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Q:
Is there any indicator in the bar code number sequence to indicate that GMOs are present in a food? I am worried about my families (and environment) health and safety and am starting to read scientific claims that are showing that GMOs are not safe in the short term: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/08/06/genetic-modification.aspx?e_cid=20130811_SNL_MS_1&utm_source=snl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=ms1&utm_campaign=20130811 This site should reference these articles too, so we can have a better perspective.
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A:Expert Answer

Currently, a voluntary system is available for retailers to designate GM and organic produce. This system is similar to the voluntary kosher label to assist consumers in making religious rather than health-related choices.  Health related labels are mandatory and required by the U.S. FDA.  SKU Produce Look-Ups or PLUs that start with the number 8 designate GM produce, and PLUs that start with the number 9 indicate that the produce is organic. For example, the PLU code for a standard yellow banana is 4011 while an organically grown standard yellow banana would be 94011.This system was developed by the Produce Marketing Association. It is an example of a voluntary system that already exists and could be more widely adopted if retailers chose to do so (Source: GMO Answers Explore Section).

 

Many myths and misconceptions about the safety of GMOs exist and have been extensively addressed on GMO Answers (see prior answers about GMO Safety here and in our GMOs and Health Section).

 

Scientific bodies globally, as authoritative as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the US National Academy of Sciences, the European Food Safety Authority, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, among many others, have all found that GM foods available today are as safe and nutritious as their non-GM counterparts, that there is no inherent reason that genetic modification would create unknown hazards, and that no effects on human health have been shown as a result of consuming GM food.

 

Such scientific consensus is similar to that on global climate change and belies claims repeated in the article you cite that are based on a small number of poorly conducted experiments and misinterpretations of data.  Given your concerns, you may want to look at the more than 600 safety studies that have been conducted on GMOs that confirm that there is no greater health risk between GM crops and non-GMO crops for you and your family. 

 

Go here to see the list of studies.

Topic: Safety, Health, and Nutrition, Labeling  9 Comments | Add Comment