My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘organic’

Political and Corporate Elite Shun GM Food on Their Own Plate

 

 

White House double-take

While First Lady Michelle Obama digs up the White House lawn to plant an organic garden, her husband promotes a GMO agenda within his administration. “You know, in my household, over the last year we have just shifted to organic,” she said in a New Yorker interview during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Organic produce from the garden feeds the Obama family and visiting dignitaries alike. Seems okay so far. But then take a look at Obama’s laundry-list of presidential appointed positions with biotech ties: USDA head Roger Beachy, a former director at Monsanto, FDA food safety czar Michael Taylor, one-time vice president for public policy at Monsanto, Commissioner of the USDA Tom Vilsack who created the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership. Under President Obama, 10 new GM crops have been approved for ‘safe consumption.’

5th Novermber 2012

By Carolanne Wright

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Read more at:  http://wakeup-world.com/2012/11/05/political-and-corporate-elite-shun-gm-food-on-their-own-plate/

 

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Breaking News: Are Pesticides the Greatest Threat to Your Kids’ Health? Dr. Oz

Great episode on The Dr. Oz Show about Pesticides.  Watch the show here:  http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/breaking-news-are-pesticides-greatest-threat-your-kids-health?video=14936

And get Dr. Oz’s Organic Grocery List here:  http://www.doctoroz.com/slideshow/organic-grocery-list

Why Going Organic Matters For Your Family

By Alan Greene, MD, FAAP
Pediatrician and Author

Recent headlines blared that a new study had found that organic foods weren’t any healthier for you than conventional food. Researchers at Stanford University recently released a study that questioned the nutritional benefits of buying organic foods. The study found very little nutritional difference between organic and conventional produce and meat. But let’s a closer look behind the headlines.

 

Today’s children, from infancy up to age 5, in the US have lost more than 16 million IQ points from exposure to organophosphate pesticides, according to another recent analysis. They’re exposed to these pesticides almost entirely through our food.

 

Organic foods are grown without the use of toxic synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, artificial hormones, or genetic engineering. They depend on cultivating healthy soil to grow healthy plants to produce healthy animals.

 

The study in question wasn’t new science, but a compilation and analysis of some of the existing studies comparing organic to conventional food. What did this paper find?

 

Pesticides

 

Findings: Conventional produce is more than five times more likely than organic to have any pesticide residues (38% of samples versus 7%).

 

The study didn’t go a step further and consider that when pesticides are found on conventional produce, the pesticides are often more toxic, present at higher levels, and come as mixtures of different chemicals.

 

The study also didn’t include the large body of literature about the toxic effects of some of these pesticides.

 

The authors concluded that this five-fold difference in pesticides couldn’t matter because the total amounts are so small. I strongly disagree. Think about this: Pharmaceutical drugs are powerful, refined chemicals designed to improve health. They can have desired health effects on our brain function, sexual function, and fertility at concentrations in our bodies of only parts per billion. Synthetic pesticides are also powerful, refined chemicals, but designed to destroy or inhibit life. Why couldn’t they have undesirable health effects on our brain function, sexual function, and fertility when present in our bodies at similar concentrations?

Read the rest at:  http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/why-going-organic-matters-your-family#cmpid=em100512

 

Consumer Reports: Don’t Give Up on Organic Food, Our Experts Urge

 

A new review of previous research on organic food is getting a lot of media attention for concluding that the published literature “lacks strong evidence” that organic food is significantly more nutritious than conventionally grown food. But news reports covering the findings may be oversimplifying or distorting what the study really found, according to our in-house experts, and consumers shouldn’t be misled into believing that there isn’t a benefit to paying more for organics, particularly for certain populations.

The review, conducted by researchers at Stanford University, was a meta-analysis of data from 240 studies comparing organically grown versus conventionally grown food. Seventeen of the studies were done in humans; the rest looked just at the foods themselves. The researchers looked at three main variables: health outcomes, nutrient levels, and levels of contaminants, including pesticide residues. They concluded that “the published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods,” though consuming them “may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

But the study has serious limitations, several of which the authors acknowledge. Among them:

    • The analysis included plenty of studies that did find a nutritional benefit to eating organic food, such as higher levels of phosphorous and phenols (a type of antioxidant compound) in organic produce and more omega-3 fatty acids in organic milk and chicken. Some other studies weren’t able to identify a benefit, meaning the findings overall were heterogeneous, or mixed—which is very different from “no benefit” across the board.

