You’ve probably noticed those tiny stickers that appear on almost all fruits and vegetables. These stickers contain bar codes for the checkout clerk, but they also contain a secret the store might not want you to know.
Nutritionist Karma Metzgar of the University of Missouri writes that these stickers also tell you if the fruit is organic or genetically modified. On conventionally grown, non-organic fruit, the sticker has only four numbers. Organically grown fruit has a five-numeral code, which begins with the number nine.
Since organic fruits and vegetables now have to be in separate areas in grocery stores, this confirms that your apple hasn’t ended up in the wrong pile. The store does not have to reveal which fruits and vegetables are genetically modified, but you can find out by looking for the stickers that begin with the number eight.
According to Metzgar, this means a regular banana would have a sticker saying 4011, an organic banana would say 94011 and a genetically modified banana would say 84011.
Some people complain that the stickers are too hard to peel off, so it may be a relief to know that the sticker actually contains important information. And, the adhesive is completely safe to eat.