My fruit bowl a mix of organic and non-organic produce

My fruit bowl a mix of organic and non-organic produce

I’m not sure why I didn’t notice this sooner.  Heck, when I go to the grocery store I like to use self-checkout, so I’ve looked up and entered plenty of fruit and vegetable codes into the checkout computer, but I never noticed they have a number system until today.

Today I found a Organic sticker stuck to the front of my shirt. Cute, but we don’t have toddlers anymore so it wasn’t stuck there by some jokster.  I’m not sure how I ended up with it attached to myself, but when I removed it I noticed it said, “Organic – Look for the 9”.  Curious, I Googled and found out that growers can voluntarily mark their fruits and vegetables so buyers will know if they’re grown traditionally (with pesticides and herbicides), organically, or if they’re genetically modified.

Genetically Modified Strawberries

Image by akashgoyal via Flickr

Here’s the system:

  • If  it’s a 4-digit code (or 5 with the first number 0) ,the food is conventionally produced.
  • If it is a 5-digit number beginning with an 8, it is Genetically Modified.
  • If it is a 5-digit number beginning with a 9, it is organic.

Now there are some problems with the numbering system. First, since it’s voluntary, the likelihood of any producer marking their products with a “9” is unlikely.  Still, if you make sure you only purchase items identified with a “4” or”9″, you should be able to avoid anything that is GM.

I for one wish ALL food had to be marked with its origin and hope that soon that will be the case.  I choose not to eat GM and you may not, but we should both have the choice of knowing how the food we’re purchasing was created.


  • My Weight Watcher PointsPlus™ Tracker entries for Friday, February 11, 2011 (