 

    • Only three of the 17 human studies in the analysis looked at health outcomes, and two of those focused on allergies in children—an odd metric for comparing organic to conventional diets, since there’s no reason that organic diets should correlate with fewer allergies. “That isn’t part of what organic food production even is and it isn’t surprising to learn there may not be any difference” in the rates of allergies between children who eat organically and those who don’t, says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., director of consumer safety and sustainability for Consumer Reports, adding that it was interesting that the authors also found one study that did suggest a benefit, for childhood eczema.

 

 

    • It could take many years for the cumulative effects of pesticide buildup in the body from eating conventionally grown food to show up. Cancer risks, for example, are calculated over long periods of exposure to carcinogens. The human studies in the Stanford analysis lasted at most two years.

 

 

    • The study downplays the importance of the prohibition of antibiotics in organic agriculture, which can help counter the serious public-health problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Such bacteria have increased greatly in prevalence in recent years, possibly due to the routine use of antibiotics in conventionally raised farm animals. Indeed, the meta-analysis determined that conventionally produced chicken and pork had a 33 percent higher risk for bacteria that’s known to be resistant to at least three antibiotics.

 

 

    • The perception of better nutrition is only one reason that people might choose to eat organically. Even if the research in that area remains murky, it’s clear that organic diets provide less exposure to pesticides and antibiotics, two potential safety benefits, and that organic agriculture is better for the environment. A nationally representative poll of Americans conducted by Consumer Reports earlier this year found that 86 percent want their local supermarkets to carry meat raised without antibiotics, and the majority said they’d be willing to pay extra for that feature.

 

“Organic was meant as a healthier way of farming that is good for the environment—and that has been proven true,” Rangan says. “Fewer pesticides and antibiotics, 100% organic animal feed (which cannot have poultry litter and other animal byproducts), hygiene management on the farm: These are all healthier practices for the environment and in some cases, humans too. In fact, we are learning more and more about the benefits that organic farming and sustainable agricultural practices can have on the health of people.”

Bottom line: We stand by our long-held advice. It’s worth it to buy organic versions of the foods that are likely to have the highest levels of pesticides when grown conventionally, as well as organic poultry and milk, to reduce exposure to antibiotics. Those choices are especially important for pregnant women and children.

Watch a video about when it pays to buy organic. Learn which items you should buy organic for babies and kids, and which you can skip.

Source
Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives? [Annals of Internal Medicine]

—Jamie Hirsh

http://news.consumerreports.org/health/2012/09/dont-give-up-on-organic-food-our-experts-urge.html

What’s Healthier: Peanut Butter vs Almond Butter

http://www.prevention.com/whats-healthier-peanut-butter-or-almond-butter

Corporations Sneak Synthetic Preservatives into Organic Food Baby Formula!

“This is another blatant violation of the federal law governing organics by multi-billion dollar corporations that apparently think they can get away with anything,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, Director of Farm and Food Policy at The Cornucopia Institute.

August 8th, 2012

Organic Watchdog Files Formal Legal Complaint with USDA

CORNUCOPIA, WI:  The Cornucopia Institute, a not-for-profit policy research organization based in Wisconsin, filed a formal legal complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) against several infant formula manufacturers that are adding two synthetic preservatives to certified organic infant formula.

— Image courtesy of Imbuga

The Organic Foods Production Act, passed by Congress in 1990, explicitly bans synthetic preservatives in organic food.

“This is another blatant violation of the federal law governing organics by multi-billion dollar corporations that apparently think they can get away with anything,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, Director of Farm and Food Policy at The Cornucopia Institute.

The preservatives are beta carotene and ascorbyl palmitate, synthetics that are added to infant formula to prevent the oxidation and rancidity of ingredients such as the controversial patented supplements DHA and ARA, manufactured by Martek Biosciences Corporation (Royal DSM) and marketed as Life’sDHA®.

“This is not the first time that the pharmaceutical companies and agribusinesses, that manufacture infant formula, have quietly added to organic formula the same synthetic ingredients that they use in their conventional versions without first seeking the legally required approval for use in organics,” says Vallaeys.

According to The Cornucopia Institute, there have been more than a dozen unapproved synthetic ingredients that have been added to organic infant formula over the past five years.  The public interest group has filed numerous legal complaints with the USDA, asking for removal of unapproved synthetic ingredients like the DHA algal oil and ARA fungal oils, manufactured by Martek, which was recently acquired by the Dutch conglomerate Royal DSM.

