June 20, 2013
Isn’t there a PLU (price look-up) code that tells me if a product is GMO?
Number “9” is Organic: PLU (price look-up) codes distinguish between organic and conventionally produced fresh fruits and vegetables. Organic food is produced without the use of any genetically modified organisms. Organic produce is identified with a number that begins with “9”. For example, 4011 identifies a conventionally grown banana and 94011 identifies an organically grown banana. (There are no GM bananas on the market anywhere in the world.)
Number “8” is not currently used in the market: The International Federation for Produce Standards has actually set aside a number (8) for identifying GM foods but it is not being used. With the possible exception of papaya from Hawaii, no one is using this number and the absence of the number “8” does not give you any information about GM foods.
More importantly, thereare no GM fruits or vegetables on the market in Canada except for the following:
- Some GM sweetcorn from the US and Canada
- GM Papaya from the US (Hawaii) (not papaya imported from Brazil for example)
- Possibly some GM yellow crookneck squash and zucchini from the US only.
Read the answer to What GM Foods are on the Market?
PLU codes are not mandatory but are usually present in large grocery stores. They are the small labels on your fruits and vegetables. For more information on PLU codes please see Canadian Produce Marketing Association