Organic | Conventional | Genetically Modified – How to Know
As the horrors surrounding conventional and processed foods heightens, more and more people are turning to an organic lifestyle. But oftentimes people don’t know what is and what isn’t really organic.
Labels and ingredients are much like puzzles – you can look at some pieces and know where they go, but others you simply haven’t a clue. Organic labels aren’t quite as difficult to figure out as conventional labels. There aren’t so many foreign ingredients and a great deal of weight is lifted off your shoulders because you can be certain an organic product is 100x better than it’s conventional counterpart.
There are 3 types of organic products; 100% organic, organic, and made with organic ingredients.
- 100% Organic – Made with 100% organic ingredients. These are the highest quality organic products.
- Organic – Made with at least 95% organic ingredients. A close runner-up to the highest quality.
- Made with Organic Ingredients – Made with at least 70% organic ingredients. The remaining 30% adheres to strict restrictions and won’t contain GMO’s or additives. These products don’t qualify for the USDA seal.
All organic products cannot be produced using sewage sludge or irradiation.
Not only are people looking to optimize their health by going organic, but they are also beginning to look for foods that aren’t genetically modified. Unfortunately, there are no real rules or regulations concerning the labeling of GM foods, and GM foods are increasingly being produced. Until there is enough consumer awareness (and at this escalating rate, there will be soon) established and labeling for GM foods is pushed to the maximum, we can only use the ways currently available to identify GM food.
Genetically Modified Food
There are two statements to look for on products to know that they don’t contain GM ingredients.
“Non-GMO” OR “GMO-Free”
Fortunately there are farmers and companies out there who still produce GMO-free food, and they want to let consumers know by placing it on the label. But sometimes going by the label just isn’t enough. You’ll be happy to know there is a little-known method in determining if your food is not only genetically modified, but also conventional or organic. Here’s how.
In order to really find out if the food you are buying is genetically modified, conventional, or organic, look for the PLU code (the 4 or 5 digit code found on the product). Here is what to look for when you find the code.
- Conventional – A 4-digit code starting with the number “4”. Ex: Conventionally grown banana: #4011
- Organic – A 5-digit code starting with the number “9”. Ex: Organically grown banana: #94011
- Genetically Modified – A 5-digit code starting with the number “8”. Ex: Genetically Modified banana: #84011
And that’s how you know.
Organic Labels – Facing an Uprising Problem
With organic living becoming increasingly popular, it is no surprise that large corporations want a bite out of this growing industry. Multi-national corporations, and most large corporations often don’t have the same good-nature intentions as those that small businesses have. Typically, places like WalMart, which was the largest organic retailer in the US in 2009, aren’t exactly trying to better the world and the person like organic farmers, or small businesses.
Big business has taken the principles of organic farming and stomped all over them. Here are just a few examples:
- Selling organic milk coming from confinement factory farm dairies
- Importing cheap and low quality organic foods and ingredients from China and Brazil
- Misleading consuming into believing non-organic items are organic
As long as the business of organic food keeps rising, the quality of much of the organic food will keep dropping. Once big business gets it’s hands on it, there is no telling how organic it really is.
What should you do? Buy local and from small businesses. Support the cause and don’t give big business the gratification they don’t deserve.