GMO, or rather, a genetically modified organism is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organisms whose genetic makeup has been modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering or transgenic technology at its barebone definition.
Ultimately, this creates a plethora of combinations of plants, animals, bacteria and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
GMO’s are utilized to grow and create larger amounts of food than previous crops to decrease food production costs and increase overall crop size. This is partially done by placing pesticides on the crops to kill insects or rather pests from eating and infecting the food.
A commonly used widespread chemical that is used for this is Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) which kills pests that attempt to eat the food.
Non-GMO, as you could probably guess, are organisms that are not genetically modified. Furthermore, this refers to meat, poultry, dairy and eggs that are not fed a diet containing genetically engineered crops.
Products that are labeled with the non-GMO label means that the ingredients have been verified by the Non-GMO project not to contain genetically modified material.
Then we have organic. Is Organic different than Non-GMO? No. Is non-GMO different from organic? Yes. Sounds confusing right? Here’s the thing:
Food that has been farmed and manufactured within the guidelines determined by the department of agriculture and prohibits the use of GMO’s. Organic farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides or rather anything that has been genetically engineered. They are also not allowed to farm with petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers.
Meaning that food labeled as non-GMO can still be grown with pesticides also, non-GMO labeling is not regulated by the federal government it is rather operated through certifications with non-profits such as the Non-GMO Project.
And while the non-GMO foods can be grown with pesticides, the label is meant to show that the product is made up of .9 percent or fewer genetically-modified ingredients.
Nevertheless, the non-GMO channel is a way for people to become more informed about the food they intake on a regular basis. After all, you are what you eat and becoming knowledgeable about your diet be it organic, non-GMO or GMO based is never a bad thing.