The numerical codes printed on those sticky little fruit and vegetable labels can reveal a lot of information to us consumers.
Four-Digit Codes: Conventionally Grown Produce
These codes typically begin with a 3 or 4 and indicate that your fruit was grown conventionally, which includes the presence of pesticides, the pesticide levels are so low they aren’t harmful. Knowing how to properly wash produce also helps remove any residue as well as bacteria and germs.
Note that if you’re looking up information on the PLU code, do not include the first number of a 5-digit code—the first number is just an identifier for GMO products. For example, 4011 would be a standard yellow banana, but an 84011 would be a genetically modified standard yellow banana.
How to Tell What Produce Is Organic
Five-digit codes beginning with a 9 mean that the fruit is grown in accordance with USDA organic standards. It’s more expensive, but there’s a reason why: the USDA National Organic Program has many requirements that growers have to meet to get their food labelled “organic.”
How to Take Stickers Off Faster
I remove the stickers on my fruit by scratching at them, but if you want to avoid getting anything stuck under your fingernails or ruining the fruit, use this Scotch tape trick to get those suckers off in one piece. This can come in handy if you don’t want to bruise sensitive fruits, like peaches, nectarines, or apricots.