What Exactly Does Non-GMO Mean?
While browsing through the fresh produce area at the grocery store, it’s common to come across a blue and green label with an orange butterfly on a green leaf that reads, “Non-GMO Project Verified.” Have you ever wondered what that means exactly?
Let's review what a GMO is, why farmers use them, and some drawbacks that are associated with these types of crops.
Not sure what a GMO is? You aren’t alone. A recent survey found that 69% of U.S. participants didn’t really understand what a GMO is, and less than a third were comfortable with them in their food.— Baked Smart Cookie (@BakedSmart) August 31, 2021
What is a GMO?
GMO is short for “Genetically Modified Organism.” It means that an organism was created and modified in a laboratory setting.
Scientists accomplish this via genetic engineering in which they transfer genes between organisms. Techniques used to achieve this include cloning genes, splicing DNA segments together, and inserting genes into cells.
By reconstructing the genes, they can obtain desired characteristics they want certain crops to have. An example of a characteristic amplified to be more present in a crop is corn having the ability to create its own pesticide.
There are a total of 19 genetically modified plant species approved to be grown in the U.S, but only 8 can be grown commercially. The main genetically modified crops grown in the United States are:
- Sugar beets
- Summer squash
At Baked Smart Cookie, our healthy cookie is made with non-GMO ingredients. Additionally, it’s vegan, USDA certified organic, soy free and peanut free. We believe in offering a high-quality healthy snack made from fresh, wholesome foods.
Why do Farmers Grow GMO Crops?
One of the main reasons that drives farmers to grow GMO crops is crop loss. The three most common traits that GMO crops have is resistance to insect damage, tolerance to herbicides, and resistance to plant viruses.
With these traits, farmers can worry less about their crops being ruined while also maintaining the integrity of the crops.
Major Drawbacks Associated with GMOs
Even though GMO crops have been proven to support production techniques, they also have negative effects on both the environment and our health.
Due to the presence of pesticide resistance in GMO crops, there is a need to increase the amount of pesticide used with every generation of crops that are grown.
Individuals that survive pesticide exposure pass on the genes for resistance, thus more and more pesticide is needed each year. To be exact, over 1 billion pounds of pesticide is used every year in the United States, which has a negative impact on our environment.
In relation to health, GMO crops also have negative effects on our bodies. According to the Center for Food Safety, some of the negative effects include allergic reactions, antibiotic resistance, immuno-suppression, cancer, and loss of nutrition in food.
Healthy Alternatives to GMOs
Even though there are many foods made with GMOs, here are some things you can do to ensure you feed your family wholesome and nutritious meals:
1. Avoid highly processed foods that have corn, soy, canola, sugar beets and cotton
2. Buy Non-GMO Project Verified products
3. Eat Organic
4. Grow your own food
5. Buy local
Delicious Non-GMO Snacks for Kids and Families
In short, “non-GMO” means that a particular food is made without the use of potentially harmful ingredients and chemicals commonly associated with GMOs. Furthermore, it also means that there are no GMO practices used in the production process of the product.
The next time you see the Non-GMO certified label, rest assured that you’re looking at a greener and healthier choice.
Here at Baked Smart Cookie, our scrumptious cookies are made with half a cup of fruits AND vegetables, making it the perfect snack for kids that won’t eat vegetables. They’re also vegan - it doesn’t get better than that!