There are so many terms used throughout the food industry revolving around health-conscious culture, such as “gluten-free”, “all-natural” and more. It can be hard to keep track of the meaning of all of these terms. Sometimes these health terms get blended together with others, while other times, people may be mixing up the meanings of different terms. This makes for a great deal of confusion! For now, we’re going to try to reduce the level of confusion. Here is a review of the differences between two common key health terms: non-GMO, and organically-grown.
What Does “Organically-Grown” Mean?
When food is organically-grown, it means the food wasn’t made using chemical or artificial ingredients, such as pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, or fertilizers. Most organically-grown food is also non-GMO, but there are loopholes that could jeopardize whether or not a food is non-GMO.
There are different levels of organic certification. While certain foods could be 100% organic, there may be other foods that are only made with organic ingredients. For the most part, when you buy food with a USDA certified organic label, the food is between 95% and 100% organic Companies that use this USDA label are required to take on annual third-party inspections and reviews, and even residue testing if the inspectors feel it’s necessary.
Be careful though, because certain foods labeled as organic can still have hidden additives which are not organic material.
What Does “Non-GMO” Mean?
GMO foods are foods that are genetically modified, meaning it was developed artificially Any time a food is labeled as non-GMO, it is being stated that it was not made with genetically modified ingredients, nor did it come from livestock that consumed genetically modified foods. There is a Non-GMO Project Verified label, and all foods with this label have been produced within the Non-GMO Project Standard guidelines. This organization tests products at many different points in the production process.
Keep in mind that the Non-GMO Project Verified label doesn’t mean the foods have no GMOs at all. What it does mean is that these foods abide by the standards of the Non-GMO Project, and have done all necessary testing. These tests have limits, and it’s possible that non-GMO foods could have up to 0.9% of genetically modified material.
Comparing Organically-Grown and non-GMO foods
There is a difference between non-GMO and organic foods. Organically-grown food will also be non-GMO most of the time. Look for 100% USDA certified organic labels if you want to be safe. However, non-GMO foods are not always organic, and some companies can use non-GMO labels in misleading ways.
Getting the certification can be expensive, especially for smaller businesses. As a result, companies may place labels on the food that aren’t necessarily certified. There are misleading labels such as “cage-free” and “grown local” that can imply a food is organically-grown or non-GMO, but those labels don’t prove this. Be wary of the labels you read before you buy.
Importance of Buying Organically-Grown Food
Organic foods are a safer purchase overall. Buying organic food will usually mean your food is non-GMO as well. Remember to look for the USDA Certified Organic label. Picking organic and non-GMO foods can be a great choice. Just remember that organic usually means non-GMO, but non-GMO isn’t always organic.
Baywater Farms Has The Right Produce For You
Baywater Farms is a family owned and operated farm servicing Baltimore, Washington D.C., Maryland, Delaware beaches, and the Eastern Shore. We are capable of meeting the demands of your produce distributor, restaurant produce supplier, CSA produce supplier, or wholesale produce supplier while maintaining the integrity and character of a small farm. When you work with Baywater Farms, you work with an experienced, ethical, and local farm dedicated to providing the highest-quality heirloom produce possible.