Non-GMO: What Does That Really Mean?

The widespread use of food ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, has led to a booming market for reliable labeling of food products that are “Non-GMO.” But how exactly does a food product get a non-GMO label? The Non-GMO Project, an independent nonprofit organization, is the principal group responsible for certifying products as GMO-free with its “Non-GMO Project Verified” label. In order to be certified and labeled “Non-GMO Project Verified,” food items must contain less than 0.9% of genetically modified ingredients. The Non-GMO Project works with third party auditing companies to track down each ingredient, including ingredients that aren’t on the product label, such as processing aids and other inputs. For example, in order for milk to receive a non-GMO label, cows must only eat non-GMO feed, the feed must be grown from non-GMO seed, and aided only with non-GMO fertilizer. If there is any doubt about whether an ingredient has been adulterated with GMOs, it is subject to DNA testing. While non-GMO products only make up a fraction of food products—approximately 90% of corn and soy are still GMO—the demand for non-GMO food shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, even conventional food companies are jumping on the non-GMO bandwagon, which means you’re likely to see many more non-GMO products in the future.

Source: NPR

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