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Home / Blog / The Difference Between Non-GMO and Organic
The Difference Between Non-GMO and Organic
Consumers get confused by the terms “non-GMO” and “organic.”
…And the two mean quite different things.
Let’s get right to it:
First, Organic Foods are Inherently Non-GMO
If you get organic food, you can rest assured that it’s also non-GMO.
USDA sets forth the rules on what properties your food must have to earn the right to have certain terms said on some labels.
Foods affected by growth hormones or genetic modification of any kind can’t be considered “organic,” says the USDA.
So if you see any of the various “organic” labels, you can rest assured the food hasn’t been genetically modified.
Testing does have its limits. Currently, it can’t accurately detect if .9% or less of the food is made of GMO ingredients.
So it’s not perfect. But, it’s awfully darn close.
Second, “Non-GMO” Labeling Leaves Out Much of the Story
Now, don’t take this as done on purpose to manipulate market perception so consumers buy foods with “non-GMO” labeling.
That’s not the motivation behind this.
“Non-GMO” only refers to the fact a food contains .9% or less GMO ingredients.
End of story.
Non-GMO foods can be grown with any sort of pesticide, regardless of its toxicity. There’s absolutely no restriction on non-GMO and pesticide use.
However, with organic foods, you can’t use certain toxic pesticides. And you can be guaranteed that the food contains far lower pesticide levels overall (and perhaps even none).
Organic crops also can’t be fertilized with raw sewage sludge. Yes, what you flush down the toilet can be used as fertilizer for non-GMO foods.
Besides being absolutely disgusting to think about, this waste can include heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, pharmaceutical waste, and many other pathogens. Think of that next time you eat a “non-GMO” food!
Third, “Non-GMO” Labeling Has Sketchy Regulation, At Best
When the FDA’s “non-GMO” label gets used, you may want to run the other way. That’s because the FDA has no process to verify the authenticity of the claim made by the company.
Most companies will play by the rules. But as you know, some companies will do whatever they want until they get caught and have to change.
The Non-GMO Project’s label, however, has a rigorous process for this. Whole Foods, for example, will only carry non-GMO foods if they have the labeling from this organization.
Organic labeling has different levels, which are verified by USDA.
So yeah, there’s a huge difference between “organic” and “non-GMO.” And armed with this information, you now know how to make a healthier decision for you and your family.