“Knowing where your food comes from can change your life.” – Alice Waters
According to the Organic Trade Association, the USDA Certified Organic seal does not allow farmers to use GMO seeds or to feed GMO grain to livestock. So this organic labeling should imply that a product is non-GMO. However, that isn’t always the case. GMO soy, corn, and sugar are being found in organic food at increasing rates. To understand why this is happening, we need to fully understand the story of GMOs.
GMO stands for genetically modified organism. Remember from science class that an organism is any living thing—grouped into categories of animals, plants, and fungi. A modified organism contains portions of DNA that belong to an unrelated organism.
Growers create GMOs to improve a crop’s yield, appearance, and/or resistance to pests or pesticides. Farming with GMOs typically goes hand-in-hand with an increased use of toxic pesticides.
Decades of modifying organisms paired with steady increases in pesticide usage have led to a new problem—pesticide-resistance super weeds. Because these weeds are more resistant, farmers continue to use greater quantities of increasingly potent pesticide. GMOs have created a toxic cycle.
According to Greenpeace, the use of GMOs is harmful to the environment, our ecosystem, our plants and animals, and to human health. In response to these observations, dozens of countries have banned the use of GMOs. Yet they remain rampant in the United States food supply.
Organic farming should be the answer. But testing reveals GMOs in an increasing number of certified organic products. How is this happening? As the number of organic farms, manufacturers, and products grows exponentially, the USDA isn’t able to provide the same degree of attention. While the same standards exist, it is increasingly more difficult to police.
At the same time, we are seeing more organic fields being contaminated by GMO seeds planted nearby. The more aggressive GMO seeds are carried by birds, butterflies, and bees, small mammals, rain runoff, and even the wind.
So, while an organic farm’s seeds may be completely non-GMO, this contamination means that their crop output may not meet the same standard.
The newer Non-GMO seal initiated by the Non-GMO Project seeks to help consumers identify which organic products are really free of GMOs. In order to qualify for the seal, a product is rigorously tested by an independent third-party to ensure it meets the standard.
In order to nourish your body with pure nutrition, and protect our way of life, choose products that have this Non-GMO seal in addition to the USDA Organic or BioDynamic Organic seal.
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What To Remember:
The overuse of GMOs has led to an increase of pesticide use, resistance, and cross contamination.
GMO soy, corn, and sugar are being detected in organic food at increasing rates.
The spread of GMOs is bad for our planet and health.
It is important to choose foods that are both Certified Organic and Non-GMO.
Non-GMO Project. GMO Facts. NonGMOProject.org.
Haumann, Barbara. Organic and GMOs. OTA.org.
Bain and Selfa. (January, 2017). Non-GMO vs organic labels: purity or process guarantees in a GMO contaminated landscape. SpringerLink.com.
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