Saturday, December 6, 2008

knowing the numbers

"Consumers have the right to choose whether to eat genetically modified foods or not."
     Rockefeller Foundation Statement (cited in Kilman, 1999)

I agree with the thinking behind the above statement.  We should have the right to choose.  Unfortunately we do not because we don't know what foods are modified.  Some foods are pretty good guesses.  If it has corn, soy, or canola in it there is a better than average chance that it is genetically modified.  Because our food products are not labeled the only way to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMO) is to buy organic.  While that can get to be a very expensive proposition there is more and more evidence supporting the case for eating non-GMO foods, including these articles:

Latest GMO Research: Decreased Fertility, Immunological Alterations and Allergies

Monsanto tried to block Austrian research

Government Accountability Office finds unauthorized release of GM foods

Even fruits and vegetables are being genetically modified and that is one area where you can see what you are choosing to eat.  The Price Look Up (PLU) stickers have numbers on them which indicate the following:

most product numbers are 4 digits indicating that the produce was conventionally grown
5 digits starting with a 9 means it is organic
5 digits starting with an 8 means it is GMO

According to the International Federation for Product Standards there is a PLU for everything although not everything is labeled, nor it is required to be labeled.  This most likely explains why I have yet to see a 5 digit code starting with an 8.  

Dole has gone so far as to implement a program in which they put a three digit code on their organic bananas which you can look up on the Dole website and see which farm the bananas were grown on and read a little about the farm.

Within the confines of our budget I make the best choices I can for my family and encourage you to do the same.

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