October is non-GMO month so we thought it would be a good idea to write about the subject of non-GMOs and USDA organic food. The two often get used interchangeably, but there is actually a difference between the two labels.
So, let’s start with the definitions.
Non-GMO labels at the grocery stores mean that there are no genetically modified organisms in the food that you’re buying. For those of you who don’t know, genetically modified means that scientists have artificially manipulated organisms in food to create something that would not necessarily occur in nature or through crossbreeding methods.
Organic, on the other hand, means that the food has been farmed and manufactured to strict standards set by the Department of Agriculture. Organic foods cannot have any kind of synthetic pesticides or anything genetically engineered. This means that all organic foods have to be non-GMO, but not all non-GMO foods are organic. Organic foods are also banned from using any petroleum-based fertilizers.
It’s important to note that if a label says 100% organic on it then that product has to be completely organic. If it just says USDA Organic, that means that no more than 5% of a product’s makeup can be non-organic, but there may or may not be those small traces of non-organic ingredients in it. It’s also important to mention that although there isn’t meant to be much if any non-organic ingredients, there’s always a chance of GMO contamination that may have happened naturally through cross-pollination.
There’s a lot of controversies these days over non-GMOs and whether or not we should be against them. Herbal Papaya chooses to be Non-GMO Project Certified as a company. The reason for this is because there have simply not been enough studies to let us know either way how detrimental GMOs could be to humans in the future.
There have already been some studies that have potentially linked negative health issues to GMOs, so we’d rather stay clear than take any chances. And whether or not you believe in GMO or non-GMO foods, we believe very strongly that all foods should be labeled either way. We think that consumers should be able to make that educated decision for themselves and know as much as possible how their food is made.
The tricky thing with GMOs these days is the labeling. Most people think that when you see GMO free that it’s the same thing as Non-GMO Project Certified. This, unfortunately, isn’t so. Using the words GMO-free is just a marketing tactic and a label that’s about as helpful as “good for you!” Unless a product and/or brand has gone through the official Non-GMO Project Certification process, there’s a chance that the food you’re eating has GMOs in it or has been cross contaminated. In other words, you’re not really sure. So, if you want to have a guarantee, look for this label on your food:
The Non-GMO Project Certification process works through testing a product’s ingredients during its processing and checking it at different points during its production. Those companies that are successfully certified then have to go through yearly inspections to assure that the products are still successfully avoiding GMOs.
With this said, if you really don’t want any extras in your food, you should always buy organic. Non-GMO Project Certified food, although it doesn’t have genetically modified organisms, can still have pesticides, herbicides, growth-promoting antibiotics, and other chemicals that are not all that great for your body.
Note: most Herbal Papaya products are both USDA Organic and Non-GMO Certified.
What are your thoughts on non-GMO vs. organic food? Do you care about the labeling of GMOs?