As we educate ourselves, we find there are a wide variety of terms to describe organic and conventional food. In this Blog we are going to delve into the difference between a GMO and a GE, no not the electric company... Genetic Engineering.
Since the 1990’s it has become very common for our food to be genetically engineered or GE for short. The FDA defines genetic engineering as “the name for certain methods that scientists use to introduce new traits or characteristics to an organism.” An example of this would be herbicide resistant corn or milk from cows injected with milk production boosting hormones. Not to be confused with a GMO, which stands for genetically modified organism. GMO’s have been around since the dawn of time.
Hold the phone how can that be true - I just started hearing about GMO’s in the last few years. Well the term GMO is quite broad. You see if two plants in nature exchange pollen via a bumble bee, the wind or a hummingbird, that is technically modifying an organism. Of course where the mass production of food is concerned, there is a very specific definition for a GMO, as we have come to know.
A GMO is the result of a laboratory process with test tubes, incubators, syringes and lots of trial and error along the way.
It’s kind of like asking you and your grand-mom to define a tablet, one will say a stack of bonded paper the other will say a thin touch screen computer. Both are right, but today, and for our purposes, when we say GMO, we mean the test tube version.
So there are differences in GE’s and GMO’s - they are subtle differences, but differences nonetheless. And these will come into play as they pass more labeling measures in upcoming years.
That is where NON-GMO’s come in. The Non-GMO Project has done a great job of promoting and labeling verified Non-GMO products. They are the official and only trusted label at this point that certifies NON GMO. But beware - there are also products that simply include Non-GMO, or “Natural” on their label and this is not regulated by anyone, essentially allowing any product to promote itself and appear healthier than it really is.
This is the Official Non - GMO Label
Let’s take a minute here to define why Non-GMO’s are not considered organic. It is because although not engineered or modified in a lab, Non-GMO’s can be farmed with the use of synthetic pesticides, weed killers, growth promoting hormones, other drug and chemical residues and even human sludge, that’s right the stuff you flush can be taken from a waste water management plant and used as fertilizer.
Many want us to believe that they can’t possibly feed the population without GE’s and GMO’s, that is simply untrue in my opinion. The decision seems to be more about labor-less food and profit. Mass produced, insect resistant, growth promoting, chemical driven seeds and animal hormones brings the cost of our food down. But as more research is done about the ill effects of GE’s and GMO’s on our bodies and our long term health costs, along with the toll it takes on our environment, more countries across the globe are restricting or outright banning their use. To me, that speaks volumes.
Until next time, Be Organic and Be Healthy~!