How to tell if fruit is genetically modified, organic, or grown with chemicals


 

Talking Fruit

How to de-code the information on those little stickers

By Marion Owen, Fearless Weeder for PlanTea, Inc. and
Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul


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While unpacking groceries, you pull out the bag of apples and decide to eat one then and there. You take it over to the sink, wash it off and -- with some effort -- peel off the little sticker. Pausing to look more closely at the sticker you wonder, "What do those numbers mean?"

As much as we may dislike them, the stickers or labels attached to fruit do more than speed up the scanning process at the checkout stand. The PLU code, or price lookup number printed on the sticker, tells you how the fruit was grown.

genetically modified foods fruit

As reported by Maria Gallagher, in the June 26, 2002 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer, by reading the PLU code, you can tell if the fruit was genetically modified, organically grown or produced with chemical fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides.

Here's how it works:

For conventionally grown fruit, (grown with chemicals inputs), 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 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

The numeric system was developed by the Produce Electronic Identification Board, an affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association, a Newark, Delaware-based trade group for the produce industry. As of October 2001, the board had assigned more than 1,200 PLUs for individual produce items.

Incidentally, the adhesive used to attach the stickers is considered food-grade, but the stickers themselves aren't edible.

genetically modified foods apple

Do you REALLY know what's in your dinner?

Today, 7 out of every 10 items on grocery stores shelves contain ingredients that have been genetically modified. In other words, scientists are using new technology to transfer the genes of one species to another, and these altered foods are in the market stream. And yet many scientists have concerns about the safety -- to people, wildlife and the environment -- of this process. That's why consumers in Asia and Europe are demanding that their food be free of genetically modified ingredients.

To learn more about food safety, GM (genetically modified) foods and what's wrong with them, and what you can do bring about changes:

  • Organic Consumers Association Campaigning for food safety, organic agriculture, fair trade and sustainability

    genetically modified foods ocaanti- genetically modified foodsanti- genetically modified foods book


  • What's In Your Dinner? Check out this book: "Genetically Modified Food: 50 Things You Absolutely Must Know"
  • The Campaign --Leading a national grassroots campaign to convince Congress to label genetically engineered foods.
Now that you're a better informed consumer, you can make conscious choices about the foods you buy and eat. Next time you go to the store, vote with your dollars!


Thanks for visiting and please stop by again. I'll put the coffee on!


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