Next time you’re at the grocery, pick up a piece of fruit. If the food label begins with a “9” it’s organic, a “4” and it’s not organic.
For example, this food label with a “4” it’s not organic. (aka. it’s referred to as being “conventional”)
Now pick up another apple.
If the label begins with a “9”. It’s organic.
It’s as simple as that. Here are some common questions I’ve been asked when explaining this method.
Q: Does this apply to all fruits and vegetables?
Yes, all fruits and vegetables. (Only in the United States, as far as I know. Email me if you know otherwise.)
Q: What if the number doesn’t begin with 4 or a 9?
4 — Non-organic
8 — Includes GMOs
9 — Organic
I’ve been trying this method for a year now and it seems to be accurate.
A few times I’ve seen avocados that start with a 6 and also have the word “organic” on them. Freaking wildcard! I’m not sure what that means, but had to trust my gut (and Whole Foods) in this case. Which was yes, I love avocados.
Q: What if there isn’t a food label?
Sorry, you’re on your own. Or you could always ask the seller.
Q: What about people who write this is a “myth”?
In 2010, Jeffery Smith wrote that this PLU practice is a “myth,” but all he’s saying is that because it is optional for the seller to include it, that it’s not 100% reliable. Which is fair. But it doesn’t mean it’s a myth. Snopes backs me up here.
- “What Do Those Codes On Stickers Of Fruits And Some Veggies Mean?”, Dr. Frank Lipman
- “PLU Codes”, Snopes.
- “How can you avoid Genetically Modified Food?”, WebMD.