Agri-business News dole-banana

Published on August 4th, 2008 | by Joe Mohr


GMO’s and the Fruit Sticker: 8 is NOT Great! 9 is Fine!

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All of the European Union nations, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries require the mandatory labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients–the U.S. does not.

As a result, food manufacturers in all those countries choose to use non-genetically engineered ingredients–the U.S. did not.

However, there is atleast one way to tell whether or not the fruit you eat is a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism)–the sticker. Yes, those colorful stickers we proudly wore on our shirts as kids actually serve a purpose–but you need to know how to decipher their code.

Don’t worry, it’s easy.

Got a pencil?

On each sticker is a number. The number tells you how the fruit was grown.

A 4 digit number means it was conventionally grown (using chemicals).

A 5 digit number beginning with a 9 means it was grown organically.

A 5 digit number beginning with an 8 means it was genetically modified

So by looking at the photo of the dole banana you know it is organic because of the 5 digit number beginning with 9, although in this case the sticker also proudly says “Organic”–even easier. But why then do we not proudly label a fruit (or any food for that matter) “GMO”?

Read the Organic Consumers section on Gentically Engineered Foods to answer that question.

Or, watch this video!

Finally, take action on this website.

And if you have a desire for some fruit sticker mosaic art visit Barry “Wildman” Snyder’s art website!

image credit: The Fair Tracing Project

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About the Author

is an Environmental/Political cartoonist for Planetsave, Elephant Journal, Wend Magazine, Twilight Earth, Ecopolitology, EcoSnobberySucks, and more... Joe also does a kids enviro-toon called Hank D and the Bee on EcoChildsPlay and NaturalPapa. Joe lives in University City, Missouri and spends his free time with his beautiful wife, enthusiastic daughter, and curious toddler of the same name. He also enjoys writing, drawing, painting, walking, biking, skateboarding, gardening, reading, listening to music, playing sports, and watching plays (especially the plays his wife's site-specific theatre company, Onsite Theatre puts on).   Visit Joe's online cartoon gallery at

  • connie

    I have an apple label…3608 so what does that mean? It really has hardly any flavor at all.

  • Su Ping

    Since there are only 4 numbers. If the article is accurate, it must be conventionally produced.

  • Jena Ardell

    I hope these numbers are regulated somehow, otherwise all companies are going to use five-digit numbers beginning with 9 regardless of how their produce was grown just to sell more.

  • Pingback: Happy Earth Week~8 Small Ways to Make a Big Difference in Our World. | elephant journal

  • http://Web Kelly

    What is wrong with our government? The US is the only one that doesn’t think enough of its citizens to allow us to know what we’re eating? Really? Are they trying to kill us?

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