Can We Trust Our Food Labels?

This is a great question. People are becoming more aware about the food industries practices such as use of pesticides, Genetically Modified(GM) Foods, and with that awareness they are beginning to ask more questions. What caused me to begin thinking about food labels was all the "buzz" around the internet concerning the PLU (Price-Look-Ups) codes on produce. The PLU numbers break down the produce’s identification into its type, its variety and whether it is organically grown according to the standards of the National Organic Standards Board. A special PLU prefix also identifies genetically modified foods.

So the numbers on these labels "do" tell you information about the food. Typically the 4 digits codes on the produce reveal information for the merchant about inventory, stock orders and purchase price for consumers.  There is a code that signifies organic or genetically modified (GMO). If the food has a 5 digit number that starts with "9" then it is grown organically. If the food has an "8" at the beginning of the 5 digit code, then it is a GMO. Here's the catch: These codes are not required! Based on public polls that show people would not purchase GMO foods if they knew they were GMO, it's not very likely to start anytime soon. 

So when comes to the comes the "numbers" on the PLU stickers, in a perfect world, you could trust them. The problem this is FAR from a prefect world. Producers are NOT required to label GMO products; hence the potential for deception. If the producers of GMO products believe there is no harm in their products, then why not have transparency? 49 other countries already require this type of labeling. So I applaud Senator Sanders for introducing an Amendment to the Farm Bill that would provide some clarity on the foods we eat. Even the seed giant Monsanto has removed GMO foods from their cafeteria, and they are the largest producer of GMO seeds. Begs the question, If the altered seeds are harmless, then why don't you serve them? 

If you are in the dark about the potential problems of GMO foods, then visit www.healthiereating.org. This resource has tremendous information that can help inform you of the potential issues of GMO foods. As I always tell my patients, Do the research, look at both sides, and make an informed decision as to what the best course of action is for you and your family. 

If you want more information of the "safety" of GMO foods then watch the interview below between Dr. Mercola and Dr. Huber. Very insightful.