By now you know that I'm an organic nut! Last week at the grocery store, I taught my son the trick to knowing whether a particular fruit or vegetable is organic: if the number on the produce sticker begins with a "9," it's organic. This ended up being an excellent way of keeping my son busy while making my rounds through the bulk bins at Whole Foods. I just placed the fruit on one side of him in the cart, and he inspected every sticker to make sure it began with the number "9."
So what do the other numbers mean? If the number begins with a "3" or "4," the food was grown conventionally (i.e., generally sprayed with chemicals, weed killers and pesticides). If it begins with an "8" it is genetically modified. By genetically modified, I'm not referring to hybrid fruits like apriums or pluots or tangelos (all delicious!). I'm referring to those nasty foods, the genetic makeup of which has been modified by the introduction of DNA from other microbes, plants and animals and/or pesticidal genes, creating unstable cellular structures that do not occur in nature. (Click here for a brief primer on Everything You Need to Know About GMOs.) I'm referring to Monsanto-related crops, which, incidentally, have been banned from France, Germany, Greece, Austria, Luxembourg, and Hungary. These foods have significant health risks.
I've never actually encountered a food beginning with the number "8," mostly because I shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, neither of which sells genetically modified produce. But I have visions of coming across one and being really mad at it!
In reality, I'm sure I've encountered - and even eaten - genetically modified foods, particularly because I eat at restaurants that undoubtedly cook with soybean, corn, and canola oil, and have eaten conventionally-grown edamame at sushi restaurants, and those are the products most likely to be affected by GMOS. My solution, however, is to stick with a diet rich in leafy greens - I stick spinach and kale in everything from smoothies to apple sauce to pasta sauce - which, in my mind at least, detoxifies my body of those harmful ingredients.
Here's a littly rhyme to remind you of what the numbers mean when you're at the store:
3 and 4 are a bore
8 I hate
9 is divine
(Note: I didn't make this up, but I have no idea who to credit it to.)