T Nation

How To Look At Produce


For those of you who are trying to avoid genetically modified produce/foods because of the health problems they can cause,here are some easy ways to tell if your produce is genetically modified or not:

Those little stickers on fruit and vegetables contain different PLU codes depending on whether the fruit was conventionally grown, organically grown or genetically engineered. The PLU code for conventionally grown fruit consists of four numbers, organically grown fruit five numbers prefaced by the number 9, and GM fruit five numbers prefaced by the number 8.

For example:

Conventionally grown PLU: 1022

Organically grown PLU: 91022

Genetically modified PLU: 81022

In terms of fruit, another strategy is to avoid hybrid varieties, which are fruits that have been altered by humans. Typically hybrid fruits contain more sugar than regular varieties so they taste sweeter and can be picked out because generally they don't contain seeds (seedless watermelon, seedless grapes, etc.). Although there are also seeded hybrid varieties, avoiding seedless fruits is one of the more prominent ways to avoid hybrid fruits.
Hope this is helpful to those who try to lead a healthier life style,cthuhlu.


thanks for the info


Thanks for the tip! I've been looking for more organic food for my 15 month old son, this will definitely help! Thanks again!



Christ, I don't know where to begin...

O.K., you know that man has been hydridizing crops for about 10,000 years, right? All the fruits and vegetables you are eating today have been genetically altered by humans and are the result of artificial selection. In other words, if you want fruits and veggies that are not the result of hybridizing, you're gonna have to go foraging for wild varieties. Good luck finding those wild tomatoes or that wild brocolli.

This is yet another example of the mis-information put out by the all-organic types. They have no idea what they are talking about.

If you want to reduce the sugar in your diet, I'd look to other places than what's in fruits. You might look to that post work-out drink you're sucking down.


Genetically modified is not the same as hybrid. Many organic fruits and veggies are hybrid.

Gojira: Just to clarify, are you saying organic is not better?


Catch it in a vegetative state... it'll have it's guard down and you can more easily determine it's pedigree.


To hybridize IS to genetically modify. You select the seed parent and the pollen parent. I bet I've done more hand pollinations than you've had hot lunches.

I think what you are attemping to talk about are genetically engineered foods (transgenic). Transgenic crops are heavily regulated throughout every step of their production by agencies such as the USDA, the FDA and the EPA.

There is a hysteria in this country regarding genetic engineering and food. Basically people are frightened by what they don't understand and are thus easily taken advantage of. They won't read the research papers or do file reviews. Instead(just like with steroids), they get their (bad) information from the media.

Remember about seven years ago when people had a fit about Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) being genetically engineered into corn to control moth larvae? These folks claimed that the pollen from the corn was drifting onto nearby milkweed and killing off Monarch butterflies.

Well, the truth is, no butterfly killoffs were ever found, it was all based on an experiment (a very bad experiment) run in a lab and not in field conditions. What is really interesting is that the same folks who were screaming about killing off the monarchs were completely silent while our forests were SPRAYED with Bt to kill off the gypsy moths.

And yes, Bt does have a lethal effect on many lepidoptera besides the gypsy moth. So Bt is bad if used in corn and might harm the Monarchs, but good if used to spray our forests so that we can have our picnics without gypsy moth larvae falling into our food?

Show me some data - real data from peer reviewed journals demonstrating that transgenic foods cause health problems.

In regard to your question about organic being better; better than what? Is benzene better than water, because benzene is organic and water is not.

If you are referring to pesticide usage, there are many benefits to limiting pesticde usage. Wholesale pesticide usage is very damging to the delicate natural balance that occurs in ecosytems. This is where the real problem lies, not whether or not you've got a little 2,4-D residue on your apple.


I always look at fruit with my eyes. Sometimes me and my girlfriend play "Guess That Fruit" where you're not allowed use of the eyes, and that usually ends in me flopping my sack in her hand and telling her it's a rotten avocado.


So you're saying that organic foods can be Genetically modified?


