3 being North America. Since I’m just now starting to see a flow of the 3 code, I wonder if it is indeed a heirloom that has the potential of being sprayed, or the possibility of cross-contamination. Either way, the 9’s have it!

  7. 7
    DJ Heinze:

    Since sticker codes beginning with number 3 are always on the cheapest fruits, I avoid them.

  8. 8

    I manage a produce department and i can assure that 3 does NOT mean genetically altered in any way. We dont carry any items with a plu that begins with an 8. But i do carry several items that begin with 3. Some of these include Honeycrisp Apples, Navel Oranges and Satsuma Tangerines. The 3 at the beginning, i believe, means that they are seasonal items. Meaning, they are not available year round or their country of origin may change as the seasons change.

  9. 9

    My daughter is doing a science project on GMO papayas and this is what we found: we bought Chula Vista papaya starting with code 3. We then found out that the only variety Chula Vista grows is Tainung type. This is a hybrid type tolerance resistant to the PRSV ( papaya ring spot virus). She concluded that Tainung papayas must also contain Genetic modification since there are no naturally PRSV resistant papayas in this world.


  10. 10

    The code 3 statement was made by Happy…not by the writer of this article, Jannelle. Personally I would try to avoid code 3 also. I`m thinking that GMO`s don`t legally need to be labled in alot of countries so they would be hiding under the 3 code lable. I have no proof of this … just what I have read in the past.

  11. 11

    Hey i have a major concern im four and a half months pregnant and try to avoid gmos at all costs. Well tonight my brother brought me tomatoes with a plu beginning with 3 on them and im concerned they are gmo. Ive been looking up on a bunch of websites an cant get a legit answer… please someone help.

  12. 12

    Hi Jayme,

    Avoid 3 and 8 whenever possible at all cost (which means you have to throw them away). 8 is GMO and so is 3 from the information I got many years ago. When in doubt, especially during pregnancy, always purchase fruits started with 9. Even with organic produce, make sure you wash them with veggie wash before you eat considering chemtrails heavily above the skies of those organic farms especially those in California

  13. 13

    labeling food with the number 8 is not required by the government. So they don’t. If you see one its because the grocer is being honest.

  14. 14

    A store in Arkansas is selling organic apples, with the PLU codes showing the leading number of 9, which is fine, because it is grown the way God intended: without poison, but just with good organic care. I added new pictures to this post showing a PLU label for organic produce sold under the superfreshgrowers.com brand.

  15. 15

    We need to do some of our own gardening or join a CSA – cooperative.

  16. 16

    I got mandarin with 5 digit starting with “7″

    what is that mean?

  17. 17

    7 is transistional…meaning the grower used pesticides in the past and moving to organic.

  18. 18

    Ok SO I bought some Fuji Apples and the PLU code started with a number 5 What does number 5 Mean I never saw this before?

  19. 19

    What I know code starting with 5 is GMO too. The Non GMO project poster pic with codes and said there that 5 is GMO and we need to avoid it. 3 is cheap and I’m not buying it at all.

  20. 20

    I brought organic strawberries at trader joes and the SKU# starts with 8…
    How is this possible?
    Thank you
    Infact… I got organic lemons, blackberries and neighter starts with 9 but it has the usda organic stamp on it…

  21. 21

    I see that in the wholefood is same 69348 is show that is organic but start with the 6 and then the 9

  22. 22

    I also use the “9 is fine,” “8 I hate” mnemonic!

  23. 23

    I shop in Whole Foods and I see a lot of barcodes that start with 8, but the label on it says Organic, is it really organic?

  24. 24
    Elizabeth Villalobos:

    Hi All

    I am very conerned that who ever is in charge of our foods is trying to confused us. How can we fight back, Organic is 9, but I have been seeing alot of fruits starting with 3 I am concerned.


  25. 25
    Judi Young:

    I start to worry if those money lovers from mainland China learn about the code, they will start to print all “9″ codes and even sell them overseas. That would really confuse us. Who will spend money to test all the fruits?

  26. 26

    Hi, I do a lot of purchasing and research. There is much confusion at present about barcodes for veggies and fruits. It almost appears intentional, so I sort of assume it is, at least partly. The finest approach is to search online or ask your grocer which strain is being vended. If it is a strain bred to be resistant to certain molds, fungus or insects, it is almost certainly not conventional or heirloom, but genetically manufactured. Check two or three of the foods beginning with a 3 and if you see a pattern of selective breeding for resistance, don’t buy. Resistant foods are heavily contaminated with Roundup and similar pesticides. Only organic farming practices result in yields that are naturally resistant to pests and fungus.

  27. 27
    Nicholas Hummel:

    I’m new to the organic revolution if I may call it that. After doing my own research I’ve seen the PLUs with 4 numbers starting with 3 or four and agree, it’s all altered in some way either with pesticides, fake fertilizer, or other treatments. 9s are organic, though never seen any 8s. Though words of advice, if it’s seedless, it’s a GMO. God created all fruits and veggies to have the seed inside of it so it may produce after it’s kind (Genesis 1:11-12). However, regarding the PLU number with a 7, I can’t find any information on that as a transitional food. I would love to know more about this since I’ve planted seeds from foods with a 3 or 4 PLU number and would like to know if they can eventually become organic.

  28. 28

    TO Cineo who said she saw a 6 preceding the 9 on an organic label. I ran into this last weekend looking for organic vine tomatoes. All I saw started with a 6 then a 9 so I asked the produce clerk. He said they ARE organic, the 6 denotes that the farmers are paid under the fair trade agreement so they are safe. JUST MAKE SURE THE SECOND DIGIT IS 9. That makes em feel even better-the farmers getting fair wages and we get organic.

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