Going GMO free? Dr. Oz shares ways to really know what youre eating

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Do you know -- really know -- what you're feeding your family? It can be tough. 

Most products don't label items that contain genetically modified organisms

"The big concern that I have ... is we don't actually know which foods are GMO or not," Dr. Mehmet Oz explained, saying that 93 percent of Americans share that worry. "When you don't know if it's GMO, then you don't know if it's a problem."

Oz, arguably the most popular doctor in the country, shared a few ways to help people understand what to look for at the grocery store to avoid GMOs.

He also talked about a new smartphone app being developed here in the Valley called Check GMO [iTunes: Check GMO | Droid: Check GMO]. It's a barcode scanner, one of many new tools designed to help you know what you're putting into your body. Oz believes more and more people will take advantage such tools.

"They are hugely helpful," he said. "We're actually tackling this later on this week on the show. But this huge debate now about GMO foods can be put to bed if people just knew which foods were GMO or not and this app helps you do that.

"There are these UPC codes -- there are little stickers on fruits and vegetables, They have numbers on them -- and those numbers mean something," Oz continued, explained how Check GMO works. "If there are four numbers it means it was growing using traditional techniques of pesticides and it's not organic. If it has five numbers and the first number is a nine that usually means it's organic. This app helps you figure that out.

"It's a very simple tool.  I like the idea of using technology to guide moms and dads making decisions about their family's  health."

On his show Thursday, Oz will explain what a GMO is, why GMOs increase the amount of pesticide on your food and the tricks to avoiding GMOs in your family’s food.

He will be joined by expert Scott Farber of the Environmental Working Group, a consumer watchdog organization.

Together they will reveal:

  • The percentage of foods in your supermarket made with GMOs
  • Why GMOs have led to increased use of pesticides – nearly one hundred million pounds of pesticides a year!
  • The food industry’s fight to stop GMO food labels
  • Why the food industry says labeling GMO foods will increase the cost of food
  • Scott’s tips to avoid GMO foods in the grocery store
  • Why paying attention to the PLU sticker on your produce may offer GMO clues

Why now?

GMOs are getting a lot of press right now, specifically because of a food blogger.

Best known as Food Babe, her name is Vani Hari. The activist blogger launched a petition for the removal of a dangerous plastic chemical called  azodicarbonamide from Subway sandwich bread here in the United States.

She says it's a bleaching agent used to make bread whiter and more puffy. It is not used by Subway in other countries.

Within 24 hours, that petition received over 50,000 signatures.

Subway’s social media channels were completely overrun by concerned citizens. Subway executives have said plans are in the works to have the chemical removed from the bread.

Catch "Dr. Oz" weeknights at 8 p.m. on 3TV.