frankenfoods & the codes that hide them

i recently have been taking a closer look at those little sticky labels found on fruits & vegetables in my grocery store. they are called PLU codes {short for price look up code}, used to tell the story or history of that particular shipment of produce. PLU's provide important information about how your produce was grown or cared for. so even though something may be labelled organic, it's always helpful to take a closer look and get the full story.

if the label has:
  • 4 digits only: the produce was grown in a conventional manner which means pesticides and other chemicals or fertilizers
  • 8 + 4 digits: the produce is genetically modified, a GMO or otherwise known as frankenfood. that means it contains genes that someone else other than mother nature put there. note, genetically modified produce does not have to be labelled and sneakily can be hidden under even the organic label - take seedless grapes for instance. GMO's do have some wonderful uses in making drought resistant crops and such but as GMO's are generally newer foods that haven't fully been studied yet, avoiding/limiting them is probably recommended {i'm still researching my own convictions on GMO's so stay tuned}
  • 9 + 4 digits: the produce has been grown according to organic farming practices
here's a little creative tip to remembering all of this information for your next trip to the grocery store:
  • 4 in the store means pesticides knocking at my door
  • 8 is not at all great with all those GMO's i hate
  • 9 is fresh & fine. organic & healthy for me & mine
another helpful little helper is the environmental working group's shopper's guide to pesticides, also known as the dirty dozen & the clean fifteen. this little list definitely helped make me feel better about spending the extra few bucks on organic produce. i also found this handy little chart that breaks it all down nice and easy.
Label NumberEWG Shopper’s Guide
4 digits only = Conventional Clean 15: Lowest in Pesticides Onions, Avocado, Sweet Onions, Pineapple, Mango, Sweet Peas, Asparagus, Kiwi, Cabbage, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Grapefruit, Sweet Potato, Honeydew Melon
8 + 4 digits = GMO Absolutely Nothing! Nada! Zip! Zero!
9 + 4 digits = Organic Dirty Dozen – Best to Buy Organic Celery, Peaches, Strawberries, Apples, Blueberries, Nectarines, Bell Peppers, Spinach, Kale, Potato, Grapes (Imported)
No label or not sureEWG Full List: 49 Fruits/Veggies

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