From farmer’s markets to grocery stores, to shop with confidence about avoiding GMO foods you need to shop smarter. Here’s how:
When in doubt, Go organic. The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit the use of GMOs. Look for the USDA Organic Seal on labels for produce as well as meat, dairy, eggs and fish.
Look for the non-GMO Project logo.
This third-party verification means the food has been tested for GMOs. Look for the colorful butterfly and plant logo on the label.
Check for a grocery chain’s organic line. Some grocers, like Whole Foods have their own organic and non-GMO products.
Look at the PLU Code on produce. When shopping for fruits and vegetables, your first choice should be those labeled with a five-digit PLU that begins with a “9,” which indicates the food is certified organic. Produce items containing a four-digit PLU are considered “conventional” – not technically GMO, but may still contain pesticides and other toxic residues. If the PLU begins with an “8,” avoid it.
Avoid “at-risk” ingredients. The five most prevalent GMO crops are corn, canola, soy, cottonseed and sugar beets. These are also typically added to packaged foods as corn syrup, oil, sugar, flavoring agents, thickeners and other ingredients. Choose organic or non-GMO verified.
The most common “genetically-tinkered-with” crops are:
- Corn (especially sweet corn)
- Hawaiian papaya
- Yellow summer squash
- Edamame (soy)
- Sugar – unless you are buying pure cane sugar, expect a GM variety of beet sugar.
- Artificial sweeteners are likely derived from GM sources
Go Bulk. Dry grains, beans, nuts and seeds are typically non-GMO (exceptions listed above).
- SustainablePulse. “GM Crops Now Banned in 38 Countries Worldwide.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://sustainablepulse.com/2015/10/22/gm-crops-now-banned-in-36-countries-worldwide-sustainable-pulse-research/#.Vuq4yRIrJE4
- Non-GMO Shopping Guide. “Tips For Avoiding GMO’s.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/tips-for-avoiding-gmos.html
- Non-GMO Product Verification & Information. Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://www.nongmoproject.org
- Food Matters. “6 Easy Ways to Avoid GMO Products.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/6-easy-ways-to-avoid-gmos
- Organic Consumers Association. “An Interview with Jeffrey Smith on GM Food Safety.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/interview-jeffrey-smith-gm-food-safety
- Medicine Talk Blog. “What You Really Need to Know About GMOs: Interview with Jeffrey Smith.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://medicinetalk.org/blog/what-you-really-need-to-know-about-gmos-interview-with-jeffrey-smith/
- Non-GMO Shopping Tips. http://action.responsibletechnology.org/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=7044
- Environmental Working Group. “EWG’s 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Avoiding GMOs.” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://www.ewg.org/research/shoppers-guide-to-avoiding-gmos
- Environmental Working Group. “Are You Looking For The “9” When You Buy Produce?” Date Accessed: Feb 1, 2015. http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2009/09/are-you-looking-9-when-you-buy-produce