The myth of PLU codes and GMO foods
2013-06-12 0:00

By Alecia Bayer | Examiner

Do you look for the four or five digit code on your produce to help avoid GMO foods? You’ll find lots of advice online telling you to do just that, but there’s one problem -- it’s pretty much complete nonsense.

Many sites online will tell you to look for this code in order to know what you’re buying. Find a number that starts with a 9, for instance, and the food is organic. Find a number that starts with an 8, and it’s GMO.

While it’s true that fresh produce in supermarkets is labeled with a code to help identify it, this code is meant to help retailers with inventory, pricing and identification. The use of that 8 or 9 is completely optional.

Suppliers can choose to label their produce as organic or GMO. In the case of organics, they will obviously choose to add that extra digit since consumers tend to pay extra and seek out organic produce. In the case of GMO foods, it is incredibly rare for any supplier to add the 8 to the front of the code -- whether the food is GMO or not.

As Jeffrey Smith of the Huffington Post reported:

"Let’s put a rumor to rest. No, the 5-digit PLU codes on produce do not tell you what is genetically modified or natural. This urban legend has circulated long enough, even on the best of websites. It’s time to take it down."

He continues:
"Those that run PLU-universe figured that someday some retailer might want to distinguish between a GMO and a non-GMO for price or inventory purposes. So they created a convention of 5 digits starting with an 8, just in case it catches on. But it hasn’t. No one uses that number 8 as far as we can tell. And why would they? Most Americans say they would avoid GMOs if they were labeled."

I called the International Federation for Produce Standards, which oversees the numeric code system, to verify this. An employee confirmed that suppliers can choose to leave the 8 off. She told me, "You could. It’s a voluntary system. But if you see the 8 then you know it’s a GMO item."

[...]

Read the full article at: examiner.com



Related Articles
GMO Corn Animal Feed May Make it Hard to Avoid Consuming GMO Genetic Material
Study Finds Cutting Food Waste Could Feed One Billion People
Sugar rush for cows as gummy worms replace costly corn feed


Latest News from our Front Page

Baby born still INSIDE his amniotic sac is hailed a ‘medical miracle’ by doctors [Video]
2015-02-27 22:46
What an incredible miracle… Not only was the little boy three months early – he was born inside his amniotic sac. I’ve never heard of this happening before. If you look at the picture, you can see him clearly with his little arms and legs curled up. He was still being given oxygen by his mom until the sac was ...
California Infant Dies after 8 Vaccines, Family Gets Him Back from Hospital Cremated
2015-02-27 21:55
Parents in California are distraught after losing their infant son after being vaccinated. He died in his sleep and was taken to the hospital already deceased. Hospital staff ruled his death as sudden infant death syndrome. The couple was told an autopsy was required to be performed on their son. After returning home, waiting to get an update, they never received ...
DNA: Data-storage for eternity
2015-02-27 20:57
How can we preserve our knowledge today for the next millennia? ETH researchers have found a way to store information in the form of DNA, preserving it for nearly an eternity. Scrolls thousands of years old provide us with a glimpse into long-forgotten cultures and the knowledge of our ancestors. In this digital era, in contrast, a large part of our ...
Hypercleanliness is making us sick - Children develop allergies and eczema
2015-02-27 20:31
Could using a dishwashing machine increase the chances your child will develop allergies? That's what some provocative new research suggests — but don't tear out your machine just yet. The study involved 1,029 Swedish children (ages 7 or 8) and found that those whose parents said they mostly wash the family's dishes by hand were significantly less likely to develop eczema, ...
USDA: Can’t We Just Scan Food to See GMO Ingredients?
2015-02-27 20:26
Tom Vislack, secretary of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) told Congress that labeling genetically modified foods (GMOs) could be unnecessary if customers “use their phones to scan special bar codes or other symbols on food packages in the grocery store” to determine the ingredients and identify GMOs. Vislack said: “Industry could solve that issue in a heartbeat.” This idea “could have ...
More News »