Fruit Code

This “Rexnana” would start with an 8.
This “Rexnana” would start with an 8.

I’d never heard this before, but someone told me this weekend that the number stickers on fruit will tell you if something is really grown organically or not.

“Conventionally grown fruit has four digits; organically grown has five and starts with a nine; genetically engineered has five numbers and starts with an eight,” explains Chef Nicki Reiss in a 2006 Food and Wine article.

This Earthy Family blog, citing a 2002 Philadelphia Inquirer article, backs Reiss up and illustrates with this example:

A conventionally grown banana would be:

4011

An organic banana would be:

94011

A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be:

84011

And, says Earthy Family, “the adhesive used to attach the stickers is considered food-grade, but the stickers themselves aren't edible.” Apparently the numbering system was developed by Produce Electronic Identification Board.

Who knew? Now I’m 80 percent convinced this is true. You?