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How to shop for fresh organic produce at your local supermarket using PLU Codes

Updated on October 25, 2012
By Walmart Stores
By Walmart Stores | Source

Supermarket and Grocery store produce selectivity

For the longest time us human's have been fooled into thinking that much of our food that's been sold to us at the local grocery store was safe, healthy, and suitable enough for human consumption.

However it may be we all have surely been tricked into thinking for far over 30 years plus, that purchasing these supermarket store food products, that by consuming them, by serving our children, our family members and even by helping to feed entire communities this rubbish, that we were all doing what was right.

Well, the honest truth to the matter is, that we've been fooled by some pretty money hungry corporations, and things are actually slowly beginning to change due to the wide spread information consumers and abroad have been learning in recent years, and all about the harmful levels of pesticides, GMO's (Genetically modified produce), harmful poisonous toxins that's depleted our soils due to fertilizers set out to kill pests, and micro organisms that threaten crop yields.

By SodanieChea
By SodanieChea | Source

So how do I shop for safer fresh produce

The answer for us local grocery store shoppers, and supermarket consumers is, all we need to do is learn how to read the labels. You know them annoying stickers that tend to be so sticky that it at times leaves a residue on your bright red tomato's, and on the skin of your oranges or your yummy delectable banana you so desperately was craving for.

Yes those stickers hold the key to unlock all of the safe knowledge you will need to make the much more healthier purchase, and to avoid from consuming produce that's truly harmful to your digestive system. Anywhere from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and even herbs all have these food labels, which are given a specific coding number sticker. This type of code is known as a PLU code (Plu code official look up website), you can utilize this code to determine whether your local grocers produce is organic, conventional, or was genetically modified.

Note: PLU - Stands for Price Look Up

By Eurofruit, Asiafruit & Americafruit
By Eurofruit, Asiafruit & Americafruit | Source

Verifiable proof in this video

The PLU Code break down

Here's how it breaks down when it comes to detecting what each type of PLU codes (Informative wikipedia link) are there, and what it means to us all.

  • There are two majoring separate types of PLU Codes
  • One type is a 5 digit PLU
  • The other type is a 4 digit PLU (Look up these on the PLU website it shall deliver answers as to what type of food item it is)
  • The 5 digit PLU Code can appear starting with a number 8 or number 9
  • If the first number of the code is a 8 - It means the item was genetically modified and potentially harmful for human consumption.
  • If the first number of the code is an 9 - It means the item its placed on is Organic (Certified by the National Organic Standards Board)
  • PLU Codes of 3 and 4 in the first position are code identifiers of conventional produce.

By USDAgov : Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide
By USDAgov : Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide | Source

There are alternatives to shopping at super markets

The rise of fresh organic produce in recent years has created a trend, and boost in the farming industry like no other. Organic Farmers Markets are literally popping up from out of no where it seems, and it has become the on going trend for an answer to the health crisis our America society has been plagued with for decades on end, and so we all have many more options then one to shop for a better more safer food produce that shall help us render ourselves out of harms way, in terms of consuming foods that are completely unhealthy for us.

By USDAgov
By USDAgov | Source

Which health food stores are good to shop best from

  • Whole Foods - This food market has some of the best organic fresh produce in the world, and you should check to see if there's a store located in your township, state, city, our country.
  • Traders Joes - This cool hometown health store is definitely in the right direction today, they have both organic, and conventional food produce, but much of their products aren't genetically modified or processed (Haven't been cooked, heated or denatured at the factory level)
  • True Foods Market - Online health food store which has everything, and anything you can think of in terms of the organic food world that can be purchased online.
  • Natural Grocers - (by Vitamin Cottage) They may not be located all over the United States like many other health stores, but the locations they are at has the best organic produce, and freshest food selections to help people who live there, grab the best healthy options they have to offer so check em out to see if they're in your geographic area.

Health Store Selectivity

There are even more options in terms of health food stores to locate to shop from, and to definitively access so to avoid from making the unsafe product purchases of chemically processed foods that in fact pose hazardous long term health risks. Many food manufacturers have for years been packaging food items, for the main reason to sell them at a much faster rate and higher selling price, and so these food items can stay on the selling floor for longer periods of time, for none other then to make a higher profit. All this however, comes at an extremely high cost and at the expense of us, the consumers who get the brunt end of the stick, both in our wallets, and also in our tummy's leading to physical ailments of all sorts, or even death.

Many people have grown so addicted to processed foods, which have food additives, preservatives, and a wide variety of chemical based food coloring's, flavor enhancers, and so many other harmful cancer causing chemical agents (Any chemical that robs your blood cells of precious oxygen by being infused with carbon dioxide inducing it to age and weaken into an acidic state, and many that have the potential to create free radical cellular damage), that it robs our foods blind of any true nutritional values. People have no idea for the most part that even by cooking foods, that it does much more damage then good, to the original organic nutritional value that food item once had and in its most natural form.

This is all reason for much of our health conditions we either been seeing people are having, or have been facing ourselves in our personal as well as family life. Many folks are dealing with out of control weight problems, contracting bacterial related diseases, and even including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and so many others the list goes on and on which is definitively related to consuming foods, and having a poor dietary plan.

