Thursday, September 15, 2011

Genetically Modified? How to Tell.

How can you tell if the produce you buy at the market is genetically modified (GM)?  Since the FDA does not require genetically modified food to be labeled, it's impossible to tell unless you know how the labels work.  The FDA decided that  they don’t care if the corn you’re eating has been cross bred with fish genes to render the corn more resistant to cold weather.  The problem with GM food is many.  If the food is cross bred with something an allergen of yours then you could become very ill and not know why.  In addition, tests have shown that lab animals consuming GM food became infertile within a couple of generations.  If you are not concerned, then go back to America's Got Talent or whatever it is you watch.  However, for those concerned like myself, it is simple. 

For conventionally grown fruit, (grown with chemical fertilizers and insecticides), the PLU code on the sticker consists of four numbers. Organically grown fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 9. Genetically engineered (GM) fruit and vegetables has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 8.

For example:

A conventionally grown banana would be: 4011

An organic banana would be: 94011

A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be: 84011
 If the produce doesn't have a PLU number, then buy organic to be safe.  At the very least stay away from foods that are very likely (70% - 80%) to be GM if not organic and that is soy, corn, canola oil, and anything made with these ingredients.  Last I knew about 30% of potatoes are also GM so not worth the risk in my opinion.  I only buy organic potatoes, soy products and corn products for my family.  I stopped buying canola oil altogether for many reasons recently that would require another posting.  I only use olive or sesame oil.  Corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, soy protein, and canola oil is in just about any processed food product you pick up.  Another good reason to stay clear of processed foods.     

Image: paytai /

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