The Low Down On Non-GMO And Organic Certifications
Eating Non-GMO and Organic is no longer a trend or fad that all the “hippies” are obsessed with. It’s a way of life for many people, and a serious topic when you really get down to it. So, why is eating Non-GMO and Organic so important to so many of us?
First, let’s touch on what GMOs are:
GMOs, or “Genetically Modified Organisms” are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated through genetic engineering in a laboratory… not out in nature. Creating GMOs is a relatively new science and doing so creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and even viral genes that do NOT occur in nature.
Most other developed nations consider GMOs unsafe and say “NO!” to them. If they are allowed there are very significant restrictions, but most have full-on bans on production and sales of GMOs.
Some argue that GMOs are being created so we can grow our food (whether it be meat, poultry, fish, veggies, fruit, seeds, nuts, legumes…anything) in a more environmentally stable way… those who grow this way have yet to prove so. There is no proof that GMOs are helping our environment or our agriculture to become more sustainable. In fact, these GMO foods have been modified to create their own Bt gene. This means they can grow their own insecticide to fight off detrimental bugs, leading some people to hypothesize that “superbugs” may evolve to be resistant to these Bt gene crops. This theory is based on what has happened in the past: GMO Roundup ready seeds are resistant to Roundup herbicides. Roundup was created by Monsanto in order to kill bugs and weeds, but it would also kill crops if they are not modified to resist it’s poison. Using Roundup allowed farmers to use a ton of herbicides and not worry about killing the plant, resulting in the creation of “Superweeds”. Superweeds are regular weeds that evolved to become resistant to Roundup’s active herbicide ingredient, and affected over 60 million acres of agricultural land in the U.S.
Contrary to what scientists and pro-GMO advocates claim, the insecticide does not break down during digestion… it has even been found in the blood of pregnant women. Now, although a pregnant woman and fetus do not share the same blood, there is some evidence that is chemical can make its way into the fetus blood stream.
Studies conducted on rats and pigs being fed exclusive diets of GMO corn and potatoes link eating GMOs to: tumors, damage to the small intestine (which is where the majority of digestion and absorption occurs), altered blood chemistry, possible negative effects of male fertility, organ damage, sever inflammation, and enlarged uteri that allude to infection and disease. These are just a few health risks and serious concerns to consider when eating GMO foods.
Everything is connected- what we choose to eat and put on our dinner table not only affects ourselves, family, and pets, but it also affects the farmers who have to deal with insane regulations that favor GMO farmers. These regulations make it ridiculously difficult to ensure crops aren’t contaminated with nasty GMO seeds and the like. GMO farming is wreaking havoc on our environment- our oceans, our mountains, our air, our fields, our livestock, our produce, even our own backyards.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to ensure you are not eating GMO foods. Unfortunately, GMO foods are not required to be labelled. So, it’s always a good idea to be searching for Non-GMO Project Verified and Certified Organic products and produce when shopping.
1. Look for the non-GMO project verified seal
You know the Non-GMO Project verified seal by that cute orange butterfly. Finding a product that claims “GMO-free” on the label is not the same. The Non-GMO Project offers independent, third party verification for testing, and GMO controls for products in the U.S. and Canada.
Other non-GMO verifiers include Natural Food Certifiers GMO Guard, and NSF non-GMO True North. The USDA is currently working on it’s own certification process as well.
2. Buy Organic!
Shopping organic is one of the best steps you can take towards ensuring that your family eats the healthiest foods possible.
According to the Organic Trade Association, “The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is prohibited in organic products. This means an organic farmer cannot plant GMO seeds, an organic cow cannot eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer cannot use any GMO ingredients. To meet USDA Certified Organic regulations farmers and processors must prove both that they are not using GMOs, and that they are protecting their products from cross contamination with prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table.”
So, if you buy organic you’re almost always buying non-GMO… yay!
3. Stay away from processed foods
Do your best to stay away from processed foods. An easy way to help do this is to shop only the outskirts of your grocery store, no aisles. Aisles are where the majority of processed foods are kept, sos tearing clear makes sense, right? You can also buy from local farmers and butchers at your local farmers market- be sure to ask about GMO use and if they are an organic farm. Many farms practice Non-GMO and Organic farming techniques but can’t pay the fine to become certified, so asking is always a good idea.
These are the most common GMO foods, foods that you should try and buy only when organic is available:
-Squash (zucchini and yellow).
If you do buy processed foods be sure to check for the non-GMO verified seal, and read the ingredients. Many of these items appear as added ingredients in a large amount of the foods we eat. For instance, your family may not eat tofu or drink soy milk, but soy is most likely present in a large percentage of the processed foods sitting in your pantry.
“GMOs may be hidden in common processed food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate(MSG), Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.” – non-GMO Verified Project
Hope this post helps you to understand the importance of eating non-GMO and organic foods.