Organic vs Non-GMO
For health and environmental reasons, IRT strongly recommends you buy organic food.
USDA organic standards do not allow the intentional use of GMOs, Roundup or other synthetic toxic chemicals. We have advocated for many years that manufacturers label products as non-GMO. But this is not enough if you are looking to avoid Roundup as well.
It used to be that Roundup was sprayed only on Roundup-Ready food crops: soy, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets, and alfalfa. But now, it is sprayed throughout the food supply as a desiccant to dry down crops just before harvest, especially grains and beans. It’s also used in fields of various fruits and vegetables. Therefore, glyphosate (the chief poison in Roundup) is found in varying concentrations throughout our food supply.
Organic products are not allowed to be sprayed with Roundup, but may have low levels of contamination. This is because glyphosate can be found in some rainwater. It can drift when it’s sprayed on neighboring fields. However, independent tests show that organic products consistently have far lower detectable levels, if any, of glyphosate compared to non-organic products.
What about products that say non-GMO?
First of all, there are many different types of claims. A company can self-certify its product as non-GMO or they can be third-party certified. In both cases, the term non-GMO needs to be defined.
Some companies may declare their products non-GMO simply because they have asked their supply chain to be non-GMO, but provide no verification. Others may have a testing method that is not so precise or with a high level of allowable contamination.
We endorse the Non-GMO Project as the best label on products making the non-GMO claim. Its published standards are strong. They require companies with at-risk products to test the system to verify there’s either no GMOs present or that it’s consistently below the action threshold of 0.9%. (For example: if they use soy, which is often GMO meaning there’s a potential that the soy in their product could be genetically modified.) That said, if you purchase a Non-GMO Project Verified loaf of bread for example or bag of oatmeal, it would not necessarily be without glyphosate residues.
Glyphosate residues are often found on oats and wheat and oats and wheat are not genetically engineered. Therefore, it’s possible that the products are Non-GMO Project Verified and yet they do not protect you from contamination from glyphosate. That’s why we recommend that if you have a choice between organic and non-GMO (even Non-GMO Project Verified), you choose organic.
The gold standard = buying products both certified organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.
Why is that? Organic products do not require testing for the presence of GMO contamination. When organic products are tested, levels of contamination are usually quite low, but occasionally they’re higher than one would expect.
If the product is certified organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, if there are at-risk ingredients, then the system has been tested providing a bit more confidence that any GMO contamination will be quite low.
Also, look for the Glyphosate Residue Free Certification or other certifications indicating testing of the final products.
This is in addition to buying organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. This certification does not test every single product, but a sampling, and it verifies that there is no detectable glyphosate level. Some of these certifications may have an acceptable level of glyphosate. They’re being developed all the time and we can’t keep track of them. You’re welcome to look at their website to determine if they have any acceptable levels of glyphosate and if you’re willing to accept that.
We also recommend people buy food from farmers they know.
They may not be certified organic, but they may be able to provide assurance that they don’t use GMOs, Roundup or other toxic chemicals. And of course, a lot of people enjoy eating healthy, fresh food that they grow themselves.
Education and vigilance is the key.
We know. It can seem daunting. But this is why we do what we do: to make it easier to work through this and find your and your family’s highest health and well-being. You can have freedom from GMOs and pesticides. We hope this helps.