Saturday, August 16, 2008

loop hole

i read some important news this morning on dr. mercola's ( website, and i wanted to pass it on. since the us govt. is not required to reveal if a food is genetically modified or not, this loop hole seems pretty invaluable to me. read on:

Although the U.S. does not require GMOs to be labeled, you can still find out whether or not your produce is genetically engineered, by looking at its PLU code. For example:
A conventionally grown product carries a 4-digit PLU code (Ex: conventionally grown banana: 4011)
An organic product carries a 5-digit code, starting with the number 9: (Ex: organic banana: 94011)
A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) product has a 5-digit code, starting with the number 8: (Ex: GE banana: 84011)

finally! a way to know about our produce! here is some additional info you may find helpful:

Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested, these 12 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organic:
Sweet bell peppers
Grapes (imported)
Conventionally-grown strawberries, in particular, were found to be highly toxic due to a poisonous blend of pesticides in a previous
2007 EU study as well. (i'm reading this while munching on a bowl of conventionally grown strawberries- great.)
But be VERY careful as the list above is for fruits and vegetables. Non-organic meats have far higher concentrations of pesticides than all of the fruits and vegetables. And the highest concentration of pesticides is actually in non-organic butter.
So if you can only buy one organic food item it should be butter. Next priority would be meats and once those are addressed, you will want to focus on the fruit and vegetable list above.

let's see, the only organic veggies that my market carries off that list are spinach, lettuce, apples, and celery. what i wouldn't do for an organic strawberry! but really, that only gives me more incentive to grow my own. so here's the question for you experienced berry growers. will strawberries tolerate shade, or should they be full sun? i have a nice dappled sunlight area that i could fill, but i'm not sure if that would be best. i've never successfully grown strawberries before (and i 've tried many times!).

and of course, another shameless plug. support local growers! within 15 miles i can get locally grown organic produce (, raw dairy products, and several meat options (,, or the up and coming seek out local growers in your area and support the modern hero- your local farmer!


Mandy said...

Thanks for passing this info along. I love knowing tidbits like that. The kids and I had to go through our entire produce drawer and check out all the codes. Great family entertainment!

I need to educate myself on why GMO's are bad. hmmm...

Brandi said...

i've always wondered about those 5 codes! i had figured out the organic thing but didn't know the GMO code. when i shopped at central market (moment of silence to honor the mecca) i had all of those codes memorized b/c you enter them yourself.

i have seen that produce list before, but i didn't know that about meat and butter. thankfully heb does have organic butter.

on that note, i'm going shopping in houston tomorrow to stock the freezer with meat. and strawberries! the kids love strawberries. want me to pick anything up for you?

i'm pretty sure conventional strawberries are better than no fruit, and my kids can always be counted on to wolf them down. what's a girl to do?

The Kramer Family said...

Okay, for the record, I'm coming back to this post so I can write down these fruits and veggies and have them in ink for good. I don't have a swell memory.

I got a little excited today to see organic bananas at our HEB, but now I'm realizing that non-organic bananas aren't really a threat so much.

Thanks for the mention of our farm. We appreciate that.

See ya soon.