So with that all being said, it is imperative for us all to become much more aware of the foods we choose to purchase, we must be more vigilant about watching our food labels, and this all is not just for those who have chosen to become vegans, vegetarians, and or a food nut/guru's who swear that they've figured it all out, and maybe wants to create some Youtube campaign to try and save the world per say, we need to do this for ourselves and for the overall health of our families.

What does it all mean?

  • This all means that antioxidants present in organic veggies, and fruits will put up a fight in your blood stream using oxygen as a weapon against carbonated acidic chemicals from food processing, or genetic modifications, and since they're more alkaline in their natural organic state, it can and will eventually reverse the oxidation process (Aging - loss of oxygen on the cellular level).
  • Organic produce also have more oxygen content present and equates to higher antioxidant potential, conventional or GMO brands of produce have less oxygen present, and more carbon, thus making them acidic rather then alkaline.


PLU codes and learning how to read your food labels will make all the difference when it comes to making the more healthier choice. "We are what we eat", is how the saying goes and its oh so true today, and always has been.

Selecting the right stores to shop from preferably a health food store is a start up the right directions, as for food is concerned and also it helps to avoid a major catastrophe many years down the road, when your facing hospital bills, feeling you need a laundry list of medications that only worsen the health problems you have rather then cure it.

Note: The secret to overall good dietary health is; our red blood cells, and white ones are all we need to fight and to potentially cure most diseases, but they need to be healthy too, & Fresh Organic Produce = Cleaner Healthier Blood.


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    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      5 years ago from New York City

      @frogyfish, thanks for the kind words and comment up there, I'm glad you found this hub of good use to you.

      Health info is everywhere today, but some of it is questionable, and at times contradictory as well, you know. So I was happy to find this info too.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      CloudExplorer Farmers markets are the best! They do grow their own veggies. Thank you for the information both in this hub and the location!

      Wish I could vote up again.

    • frogyfish profile image


      5 years ago from Central United States of America

      Thank you so much for this excellent information. I will check for any 8s and ignore any I find! Love those 9s.

    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      Thanks for the understanding, Yeah me too I prefer letters much more than numbers myself, and I'm so glad that your comment got me to check out my hubs info, I new something must have been wrong since you stated #8, I was like Huh! LOL

    • yoginijoy profile image


      6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      I was going to ask you to double check the number actually. I'm glad that it is #9 because the apples that I just bought in the organic section of the grocery store begin with #9. Phew.

      No problem. I'm a letters person myself and tend to have dyslexia with numbers frequently.

      Take care!

    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      @yoginijoy, I actually made a minor typo error in the numbering, and the GMO is indicated by a number 8 as the 5 digit PLU code, and not the number 9.

      Sorry about the mix up, the number 9 is the organic brand indicator, I hope everyone can do added research, if they already took this hubs info for good advice, and thanks for pointing out the number for me here, because I didn't realize I had made such an error like that.

      It should reflect 100% accuracy now though, and again sorry for any mix up's.

    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      Thanks @Michelle, I love shopping for fresh organic produce at farmers markets in New York, me and my wife made trips to one in Manhattan every once and a blue moon, it was on 14 street union square if your ever in town.

    • yoginijoy profile image


      6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Wow! #8 is the key. Thanks for the great article! I do try to buy organic as much as possible especially the berries! I did not know that the PLU# was so important. I will check from now on.

      I agree with everything you've written. And....we must vote for change with our dollar bills! That is to say, buy at the local organic farmer's markets as much as possible and avoid the frankenstein food!

      Voting up, awesome and interesting!

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      6 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      This is a wonderful hub. I know my hub says I am from Columbus, Ohio but in reality my home is close to Columbus. So, my vegetables come from my garden. I also can them myself. That does take a lot of time, but it tastes very good. Also, farmers exchange fruits and vegetables here in this part of Ohio. Not a lot, but just enough to last for a while. And some meat also. But, only if you have a large freezer. We don't participate in that one. Just the vegetable growth and exchange deal. Canning takes time, but it is worth it. Also, you can make soup, chili, and a lot of other products, when it comes to canning.

      Ok, I got off the subject so I am going to shut up now.

      Very good hub.

      Voted up!

    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      @TToombs08, thank you so much for reading my hub and I'm glad you enjoyed reading it, your way to cool.

    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      @kat_thurston, I'm so happy that this info is actually helping other, I figured I share what my wife recently caught notice of at work.

      She learned about it and informed me, and I finally found time to unleash this information onto hubpages.

    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      @Mekenzie, Thanks for checking out my hub here, and I'm so glad that you found it so useful, me and my wife eat very healthy foods today, and I have to thank her for the inspiration to do so, and also for the info I discovered for this article as well.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Excellent info, Mike! Glad to have read this. Voted up and shared.

    • kat_thurston profile image


      6 years ago

      I did not know about the PLU codes I learned a lot with this artice. I try to be very cautious when buying our food. Thank you for the information.

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Cloudexplorer, I am so glad I found this hub. I had no idea that we could identify foods in the grocery store that have GMOs, are Organic and more through the PLU code.

      This will be very very helpful to so many who are concerned about what is happening to our foods these days. I buy organic whenever possible and NO processed foods. Eating more quinoa, beans and rice to avoid eating meat every day.

      I really appreciate this information. I'm off to check out the link you provided on the PLU code.

      Thanks - Voted Up and Useful



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