ktotels's picture
When im at the store shopping, how can I tell if a product is GMO?

A:Expert Answer

Only eight crops are available as GM varieties: corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya and summer squash. Some of the crops, like canola and soybeans, are used to make cooking oils. Some refined sugar is derived from sugar beets. Few produce crops (fruits and vegetables) are available as GM varieties (somesweet corn, papaya and summer squash).

If you’re specifically shopping for non-GMO products, plenty of options are available. This excerpt of a response from Greg Conko, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, might be helpful to you:

“Some consumers wish to avoid foods with genetically engineered ingredients, so food producers have increasingly responded to this market demand by labeling food products that do not contain them. There are many thousands of voluntarily labeled, non-GE foods available in grocery stores throughout the country, in stores as varied as Whole Foods Markets and Walmart. From just 2000 to 2009, nearly 7,000 new food and beverage products were introduced in the United States with explicit non-GE labeling. And those numbers continue to grow.”

Additionally, a voluntary system for retailers is currently in place, using the produce “bar code” or SKU produce look-ups (PLUs), to designate GM produce. Rod Herman, science advisor for Dow AgroSciences, explains the system in his response. Please see this excerpt:

“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).”

If you have any additional questions, please let us know.