Know Your Produce Labels!

Thanks to the Beaches Local Food Network newsletter, I can now decipher the numbers on produce labels.

== A four-digit number is conventionally grown (pesticides and fertilizers can be used)
== A five-digit number beginning with a “9” means it’s organic.
== A five-digit number beginning with an “8” means it’s genetically modified (GM). DON’T BUY THESE!

From the newsletter-

As I’m eating my delicious organic citrus breakfast, I’m reading an article about genetically modified foods (GM) that a former community garden member gave us last week. While I already realize how incredibly damaging GM foods can be to our health and the sustainability of our species as a whole (thus eating my organic citrus) I still get angry when I read about it. At this point in my life, my goal is to not get angry at the wrongs in our world, but to do what I can to find realistic solutions and focus on those instead– because, well, positivity is healthier for us than bitterness and anger. And I don’t want them to kill me on two fronts– first with the GM foods (or whatever the issue) and second with the anger. haha! **you should laugh here… it’s healthy. and also, i feel obligated to share the following, which may make you angry, so i must offset that somehow. :-)

So the point of this article is actually very good! Even though the USDA in the US of A would rather support the GMO giants than look out for the health of their citizens and the biodiversity of our planet (money talks!), there is a little way you can tell which produce is GM. (Yes, if you didn’t know, GM products do not have to be labeled here — one of the only industrialized countries where this is the case.) On those little produce stickers, this is what you look for:

== A four-digit number is conventionally grown (pesticides and fertilizers can be used)
== A five-digit number beginning with a “9” means it’s organic.
== A five-digit number beginning with an “8” means it’s GM. DON’T BUY THESE!

Besides the fact that GM products only became available in the early 90’s, so there has not been sufficient evidence on the long-term effects, the short-term effects have already been proven devastating! This includes infertility in the animals who are eating GM feed, cancer from GM potatoes in rats, and a five-fold increase in mortality and lower birth weights! On top of all of this, GM crops threaten to contaminate non-GM crops and even those that are labeled organic through cross-pollination! A future that I sure hope none of us live to see. You may be thinking “that can’t be so… how can our own USDA, designed to make sure our food is safe, be the very culprit of feeding us hidden, unchecked poisons??”. I guarantee you , this is the case. And people have been fighting it for years.

Here’s some tips on things not to buy:
Soy, corn, cottonseed, canola— These are almost always GM, unless labeled “organic”. These crops are also found in a wide variety of processed foods under names like maltodextrin and high-fructose corn syrup. Also, milk containing rbGH, aspartame (NutraSweet) and rennet in non-organic hard cheeses.

Remember, if we don’t buy them, they won’t keep producing them! We must vote with our dollars!

Gretchen always has good tips like these in her newsletter, and this I didn’t know before. A couple of other things I’d like to add- companies such as Monsanto (the largest maker of GM seeds) take away the right to save seed. Seed saving allows people to feed themselves; Monsanto creates “terminator” seeds that do not produce seed after planted, forcing farmers to continue to pay for seeds. Monsanto doesn’t allow scientific testing on its seeds. It also litigates them with zeal. If I am a farmer, and I plant Monsanto seed, and some of my seed somehow cross-pollinates with an organic farmer a mile down the road, Monsanto can sue both me and the organic farmer. This is because they force farmers to sign contracts not to share the seed, and that anyone who grows their seed who hasn’t signed a contract (even if by accident- such as windblown seeds) is, in effect, stealing their product. These are all great reasons to avoid GM foods! Remember this little rhyme that I came up with to remember food label codes- 5 with 9, all is fine; 5 with 8, inadequate!

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~ by Mike on April 10, 2009.

3 Responses to “Know Your Produce Labels!”

  1. is there a “newsletter?” thx marta m4)

  2. Can anyone can tell me that im not a bad person please?>

  3. I was able to find good information from your content.

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