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 USDA Organic or the Non-GMO Project Verified seal contains more than 0.9% GMOs. 

The organic 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 organic products. Buy food labeled “100% Organic”. 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 organic
  • 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 organic.

With the exception of popcorn, corn is often heavily modified. Best to look for 100% organic 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 organic 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, organic 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 3 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!

  • Allen Likando

    Thank you very much the information was very insightful and helpfu

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