Friday, July 20, 2012

Are You Really Avoiding GMOs?

Although I’ve seen a lot of useful information shared through social media, I’ve also seen some not-so-useful, misleading information, such as the picture below:

Is this really THE WHOLE STORY??
Now, to provide a bit of background, price look-up codes (PLUs) are ID numbers associated to produce in grocery stores to assure accurate and efficient inventory control and check-out. What does this mean?  These numbers have nothing to do with you!  They are made for grocery stores to help them run a more efficient business.  Also (here’s the important part), the use of these PLU codes is a VOLUNTARY protocol set forth by the International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS).  A five digit PLU code starting with an ‘8’ would imply that it is genetically modified, but many grocers don’t use it!  Most importantly, while the presence of an ‘8’ means that the produce is genetically modified, the absence of an ‘8’ does NOT mean that the produce is NOT genetically modified!  Looking for the ‘8’ is helpful as an initial check, but if there’s only a 4-digit number, that means you have to dig a little deeper to find out whether the produce is non-GMO.

                Fortunately, there are online resources available, such as The Non-GMO Project, The Non-GMO Shopping Guide, plus much more, so DO YOUR RESEARCH!

Conclusion: The absence of an 8 does NOT imply non-GMO.  If you really want to be sure, purchase organic foods (five digit PLU code starting with a ‘9’), find local organic farms, supermarkets, and/or farmer's markets in your area, and do proper research to identify grocery stores and supermarket suppliers that provide non-GMO products.

Dr. Dozie
"I don't live to eat...I eat to live!!"