(Updated 02.20.14) Consumer organizations are still fighting for labeling of genetically modified food. In most cases we can only be safe with the purchase of Non GMO Project verified food and organic food, as government regulated standards do not allow genetically modified food items in an organic product.
Knowing PLU codes may help to avoid genetically altered items among fresh produce, nuts and dried fruits. The ‘Price Look-up Code’, is the sticker on your apples and pears. PLU’s can also be found printed on wire wraps that tie your kale or broccoli.
The system, for ‘identifying produce sold in bulk/loose at retail’, was created 1990 in the US to make inventory control easier. In 2001 it was adapted globally. Each new PLU application needs approval of by the International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS) board. Truthful declaration is in the interest of the supplier. Most PLU codes have four digits for conventionally produced goods. Organic produce has a five digit number, starting with ’9′. A five digit number starting with ’8′ marks a genetically modified bulk item. These numbers are supposedly rare.
Below is a table of plants that reportedly contain genetic modification.
Spot tests have shown that GMO products did not have an ‘8’ as a starting number, others which had an ‘8’ or ‘9’ as starting number were neither GMO or organic respectively. The system is flawed and voluntary for the vendor.
Other known gentically modified organisms are microbes to produce f.e. insulin, blood clotting agents and hgh for medical purposes. Transgenic mosquitoes and bollworms are used as pest control. Transgenic mice, fruit flies and jellyfish, even primates are used for scientific and medical research. When scientists play, they create modified colors and glow-in-the-dark pet fish.
|Soybeans||herbicide resistance||herbicide resistant gene inserted||93%||77%|
|Corn/Maize||herbicide resistance vitamin enriched||new genes added||86%||26%|
|Cotton oil||pest resistance||new gene added||93%||49%|
|Alfalfa||herbicide resistance||new genes added||planted 2005-2007. Banned 2011, deregulated|
|Papaya||certain virus resistance||new gene added||80%|
|Tomatoes||delayed softening when ripe||new gene added||commercial failure||small quantities
grown in China
|Canola||herbicide resistance||new gene added||93%||21%|
|Sugar Cane||pesticide resistance||new gene added||?||?|
|Sugar Beet||herbicide resistance||new gene added||?||?|
|Rice||contains beta carotine||new genes added currently re-developed||planned
|Squash, Zucchini||certain virus resistance||contains genes of virus||13%||?|
|Sweet Peppers||certain virus resistance||contains genes of virus||?||small quantities
grown in China