How Do You Know If Your Produce Is Organic?

Apple by RashmiVarier
Apple, a photo by RashmiVarier on Flickr.

There are many reasons to choose organic foods over conventionally grown or especially over genetically modified food. Ultimately however, it’s a personal choice. When my patients ask for advice about what they should eat, I recommend that they research the pros and cons of all the available choices and decide what is best for them.
Once you decide, how can you tell at the supermarket, even with the helpful produce signs, what food is which? The way to tell for sure is to look at the PLU code found on the food. PLU stands for: Price Look Up code. If the food is conventionally grown the code will start with a 4 and it will be 4 digits in length. If the food is genetically modified, the PLU code will start with an 8 and will be 5 digits long. Lastly, if the produce is organic the PLU code will start with a 9 and will be 5 numbers in length.

If you want to start eating organically, the following foods are a great place to start.

The top 12 fruits most exposed to pesticides are:
apples
peaches
imported and domestic grapes
cherries
strawberries
pears
raspberries
nectarines
plums
oranges
tangerines

The top 12 vegetables most exposed to pesticides are:
bell peppers
hot peppers
cucumbers
lettuce
collard greens
kale
spinach
potatoes
carrots
celery
greens beans
summer squash

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