Know What You Are Buying In The Produce Department
So how do you know what you are buying in the produce department? Many supermarket produce departments are poorly signed and just trying to figure out what things cost can be challenging enough at times. Here is a quick guide to the Price Look-Up Code, or PLU Code as it is commonly referred to.
Organically Grown Fruits & Vegetables
Take a look at this PLU Code. Organically grown produce will have a PLU Code that is 5-digits long beginning with the number 9, such as with this PLU Code label.
Conventionally Grown Produce
Conventionally grown produce will have a PLU Code that is 4-digits long beginning with the number 4, such as with this PLU Code label:
Genetically Engineered or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO’s are not labeled in the United States.
Initially in 1992 when the bio tech companies thought that the consumer wanted to eat their altered foods so they wanted to have a new “code” so that it was easily identifiable. Quickly, the industry learned that not only do we, as educated consumers, not want to buy GMO foods but we will go out of our way not to purchase foods that have been altered. There are no laws in the United States requiring labeling of genetically modified foods. Some states are fighting for labeling and winning but this issue continues to be challenging.
The only foods that you can be sure are not GMO foods are labeled either: ‘Certified Organic’
Organic producers must follow strict laws in order to label their products ‘organic’. Disturbing as it may be, companies producing GMO foods do not have labeling restrictions. Look for the the below labels on produce and other foods if you choose to avoid GMO foods in the produce department.
Learning More About GMOs
The Institute for Responsible Technology has some great educational tools. Their Non-GMO-Shopping-Guide will help you identify and avoid food companies that are utilizing GMOs.
Also, their GMO-Health-Risks is a great tool; itdescribes the health risks involved in eating genetically modified foods and why we should all avoid them.