Organic and Non-GMO = What does it all mean?

I am very focused on the quality of ingredients I use when preparing meals and the produce my family consumes.  I select only organic, non-GMO produce, dairy and other items.  This blog is to break down the mystery behind the labels on products in the grocery store so you can be better aware of your options.  If something is labeled non-GMO, does it mean that it is also organic? (answer is no)

If you like to read the last page of a book, here is the bottom line.  Look for “USDA Organic” since it covers everything, including being non-GMO.

If you want to learn more, here is some info that I have found useful.

GMO or “Genetically Modified Organisms” refers to the actual seed that is used to grow certain crops (mainly soybeans, corn, canola).  The scientists use genetic engineering to allow the seed to produce its own pesticide but this could also introduce toxins and allergens in foods as well.  Every time I read more about GMOs and how scientists add in genes from a bacterium to cotton, it reminds me of Jurassic Park.  And we all know how that turned out!  There does not exist any long-term research on the health or environment effects of GMOs yet, they are too new (only since 1994).  Why are they being created?  Money, profit.  The #1 company developing GMO plants and controlling the largest market share of GMO crops in the world is the same company selling the weedkiller called RoundUp: Monsanto.  So if you see the label with the pretty butterfly for Non-GMO Project on an item, this means that it was verified that the seeds used to grow the product were not genetically altered.  But that is it.  It can still be grown with pesticides and other toxins.  It does not ensure that it is Organic.

“USDA Organic” label includes everything from a non-GMO seed to how the plant is grown without pesticides.  But wait, there is more!  It also means that there are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  For meat and dairy, this means no antibiotics or hormones for animals and also the food the animals ate was 100% organic feed.  It is also regulated by federal law.  This tiny green and white label might look simple but when I am shopping, it holds a great meaning.  It is a product that I can trust.  I am not a farmer, I cannot grow crops on my back porch.  I need to rely on this label as my true source of quality when I am buying everything from produce to dairy.

If I am wrong and all of the research about GMOs is incorrect and they are completely safe, then that would make me extremely happy.  But until then, I am avoiding them.  I work too hard at maintaining a healthy lifestyle when I can easily avoid GMOs.  Rather be safe than sorry.

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