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I have a bag of apples upc code is 8 83391 00381 8 is this a gmo product The label says it is certified organic by Washington State Department of Agriculture. I just read in your article that the number 8 signifies GMO and the number 9 (which is not found on this bag) means organic. Please explain. The label is Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wa

Submitted by: LM Favs


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Expert response from holmquist1x

Friday, 05/18/2018 17:21

The UPC (Universal Product Code) is a barcode (which has numbers beneath it) which identifies the product and the manufacturer. I think you may be thinking of the PLU (Price Look Up) code which is the 4 or 5 digit number on produce used to link a price with an item. The PLU code is a voluntary program that assigns numbers to produce items, this helps cashiers identify the correct price for a produce item.

Growers/Packers can use the number "9" prefix to this 4-digit numeric code to identify fruit and vegetable items that are USDA organic. Initially it was proposed that the "8" prefix would be used for "genetically engineered" aka "GMO' however it is not used for this purpose.

"Though the ‘8’ prefix (83000-84999) was once reserved for GMO produce items, the prefix was never used at retail." 

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