Grafted Growers™

How to spot GMO vegetables and fruits vs. Non-GMO

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Even though consumers have repeatedly stated they don’t want GMOs in their foods, a lot of produce in the supermarket today is still genetically modified.

As in 2016 the law obligates food manufacturers to give consumers information on the GMOs in their products, but they are not obligated to do so in the package. It’s up to consumers who support on-package labels to hold companies accountable for what they use in their products.

There are several ways to identify if a food has GMO’s.

  1. Be assured that no food with the Non-GMO Project Verified seal contains more than 0.9% GMOs. 

The certificacion covers how a food is grown, not the content of the food itself. So there might be cross pollination and cross contamination in processing and handling of products. The U.S. law prohibits genetically engineered foods or ingredients. 

The Non-GMO Project is an independent testing. This logo means that GMO contamination has been avoided throughout the growth and harvesting of crops, their processing, storage and packaging. 

  1. Eat locally grown food. You are more likely to find non-GMO produce grown by small local farms in your sunday farmers market plus you can call or chat with them directly and ask about their own processes and harvesting. 
  1. Know the numbers. Here’s an easy way to identify how produce is made by reading the sticker number:
  • 4-digit number means: food was conventionally grown
  • 5-digit number that begins with a 9: produce is Non-GMO
  • 5-digit number that begins with a 8: produce is genetically modified

The truth is that there’s no need to worry about most fruit and vegetables, but keep an eye on their derivatives:

Foods and their derivatives that are most likely genetically modified:

  • Corn and soy products are the major GMO crops in the U.S.

If your label says it contains soy, then it contains GMO. You have to make sure that the labeling states that your derivative soy product is Non-GMO.

With the exception of popcorn, corn is often heavily modified. Best to look for 100% Non-GMO labels. Derivatives may include baking mixes, corn cereal, granola bars, tortillas, tortilla chips, soy-based infant formulas, soy milk and veggie burgers. 

  • Virtually all canola oil is from genetically engineered crops. 
  • For dairy products always buy Non-GMO to avoid GMOs and pesticides.
  • Beet sugar is one to avoid. Bread, cereal, soups and yogurt come from sugar beets and 99% of them are genetically modified. Is best to look for products with evaporated cane sugar, Non-GMO sugar or cane sugar.

You can also find Non-GMO labels in products that are never genetically modified like canned goods, chicken, or eggs. This can often be a marketing strategy or could mean that there are no GMOs in the animal’s feed. 

If you like a particular product, but it has no label, check the ingredients list. If the product doesn’t contain canola, corn, soy or sugar, it most certainly does not have GMO’s.

Now you are ready to go to your local supermarket and get that fresh non-GMO product for you and your family. 

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Showing 10 comments
  • Marcella

    Thank you, Maria, this article was very informative and useful for my project.

  • Boston

    Why are people so anti GMO? Their whole purpose is to make the world better with higher nutrients or increased yields or less water use etc. Everyone seems to be afraid of them for no reason. The FDA, USDA, and the EPA are responsible for testing, and make sure ALL GMO crops are safe before allowing them into the market. There’s no true evidence of any negative side effects from consumption, since they weed problems out through testing. Articles like this add to the fear of the unknown that people experience. DONT WORRY ABOUT GMOS!

    • Healthy Gardener

      Great article! Thanks for getting this info out there. It’s critical for people who are trying to eat healthy. It’s very helpful to know which PLU codes denote GMO. Thank you!!

      Not sure who’s paying you, the FDA, USDA or EPA, but you have it all wrong. We now know that GMO food is “round up ready” to take big loads of pesticides, herbicides and other toxins. It causes inflammatory response in your body; over time, that spells trouble for your health.

      • Ásgeir Valur Sigurðsson

        People are anti – GMO because being anti – GMO is the future. The entire world is anti – GMO, BECAUSE GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS CONTRIBUTE TO INEQUALITY, INJUSTICE AND POVERTY. The GMO industry discriminates against Non-GMO farmers by producing less quality products which are sold en masse so large masses of people can buy them. The Non-GMO food market is growing and soon the GMO industry will be unable to compete with them. Whole animal families can be found which are actually gmos, which people have been told are non gmos. Your body reacts to genetically modified foods, by treating them the same way it treats vaccines and alcohol – and that is by rejecting them.

    • Daniel Paez Serna sr

      Hey there if I may , there is most definitely a big difference in the fruits and veggies of today compared to our fruits and veggies of the 1980’s a peach isn’t a peach anymore watermelon is not the same the strawberries omg if you remember what these foods tasted like before I’ll tell you this in my own opinion the modification of our foods through our time have been tasting more and more like the dirt they are grown in. GMO’s may have curbed the pest problems but at what cost. I am certain that when the body breaks down the food in your stomach that also includes food digested on a molecular level so if a modified gene finds it’s way into your genes what is the probability you don’t get diabeties, heart conditions , liver function, it’s all relative hence the saying you are what you eat!!!! Also I would add that’s there have not been adequate studies to absolutely determine the health risks of modifying GODS work after all these fruits and veggies have been here longer than we have , how did they ever survive on there own in the wild ?

    • jeff radcliffe

      The reason people do not want gmo’s are because they have had the nutrients bred out of them. Reasons for this include a longer shelf life, being able to ship it long distance without spoiling. Another is because commodities are sold by weight, therefore, you can produce a uniform, heavier product with gmo. The tradeoff, as I stated in the beginning, is they are less nutritous. So, you may have to eat 8 gmo tomatoes, to get the same nutrients as 1 heirloom, Non-GMO (old world, as I call them) style tomato.

  • Allen Likando

    Thank you very much the information was very insightful and helpfu

    • Robin Phillips

      Fruits and vegetables should be natural not genetically modified. I want the real thing. Real nutrients and real taste. The way it was designed. There are too many chemicals in everything else. Even if it is said that testing is ongoing, we usually don’t get negative results before it’s too late.

  • David W

    I was looking for the meaning of GMO. I was hoping the article would mention what GMO stands for at the beginning but I suppose it is something so well known that the author did not deem it necessary to define. From reading it I got the idea it is something undesirable but would like to have known exactly what the letters G.M.O stand for in this context.

  • Joanna Panzera

    Joanna Panzera said “So to be safe, avoid eating food in the United States.”

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