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.




Summer Food in Wintry February


16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.

2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.

3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.

4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.

5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.

6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.

more such winter gardening from Off the Grid News