Decoding food labeling

Do you wonder how to recognize GMO produce in the fresh food section of the grocery store? Click on the Foodstab for information to give meaning to the ID numbers

Here is how to identify GMO produce:

According to Prevention magazine it is possible to identify GMO produce at some produce outlets by looking at the code number on the label. Produce grown conventionally, using chemicals, have a four-digit number beginning with 3 or 4. A ‘Honeycrisp’ apple, for example, has the code 3283 on its sticker. The code for a ‘Granny Smith’ apple is 4017. Organically-grown produce has a five-digit number starting with the number 9. Genetically modified produce also uses 

a five-digit number, but begins with the number 8. A genetically modified zucchini squash, for example, has a code that reads 84067. The difference between the three codes helps the store track sales for each type.

Just what exactly do the organic food labels  mean? Most of us realize that labels for organic  foods have as many  shades of meaning as "hot" or "cold". But in the case of supposedly organic  foods, there are explanations. The  newsletter, Nutrition Action Healthletter, October 2012, offers a quick guide to the various labels:

No Antibiotics Added - If beef, pork, lamb or poultry, documentation is required. No procedure for verifying claim on eggs, milk or fish.

Cage-free Poultry - Not confined to cages. May or may  not have access to outdoors.

Hormone-free - Illegal claim. All animals produce hormones.

Natural - Contains no artificial ingredients or added colors, and is  no more than "minimally processed." Does NOT mean organic or raised in  any  particular  way. Official definition applies only to meat, chicken and eggs, not other fresh or packaged foods.

No hormones Administered - If on beef, documentation is required. Meaningless on pork and chicken sine hormone use is never permitted. No procedure for verifying claim on milk, fish or eggs.

Certified Humane Raised and Handled - Animals have ample space and  shelter and  are able to perform natural  behaviors like dust bathing (chickens) or  rooting (pigs). No cages or crates are used. Feed contains no added antibodics or hormones. Humanely  slaughtered. Other certifications with higher standars are: Animal Welfae Approved and American Humane Certified.

Free-Range (Free-Roaming) - Poultry has access to the outdoors, but for no minimum time. No official definition for beef.

Grass-Fed - Animals get  most of their nutrients from grass throughout their lives. Unless  also labeled organic, they  may be given antibiotics, hormones, and insecticides.

Vegetarian-Fed - Feed  does not contain  animal byproducts like feather meal, chicken litter, dried blood, or ground up[  meat, poultry or fish.

Pasture-Raised - No official  meaning.




How To Store Potatoes For 20-Plus Years

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If 20 years sounds like a long time to store potatoes, then it might surprise you to know that “fresh” potatoes in the grocery store are often 11 months old when you buy them. Modern developments in commercial food storage allow growers to store produce with a chemical (1-methylcyclopropene), which extends the shelf life of vegetables.


Of course, fresh potatoes won’t last 20 years, but you can dehydrate them to get that kind of long-term shelf life while maintaining nutritional value.

Now save carrots for 20 years with a dehydrator