MYTH: PLU code prefix 8 for GMO

The PLU (price look up) code stuck to produce is to identify it at the checkout. The usual code is 4 digits prefixed by 9 if it’s organic. The prefix 8 was built into the code standard to identify “genetically modified organism,” but it is a voluntary standard, and so is never used. You cannot identify GMOs this way.

4 thoughts on “MYTH: PLU code prefix 8 for GMO

  1. It is a voluntary standard. TRUE “so it is never used” DISINFORMATION

    “I have personally checked this out to my satisfaction. I buy from reputable health food stores and their produce always has the 9 for organically grown. I checked the source of some regular grocery store produce with the absence of an 8 or 9 and learned that it was conventionally grown, but not GMO and not organic, of course. I also checked some produce with the 8 and indeed it was from a GMO source. Is this the case all the time…of course not. But after factoring in for frauds, it’s a pretty reasonable bet in helping someone avoid GMOs and it’s way better then nothing.” ~Grace Joubarne

    While it’s true that the 5th digit for GMO’s is technically not mandatory, has anyone got any evidence where a GMO was hiding behind a conventional PLU code? ONE CASE?

    • Show me your evidence… take a photo with the 8. Of course, 9 is used, and of course GMOs are hiding behind a conventional 4 digit code, like your Hawaii papayas. A four digit code does not mean non-GMO.

  2. Evidence of one of the sources of this information might add some weight to the situation. Visiting under their produce coding section they have a link, ‘PLU codes user guide’ ( published by the International Federation for Produce Standards. In the guide they outline the international standards for retailer plu codes. For further investigations, I’d say their explanations are more in depth and reputable.

    • Hi David, yes that doc states clearly that the PLU code is a voluntary business tool for point of sale ID. To-date, I’ve never heard of a GMO producer using it because it would discourage sales. And if it’s not used universally, then one cannot rely on produce NOT having the 8 NOT being GMO. The only thing that you could ever know is that produce HAVING the 8 is GMO. So if you see one, by all means avoid it but like I say, it’s absence means nothing. The makers of the Arctic Apple say they will label them GMO. We will see.

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