Those tiny little stickers that seem so pesky to peel off won't seem so annoying after you know just how much information they can provide. If you are like me, I rarely study these barley legible tags. Partly because its time to finally admit I need reading glasses but also because I figured they didn't mean anything. As the chart above demonstrates (and I did not create this chart), the length of the code, as well as the first digit in the code can tell you whether your produce was grown organically, conventionally with chemicals and pesticides or grown both unnaturally and with genetically modified seeds. This is information you definitely want to know. Although it is always recommended to eat organic foods, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put out a handy list of the "dirtiest" foods that contain the highest amounts of pesticide residue that you should try to eat organic at all costs. This is known as "the dirty dozen." There is also a "clean fifteen" list that ranks foods that are not as contaminated.
You can visit their website and download a printable copy of this card to carry with you as you shop for produce (http://www.ewg.org).
As for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)... that is another serious topic and demands your attention. You do not want to eat any foods that have been genetically modified. If you are not familiar with GMOs, please get familiar now. The Non-GMO Project, a non-profit offering the only third party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products in the US has reported "most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe." For more information, visit The Non-GMO Project at http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more.