Monday, March 1, 2010

Frankenstein-like plants

We love foods that come in packages that plainly state what they aren't these days. No preservatives, non-GMO, no sugar added, MSG-free, no artificial flavors or colors, etc. It is kind of sad that we live in a world where what's NOT in it is often as important as what IS. Unfortunately, when we visit the produce aisle, fancy packaging with clear labeling is lacking. Most organic produce is either in a section on its own or marked with signage as "organic". But if you are looking to avoid genetically modified produce, good luck. Neither signage or labeling is going to be there to promote these suspect fruits and veggies.

Did you know that the numbers on produce stickers aren’t just pricing codes? That’s what I always assumed they were until I found out that they also indicate how the produce was grown. You can tell, just by looking at the number, if the produce is organically grown, conventionally grown or genetically modified. This is helpful information.

A sticker that has four digits on it means that the food was grown conventionally. That means that it was most likely grown on a huge farm, and was probably treated with chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

A sticker that has five digits and begins with the number 8 means that the produce has been genetically modified. It may have also been grown using chemical products. The use of genetically modified crops is relatively new. Not all of the effects (helpful and harmful) of genetically modified produce are understood yet.

A sticker that has five digits and begins with the number 9 means that the produce is organic.

So, we hate 8's but love 9's! The scary thing about Genetically Modified Foods is that we don't know the heath risks, or the environmental risks..yet.

Helpful information when you’re at the store, isn’t it? If you were to see the pear in the picture above at the store, you'd be able to tell that it was organic, not genetically modified. Good stuff to know.

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