Posted By: Marlowe DeVille /
Author George Vojvodic discovers that food labeled "organic" doesn't guarantee it's Non GMO.
GMO or non GMO? That is the question….
Lately, GMO products have been hit with some bad publicity. I recently went to a local grocery store in Palatine, Illinois and took a photo of this USDA Organic certified wheat package. In case you can’t see it, this is a whole wheat Gemelli brand wheat product with the fancy USDA Organic logo. However, an organic label alone does not guarantee that you are getting a non GMO product.
What’s the Difference?
The difference is what each of these terms describe. The term organic is used to define how a product is grown. GMO and non GMO are adjectives that describe whether the product is genetically altered in some way. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. An organism that is genetically modified can still be grown organically.
GMO plants have their genetic code changed in a way deemed beneficial by scientists, not by nature. Before 1997 the USDA Organic label did not specify whether or not the produce grown organically was non GMO or if GMO plants needed to be excluded from the definition of organic. Over the years the USDA has changed it’s stance.
The USDA government website states that,
USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use…
These standards cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives.
Organic farms and processors:
- Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
- Support animal health and welfare
- Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
- Only use approved materials
- Do not use genetically modified ingredients
- Receive annual onsite inspections
- Separate organic food from non-organic food
These standards specifically state that USDA certified organic products are in fact non GMO products as well. This is not necessarily true for all organic standards and certainly has not been true at all times in the past.