This hidden code on your food means it’s genetically modified

Genetically modified foods (GMOs) have been around for two decades, but currenly, they’re the subject of intense debate about whether or not they’re good for us and our planet. Labeling isn’t yet mandated, but the National Bioengineered Food Law will require federal labeling laws by the middle of 2018. In the meantime, we’re gonna let you in on a trick for figuring out which food at the grocery store has been genetically modified. It comes to us care of David Friedman, MD, doctor of naturopathy and board certified in alternative medicine and integrative medicine.

12 PHOTOS
12 foods you should ALWAYS buy organic
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12 foods you should ALWAYS buy organic
12. Potatoes
11. Red peppers 
10. Tomatoes
9. Celery
8. Grapes
7. Cherries 
6. Pears
5. Peaches 
4. Apples 
3. Nectarines
2. Spinach
1. Strawberries
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The secret

You’ll find a sticker on all grocery store produce, Dr. Friedman tells Reader’s Digest. The sticker is known as a “PLU.” Here’s how to crack its numerical code:

  • Organic produce has a five-digit code beginning with “9.”
  • Conventionally grown produce has a four-digit code.
  • GMO produce begins with “8.”

Unfortunately, with labeling laws in flux, many growers omit the first digit, leaving consumers scratching their heads. But for now, only corn, soybeans, potatoes, squash, papayas, apples, alfalfa, and sugar beets have been approved by the USDA to be genetically modified and are currently being grown, according to the Genetic Literacy Project.

Other clues

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How to store every single type of fruit
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How to store every single type of fruit

Apples

How to Store: As soon as you bring them home, stash ‘em in the fridge. They should be good for up to three weeks.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Cover the remaining half (or slices) in tightly pressed plastic wrap and stick the apple back in the fridge. This will help prevent browning, which is caused by oxidation.

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Pears

How to Store: You should refrigerate them for a shelf life of about five days.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Same deal as apples, cover the slices with plastic wrap.

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Avocados

How to Store: Pop them in the fridge as soon as they’re ripe. That way, they’ll keep for about three days. (If they’re not ripe, store them on the counter.)

If You’ve Eaten Some: Brush lemon juice on the uneaten half to prevent it from browning, the press plastic wrap against the surface before putting it in the fridge.

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Bananas

How to Store: These can sit on your countertop and should stay fresh for about five days.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Ideally, the uneaten half is still in the peel. If it is, just wrap the exposed end with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge.

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Grapes

How to Store: Stick them in a bowl (or ventilated bag, like the one they come in) in the fridge and they should stay fresh for up to a week.

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Raspberries

How to Store: To maximize their shelf life, you should remove the bad ones from the carton first, then lay them out on a paper towel-lined plate in your fridge. This way, they should keep for three to four days.

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Blackberries

How to Store: Ditto the raspberries.

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Tomatoes

How to Store: You can store these guys in the fridge, just let them come up to room temperature before you eat them. (They should stay fresh for about a week.)

If You’ve Eaten Some: It’s best to store them in the fridge with the cut side down on a paper towel inside Tupperware.

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Melons

How to Store: Keep it in the fridge and it should last for a week or more.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Keep any sliced up leftovers in a plastic dish covered with plastic wrap.

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Mangoes

How to Store: Fridge storage is best to keep them fresh for about four days.

If You’ve Eaten Some: It’s fine to keep chopped up mangoes in a plastic bag in the fridge.

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Blueberries

How to Store: Get rid of any overripe berries, then keep them in their original plastic container inside the fridge. (They should last a full week.)

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Cherries

How to Store: Stick them in a bowl and keep them inside the fridge for a three-day shelf life.

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Oranges

How to Store: Just set them in a bowl on your countertop and they should stay fresh for a week or more.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Keep any uneaten slices in a plastic baggie.

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Grapefruit

How to Store: Just like oranges, this can also rest on your countertop for about a week for maximum freshness.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Store leftovers (plus, whatever juice you can save) in a plastic container.

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Kiwi

How to Store: Tuck them in the fridge and they should last three to four days.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

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Peaches

How to Store: If they’re ripe, pop them in the fridge and they should keep for five days.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Ideally, you can slice it up and keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Pineapple

How to Store: If it’s whole, keep it on the countertop and it will keep for five days. But if it’s sliced, you should keep it in the fridge.

If You’ve Eaten Some: Cover it in plastic wrap.

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Strawberries

How to Store: Just like blueberries, you should get rid of any gross-looking berries first, then store them in perforated container (like the one they came in). 

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If you find yourself staring down the business end of a four-digit PLU, you can look for the “USDA Certified Organic” or “Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification” labels, neither of which can be used unless the food is GMO-free. If you don’t see a five-digit PLU beginning “9,” assume it’s GMO. Because 90 percent of all soybean and corn grown in the US is GMO, most foods containing corn or soybean, or any derivative thereof, is GMO. Other popular GMO ingredients include sugar, aspartame, canola oil, dairy, and canola.

What if the label says “GMO-free,” “Non-GMO,” or “No GMOs”?

Don’t be fooled. Until the labeling regulations are finalized, labels bearing these terms could mean anything or nothing.

What’s wrong with GMO’s?

“Most GMOs are herbicide tolerant and resistant to infestation and disease,” Dr. Friedman explains. That means farmers can more liberally use herbicides and pesticides, and those toxins end up in our food, and studies indicate serious health risks may be associated with GMO consumption (including infertility, accelerated aging, and liver dysfunction).

Ready to buy organic? Read these 13 surprising facts about organic foods.

The post This Hidden Code on Your Food Means It’s Genetically Modified appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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