Did you know that the numbers on produce stickers aren’t just pricing codes? That’s what I always assumed they were until I found out that they also indicate how the produce was grown. You can tell, just by looking at the number, if the produce is organically grown, conventionally grown or genetically modified. This is helpful information.
A sticker that has four digits on it means that the food was grown conventionally. That means that it was most likely grown on a huge farm, and was probably treated with chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
A sticker that has five digits and begins with the number 8 means that the produce has been genetically modified. It may have also been grown using chemical products. The use of genetically modified crops is relatively new. Not all of the effects (helpful and harmful) of genetically modified produce are understood yet.
A sticker that has five digits and begins with the number 9 means that the produce is organic.

The US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, France and all countries exporting to them are supposed to use this coding system.


Helpful information when you’re at the store, isn’t it? If you were to see the lemon in the picture above at the store, you'd be able to tell that it was conventionally grown but not genetically modified. Good stuff to know.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.