Non-GMO vs Organic: What’s the difference? GMO is a genetically modified organism, which is made in the laboratory, differs from natural seed breeding method. It is much less nutritious than Organic foods. High-risk GMO foods to avoid are alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, sugar beet, yellow summer squash/zucchini, animal products, microbes, and enzymes. If you prefer non-GMO foods, you would have to purchase organic products instead.
GMO crops grew nationwide when Monsanto Corporation introduced its own Roundup Ready soybeans in 1996. GMO farming still affects soil quality, climate changes, and ecosystem. Monarch butterflies are in endangerment, because of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide as many claimed. Monsanto’s goal was to create pesticide and herbicide for genetically modified crops to kill the pests, while foods can last longer. Unfortunately, it is not safe for the whole ecosystem.
I wanted to share my experience with consuming GMO products for many years. I started becoming nauseous and light-headedness since the 1990s. My condition slowly became worse as I started blacking out (fainting) when I was in college. This continued until I went to several doctors who ran the tests a few years ago. One suspected anemic condition, but others couldn’t figure out what was happening. Obviously, the doctors weren’t connecting sickness with consuming GMO foods. I decided to test myself by eating Pepperidge Farms brand frozen garlic bread, which had tons of chemicals and GMO ingredients, especially non-hydrogenated oils (soybean and canola oil). A few hours later, I became very ill as my stomach was hurting badly. I blacked out on top of my toilet and fell on the floor (This has happened more than several times in a few years). I started recording what I was eating. That’s it. It turns out my body has adverse reactions to oils, which were produced from GMO crops. I switched to organic oils and mostly non-GMO foods. I haven’t been that very sick since my allergy discovery, but there are still hidden ingredients that I have to be extra careful to eat. There are potential side effects of GMO foods: allergies, toxins, antibiotic resistance, less nutritious benefits.
When you go grocery shopping, you should watch out for genetically engineered products, particularly the cereals. You can grab a General Mills’ cereal “Honey Nut Cheerios,” as shown left, and search for “genetically engineered product” below the Nutrition label. It is shocking to see that General Mills would inform us it is a GMO food.
Non-GMO Verified Products labels are starting to show up on some products nowadays, such as Domino Sugars, San Giorgio Pasta products, Silk Milk, etc. You can go to http://www.nongmoproject.org/ and search any products to verify whether they were tested for Non-GMO. Such labels will let us know that foods have already been tested for non-GMO with less than .9% GMO. Be careful when a product labels a Non-Gmo. It doesn’t mean it was already tested and verified for Non-GMO. (see JIF Simply Peanut Butter below for example.) I would always trust the Non-GMO Verified Products.
Organic foods are always free of GMOs. Organic foods are heavily regulated by USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), while Non-GMO foods aren’t. Thus, Non-GMO Project organization was set up to test foods for non-GMOs. It is safe to purchase foods with the exact label, which says “USDA Organic” with white and green colors as shown below.
Organic and non-GMO foods are widely available at most supermarkets, organic markets, farmer’s markets, or some grocery stores. My favorite stores are Wegmans, MOM market, Trader Joe’s, and Martin’s Foods (part of Giant Foods) in the East Coast. Wegmans has non-GMO/Organic products available on their website. It helps me to see what they have available and you can even create a shopping list with prices included (depending on the location). It makes the shopping trip a lot easier, cheaper, and faster! I prefer to buy organic or grass-fed meats at MOM markets. They are mostly grown locally.
Use your own judgment when you go grocery shopping. It is better to be more informative and aware of the environment we all live and breathe in.
~Amy (Awe-inspiring Mom)