Gluten-free? Low-fat? Sugar-free? Those claims don't hold a candle to "no GMOs," according to the Non-GMO Project, an independent organization that certifies conventional and organic foods as being free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or crops that have been genetically altered to resist heavy doses of pesticides.
The group announced late in December that sales of "Non-GMO Project Verified" foods reached $3 billion in 2012. (Although GMOs are banned in organic production, organic certifiers don't test for contamination from cross-pollination or pollen drift along the supply chain. The Non-GMO Project, on the other hand, does.) That's a 200-percent increase from 2011, making the certification the fastest-growing eco-label in North America. The seal now appears on 8,650 products.
There's lots of evidence as to why the demand for this niche food is growing: Despite repeated assurances from biotechnology companies that manufacture GMOs (and the pesticides they're designed to resist), no independent studies have been conducted to back up claims that the crops don't harm human health over the long-term. And although GMOs are supposed to help farmers reduce their reliance on pesticides, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show that pesticide use has increased 6 percent since GMOs were introduced in the late 1990s, exposing people and water systems to pesticide chemicals suspected of interfering with hormones and possibly even cancer. Furthermore, the United Nations has conducted a number of studies showing that organic farming methods are more lucrative and more productive for farmers in developing countries than growing GMOs—a stark contrast to biotech companies' claims that GMOs will increase yields and farmers' profits and help "feed the world."
So if you need a resolution for 2013, make it an easy one! Go GMO free! For a list of products certified under the Non-GMO Project, visit nongmoproject.org.
Published on: January 3, 2013
Updated on: January 4, 2013