Organic, NonGMO, Conventional, GF: Food labels 101
I always get asked if I eat 100% organic and in reality after the use of pesticides and GMOS there is no such thing as 100% organic. So I use this guide for buying and rinse all my produce well with apple cider vinegar and hot water. If it is “organic” with a little bit of dirt leave it alone, it’s good for ya. Don’t drive yourself crazy at the grocery store reading all the labels. This should help narrow things down.
Lets talk about all those labels they have been putting on our food and what you should be buying. As always do what works for you. (mind, body, or budget).
Organic: is defined that it has to be at least 70% organic. If you watch the documentary Genetic Roulette it will explain further.
NonGMO: free of any genetically modified organisms. If you don’t know what a GMO is its pretty much food that has been made in a lab synthetically and that can’t be good for you.
GMOs do not have to be labelled so If you don’t see this or the Organic sign on your products it probably has GMO ingredients.
Conventional: regular produce that has been sprayed with pesticides in order to “improve” shelf life or growth of the product. Always wash with a pesticide rinse before consumption.
GF: means Gluten Free. Gluten is anything that has “BROW”. Barley, Rye, Oats, and Wheat. People with celiac disease are pretty much the only people who really need to worry about this unless you’ve been told by a physician to avoid as well.
These labels can be pretty intimidating if you don’t understand them. The GF label is on pretty much everything from Tortillas to Shampoo and lip balms.
When it comes to produce you don’t always have to buy organic. They have rule of thumb like the CLEAN15 and the “DIRTY-DOZEN” ( The lists have expanded with time).
Foods that MUST be Organic
- Tomatoes/ Cherry Tomatoes
- Bell Peppers/ Hot Peppers
- Kale/ Collard Greens
- Canola oil
- Soy bean
Foods that can be bought Conventional because they have the least pesticides or protective skin
- Cantaloupe/ Honeydew
- Sweet peas
- Potatoes/ Sweet Potatoes
You can tell what these produce are by looking at the code on the label.
Organic: 5 digit code starting with 9
Conventional: 4 digit code starting with 3 or 4
GMO: 5 digit code starting with 8
Buying all Organic, NonGMO, GF isn’t always in our budget. Pick and choose the items you really use the most. The processed or packaged products with these labels are pricy. Find ways to make your own at a cheaper cost.
Happy Grocery Shopping.