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Tuesday’s Tip: How to read a produce label and when to buy Organic!

Have you ever been shopping in the grocery store or have gotten home and looked at your produce label while taking it off and wondered “what do these codes mean?”  Well, today I help you break down these codes!

According to USA.gov‘s blog, there are 3 types of Price Look-Up Codes (PLU) for produce.

1.  Conventionally grown food:  4-digit number

Conventionally food is grown using synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides.  These chemicals get absorbed into the soil and can not be removed.  This food is grown for mass production and a longer shelf life. (http://www.examiner.com/article/conventional-vs-organic-vs-gmos)

2.  Organic food:  5-digit number that begins with a 9

Organic foods are grown free of the synthetic chemicals conventionally grown food uses to grow.  These foods are free of antibiotics, added hormones, GMO, etc. (http://www.examiner.com/article/conventional-vs-organic-vs-gmos)

3.  Genetically modified food:  5-digit number that begins with an 8

I hope you never find or buy a piece of produce beginning with 8!

These codes can help you when you shop, and make sure that organic piece of produce is actually organic and that it was not put in the wrong spot!

So, when should you pay the extra money for organic produce?  The Environmental Working Group, a non profit organization recommends going organic on the below “dirty dozen.”  These produce are the most susceptible to pesticide residue.



Sweet Bell Peppers






Imported Grapes





I hope you learned something today and will start looking at your labels!

Stay hungry…

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