The Banana Box Code

When United Fruit Co. first started using labels they generally carried the country of origin. By the 1970's it was increasingly common to see only the Chiquita name, and no reference to place. There were some exceptions, like Ecuador, which had government export regulations requiring the name. Eventually country or place codes were introduced, but these were for industry use and not for the public. Not all the codes were in use at any given time, and in some cases the codes changed. Perhaps the most interesting example was the "U" for Guatemala, which was changed to a "W" because to Orthodox Jews the "U" symbol means Kosher.
With the 21st Century, we have returned to country names. Costa Rica recently joined the list of banana exporters requiring it. And Chiquita is once again placing the country name on most of its bananas. Dole waivered toward generic labels, and also briefly used country codes, but for the most part stayed with the country name. Del Monte also focused on generic labels, but in some cases used country codes as well. The recent passage of legislation in the U.S. will eventually require country of origin on all imports, including bananas, and we have already seen changes to comply with this law.
John A. Kirchner
The Banana Box Code (Shipping Port) of Chiquita, Amigo and Consul
A   Panama (Almirante)
B   Belize (Obsolete)
C   Colombia (Turbo)
D   Philippines (Davao)
E   Ecuador
G   Costa Rica (Golfito)
H   Honduras
J   Colombia (Uniban)
K   Cameroon
L   Costa Rica (Limon)
M   Mexiko
N   Canary Islands
P   Panama (Armuelles). This code letter will be only on the label. The Box will have the code letter 'A'
Q   Martinique
R   Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo)
S   Suriname (Obsolete)
T   Colombia (Santa Marta)
U   Guatemala (changed to W in 1998)
V   Côte d'Ivoire
W   Guatemala
X   Costa Rica (Sixaola)
Z   Guadeloupe
The Banana Box Code (Shipping Port) of Del Monte
B   Brasil
C   Colombia
E   Ecuador (usually spelled out)
G   Guatemala
M   Mexiko
P   Panama
R   Costa Rica
The Banana Box Code (Shipping Port) of Dole
C   Costa Rica
H   Honduras
S   Colombia (Santa Marta)
T   Colombia (Turbo)




Last modified: 

Feb 2015



In France I found DEL MONTE with the code N. The box said, they came from Camoeroon.