While the USDA has admitted publicly that these synthetics were added to organics due to an erroneous interpretation by previous USDA leadership, the agency, after being pressured by industry, has refused to take enforcement action and pull the suspect products from store shelves.

The Martek DHA and ARA oils, labeled on infant formula as “c. cohnii oil” and “m. alpina oil,” have been controversial since the preponderance of scientific published research concluded that they do not benefit infant development.  “These ingredients, which now appear to require additional synthetics as preservatives, amount to a gimmicky and risky marketing ploy,” added Vallaeys.

When formula with Martek’s DHA and ARA first came on the market, the FDA received numerous adverse reaction reports from parents and healthcare providers who noted serious gastrointestinal symptoms in babies who had previously tolerated formula without the Martek DHA and ARA oils.

Synthetic beta carotene and ascorbyl palmitate, according to the International Formula Council (the industry’s trade-lobby group), contribute no nutritional value to infant formula, but rather serve to prevent oxidation and rancidity.

Organic standards require that a synthetic ingredient cannot qualify for use in organic foods if its primary purpose is as a preservative.  The International Formula Council, which is now petitioning the USDA to legalize the use of these synthetic materials in organics, never uses the word “preservative” to describe synthetic beta carotene and ascorbyl palmitate.  They instead use terms like “antioxidant” to “prevent undesirable oxidation” and “prevent rancidity” in “powder formulations containing DHA and ARA.”

The federal organic standards also require that synthetics be allowed in organic foods only if they are deemed essential.

“The only reason why these two synthetic preservatives are added to infant formula is to prevent the rancidity of some of the other synthetic ingredients that are not essential and have also been added illegally,” says Vallaeys.  “This is a slippery slope, and we urge the USDA to take appropriate enforcement action and put an end to the practice of first adding synthetic additives to organic food, including infant formula, and then seeking subsequent approval.”

In its complaint, Cornucopia also asked the USDA to investigate the formula manufacturers’ organic certifying agent, Quality Assurance International (QAI).  QAI is one of the largest organic certifying agents, and has come under fire in the past for certifying organic livestock operations that failed to meet the organic standards for animal welfare and outdoor access.  QAI has also allowed its clients to add a number of other allegedly illegal synthetic ingredients to organic food and livestock feed.

The Cornucopia Institute refers to QAI as, “the corporate certifier of convenience.”

“Consumers should be able to trust that the organic label represents foods that are free from unnecessary synthetic ingredients, and they rely on third-party certification by USDA-accredited certifying agents,” says Mark Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute.

“But that system breaks down when certifiers like QAI allow their clients to add unreviewed and unapproved synthetic ingredients and when the USDA, when faced with industry pressure, fails to carry out its enforcement duties.”

More:

A buyer’s guide to avoiding organic foods with DSM/Martek’s DHA algal oil and ARA fungal oil, including foods aimed at adults and children, like Horizon milk (manufactured by Dean Foods), is available on The Cornucopia Institute’s website.

The Cornucopia Institute named the following brands of organic infant formula in its complaint to the USDA: Earth’s Best, Similac Organic, Vermont Organics, Bright Beginnings and Parent’s Choice (sold by Walmart).

Similac Organic is produced by Abbott Laboratories, a $30 billion pharmaceutical corporation.  The other brands are produced by PBM Nutritionals, owned by Perrigo, a $2 billion dollar pharmaceutical corporation.

The only commercially available baby formula available in US stores that does not contain these synthetic preservatives is Baby’s Only Organic, manufactured by Nature’s One.  Baby’s Only Organic is certified organic by OneCert.

A comprehensive report, Replacing Mother—Imitating Human Breast Milk in the Laboratory, is also available on the Cornucopia site.

http://www.cornucopia.org/2012/08/corporations-sneak-synthetic-preservatives-into-organic-food/

Organics You Can Afford 9 ways to bring organic food within reach By Robyn O’Brien

how to afford organics-basket of veggies

In a world in which we are increasingly worried about the health of our families, the stability of our jobs, and all of life’s responsibilities, the simple act of trying to eat healthy often becomes a challenge.

And with so many Americans food insecure and on food stamps, talking about organic foods—produced without the use of all kinds of additives and ingredients—can often sound like a luxury that few, if any, can afford.

