5 Useful Things to Know About GMOs

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We know you care greatly about the ingredients in your food. However, we get that it can feel overwhelming to know what all the different labels mean. That’s why our culture as a healthy grocer is sharing with our customers the ins and outs of food quality standards. So, let’s start with what GMOs are…Five different vegetables GMOs are any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. The majority of GMO crops (75–80 percent) are engineered for herbicide tolerance (e.g., “Roundup-Ready” crops). Farmers also cannot save GMO seeds, which means they must be purchased each year. Even though the USDA maintains that food with GMOs are safe to eat, there is still debate surrounding inadequate data and environmental safety.

National Standards for Non-GMO

The Non-GMO Project (NGP) is a third-party organization that offers ongoing testing of all at-risk ingredients as well as builds the non-GMO food supply. It is North America’s primary source for independent testing of GMOs at various stages of production, from field to packaging facilities. In the U.S., GMOs are in approximately 80 percent of conventional processed foods. Have you asked yourself, “What’s the difference between the Non-GMO Project Verified and the USA Organic seal?” When a product has the USDA Organic Seal, you’ll know it’s free from growth hormones and antibiotics. USDA Organic standards also prohibit the use of GMOs in farming and food processing.

Here Are Some at-a-Glance Details About GMOs:

  1. Know the most common GMO crops.Remember common GMO crops with two easy mementos. Think of the three C’s—corn, cotton and canola. The other crops can be thought of as the two S’s—soy and sugar beets.
  2. Look for the Butterfly! Labels lend themselves to informed decision making while shopping. Look for the butterfly on the Non-GMO Project Verified label on products.
  3. Remember USDA Organic. Per the USDA National Organic Standards, GMOs are not allowed in certified organic products. Shopping organic can be a smart way to avoid GMOs.
  4. Become familiar with common hiding places for GMOs:  flavorings, vitamins, amino acids, yeast products and high-fructose corn syrup. Reading your labels carefully is a practice that encourages mindfulness and healthy living.
  5. Download the Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide. With the Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide, you can have important information at your fingertips! Download the app to access expansive materials on products, brands, key words, common ingredients and more about the mission of the NGP.