Even “Organic” is suspect these days. Is it really organic? There isn’t much in the way of regulations to assure us that a label is what it says it is. And an organic farmer could be next door to a Monsanto farm, and become contaminated by proximity.
PLU codes help somewhat–a 9 in front of the code means “organic,” but not all produce is labeled as such. From Snopes.com:
If you only want organic produce, look for items that are specifically labeled as “Organic”; if you want to ensure you avoid any GM produce, buy only items that are USDA certified as “100% organic” (which cannot by law be produced from GMOs). In the latter case consumers might also look for “non-GMO” or “GMO-free” indicators, but that option is still somewhat problematic as the U.S. government does not yet directly regulate the use of those terms
And although there is a code for GMO (numbers starting with “8”) they are rarely used; which is understandable–most people would avoid a product labeled as GMO if they had a choice.
So if at all possible, buy organic from your local produce grower, where you know the source and the footprint is small.
At least with more and more consumers opting for organic alternatives, the price of organic produce is not so exorbitantly high in comparison to “regular” produce as it used to be. And it is more readily available.
It’s been almost 50 years now since Joni Mitchell was begging,
“Hey farmer farmer
Put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Can’t say as we’ve come a long way, as pesticides are still a problem, making it all the more important to shop organic whenever possible.