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Certification Crash Course: Non-GMO

We hear the term "non-GMO" on a daily basis, but do we really know what it means to be GMO-free and why it is so important to our health and future? Here is our quick and dirty guide to non-GMOs with a big shout out to the Non-GMO Project for their leadership and initiative.

GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Many North Americans are becoming increasingly interested in the food they eat and how it is sourced. In more than 60 countries throughout the world, GMOs are labeled or banned; however, in North America they are unlabeled and found in more than 80% of processed food.

So, why shouldn't we eat GMOs? Foreign genetic materials in a host can cause other genetic material in said host to behave erratically. In short, we simply don't know the long-term effects of eating GMOs because they haven't existed long enough for comprehensive research. However, research that has been done shows that GMOs can negatively affect humans. They may be responsible for allergies, resistance to antibiotics and cancers.

The mission of the Non-GMO Project is to preserve and build the non-GMO food supply, and give eaters an informed choice. They believe consumers have the right to clearly labeled non-GMO food and products. Look for the Non-GMO Project symbol on foods and packaging in your local grocer.