The Checkup: Is that a Genetically Modified Banana?

Here's a simple way to tell.

• I love a good news-you-can-use post. So handy! That’s why I just had to share this post about how to tell if the fruit you’re about to buy has been genetically modified (it’s not something the FDA requires growers to disclose to consumers). So here’s the trick: the PLU code tells you everything you need to know. See how to decode them here, and learn more about genetically modified foods (and their health risks) here.

• Wouldn’t you like to know if a doctor was getting a kickback from a drug company? I sure would. The New York Times reports on a new federal policy that would compel drug makers to disclose payments—in the form of money, trips, lavish dinners, whatever—made to doctors in exchange for everything from providing advice to giving lectures. Scary:

The Times has found that doctors who take money from drug makers often practice medicine differently from those who do not and that they are more willing to prescribe drugs in risky and unapproved ways, such as prescribing powerful antipsychotic medicines for children.

The new measure would require disclosure of such payments and make the disclosures available to the public. Drug companies would face stiff penalties for noncompliance, and the government promises to audit the companies to make sure they’re being truthful. I honestly don’t see a downside here; enlighten me if you do.

• If somebody offers you so-called “bath salts” at a party, you probably shouldn’t take him (or her! lets be fair) up on it. The legal-but-should-probbaly-be-illegal street drug can lead to a terrifying flesh-eating disease, according to a new study. In one case, a woman had to have her arm, shoulder and collarbone amputated and had to undergo a mastectomy. Please, agree with me: that is so, so not worth the high.