One thing I love doing every year is visiting The Natural Products Expo. Each year I attend both shows (on the east coast and west coast) to see the kinds of natural products that are being created by food companies and meet the founders who are behind them.
I keep seeing an increasing number of non-GMO products being made each year, which is a very good sign of the times. However, there is something very important and tricky that you must know about the products.
There’s lots of debate and confusion over what organic and non-GMO labels actually mean.
These labels are quite different. It is critical to understand what the difference is if you would like to choose the safest and healthiest food for your family and yourself. Each time we make the decision to purchase a product, we are supporting a lot more than just our bodies.
It helps to shape the entire food system landscape – ranging from the farmers to the water, air, land, and environment. And that is why you need to know what the “Non-GMO label really means and the truth behind it.
What does the “Non-GMO Project” label actually mean?
This label just verifies that a product does not contain any GMO (genetically modified) ingredients (or technically under 0.9% GMOs). Although that is good, it isn’t the entire story regarding what is contained in the product, how the product was produced, and where it was derived.
Whenever I have the option, I always select organic food for the following reasons.
4 Important Reasons Why “Non-GMO” Is Always Beaten By “Non-GMO”:
- Certified organic foods also are non-GMO. Organic regulations from the USDA prohibit certified organic products to contain any genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. I always avoid GMOs, and among the easiest ways to do that is to go organic.
Note: The USDA’s Organic label certifies that 95% to 100% of ingredients in the product are organic, so there still is a slight chance that the product will have non-organic ingredients (up to 5%).
However, they aren’t supposed to be GMO ingredients. Some tricky loopholes still exist, so that is why it is important to look for a Non-GMO Project” or “100 certified organic” verified label in order to ensure it is completely GMO-free.
- Synthetic pesticides cannot be used to grow organic crops, and they contain much lower overall pesticide residues. Certain toxic pesticides are prohibited from being used by organic regulations on crops. However, for non-GMO crops there aren’t any special restrictions.
That means that non-GMO groups may be grown in the same way that other conventional crops and may be full of toxic pesticide residues, which include organophosphates which are linked to leukemia and lymphoma.
A non-GMO potato chip bag may contain residues from as many as 35 different pesticides that are used on regular potatoes, with several of them being known carcinogens, reproductive toxins, neurotoxins, or suspected hormone disruptors. Non-GMO products (such as celery and strawberries) also are on the EWG Dirty Guide as being foods with the highest contamination levels of pesticides.
Although organic crops are allowed to have natural pesticides, it has been shown that very low pesticide residue levels are generated by organic product compared to conventional crops, and when you eat organic it can help to decrease your pesticide residue exposure significantly.
- Glyphosate (Roundup) is the most commonly used herbicide in the world – but is prohibited to use on organic crops. Wheat and other non-GMO crops may be pre-harvested using glyphosate. The herbicide is a type of toxin that may accumulate inside your body the more you get exposed to it.
Glyphosate has been linked with some birth defects, breast cancer, and kidney disease. Dr. Stephanie Seneff, MIT senior research scientist, says that glyphosate is mainly responsible for escalating autoimmune as well as other types of neurological disorder incidence.
There are numerous non-GMO products in the marketplace that contain wheat and appear to be healthy. However, they may contain glyphosate. For example, non-organic, non-GMO cereals (such as Grape Nuts) and whole-wheat breads might have glyphosate residues in them.
- Organic ingredients are not processed using toxic hexane. A majority of conventional oils (corn, soybean, canola) are extracted using neurotoxin hexane, and it has been that some residue remains in those oils. Also, Hexaneis used to process numerous soy ingredients such as textured vegetable protein and soy protein.
The Cornucopia Institute conducted tests that found some of the ingredients contained residues. Nearly all research is focused on the inhalation and industrial use of hexane: there are no case report or epidemiology studies examining the health effects for human or any chronic laboratory studies that have evaluate potential health effects for animals following being orally exposed to n-hexane that are available. So why isn’t anybody study how “safe” it is having this neurotoxin contained in our food?
Nerve damage and brain tumors have been linked to industrial exposure. For hexane, the FDA doesn’t have a set maximum level of residue, and nobody knows for certain how much of this residue that the American public is consuming. There is nothing that prohibits those ingredients in non-GMO products. However, products that have the USDA Organic seal are banned from having hexane-processed ingredients.