Non-GMO (genetically modified) foods are one of the hottest food trends on the market these days, with more and more consumers aware of GMO foods and demanding that foods with GMO ingredients be labeled. Now, two new labels have emerged that can help make the choices a little simpler.
Just to be clear, a GMO food is one that has been genetically engineered through technology, usually to withstand a particular herbicide or to produce an insecticide. Although research is still a little unclear as to the actual risks GMOs pose to our health and environment, 30 other countries around the world have banned or seriously restricted GMOs, and many U.S. consumers want to avoid GMO products, which include things like canola, corn, rice, soy and sugar beets.
There's no mandatory labeling of GMOs in the U.S., but several organizations have introduced their own labels to help consumers make educated choices.
Non-GMO Project Verified
The Non-GMO Project was started by retailers interested in giving consumers a choice to purchase products that have undergone a rigorous testing process to prove that they contain no GMO ingredients (less than 0.9%). While some products label themselves as being GMO-free, the Non-GMO Project was, until very recently, the only organization offering independent, third-party verification of testing and GMO controls for products in the U.S. and Canada.
The Non-GMO Project website notes products that are "certified organic" are not required to undergo any GMO testing. Looking for the certified organic label and the Non-GMO Project Verified label (above) on products is the best way to ensure you are not supporting GMO products.
Released just six weeks ago, the new Pro-Terra Certification label is an international standard to help consumers identify non-GMO products. Their standards are even more rigorous than the Non-GMO Project (less than 0.1% GMO) and include standards for good labor practices, conservation of the Amazon and other imprortant conservation regions, protection of traditional land use, and protection of agronomic sustainability.
Looking for one or both of these labels on foods you purchase will help you vote with your dollars to support voluntary labeling of GMO products and keep GMO ingredients off your dinner table.
image: Non-GMO Project