Those sticky little oval labels are actually for more than just making you dig holes into your apples. If you look closer, there are numbers on them. What do they mean?
These numbers are clues as to how the produce was grown.
Your first choice is to look for five digits that start with a “9.” This means the produce was grown ORGANICALLY.
A string of four digits that begin with a “3” or “4,” mean the item is conventionally grown with the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. They are not Genetically Modified. If you buy this produce, make sure you wash them very well to remove any leftover chemicals. (Though, some will penetrate the skin, so avoid if possible.)
STAY AWAY from five digits that begin with an “8.” This denotes it is Genetically Modified (mucked up in a laboratory before it got to you–not the way Mother Nature intended!)
Codes are standard across the country, so if you look for a “9” in Maine or Hawaii, it will be organic. But while you can use these numbers as a guide, they don’t tell you everything about the produce, so it is best to use your eyes, nose and fingers to judge the quality of the apple or bean.
The best is to use the mouth of your local farmer who can tell you the exact information before you choose!