Tags: GMO-free | foods | genetically | modified | organisms

Organic Food Protection From GMOs

By    |   Friday, 22 May 2015 12:42 PM


Consumers choosing to avoid GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, in their foods will often search stores for items labeled “organic” or “natural.”

But if you’re concerned about the possibility that GMO foods may be harmful for your health or the environment, looking for those words may not be enough to ensure GMO-free products. Keeping in mind that about 80 percent of the foods in North America contain GMOs, according to The Non-GMO Project, makes it easy to realize what a challenge it can be to remain GMO-free.

However, the USDA Organic Certified seal means the products do not contain GMOs, according to Boston Organics.

Special: GMO Foods: Are We Unknowingly Poisoning Our Families?

“GMOs are prohibited from certified organic products, which means farmers are not allowed to grow produce from GMO seeds, their animals can’t eat GMO feed, and organic food producers can’t use GMO ingredients,” the company’s website said.

“Organic is the most heavily regulated and closely monitored food system in the U.S.,” according to the Organic Trade Association. “Unlike other eco-labels, the organic label is backed by a set of rigorous federal production and processing standards. These standards require that products bearing the USDA organic label be grown and processed without the use of toxic and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, genetic engineering, antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sewage sludge and irradiation.”

Foods labeled organic, but without the USDA seal, do not carry the same guarantee and could contain genetically modified ingredients.

ABC News reported in 2014 on the food label deception that comes about from using terms like “natural.” The news agency cited a Consumer Reports survey that found most people equated “natural” with “organic,” which is not true.

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The organic label is one that is tightly regulated by the USDA, but the federal watchdogs have no definition for the term “natural,” ABC said. That term, along with “artisan,” have been proven to sell products, probably because of the confusion about what they actually mean.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture broke down the different types of organic labels into four categories:

• 100% organic – meaning that the ingredients are completely organic, which means GMO-free.

• Organic – 95 percent of the ingredients are organic, including GMO-free. This can apply for the USDA Certified Organic label, but there still can’t be GMOs in that remaining 5 percent.

• Made with Organic – This means at least 70 percent of the product’s ingredients are made with organic. “Conventional agricultural ingredients may be used in the remaining 30%, provided that they are not genetically engineered, irradiated, or grown using sewage sludge,” MDA said.

• Products made with organic making up fewer than 70 percent of the ingredients can list individual ingredients as being organic.

But even if you stick with the USDA Organic Certified label, NPR reported in 2011 that it’s likely there are some GMOs in the organic foods – and they’re there accidentally.

“Organic farmers aren't allowed to plant GMO seeds. But most conventional corn in America is genetically modified, and among all grains, corn is perhaps the most promiscuous cross-pollinator, so its genes often migrate into organic fields via windblown pollen that lands on the tassels of organic corn,” NPR wrote. “As a result, most organic corn in the U.S. typically contains anywhere from half a percent to 2 percent GMOs, according to companies that sell such corn to organic dairies or poultry farmers. It has been that way since genetically engineered corn and soybeans became popular, more than a decade ago.”

Special: GMO Foods: Are We Unknowingly Poisoning Our Families?


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Consumers choosing to avoid GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, in their foods will often search stores for items labeled "organic" or "natural." But if you're concerned about the possibility that GMO foods may be harmful for your health or the environment, looking for...
GMO-free, foods, genetically, modified, organisms
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2015-42-22
Friday, 22 May 2015 12:42 PM
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