How To Find Out If Your Produce Is GMO

Sep 18, 2012 8:01 am

Be a sticker stickler and know how your food grows

In the future, a sticker may replace the giant lit-up "Certified Organic" billboard at the supermarket.
In the future, a sticker may replace the giant lit-up "Certified Organic" billboard at the supermarket.
 

The International Federation For Produce Standards wants you to know how your food was grown. The organization formed under the name International Federation for Produce Coding in 2001 with the goal of improving the supply chain efficiency of the fresh produce industry through developing and implementing international standards. Its sticker program lets you know for certain whether your food is conventional, GMO or organic. Oh wait, we don't label our GMOs (China does, though).

1,300 produce items worldwide currently hold price look-up (PLU) codes that are also used to indicate how they were grown. A number 9 in front of the four-digit code lets you know your pear is organic, 8 indicates GMO, and conventionally grown produce will fall somewhere in the 3 to 4000's. For instance, the international code for guava is 4299. So 94011 means an organic guava. Unless you live in America. Russia's cool, though.

According to the IFPS website, some codes are restricted from use in North America "for various reasons," and are impossible to incorporate into the North American market, particularly in Southeastern growing regions like Florida. I'm no produce market analyst, but I'm guessing this is where our lack of labels on GMOs plays in. Good thing Australia doesn't have that problem.    

Like the sticker idea? Four or five numbers that state with little room for error (or exaggeration) how your food was grown? Keep up the support for JustLabelIt.org, 1.2 million people have already signed the petition for the FDA to start labeling GMO foods and California's Prop 37 hits the polls this November. With enough recognition, we might be next on the list for the correct combination of numbers on a sticker that lets you know more about the life of that tomato. For real.

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