What Are GMOs?

As defined on the non-GMO Project website, “A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified using recombinant DNA methods (also called gene splicing), gene modification or transgenic technology. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.”

Simply put, GMO’s are created in a lab, not organically from mother Earth.

In order for a product to be Non-GMO Project Verified, its inputs must be evaluated for compliance with their standard, which categorizes inputs into three risk levels:

High-Risk: The input is derived from, contains derivatives of, or is produced through a process involving organisms that are known to be genetically modified and commercially available. Examples include: alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, sugar beet, yellow summer squash/zucchini, animal products, microbes and enzymes.

Low-Risk: The input is not derived from, does not contain derivatives of, or is not produced through a process involving organisms that are presently known to be genetically modified and commercially available. Examples include: lentils, spinach, tomatoes, sesame seeds, avocados.

Non-Risk:  The input is not derived from biological organisms and not, therefore, susceptible to genetic modification.

Other high-risk ingredients (in packaged products) include: amino acids, alcohol, aspartame, citric acid, natural and artificial flavorings, high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, xanthan gum, vinegar, and yeast products.

Since October 2011, a campaign to tell the FDA to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food reached 1,000,000 signatures, and had supporters from every state across the nation. This was the largest amount of comments on a food petition submitted to the FDA. In addition, only 4% of Americans oppose labeling GMOs, preventing them from having a healthy diet.

GMOs present significant health risks to the public. Plants genetically modified to resist pests, some even laced with herbicides and insecticides, may have significant long-term consequences for maintaining the biodiversity essential to maintaining our fragile global ecosystem, and may also disrupt our personal bodies through yet unknown long-term health consequences.

While more than 40 countries mandate labeling GMOs, why is the United States reluctant to join the ranks? In Europe, individual nations are free to ban genetically modified crops, even if they are deemed safe and approved. An important concern in genetically modified crops is preventing cross-pollination with organic, non-GM crops in order to preserve the diversity and integrity of organic agriculture.

Ireland banned the growth of GMOs. Japan banned GMOs altogether. France has GMO-free labeling. Egypt banned GMO import and export. While many countries seek to label GMOs or ban them entirely, other less wealthy nations are caving to the financial pressure of the United States agricultural behemoths. GMO sorghum was approved for use in Africa with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Dupont. The effects of introducing a genetically modified sorghum crop are yet known, but may have profound impacts on this important crop in African arid agriculture.

For these reasons and countless others, it is crucial to inform consumers if their food contains GMOs. While other countries take steps to actively ban genetically modified crops, Big Agriculture in the US still prioritizes profit over people, and is content to use their wallets to sway the FDA. It’s time we stop letting big business destroy our precious plant diversity and the health of our nation.

It is more important than ever before to choose organic produce and grains alike. GMOs are not allowed to be included in products labeled organic in the United States. According to their website, the certified USDA organic label ensures that the produce is required to meet the below specific standards:

  • Organic crops cannot be grown with synthetic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or sewage sludge.
  • Organic crops cannot be genetically engineered or irradiated.
  • Animals must eat only organically grown feed (without animal byproducts) and can’t be treated with synthetic hormones or antibiotics.
  • Animals must have access to the outdoors, and ruminants (hoofed animals, including cows) must have access to pasture.
  • Animals cannot be cloned.

Knowing the above, can you imagine what non-organic food could contain. It is always safe to choose certified organic, as you will be assured that it will also be non-GMO.

All Fresh ‘n Lean ingredients are sourced from the finest non-GMO, organic ingredients.

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