Reading Organic, Conventional & GMO Food Labels


Genetically modified food has permeated the American food supply, given the prevalent use of corn, soy, and canola, among others, and all their derivatives.  GMOs have developed a stigma in recent years, but rather than eliminate these from their products and supplies, many corporations have gone lengths to cover up and confuse consumers with unclear labeling.  Here’s a set of three things to look out for to help you ensure GMOs don’t end up in your diet.


Read the Numbers on the Labels:

Conventional Fruit Labels: These start with the number 4.

GMO Fruit Labels: These start with the number 8, and are usually, but not always, 5 digits in length.

Organic Fruit Labels: These start with the number 9, and are always only 5 digits long.


100% Organic Labeling:

Look for foods that are labeled 100% organic.  The majority of organically-labeled foods are a mixed bag—some of the ingredients are organic, while others aren’t.  The labels will highlight the organic aspects while neglecting to mention the other ingredients that are often genetically modified.


Make Sure It’s GMO-Free

We might not always be able to eat 100% organic, but we can make sure that the worst parts of conventional food—GMOs—don’t enter into our diets.  Look for labels that say GMO-free, or non-GMO, and if you’re not sure, avoid conventional products with the ingredients most likely to be genetically modified—corn, soy, alfalfa (in many green supplements), canola oil, and cottonseed oil (the latter two often labeled as vegetable oil or shortening).






Jonathan Cho