More on GMO and GE food and how to avoid it

Oh boy. It's a jungle in the grocery store. Far better to grow your food in your own back yard... Sorry. Better think again.

It seems the final paragraph in my past article on the definitions of GE and GMO may have left a few readers dazed and confused.

I did say I would post more information on my website but, well…life happens. So, perhaps for the best, I add more info here in this column.

I had stated, “…we should definitely be wary of the GMO (genetically modified organism) designation.”

This is because the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA) has deemed this title to include those foods that have been genetically engineered, as well as those that have been bred in the traditional manner…which is really what GMO stands for.

It is therefore imperative you check the food items you buy if you want to keep GE foods off your plate.

But how can we know if a particular food is GE or not?

The CFIA certainly has not gone to bat for us in the labelling department. Companies are not legally required to declare whether their product contains a GMO ingredient or not.

Even the laws governing “organic” designation are a tad lax.

Legally, a company can put “organic” on their label as long as 95 per cent of the ingredients are non-GMO. That leaves a window for your favourite organic chocolate bar to contain some genetically modified sugar.

And highly likely, too, since 95 per cent of sugar beets, one main source of sugar, grown in the Untied States is GMO…according to 2010 statistics.

And just so you know…93 per cent of canola and over 85 per cent of the corn grown in the States are genetically modified. Canada is not without our fair share of these crops too, by the way.

So, again, how can we know what the heck we are buying?

When it comes to produce, the PLU sticker on your apples or avocados will give you a clue. If it is a four-digit number…it is a crop that has been grown using conventional agricultural methods, which may or may not have involved pesticides at some point.

If your squash boasts a sticker with a five-digit number and it starts with an 8, it is a genetically modified squash.

If your oranges also have a five-digit number but it starts with a 9, that means those oranges have been grown organically.

Most stores in our area use this PLU code system for their produce but this is not always the case. Yup…you guessed. In Canada, this system is voluntary. And, there are no federal regulations governing these stickers or even what constitutes a PLU sticker.

One piece of good news: if a sticker is used, you can rest assured the information number on it is accurate, according to Allison Jorgens, a professional home economist who worked in the food manufacturing industry as a food label specialist.

Oh boy. It’s a jungle in the grocery store. Far better to grow your food in your own back yard where you have control of what goes into your veggies and fruits.

Sorry. Better think again.

What about the seeds you have to buy?

With Monsanto owning as much as 80 per cent of the seed industry now, I have a hard time giving them my money. Especially since they keep a “war chest” with which they take small farmers to court.

It is definitely “buyer beware” out there.

And I promise, there will be more information about this subject on my website very soon!

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at www.duchessofdirt.ca and her column appears every second Friday in the Record.

Just Posted

Brooklyn Elementary was able to get its expanded garden ready this spring. Photo by Comox Valley Schools
Comox Valley school garden in full bloom after setback

Along with COVID delays, Brooklyn Elementary project had lumber stolen in 2020

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Little Brown Bat, Cori Lausen image
Puntledge River bats being studied

Project will use ultrasonic data to collect information on species and habitat

A 30x40 ft boat/car shop in the Little River area near Wilkinson Road was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived on scene. Photo by Comox Fire Rescue
Comox firefighters battle ‘showy’ shop fire Saturday night

Smoke could be seen throughout the Comox Valley

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read