October is non-GMO month. What does that mean? GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, which refers to the genetic engineering of a plant (or animal) by scientists. Many consumers are concerned about the impact of genetically engineered plants on the environment and on our bodies, and are fighting to make GMO labeling mandatory on product packaging.
Genetic engineering requires direct manipulation of the plant. Scientists splice isolated genes from another organism into the DNA of a plant (or animal) to create a particular outcome. For example, Monsanto spliced a pesticide-resistant enzyme from bacteria into soy, so that the soy became resistant to that pesticide. Many people worry about the long-term effects of this type of altered plant. No long-term testing of the impact of GMOs on the human body or environment is available yet.
Buying certified organic is the best way to avoid GMOs and to have an overall positive impact on our planet. The National Organic Program requires that no “synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering” are used on organic products. Buying organic also ensures the absence of many other negatives, including exposure to toxic chemicals (pesticides and herbicides), antibiotics and hormones, water pollution, soil erosion, and more.
Non-GMO month was started in 2010 by the Non-GMO Project to raise awareness about genetically engineered foods. High-potential GMO ingredients include conventional corn, canola, soy, beets, cotton, and derivatives such as malt, citric acid, maltodextrin, and soy lecithin.
This is information everyone should read. I agree that buying organic is always the way to go. I’m not sure, though, that people understand what that always means. I know some individuals who try to take the most ecologically sound and healthiest route to eating, but think that a label that reads “all natural” means organic. There’s a lot of education that needs to happen, and, unfortunately, we have a long way to go. Thanks for the post. 🙂
I agree! There’s a lot of confusion about labels out there. I think some folks don’t realize that organic products are always non-GMO, so they look for both certifications on a product! That’s why we wanted to remind folks during Non-GMO month that organic IS non-GMO, and carries many other benefits. And certainly “all natural” is confusing. Often the all natural label seems to be more about the packaging and less about the product’s ingredients…
I couldn’t agree more. It’s really nice to read posts from people who are trying to clear up misconceptions. 🙂 Thank you!
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Love the way you are educating people as to what GMOs are & love the fact that you are creating awareness & the content of your blog in general. However I hate to say it (and don’t want to put your post down in anyway) but saying “buying certified organic is the best way to avoid GMOs” is certainly very misleading. Organic does not mean NON GMO, in fact many of the leading organic brands are part of larger corporations that are lobbying AGAINST the non-gmo movement… Such as ‘Santa Cruz Organics’. I was gutted when I found this out. Such a shame that they are making it harder & harder for ethical consumers such as you and I to make positive choices! The only way to be safe is to buy ‘Organic’ and certified ‘Non GMO’ where available…
I will be covering this issue in my next blog at http://betherippleeffect.wordpress.com/ & will also continue to read & enjoy your blog 🙂
Hi Edward, thanks for commenting! In fact, 100% USDA Certified Organic does mean non-GMO. As stated in the National Organic Program (NOP) quote above, a product must be free of any genetic engineering to qualify for the USDA Organic stamp. Thus, consumers can be certain that 100% Certified USDA Organic products are always non-GMO. I think there’s a lot of confusion about this, and we’re seeing some products get Organic and Non-GMO certified, even though the first already verifies the second.
You’re right that some organic brands are owned by large corporations that sell genetically modified and other conventional products. It can be discouraging to learn that, for example, Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox! But at least these companies are doing something right. It’s my belief and hope that the more people buy organic products from these large companies, the sooner these companies will sell organic and gradually transition away from conventional products. Onward!
Indeed, onward! Very true, apologies if it seemed I was saying that Organic didn’t mean Non GMO. I just meant the latter, that Organic brands often have double standards & many are actually funding the fight for Monsanto.
I agree that at least they’re doing something right… However it seems as though they are simply trying to tap into the market & dupe honest ethical consumers… A bit of a catch 22 as we all buy organic & non GMO to support those causes, but if we buy from people like ‘Santa Cruz’ organics we are intact funding the fight against our cause!
It’s always a positive when you find a good, clean, honest brand through and through!
Look forward to reading your next blog 🙂
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Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work and coverage!
Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.