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Know Which Food is Genetically Modified

Know Which Food is Genetically Modified

One of my friends sent me a great article today on how to know which food is genetically modified, as well as which food is organic, or just conventionally grown.

Did you know that an amazing 80 percent of processed foods are genetically modified? I wasn’t a big fan of processed foods before I read that, but will be even less enthusiastic (if that’s possible) now.

In an article published on FriendsEat.com, Spencer Cooper tells us the codes to look for in determining what type of food we’re getting. You’re looking for the number in front of the four-digit Price Look Up, or PLU, code on the product you’re about to buy and subsequently put in your mouth. A 9 means organic, an 8 means genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GMO); and just the four-digit code means conventionally grown (i.e. pesticides, chemical fertilizer, stuff like that). The example Cooper gives us is clarifies all this:

A conventionally-grown banana will have a code of 4011

An organic banana will be 94011

A GE or GMO banana will be 84011

So cool! I had no idea. I buy organic whenever possible, but now will be on the lookout for the telltale eight or missing fifth number.

- Jocelyn Broyles

Headline image Ian Ransley Design + Illustration on Flikr

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Family, Food, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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118 comments

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10:33AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

Does this apply worldwide or only in the US?

10:56AM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

good to know

5:32PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Thats really c00l on knowing whats is real and what is the FDA's creations.I would love to see the complete code list if one exists of all GE or GMO on the market.I hope someone add it here for all to see. (O_O)

6:12PM PST on Feb 8, 2012

Thanks for the info

2:00PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

This is the third and last part of the comment.

Although a list of non-GMO brands won’t help you figure out if your produce is genetically modified, the great news is that there are only 4 GMO veggies or fruits at this point: papaya, but only from Hawaii and no where else; some zucchini and yellow squash, and some corn on the cob. For these, unless it says organic or boasts a non-GMO sign in the store, eating them is a gamble. It could be GMO.

If you’re not sure if GMOs are bad for you, we’ve got you covered there too. Visit www.HealthierEating.org, and read, listen, or watch, and find out why more and more doctors and medical organizations are prescribing non-GMO diets to all patients.

1:58PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

GMO codes are hypothetical

Those that run PLU-universe figured that someday some retailer might want to distinguish between a GMO and a non-GMO for price or inventory purposes. So they created a convention of 5 digits starting with an 8, just in case it catches on. But it hasn’t. No one uses that number 8 as far as we can tell. And why would they? Most Americans say they would avoid GMOs if they were labeled.

Some seed companies don’t even want gardeners to know which seed is genetically modified. One company that sells zucchini seeds outfitted with virus genes announced that they would refuse to sell seed packets in Vermont, since the state legislature requires GM seeds to be labeled.

Shopping Guide helps you avoid GMOs

Where does that leave you—if you happen to be one of those finicky eaters who values your immune and reproductive systems, and don’t want your kids to end up with the organ damage common among GMO-fed lab animals?

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Go to www.NonGMOShoppingGuide.com and peruse the long lists of non-GMO and GMO brands by category. Download a two-page version, order the pocket guide, or even equip your iPhone with the new app “ShopNoGMO”.

Although a list of non-GMO brands won’t help you figure out if your produce is genetically modified, the great news is that there are only 4 GMO veggies or fruits at this point: papaya, but only from Hawaii and no where else; some zucchini and yellow sq

1:12PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

PLU Codes Do Not Indicate Genetically Modified Produce !!!!


Jeffrey Smith
The leading consumer advocate promoting healthier, non-GMO choices
Posted on 9:43 pm February 23, 2010


Let’s put a rumor to rest. No, the 5-digit PLU codes on produce do not tell you what is genetically modified or natural. This urban legend has circulated long enough, even on the best of websites. It’s time to take it down.

The 4-digit PLU codes on the sometimes-pain-in-the-neck labels glued to apples, for example, tell the checkout lady which is a small Fuji (4129) and which is a Honeycrisp (3283). She’ll know what to charge you and the inventory elves will know what’s what. If there’s a 5-digit code starting with 9, then it’s organic.

These numbers, organized by the Produce Marketing Association, have nothing to do with you. According to Kathy Means, Association Vice President of Public Relations and Government Affairs, this is an optional convention for retailers and their supplier and is not designed as a communication tool for customers. If you want to know which items are organic, look for the word Organic; and stop squinting at tiny codes.

GMO codes are hypothetical

Those that run PLU-universe figured that someday some retailer might want to distinguish between a GMO and a non-GMO for price or inventory purposes. So they created a convention of 5 digits starting with an 8, just in case it catches on. But it hasn’t. No one uses that numbe

12:26PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

Thanks for the info.

12:21PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

I did not know this, So thank you very much, now I must share this...

5:24AM PST on Feb 6, 2012

Thank you for this information and Thank you for this wed site.....Have found out so many things that I would not have found out other wise.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Yes thanks! E is acting horrible.

Interesting, will have to do more digging, as I take curcumin (not turmeric) for its anti-inflammato…

Thanks for sharing.

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