Wild organic fruit isn't genetically modified.
The USDA bans that on organic produce.
Although it appears that nearly all the organic seeds have some level of contamination with genetically modified crops,they're still much better than genetically modified produce.I'm not talking about fruits that have been altered by humans hundreds of years ago.


Science Shows GM Foods Are Dangerous

New Study Shows Humans Are at Danger from GM Foods

A scientific study on GM foods has been published and it shows dangers.
What about previous studies? Ah well, the anti-science GM corporations (and government agencies that are supposed to watch over them) have not previously made any such studies! They simply pay lobbyists to get government approval to sell their untested products. You and your children are being used as guinea pigs.

As Craig Winters of the Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods puts it, "A new study published by the British Food Safety Standards Agency is the world's first known trial of genetically engineered foods on human volunteers. Don't you find that incredible? How in the world can the biotech industry say these foods are safe when they have never done any peer-reviewed clinical feeding studies on humans?"

Here are some excerpts from recent news reports appearing in the Daily Mail (UK) and released by Friends of the Earth.

by Sean Poulter
Eating GM food can change the genetic make-up of your digestive system and could put you at risk of infections that are resistant to antibiotics, experts said today.
A British study has revealed that volunteers who ate one meal containing genetically modified soya had traces of the modified DNA in bacteria in their small intestines.

Scientists now fear that GM foods, which are often modified to be resistant to antibiotics, will leave Britons vulnerable to untreatable diseases. The research contradicts repeated claims by the GM industry that gene transfer from foods to humans is extremely unlikely. It also raises the possibility that millions of people may already have GM bacteria from food they have eaten.

Geneticist Dr Michael Antoniou, London, said the results indicated the need for an extensive GM foods testing programme. He added: "The most significant finding is that there is GM soya DNA in the bacteria at readily detectable levels in the small intestines. It was always said by the industry that this could not happen or was extremely unlikely."

Dr Antoniou added: "Bacteria in the gut are going to take up genes that will make them resistant to potentially therapeutic antibiotics. The possibility is that someone who picked up the antibiotic resistance through food and then fell ill, that a medical antibiotic might not be effective."

Genetically Engineered Crop Gene Found for First Time in Bacteria in Human Digestive System; Concerns About Antibiotic Resistance Raised
New evidence from British scientists raises serious questions about the safety of genetically engineered foods. A study published by the British Food Safety Standards Agency (FAS) showed for the first time that a gene inserted in a genetically engineered crop has found its way into bacteria in the human gut.
Many engineered crops have antibiotic resistance marker genes inserted in them, and there are fears that if material from these marker genes passes into humans, people's ability to fight infections may be reduced.

Researchers fed a single meal of a hamburger and a milk shake that both contained genetically engineered soy to study participants. According to the FSA gene uptake study, entitled "Evaluating the Risks Associated with Using GMOs in Human Foods" (pp. 22-27, http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/science/sciencetopics/gmfoods/gm_reports ), an herbicide resistance gene from a Roundup Ready variety of engineered soy was found by researchers in bacteria from the small intestines of three out of seven study participants (pg. 24).

Adrian Bebb, GM food campaigner for Friends of the Earth UK said, "This research should set alarm bells ringing. Industry scientists and government advisors have always played down the risk of this ever happening, but the first time they looked for it they found it."

The biotech industry has long maintained that DNA is destroyed during digestion and that there are barriers to incorporation of genetically engineered crop genes by bacteria. According to a March 4, 2001 news release by the multi-million dollar biotech lobbying initiative called the Council for Biotechnology Information, "the DNA contained in food -- including the antibiotic-resistance gene -- is broken down in the human gut during the digestive process."

However, those assertions crumbled under the FSA findings, which showed that engineered crop genes can survive digestion long enough to be incorporated by bacteria.

The new evidence raises safety concerns for people eating genetically engineered foods. In particular, if antibiotic resistance genes used in some varieties of engineered crops are being picked up by bacteria in the intestines of people eating engineered foods, this could increase bacterial resistance to life-saving antibiotics.

