If all of the different food product labels and slogans appearing on packaging today confuse you, you aren’t alone. Although food manufacturers must adhere to certain FDA guidelines when labeling their products, they can still find ways to make a product sound healthier than it actually is, or to trick you into thinking that a product doesn’t contain any bad ingredients.
Much of consumer concern today focuses on GMOs, and whether genetically modified ingredients are utilized in the products you are used to purchasing. Additionally, you may be wondering are all organic foods non-GMO, as well as the difference between non-GMO and organic.
What is the Difference Between Non-GMO and Organic?
Does organic mean non-GMO? The short answer is yes—purchasing and consuming 100% organic products is the best way to assure yourself that what you are eating is both organic and non-GMO.
However, many consumers have drawn a parallel between non-GMO vs. organic foods. Producers capitalize on this by marketing their food products as non-GMO. However, a product that is non-GMO doesn’t necessarily mean it is organic.
Neither Canada nor the United States will allow companies to label their products 100% Certified Organic if they contain GMOs, so most of the time organic is GMO-free. (Most of the time?)
Does Organic Always Mean Non-GMO?
Based on the information above, you would think so, but there are actually a few loopholes in the USDA organic certification requirements. These gaps allow for the possibility of GMO or non-organic ingredients in certain products, which could include:
- Casings for organic sausages may have come from pigs that were fed antibiotics
- Hops in organic beer may have been sprayed with pesticides
- Antibiotics on certain fruits like apples
- The use of non-organic cornstarch
- Meat products that come from animals that may have consumed trace amounts of feed containing GMOs
So you see, 100% might not actually mean 100% (the regulations actually say the ingredients must be 95% organic), and if something is organic it might possibly contain GMOs.
On the other hand, the Non-GMO label essentially applies to any product that does not contain GMOs and has been certified by the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program. But the non-GMO product may still be made with ingredients that aren’t organic.
Still confused about all these specifications? Your best bet to ensuring you are purchasing organic and non-GMO foods is to buy products that contain the USDA Certified Organic label. For example, the frozen organic meals from Beetnik Foods are both organic and GMO-free. You can also seek out products that contain both the USDA Certified Organic label and the Non-GMO certification.
Non-GMO vs. Organic Labels
Both the Non-GMO and USDA Certified Organic labels are official labels allowed to be used only after products have been submitted for certification.
Many products may still be labeled 100% organic or GMO-free without having the above certifications, though you will need to take the manufacturers word for it. Just because a product doesn’t carry the official seal of approval doesn’t mean the manufacturer or company is lying—many producers simply cannot afford the high costs associated with obtaining the official labels.
On a side note, keep in mind that the terms Natural, Locally Grown, Fair Trade, Cage Free, and other fresh, healthy, and organic-sounding terms do not necessarily mean GMO-free or organic either. But if the product does contain a 100% organic label, there is a good chance that is safe and free of GMOs.
Shop with Beetnik to try a delicious range of 100% organic and GMO-free food products and meals.