What the numbers on produce stickers really mean

What do the numbers on produce stickers really mean? When grocery shopping, you may have noticed that there are stickers on all whole foods you buy. Now the truth is most people don’t actually pay attention to the stickers and buy what they think looks best. This is the wrong way to go about it. In truth, the stickers should be your first consideration before buying.

Today we’re going to evaluate the meaning behind the numbers on the stickers you find on your whole foods. Every sticker has a specific set of numbers. Some of them contain four, while others have five. So, what do the numbers on produce stickers really mean?

Four numbers

When you see a series of four numbers that start with the number four, it means that these whole foods were produced with the traditional use of pesticides. 

Five numbers

If you see a series of five numbers that commence with 8, then you’re looking at produce that has been genetically modified. If you’re looking at a sticker with five numbers and they start with the number 9, then you’re looking at produce that is organic.

This is very important when following a plant-based diet because the goal is to eat whole foods in their most natural form. Pesticides and genetic modifications are changes to produce that you want to avoid as much as you can.

Dirty Dozen – EWG

Now, there are a series of one dozen produce products you should know about, labeled the dirty dozen by Ewg.org. These 12 different foods have the highest percentage of pesticides in their production process, which is why they’re considered dirty.

When you’re buying these foods, try your hardest to buy exclusively organic produce to avoid any contamination from pesticides.

Here are the dirtiest foods, according to Ewg.org’s 2022 list update:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale, Collard & Mustard Greens
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Bell Peppers & Hot Peppers
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes

For better measure, it’s also better to avoid sweet corn, papaya, and summer squash unless they’re organically produced and sold. There is a chance that these three foods have genetically modified seeds.

All of this can be revealed by looking at the number on the stickers. They are not there for show, they are there to help inform you of the contents of your whole foods. The more you stick to organic, the better off you will be!

If you want more healthy tips like this, then be sure to check out my website plantbasedeva.com.

If you wish to watch quick videos on recipes for your kitchen, then be sure to check out my plant-based recipe videos as well.

Stay healthy,