But as organizations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the President’s Cancer Panel encourage us to reduce our exposure to everything from pesticides to artificial growth hormones, the fact is that we should all be able to feed our families foods that are free-from additives that are increasingly being shown to cause harm. (Wondering what the most contaminated foods are? Find out with The Dirty Dozen.)

More from Prevention.com: What You Need To Know About GMOs

So here are a few tips for those who want to start buying organic food but don’t want to pay the high price:

1. Go orgo-generic: Major grocery store chains like Safeway and Kroger, and big box food retailers like Costco and even Wal-Mart, now carry their own organic foods. And all foods labeled “USDA organic” are created equal, no matter where you find them. No need to upscale your grocery store when Wal-Mart gets it done.

2. Buy frozen: Frozen foods (like strawberries and fish) are cheaper than those that are delivered fresh. So if the prices on fresh produce are eye-popping, cruise on over to the frozen food aisle for a discount.

3. Eat with the season: Retrain your taste buds to think like your grandmother did. She didn’t eat strawberries in the middle of winter. Locally grown foods are usually cheaper than those flown in from another hemisphere, so if you eat with the season, you’ll be eating more affordably.

4. Skip the box, embrace the bulk: Food that comes in boxes costs more because of the packaging costs associated with designing those pretty pictures. When you buy in bulk, you’re not paying for all of the packaging—you’re paying for the food, which is what you wanted in the first place. So slide on over to that bulk food aisle in Safeway and look for noodles, cereals, and rice and beans.

5. Support the US economy and buy local: You can save money by becoming a member of a local farm (just like you became a member at Safeway or Costco!). How do you find a local farm, you ask? Well, thankfully, the USDA now has a list of online sites to help you find the closest farm near you, so click here to log onto the USDA site.

6. Comparison shop: You wouldn’t buy a car without comparison shopping, so before you even head out the door, you can compare the prices of organic foods at different retailers from the safety of your own computer at Eat Well Guide.

7. Coupons, coupons, coupons: Organic bargains are everywhere, so click on About.com’s Frugal Living page where you will find All Organic Links.

8. Grow one thing: If you’re as busy as we are, there’s not a chance in creation that you’re going to be able to feed your family off of your home-grown harvest, but you will find that growing a tomato plant can be incredibly inspiring. And it’s not as intimidating as it seems. So pick one thing to grow—you can do it (we all grew lima beans in cups as kids, right?)

9. Find a friend.  It’s way more fun to have someone cheering you on as you begin to make these changes. And remember, just as our little ones learn to walk by taking baby steps, you can do the same thing here. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. Take those baby steps. Because before you know it, you’ll be off and running.

Need some more inspiration? Check out The Top 10 Reasons To Go Organic.

Read more: http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/how-afford-organic-food?cm_mmc=facebook-_-Prevention-_-news-blog-_-OrganicFoodYouCanAFford#ixzz22cnItMt9

Is Certified Organic Always Non-GMO?

 

Thanks for asking, Tracy!

Is Organic Always GMO Free?

May 5, 2011

Organic is Usually GMO Free

Buying 100% Organic, Certified Organic, and USDA Organic-labeled products is usually the easiest way to avoid genetically modified ingredients.

The United States and Canadian governments do NOT allow companies to label products “100% / Certified Organic” if they contain genetically modified foods.

To put it in more detail:

100% Organic: Must contain 100 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). This is the only label that certifies a completely organic product AND completely GMO-free ingredients.

Certified Organic / USDA Organic / Organic: At least 95 percent of content is organic by weight (excluding water and salt). The <5% remaining ingredients must consist of substances approved on the USDA’s National List. GMOs are NOT on this list, so these products are also usually GMO-free.

Made with Organic: Up to 70% of the ingredients are organic. These products can NOT carry a “USDA organic” label and are NOT typically GMO-free.

But lately, even organic products are at risk….

Why Say “Usually?”

If USDA certification requires at least 95% of content to be organic, and a GMO ingredient can’t be included in that 5%, then USDA Organic is GMO-free, right? Not always.

Says Barry Estabrook in this excellent article: “The casings for those tasty USDA Organic sausages can come from conventionally raised animals that have been fed antibiotics (or GMO-laden corn). The hops in your favorite organic beer can be sprayed with all manner of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Strawberries can be labeled as organic even if they had their start in a conventional nursery.”

