So what about Decoding Produce Codes? Well, when I was recently in Hawaii I was talking to a friend about grocery store codes, and someone recently asked me about it here yesterday in LA. Hence this topic was on my mind! When shopping at the market, most individual fruits are labeled with stickers. Not so at the farmer’s market, but all regular markets. Have you ever wondered what all those little digits mean? And wondered if there is any rhyme or reason to them? Maybe you’ve never really paid attention to them, except to think they were a nuisance that you had to rip off so you wouldn’t accidentally bite into them!

I used to think they were random and only corresponded to each grocery store. But then I discovered that there is actually a uniform system! It is set up by the International Federation for Produce Standards. Doesn’t that sound so official and serious?? There are only a few basics you have to be aware of, and then you can always be sure you are buying organic produce. Buying organic ensures we are getting the highest quality produce with the greatest amount of health and promoting minerals. It also supports sustainable farming practices that don’t use pesticides. Buying certified organic produce is the only way to ensure that we are not consuming genetically modified (GMO) produce, which unfortunately does not have any labeling codes to abide by (!). Genetically modified foods have been altered from their original form, and may introduce allergenic or toxic characteristics to foods. The way GMO foods are grown is detrimental to the environment.

Here are the basics:

Organic produce: Always begins with a 9 and has a PLU number that is 5 digits long.

Here’s an example: Organic Bosc Pear #93296

Conventional produce: Always begins with a 4 and has a PLU number that is 4 digits long.

Here’s an example: Conventional Bosc Pear #4568

So always check to be sure that you purchase produce that begins with a “9” on the PLU code on the sticker –  as much as possible!

Now that you’re aware of the number system, it is kind of fun to know that you know a little something about the coding for grocery stores! You can feel like a grocery store “insider.” :) Go ahead and check it out next time you are at the store!

Take care and have a wonderful weekend!! I’m going to my best to get my butt hiking again this weekend, and will make sure to pack a post workout snack!

I send my love,

Kimberly