Whats The Real Difference Between Organic And GMO? – Forbes

Posted: December 26, 2019 at 10:50 am


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As the new year approaches, food is front and centerits stocked in our homes for gatherings with friends, offered at office holiday parties and constantly on our minds as we plan menus for family dinners or brainstorm next years healthy eating plan. Its a seasonable time to consider what happens to your food before it hits your plate. And for many consumers, thats something of a puzzle, particularly when it comes to understanding organic versus GMOsor genetically modified organisms.

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Asking questions like Is organic non-GMO? and How do GMOs compare to organic food? can help you make better sense of what youre feeding yourself and your loved ones. Heres a helpful guide to boost your knowledge and inform your nutritional choices all year round.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines GMOs as organisms whose genetic materialor DNAhas been altered or modified in some way that does not occur naturally. In most cases, genetic engineering works by transferring individual genes from one organism to another. Most commonly found in crops such as soybeans, corn and canola, GMOs are designed to provide a higher nutritional value to food, as well as protect crops against pests.

Organic foods, on the other hand, do not contain any pesticides, fertilizers, solvents or additives. According to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), USDA-certified organic foods are grown and processed according to strict federal guidelines that cover everything from soil quality and pest control to animal raising practices. Similarly, organic livestock raised for meat, eggs and dairy products must be given organic feed, and cannot receive antibiotics, growth hormones or any animal by-products.

Is organic non-GMO?

Theres plenty of debate surrounding GMO and organic food, which can make grocery shopping around the holiday season a harrowing experience. Making a key distinction can go a long way.

For those looking to avoid the use of chemical pesticides, along with the high costs of organic food, non-GMO products are a viable alternative. Thats because non-GMO products dont contain any GMO ingredients. However, that doesnt mean they are grown organically.

Organic isand always has beennon-GMO, says Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of the OTA. But non-GMO is not always organic.

Understanding the pros and cons of both options can also empower consumers. Heres how industry experts weigh in:

Why GMO?

Why organic?

A critical eye

So what are the shortcomings of GMOs and organic items? Common arguments against GMOs include the consumption of harmful bacteria and toxins, increased risk of allergic reaction and outcrossing, or the mixing of crops from conventional seeds with GM crops, which may have an indirect effect on food safety and food security, reports WHO.

Opponents of organic food argue that its significantly more expensive than GMO or non-GMO foods, has a shorter shelf life compared to GMO foods and may have higher bacteria levels due to limited pesticide and herbicide usage.

How to make the right choice for you and your family

Both categories of foodnon-GMO and organicare subject to strict regulatory guidelines and have gone through rigorous verification programs. That alone may provide consumers with the peace of mind theyre looking for when holiday grocery shopping.

If organic is the way you want to go, Batcha offers these tips to get the best bang for your buck:

Shop smart: Look for specials on organic products, and buy in bulk whenever you can to cut costs.

Prioritize: Think about what your family eats a lot of, and what your healthy eating priorities are.

Comparison shop: Organic fresh produce is sometimes sold at the same price as conventional, so check out organic produce aisles.

Pick and choose carefully: While conventional milk can be cheaper, recent research published by Cambridge University Press suggests that organic milk is free of pesticide and antibiotic residues. If your family drinks milk, its worth the extra cost to buy organic.

A little common sense goes a long way, too. Cookies, cakes and other sugar-laden treats, even if organic, are still not the healthiest option. And if you really want to know what youre eating, try cooking from scratcheven if it means incorporating some DIY cooking hacks. Understanding the differences between organic vs. GMO foods will allow you to provide your loved ones with the right nutritional options.

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Whats The Real Difference Between Organic And GMO? - Forbes

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December 26th, 2019 at 10:50 am

Posted in Organic Food