WHAT DO PRODUCE CODES AND FOOD LABELS MEAN?
In order to create this kind of change, we have to educate ourselves and start choosing better. Any time we shop from grocery stores, we are sure to check the labels and PLU number codes on the fruits and veggies and it’s good to know what these produce codes and labels mean. See the codes below and a few insights on what they stand for:
#4xxx – Conventionally Grown (Sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides)
#8xxxxx – GMO (Genetically Modified Organism – has had its DNA altered or modified in some way through genetic engineering)
#9xxxxx – Organic (Limits use of synthetic materials during production)
When produce is labeled organic, it means at least 95% of it is organically produced. The remaining 5% is supposedly approved by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture). Organic, thank goodness, is more regulated than conventional or GMO.
Food labeled “100% Organic” consists only of organic ingredients.
Food labeled “Made with Organic Ingredients” consists of at least 70% organic ingredients.
“Natural Flavors” in an ingredient list that includes any substance that derives from a plant or animal. It covers up the fact that there are bugs in your coffee, cupcakes and medicines. It covers up harmful chemicals like MSG with friendlier names like “autolyzed yeast extract” and the list goes on.
Look out for food advertised and labeled as “natural” or “all-natural”. These terms are vague, tricky and misleading. For instance, the USDA doesn’t define a difference between “natural” or “all-natural” and foods labeled “natural” can contain growth hormones, antibiotics and more. Neither the FDA nor the USDA regulates food labeled “natural”, so it’s no wonder why so many unhealthy food products use it. It is easily misinterpreted and the consumer doesn’t usually know any better.
Want to go a step further? Check out our Live Food vs Dead Food post!
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