Produce Label FYI

I love learning. I especially love learning things that I had never really taken the time to even think about. For example, the mason jar+blender trick. Awesome.

Some good things are just too good not to share. In my last issue of Women’s Health (sad day) I learned a few things about reading those little stickers on your produce.

1. 5 Numbers starting with 8 (eg. 84214) means the product has been genetically modified.

  • Uou may be as surprised as my MOL was when I told her apples are not really apples anymore. Sad, but true. Stay tuned for more information on GMO (genetically-modified organisms), plants whose DNA has been altered. Yes, plants have DNA and yes our wonderful and very thoughtful food scientists love to play games with that DNA.

2. Five numbers starting with 9 (eg. 94385) means the product has been grown organically.

  • Good to know, as signage within the grocery can be really confusing. Have you ever stood in front of the cold section of produce trying to match up what sign goes with what? Well, I have and it stinks. There is currently no law requiring GMO products to be labeled as such. Buying organic produce is the only way to guarantee your produce is actually produce.

3. Four numbers (eg. 4352) means the product was grown conventionally.Ā 

  • “Conventional” farming in the US means that farmers can use as much and any kind of pesticides on their produce, most containing cancer-causing agents. They can also grow GMO and are not required to disclose that information. Also, beware of produce from other countries. While the FDA may not always have our interests in mind, some countries don’t even have an FDA.
You’ll see that both my avocado and lemon were grown conventionally, but both were grown in the US and neither were genetically modified.

More tips:

  • Learn what is in season and fall in love with new ways of cooking produce you have never tried.
  • Look for Farmer’s Markets in your area, and get to know the farmer. Ask him questions, just because it’s at a Farmer’s Market (a point for going local) does not guarantee he/she uses safe farming methods.Ā 
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10 responses to “Produce Label FYI

  1. I just learned about this too! While 90% of our produce comes from a CSA or farmer's market, it is awesome to be able to check the occasional apple or avocado I grab at the grocery store!

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  2. Jill, I have always been aware of the place of origin and will always check (I do get some things from out of the US). I am SO SO looking forward to the markets and CSA's once we get to Cali!!!!

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  3. Living in STL, I felt there was “decent” access to organic and local produce…but it is NOTHING compared to what we can get (for good prices!) in Seattle…and I know you will have even better luck in San Diego! Exciting!

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  4. That is so awesome! I just checked all my fruits and veggies because I wasn't sure I believed you, but it is true!!! Thank you so much for this tip. I shop at a discount store that carries a lot of organic produce but not all and sometimes things are not labeled and I have to keep asking them if they are organic or not. Now I don't have to be that annoying shopper anymore šŸ™‚

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  5. Jill- Our grocer here in FLW has a very, very small organic section and the only farmer's market within an hour's drive is on Saturday (we have traveled EVERY weekend). I am so so excited about San Diego's markets.

    Mom, yes I'm sorry. I should have posted a picture in the first place.

    Aunt Bev- How awesome, right?! I'm glad I could help.

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