Sunday, May 27, 2007

How to Tell Genetically-Modified Foods by the Label

For years I thought (and was told) that there is no way to tell if a piece of produce in a grocery store was genetically modified or not. In the U.S., there is no regulation specifying that food retailers disclose whether food DNA has been tampered with.

Well, I was wrong. You can tell if a piece of produce is GM by looking at the "product look-up" (PLU) code on the little label.

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, physician and activist, you can determine the following by looking at the label:

  • Conventionally grown food (not GM, not organic): 4 digit PLU
  • Organic food: 5 digits starting with a nine
  • GM food: 5 digits starting with an eight

Of course, buying certified organic food means that it is, by definition, not GM. And these days, it's safe to say that if it's not organic, it is probably GM. Dr. Mercola says that 7 out of 10 items in a conventional produce department are GM.

NOTE: Whole Foods Market prides themselves on carrying *ZERO* GM foods in their entire store. They say that no ingredient in any product has a GM source. In Columbus, Ohio, we're lucky to have a Whole Foods Market very close to where we live. Yes, you could doubt Whole Foods claim, but my previous posting on this blog explains what I think is the flaw in that logic.

If you're on the fence with GM foods, read this study or this one. Rats fed a diet of GM corn developed smaller kidneys and had blood abnormalities. The study was conducted by Monsanto, a GM food manufacturer, but when they saw the results they tried to hush the researchers. Unfortunately for Monsanto, fortunately for us, the information got out anyway.


Pamela said...

I have never seen a five digit produce code number that starts with the number 8 that is a reference to GMO grown crop in any supermarket, I'd like to see one. Also, I can walk down any isle in Whole Foods and show you an item that has GMO ingredients in it. They use corn syrup, soybean oil, canola oil and cottonseed oil in all their cooked goods. They have shelves full of products that have HFCS ingredients which is all GMO. As far as being organic some of Whole Foods frozen vegetables 365 label are Made in China.

chefany said...

Thank you Pamela!! She is correct and I notice when going in there that about 60% of their produce comes from foreign counties like Peru, Argentina, Mexico, and Ecuador. Do they have the same standards as we do for organics? I think NOT!

Josh said...

Aaaaaand who cares if it is GM? It is chemically identical to any other piece of produce. Why do people work so hard to resist such amazing advances in food science? Genetic modification makes food more plentiful in countries that have low crop yields. Genetic modification LOWERS the use of pesticides on our crops which is much more dangerous to your health. Orgainc foods are a SCAM. For me, i'm glad I read this so I know which GM foods to buy.

Joker said...

Josh, I think that's the point of the article. Giving consumers the information to make a choice. One does have to wonder why producers seem so reluctant to freely and clearly provide the information. So, yes, this is a good thing, no matter how you feel about organic or GMO.

Adam said...

Jasons Deli has also eliminated HFCS fro all their foods and are working on getting rid of it in their soda's.

Ahou said...

Josh you're a complete tool. You probably work for Monsanto! Good point Pamela. And does anyone know of a better source of info than this site? Thanks Ahou

mj.sayre said...

Genetically Altered foods actually can produce five to ten percent less crop yield, Josh. A study that showed this also showed a company using five times MORE pesticide spray on their so called self-pesticide-producing crop. Also the genetic make up for GMO's introduce proteins into our bodies that are not natural food source and cause problems. That's how Bt crops work, they introduce a protein that kills the insects.
Do some research next time, Josh. And enjoy your GE foods.

22michele said...

To Josh: You're dead wrong my friend. First of all, it should be clear by the name-- Genetically MODIFIED organism-- that GM produce is in fact different from it's natural predecessor. Second of all, GM foods are created to RESIST pesticide applications-- so they are usually COVERED with Round-UP pesticide & herbicide (ever hear of Round-up ready soy beans?) Monsanto corporation altered the DNA of the soybean seeds (and then put a patent on them) so they could dowse them in their own pesticide application. So, GMO's have MORE foreign DNA (potential toxins) both WITHIN the DNA structure, as well as toxins OUTSIDE covering them. Organic produce is NOT a scam-- wow!--are you kidding me right me right now? Listen-- before factory farming took over our food industry, we were BETTER off. Organics is the ONLY way to go if you plan on eating healthy. Those, my friend, are the facts.

"Basic economics proves that choice and competition create lower prices. Not monopolies. This applies not only to American grocery stores, but also in terms of feeding developing nations where food is scarcer. Moreover, stronger Monsanto herbicides, compatible with herbicide resistant seeds, are giving rise to mutant Wolverine-ish super weeds that have adapted and are rapidly spreading through the air to farms that don't use Monsanto GMOs, destroying obviously vulnerable crops. Say nothing of the inevitable mutant bugs that will adapt to the pesticides that are implanted into the Monsanto Mon 810 genetic code. And if further studies indicate similar organ damage in humans, the externalized costs to health care systems will begin to seriously out-weigh the benefits of cheaper food.

Ultimately, there are better, healthier ways to make cheaper food. Until then the best thing we can do is to demand further investigations and buy organic products whenever practical."

See full article from WalletPop:

Becca Blossoms said...

genetically modified foods companies spend lavishly developing products for industrialized farmers growing corn, soybeans, and other commodities, but invest mere pennies developing GE cassava, cowpea, sorghum, and other staple crops for subsistence farmers for genetically modified foods.