Deciphering Fresh Produce Labels

Deciphering Produce Labels

Ever wonder what those little sticky labels on our fruits and veggies are trying to tell us?

You know the ones we mean – they’re either really easy to peel off or insist on taking half of the fruit or veggie with them as you struggle to remove them.

And the ones on pears ALWAYS pull some of the peel off with them – always.

Well, enough about our resentment of sticky labels on pears and on to why those labels are there in the first place.

It’s always seemed odd that the produce producers (hmmm…that doesn’t sound quite right) go to all the trouble of putting those little labels on each and every piece of fresh produce and yet we often take no notice of them except, of course, to pry them off, or curse when we’ve forgotten them and only discover them when we bite or cut into them.

Why Are There Stickers On My Fruits and Veggies?

After wading through a lot of government websites with lots and lots and lots of text, we’re sure it’s safe to say that our fresh fruit and vegetables producers put those little labels on everything because they are required to do so.

We also tried to wade through exactly WHAT they have to put on each label and gave up after falling asleep several times while trying to read government-speak.


What Do Produce Label Numbers Mean?

What it boils down to is – you just need to pay attention to the numbers on each tiny label. And here’s what those numbers are telling you:

Four Digit Code

If the label has a four digit code, then that fruit or vegetable has been traditionally grown.

That means chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides have been used in its production.

Five Digit Code Beginning With 8

If the label has a five digit code starting with the number 8, then that item is a GMO – Genetically Modified Organism.

This is a red flag for us. We just put it back.

Our position on GMOs is that they are NOT safe.

Five Digit Code Beginning with 9

A label with a five digit code starting with the number 9 indicates that the fruit or vegetable has been grown according to accepted organic methods.

These are, of course, top of the list for us as we purchase organic whenever we can – and we encourage you, too, as well.

Another option is to grown your own – no labels required!

Now that you know, you can make informed choices.

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