Organic food is increasingly in demand as discriminate consumers become more aware of just how much common food items are the product of genetic engineering. Did you know that over half of processed foods that the average shopper drops in a grocery cart has some engineered ingredients in the products such as corn that contains a small amount of pesticide in every cell? Or did you know that over 80% of all soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered to withstand heavy chemical exposure from agricultural weedkiller without dying itself? Even foods that claim to be “organic” are not always totally organic in nature. Usually the product may only have a portion of organic ingredients. Only food items that are labeled “certified organic” are truly organic.
Just about everywhere you turn, there are genetically modified foods in favorite drinks, fast foods, packaged frozen foods and even in some of the “organic” versions of the same. So what are health conscious consumers who want to avoid genetically engineered foods as much as possible to do? Other than grow your own organic food supply in your back yard, here are a few suggestions that will help you find safe replacements to the commonly produced food supply.
Choose Certified Organic Foods
When you shop at a grocery store or whole food store, be sure to look for food that carries a label reading “Certified Organic.” This is the best assurance that you are purchasing organically grown foods. Don’t be fooled by simply the word “organic” listed somewhere in a title or on a food label. Only a “Certified Organic” label is the real deal.
Check the Produce Codes
A handy bit of information to help you double check your produce as to whether or not it is organic is to simply check the PLU code that is printed on the small sticker attached to all produce. If the code begins with a 9, then it’s really organic produce. If the code starts with a 4, it is conventionally produced and if the code starts with an 8, it is genetically engineered. While there are only a few varieties of engineered produce sold, this knowledge is helpful in distinguishing between organic produce and the rest.
Patronize Local Farms in Your Area
One of the best places to find good produce is to pick it up from your local farmer’s market or produce stand on the corner. Some local farms also will allow you to pick your own fruits or vegetables straight from the plants. This type of produce generally has a better flavor, usually has less or no pesticide residue than its big store counterpart and is fresher because it has not traveled thousands of miles to end up on your dinner table.
You also get an added bonus of meeting some very fine, local farmers who may divulge some of their farming knowledge to you for free! You may also find unpasturized milk and cheese from area farmers that is delicious and healthy. Even though some of the local foods may not be “certified organic,” you can bet that they are healthier than just about anything you will find in a large grocery store chain.
While it may take a little time investigating your best food sources that are truly organic, it is well worth the effort given the huge rewards to gain in better health and better tasting foods for you and your family.