01 October 2012
Non-GMO Month is Here!
Are you curious about GMOs in your food? Try living the Non-GMO lifestyle for Non-GMO Month
It's October, and that means it's Non-GMO Month! The air is thick with the smell of falling leaves and, you guessed it, election time. One proposition that is getting a lot of attention this year is California's Prop 37 which proposes the labeling of any and all genetically modified food retail products. As the world's first Non-GMO Verified Cheese we are participating in Non-GMO Month with a blog series about Non-GMO's and will be sharing with you ideas on how you can participate.
What are GMO's?
GMOs are "genetically modified organisms". Organisms that have been genetically altered through gene splicing. This technique is also known as "genetic engineering" or GE. DNA from different species are merged, creating combinations that do not naturally occur in nature. GMOs are engineered with the intention of creating plants that are tolerant to drought, disease and pesticides which in turn will create higher yields. It has not yet been proven that the production of GMO's are meeting these goals, however more and more evidence is leading to the conclusion that GMO's are creating health problems in humans and livestock and contributing to environmental damage.
What's the big deal? Why all this fuss about GMO's?
Today, it is common to find GMOs in the majority of food products on shelves. With almost 90 percent of soybeans, 85 percent of corn, and 70 percent of cotton in the United States being genetically engineered, the likelihood of consuming genetically engineered food is extremely high. The majority of genetic modifications used are to create herbicides, pesticides and fungicides that the plant produces "naturally." The plants are modified in such a way that they create chemicals they wouldn't normally produce. These are then passed on to the consumer. There are very few studies providing evidence on the long term effects of GMOs on the human body. However, a small number of tests have shown that genetically modified organisms in our food supply can cause increased chances of cancer, food allergies, and even antibiotic resistance in the human body.
If it's Organic, Isn't it Non-GMO?
With GMOs becoming more of a hot-topic, we are often asked "if it's organic, isn't it non-GMO?" Because of complicated guidelines, and the "National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances," there are materials that may be considered GMO that are acceptable in Organic production. Cross-contamination of GE grains is also a major concern for the organic dairy industry. For example, Strauss Family Creamery decided in 2007 that a USDA organic certification wasn't enough. Over 6 percent of the corn being fed to Strauss' herd was GMO positive, even though it was in fact "organic."
The Non-GMO Project is the first third-party audit set up to make sure that the product is actually made from all Non-GMO ingredients. Organic products are GMO free according to the NOP (National Organic Program), however the important distinction is that only Non-GMO verified products have had the entire supply chain inspected, evaluated and approved through a third party audit. The seal gives the consumer extra confidence that the product they are purchasing is actually Non-GMO and the company selling it is committed to unadulterated food.