How is this possible? He answers that question too: “the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which has the power to determine what materials can — and cannot — be used in organic production, too often weakens regulations in the face of intense lobbying by corporations who are more interested in the higher profits conferred by the word “organic” than in strong and meaningful standards.” And let’s just remember how much Monsanto has invested in corporate lobbying dollars…

Getting discouraged yet? There are more loopholes…

Despite rigid organic certification procedures, organic certification is about the *process* of growing food, not about the actual resulting food. There is no testing process for organic ingredients, so there is a chance that GMO contamination could occur.

And sadly, GMO contamination is growing steadily, year after year. Just look at this recent response from the USDA regarding a series of questions raised by organic farmers after GMO alfalfa was approved.

Even more sobering is the impending contamination from genetically engineered Kentucky Bluegrass. This grass is used in animal forage — including organic beef that comes from grass-fed animals. Now that Kentucky Bluegrass been genetically engineered for RoundUp resistance, not only is does it contain genetic material that is no longer natural, but it can be heavily sprayed with RoundUp to remove weeds. And because grass spreads rapidly, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the next superweed.

Between cross-pollination and wind-borne seeds, organic pastures all around our nation are soon going to be contaminated. It’s already happening in Australia— a farmer just lost his organic certification due to wind-borne contamination from a neighboring GMO crop.

How Does Contamination Occur?

Contamination can happen any number of natural ways: 1.) via cross-pollination between GMO and non-GMO crops, 2.) from trace amounts of GMO ingredients found in animal feed (as per the alfalfa/bluegrass section above), 3.) from seeds traveling by wind or by migratory birds that take root in the soil of an organic farm, and 4.) from ingredient suppliers that co-mingle various sources.

It can also happen when it takes nearly three years for a manufacturer who illegally uses the term “organic” in their labeling to be noticed, reported, investigated, and forced to amend their label. The oversight of organic manufacturers “falls far short of assuring standards are met.”

Is there a Certification Process for Being GMO Free?

Yes. When you see this label on a product, it means the producer took the time to go through a certification program similar to the one used to obtain organic certification, only it’s designed to focus on GMO-free processes.

Started initially by retailers, the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program (PVP)‘s core requirements include “traceability, segregation, and testing at critical control points.” Compliant products bear the Non-GMO Project Seal shown above (explained in detail here), indicating that the product has been produced in accordance with the best practices of the Non-GMO Project Standard.

Sadly however, just like organic certification, the word “usually” once again comes into play: the Non-GMO Project says directly that its label does not guarantee that a product is 100% GMO-free, because contamination is an ever-growing threat.

Read a great article about the reasons why this program was started, despite similar process testing procedures for organic products.

GMO Free Labels

When you see a “GMO free” label on an organic product, how does it compare to certified organic or certified Non-GMO Project standards? Hard to say.

Because there is no certification program associated with this label, it is simply the producer’s word that all fields, ingredients, processes, and storage avoid contact with, and contain no genetically modified ingredients.

This doesn’t mean this label isn’t valid; sometimes producers can’t afford the cost of becoming certified organic or certified through the Non-GMO Project, and thus use this label as a sign of good faith.

And because so many consumers don’t know that Certified Organic = GMO free (I didn’t, until I did the research), it can be a more obvious and affordable way of letting customers know.

No label in sight? Sometimes you need to read the fine print: some manufacturers don’t include a little GMO free icon, but they do include the words “we don’t use genetically engineered ingredients” (or similar wording) on the back of their labeling (hope you brought your reading glasses to the grocery store). :-)

Organic versus Certified Naturally Grown

When the USDA Organic program started in 2002, many small farms were forced to make a difficult choice: either pay high certification fees and complete mounds of paperwork to become “Certified Organic,” or give up using the word “organic” to describe their produce and/or livestock.

Believing that neither choice was very attractive, a group of farmers created Certified Naturally Grown (CNG), to provide an alternative way to assure their customers that they observed strict growing practices. Their methods include using natural biological cycles – incorporating a careful balance of micro-organisms, soil flora and fauna, natural pollinators, plants and animals – to create a sustainable farming system.

The resulting products meet and in some cases exceed the USDA standards but do not carry any of the official government approved organic seals. CNG now consists of more than 500 member farms in 47 states and growing.

Note: the majority of the CNG farm listings that I perused included the words “GMO free” in their product descriptions.

Other “Natural” Product Labeling Terms

Additional labeling terms – such as Natural, Cage Free, Free Range, Certified Humane (raised and handled), Vegetarian Diet, Fair Trade, and Locally Grown – have no direct relevance to whether a product is GMO free (genetically modified vegetables can and do get used in animal feed sometimes… particularly corn fed to pigs, cows and chickens).