According to Michael Antoniou, a senior lecturer in molecular genetics at King's College Medical School in London, the study "suggests that you can get antibiotic marker genes spreading amongst the bacterial population within the intestine which could compromise future antibiotic use. They have shown that this can happen even at very low levels after just one meal."

Given the research results, Friends of the Earth is calling for the immediate withdrawal of genetically engineered crops containing antibiotic resistance markers from the market. The organization also calls for further research into the effects of gene transfer to bacteria.

In May 1999, the British Medical Association also called for a ban of crops with antibiotic resistance marker genes stating, "There should be a ban on the use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in GM food, as the risk to human health from antibiotic resistance developing in micro-organisms is one of the major public health threats that will be faced in the 21st Century."


So why is genetically modified bad? Why is it worse than organic?


Well, antibiotic resistance does threaten to pose a problem. I think it's much more of a problem because of animals who are given high doses of antibiotics and antibiotic abuse among human beings than because of crops.


If the fruit gets out of the display case and chases you into the dairy section while screaming, "You're MY salad, bitch!"

...chances are it's been genetically modified.


For the first time, it has been proved that bacteria in the human gut can take up DNA from genetically modified food.

Opponents of GM foods say the results vindicate their warnings that this might happen, and that the risk of gut bacteria scavenging antibiotic resistance genes from GM food is no longer theoretical.

"This is a first," says Adrian Bebb of the Friends of the Earth. "We've said time and time again there's a risk of this happening. Now, they've looked just once and they've found it."

Burger and Soy Shake

Harry Gilbert and colleagues at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne made the discovery, after feeding volunteers with a burger and a milk shake containing GM soya.

To see how the GM food was dealt with by different parts of the digestive system, he gave the food to 12 healthy volunteers and to seven volunteers who had previously had their colons surgically removed.

When he examined stools from the healthy volunteers, he found no traces whatever of DNA from the GM food. It had all been digested. Nor did he find any evidence that gut bacteria had taken up the DNA.

But when he examined waste products collected from the seven ileostomy bags, he found that up to 3.7 per cent of the GM DNA survived.

Crucially, in three of the seven, he found that bacteria had taken up GM DNA from the soya. But "despite exhaustive attempts", he could not isolate the precise bacteria which had taken up the GM DNA. He concludes that the DNA must have been taken up only by tiny proportions of gut bacteria.

Destructive Enzyme

To account for the differences between the "ileostomists" and volunteers with intact digestive systems, Gilbert's team speculate that DNA might survive the small bowel but gets completely destroyed in the large bowel. They say in a draft manuscript that people with ileostomies might produce less of the enzyme that degrades DNA.

As supporting evidence, they found that unmodified soya DNA survived in the small bowel as plentifully as the GM DNA. "It shows that the GM DNA acts in the body the same way as DNA from regular food," says a spokeswoman from the FSA.

In a separate experiment on colonies of intestinal cells, Gilbert's team showed that raw loops of GM DNA called plasmids can be taken up directly, but only by one gut cell in 3000.


Look around,there is enough evidence showing the dangers of GM foods.


Lol,that happens with fast food.


I said studies from peer-reviewed journals - not web site articles from groups such as "Friends of the Earth".

O.K., let me explain my scepticism. I work for one of those three letter acronym agencies. I cannot tell you how many times I have read news accounts or web sites dealing with events and issues I have personal knowledge of, which are grossly in error, sensational and purposely biased in order to elicit a response from the public, separate them from the money in their wallet or sell publications.

It is for these reasons I don't believe what I read unless there is a good measure of credibility to back it up.

Your pals at Friends of the Earth have an agenda. That makes for very bad science (and the link is bad).


No doubt. It calls for extreme skepticism. Maybe some measure of evidence supports their claims. But it's far from adequate.


Thanks for cutting through the hype Gogira.