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Are Your Supermarket Plums Genetically Modified? Here's How to Find Out!

February 21, 2009 | 88,687 views

plumsThe little stickers on fruits and vegetables have digits that let you know whether they're conventionally grown or organic, and if they're genetically modified (GM). There are many benefits to knowing this information:

• The health risks -- GM foods have been in stores only since the 1990s, so the long-term health risks are unknown
• The environmental risks -- Scientists are concerned that GMOs will reduce biodiversity
• The taste benefits -- People all over the world agree that the range of possible flavors is greater without a few GM foods crowding out the many natural varieties

Here’s what you should look for:

• A four-digit number means the produce is conventionally grown
• A five-digit number beginning with 9 means it's organic
• A five-digit number beginning with 8 means it's GM


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

The GMO giants have been very effective in eliminating legislation that would require them to clearly label GM products and, as a result, most grocery stores in the United States do not post signs next to produce to let you know it’s been genetically modified. So checking the number on the sticker is a simple way to know for sure.

So here is the way you can do it:

If you see a five-digit number that begins with an 8, take a big pass, as that produce is GM. Of course, this tip works not only for plums but for just about any fruit or vegetable in the fresh produce section.

Why Should You Care if Your Produce is GM?

Genetically modified foods are, from my perception, one of the largest threats against the very sustainability of the human race.

Not only are they threatening to contaminate non-GM crops, even those that are labeled organic, so that one day soon ALL crops may be laced with GM elements, but their health risks are only beginning to be uncovered.

And what’s been revealed so far is enough to raise some major red flags.

Just last year, a long-term feeding study commissioned by the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety confirmed GM corn seriously affects reproductive health in mice. The results were so worrisome that GM opponents called for an immediate ban of all GM foods and GM crops in order to protect the health of humankind and the fertility of women around the world.

So far, at least 65 serious health risks related to GM foods have been documented by GM expert Jeffrey Smith. Among them:

• Offspring of rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce
• Male mice fed GM soy had damaged young sperm cells
• The embryo offspring of GM soy-fed mice had altered DNA functioning
• Several US farmers reported sterility or fertility problems among pigs and cows fed GM corn varieties
• Investigators in India have documented fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues, including deaths, among buffaloes fed GM cottonseed products

Further, GM foods are known to be highly allergenic, and according to Smith’s research, between 1994 and 2001 -- the same time that GMO’s flooded the market -- food related illnesses DOUBLED.

There is also compelling evidence available that GM potatoes may cause cancer in rats. This research, conducted by Dr. Arpad Pusztai, was suppressed for nearly 10 years because industry backers were questioning his results.

Well, in 2007 a Russian study confirmed the link, and Dr. Pusztai was, in short order, suspended from his job, ordered to hand over all his data, and threatened with legal action if he spoke to anyone on the subject.

As time goes on, it is becoming abundantly clear that the safety of GM foods has never been proven. And if you choose to eat them, you are joining one of the largest, most unethical experiments of all time: seeing what happens when people eat GM foods for a lifetime.

In the United States, introducing GM foods into our diet was done quietly and without the mandatory labeling that is required in most other industrialized countries. Without knowing what impact GM foods might have on human health, or letting people know which foods contain GM ingredients, the biotech industry is gambling with your health for their profit.

Which Foods are Most Likely to be Genetically Modified … and How Can You Avoid Them?

Nearly all of these foods are GM so it is wise to avoid them:

• Soy
• Corn
• Cottonseed
• Canola

It would also be wise to limit products made from these ingredients, such as vegetable oils, maltodextrin and high-fructose corn syrup. In fact, because corn and soy are so widely used in processed foods, at least 70 percent of the processed foods at your supermarket contain GM ingredients.

That’s seven out of every 10 products!

Just another strong reason to avoid eating processed foods.

Other GMO products include:

• Some varieties of zucchini, crookneck squash, and papayas from Hawaii
• Milk containing rbGH
• Rennet (containing genetically modified enzymes) used to make hard cheeses
• Aspartame (NutraSweet)

Avoiding all of the products listed above, unless they are certified organic, is one way to cut down on your intake of GM foods. Buying products that are certified organic or that say non-GMO are two other ways to limit your family‘s risk from GM foods, as organic foods are not allowed to contain GM ingredients.

And remember, anytime you’re buying produce a five-digit number beginning with 8 on the product sticker means it's GM. If you are shopping at a farmer’s market or food coop that does not have stickers on the produce, ask the farmer directly whether or not it’s GM.

Particularly in the United States, where GM products are not required to be labeled, it can be difficult to eat a GM-free diet. But I feel strongly that it is one of the more important things you can do for your health, and to help protect the environment.

For your convenience, download this Non-GMO Shopping Guide, which uses information from the Center for Food Safety and Institute for Responsible Technology that you can get for free.

You Can Vote With Your Pocketbook

If more of us begin to refuse GM foods, food manufacturers will have no choice but to listen. If you’re new to this topic or haven’t yet taken the time to watch The Future of Food, please do so now. It is perhaps one of the most important videos on this subject, and one that everyone in America should watch and pass on to others.

[+] Sources and References

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