For a helpful description about each of these, click here.

For a helpful ranking chart about egg labeling in particular, click here.

The Even Longer Story Behind GMOs and Organics
(includes excerpts from The Organic and Non GMO Report website)

To have a product certified as organic, a producer/manufacturer/farmer must undergo third party verification to ensure that the requirements of USDA National Organic Program are met. These requirements certify the process of growing the crop (they do not test the resulting crops/food). Processes that are reviewed include:

• All production methods — which must be free from most synthetic chemicals (e.g. pesticides, herbicides & fertilizers, antibiotics & hormones), genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and use of biosolids;

• All farmlands — which must be free from synthetic chemicals for generally 3 or more years;

• Storage procedures — producers must keep strict physical separation of organic products and non-certified products

• On-site inspections — producers are subject to initial (and sometimes subsequent) inspections.

Want to read an even more detailed description about organic certification? click here.

Organic certifiers want to ensure that GMOs are not used in organic products, but getting 100 percent verification that all substances are non-GMO may not be possible. Apparently the effort is significant, and requiring 100 percent verification could grind a processor’s operation to a halt.

Due to a lack of guidance from US National Organic Program (NOP), organic certifiers have developed their own methods to address GMO challenges posed by non-organic ingredients (for that <5% of non-organic ingredients allowed in foods labeled organic).

Oregon Tilth Certified Organic and CCOF developed flowcharts or “decision trees” to evaluate the GM status of ingredients. Quality Assurance International (QAI) developed a GMO Declaration that it asks clients to submit to verify the non-GMO status of ingredients.

Says Gwendolyn Wyard, Oregon Tilth’s processing program reviewer, “The problem is that “organic” is a process certification. We’re asking whether they use GMOs, not whether there is GM DNA or protein in the final product.”

Verifying the non-GM status of some ingredients can be challenging. For example, the supply of the ingredient tocopherol/Vitamin E has been controlled by one or two companies who collected soybean oil from many co-mingled sources. Oregon Tilth requires that tocopherols come from an identity preserved, non-GM source, but Quality Assurance International (QAI) does not require an IP (identity preserved) tocopherol, says Jessica Walden, QAI technical specialist.

Instead, QAI developed a “GMO Declaration” to address questions raised by the NOP’s rule on genetic engineering. The declaration describes QAI’s policy toward GMOs focusing on three categories:

When a product is a non-organic agricultural ingredient such as cornstarch, in order to qualify as non-GMO in “Organic” and “Made with Organic” categories, the original organism that produced the ingredient must be non-Genetically Modified. When a product is a non-organic non-agricultural ingredient, such as flavors and colors, the product must be free from Genetically Modified DNA or proteins. Lastly, ifmicroorganisms such as citric acid are used, the microorganism must be a non-GMO.

On the declaration, the supplier must highlight measures taken to verify their non-GMO claim, such as traceability/identity preservation, GMO testing, and independent audits.

QAI’s GMO declaration has streamlined the response from suppliers for GMO documentation. Instead of receiving various GMO statements, QAI has its clients submit the GMO declaration.

Reading all of this, you gain a new respect for farmers who not only buck the industrial farming system by going organic, but by their perseverance in navigating the volumes and diverse methods of certification!

So what does this all boil down to, when you’re trying to choose a product?

Just this week I was looking for mayonnaise at my local natural foods co-op. They had a fairly broad selection of various organic mayonnaises from different manufacturers.

All of the mayo labels said “organic” somewhere on the label. Two of them said USDA Certified Organic. But only one had “GMO free” in addition to “organic” on the label. Coincidentally, it was the only mayonnaise that was not made from one the “Big Four” GMO crops (corn, soy, canola or cotton/seed).

Does that mean it was the only mayo that was GMO free? No. The others were labeled organic, which technically means they couldn’t be GMO. Yet they didn’t have a “non-GMO” label, and they were sourced from crops with high incidences of GMO farming (soy and canola).

I tried consulting my two “non GMO shopping list” iphone apps, but none of the mayo brands on the shelf were mentioned (either as a pro or a con).

So I ended up playing it uber safe and buying the safflower-based mayo with the Non-GMO label.

What would you have done?

http://gmo-awareness.com/2011/05/05/is-organic-always-gmo-free/

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