The use of genetic engineering, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is prohibited in organic products. This means an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer can’t use any GMO ingredients. To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table.
Organic operations implement preventive practices based on site-specific risk factors, such as neighboring conventional farms or shared farm equipment or processing facilities. For example, some farmers plant their seeds early or late to avoid organic and GMO crops flowering at the same time (which can cause cross-pollination). Others harvest crops prior to flowering or sign cooperative agreements with neighboring farms to avoid planting GMO crops next to organic ones. Farmers also designate the edges of their land as a buffer zone where the land is managed organically, but the crops aren’t sold as organic. Any shared farm or processing equipment must be thoroughly cleaned to prevent unintended exposure to GMOs or prohibited substances.
All of these measures are documented in the organic farmer’s organic system plan. This written plan describes the substances and practices to be used, including physical barriers to prevent contact of organic crops with prohibited substances or the products of “excluded methods” such as GMOs. On-site inspections and records verify that farmers are following their organic system plan. Additionally, certifying agents conduct residue testing to determine if these preventive practices are adequate to avoid contact with substances such as prohibited pesticides, antibiotics, and GMOs.
Any certified organic operation found to use prohibited substances or GMOs may face enforcement actions, including loss of certification and financial penalties. However, unlike many pesticides, there aren’t specific tolerance levels in the USDA organic regulations for GMOs. As such, National Organic Program policy states that trace amounts of GMOs don’t automatically mean the farm is in violation of the USDA organic regulations. In these cases, the certifying agent will investigate how the inadvertent presence occurred and recommend how it can be better prevented in the future. For example, they may require a larger buffer zone or more thorough cleaning of a shared grain mill.
USDA supports all methods of agriculture production, including organic, conventional, and biotechnology. To help these different methods coexist better, USDA has convened an Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (“AC21”). Organic stakeholders are well-represented on AC21. Recent recommendations from the Advisory Committee are currently being implemented (PDF, 62.4 KB) by USDA agencies.
Consumers purchase organic products expecting that they maintain their organic integrity from farm to market, and USDA is committed to meeting these expectations. No matter where it was grown, if a product has the USDA Organic label on it, it wasn’t produced with GMOs.
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To Sandra Sweazie and others:
The issue with labeling GMOs is primarily two-fold:
1) Consumer concerns over GM ingredients may harm sales
2) Labeling foods with GM ingredients may give consumers the idea that there is something health-related worth labeling, and many scientists, farmers, and businesses fear that this will give rise to misunderstanding about what GM actually entails.
As an up-and-coming genetic engineer in my first year of PhD work, I have entered into genetic engineering from a background in natural resource management when I found out about the great potential that GM can have for aiding the environment. Like all technologies, there are costs and benefits, but I feel that the cost is greatly outweighed by the benefits (especially in terms of human and environmental health).
That said, there is a plethora of research that goes into studying the health and environmental impact of GM crops prior to release onto the market, and just like pharmaceuticals, there is a pipeline of regulation and testing that goes into the release of each product. While many products make it to the market, many others do not (for several reasons), and in terms of long term studies, I believe we must ask ourselves when is long enough. Many drugs are released on the market within 10 years, while GM crops are often out in 6 years. The reason for this is because many drugs use novel chemicals that we insert into our bodies and have unknown effects to start. With GM crops, the proteins often produced by a crop are easy to examine in effects through various assays. An insecticide, like Bt, is safe to consume by humans as it only is known to react to specialized receptors in certain insect guts, and occur no where in the tree of life. This is analogous to chocolate and dogs. Humans eat chocolate all the time, but dogs cannot, just like humans can consume Bt proteins, but insects cannot. In terms of the soybean allergens, please read the journal articles that are often cited. While a genetically engineered soybean was shown to produce a Brazil-nut allergen, it was not due to "disruption of the soybean's DNA." This does not occur as described by so many I have heard. The protein from the transgene was an original Brazil-nut allergen. As a result, the product is not now sold.
In terms of GM crops being "unnatural," look up the evolutionary history of modern day corn. You will see how non-GM corn is also not-natural. Humans have engineered and mutated crops for millenia, but now we have methods to shorten the process and make it more precise (e.g. gene transfer).
I do not believe that I will change many people's minds about GM crop production, as many minds appear to be already made up, but all I hope for is that people analyze the evidence and put a little more faith in peer-reviewed scientific research (it is not perfect, but we try to convey reality as best we can). I am merely a student with the hopes that GM technology can be one of many solutions to helping our planet, and I myself would be one of the first to turn against GM if I found it dangerous. Please do not put your faith in groups like Greenpeace, Responsible Technology, Global Research, or Concerned Scientists (these names are designed to sound authoritative and reputable). These groups make our jobs of communicating our work to the public so much harder by spreading slanted reports or misinterpretations of data in an "ends justify the means" mentality. I believe they mean well, but are not aware of the negative effects the misinformation they spread to people have.
Also, if it helps, I will be entering into academia, not industry, in the hopes of providing publicly funded solutions to enviornmental problems, using GM technology applications.
We are a manufacturer of organic candy that has been standardized USDA and EU from Indonesia (BALI), we want to build their own raw materials from planting organic candy. We would like to ask, if we are allowed to use fertilizers developed from the breeding of bacteria from soil, including natural pesticides derived from bacteria that naturally develops in some plants as predators of our plant diseases, for example: trycoderma, which eradicate the root spoilage bacteria and tubers.
To Sue, please go to http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/
And read about genetic roulette. I saw the film about a year ago and it was so over the top. Cattle in India ate GM feed and got sick, we're put on non GM feed and got better. 90% of the livestock in this country eat GM feed without problem. According to the New York Times Jeffrey Smith, who wrote genetic roulette, has no scientific credentials.
It is a disgrace that our government agencies fail the public they are supposed to serve. And instead serve the businesses that garner their profits off the health and well-being of the public. No organic farmer or anyone not using GMO seed should have to pay to keep it out of their fields. The responsibility falls on the planter, the GMO farmer. And consumers have a right to know what they are eating. More emphasis should be made to work "WITH" nature. Playing God, by trying to recreate nature in our image will be the demise of us all.
What is the GMO (Monsanto) community afraid of? It won't cost them any more to label products that are GMO. Why do they fight it? Stinks of coverup to me.
We have GMO because we can not provide food for the uncontrolled populating of the planet. Those who are against GMO need to stop contributing to the over population of the planet. 7billion people. And everyone thinks they have a right to keep making more babies. I am against eating GMO foods. I am happy we have an option still and I support all effort to be able to support local farmers and organics. It's a lifestyle I adhere to. But the hypocritical complaint about GMO foods and saving the planet from those still contributing to the over population of the planet is sickening.
The resultant GMO plant, known as Bt Corn, is itself registered as a pesticide with the EPA, along with other GMO Bt crops. Registered as a pesticide with the EPA but Steve says it is no more harmful than any other conventionally modified food?
if GMO is safe why (and I know they are not safe)is every country in the world now rejecting GMO food from the USA (could it be they are smarter then us ) because they don't eat GMO food
Cisgenic cell fusion genetically engineered hybrid seeds are permitted in USDA NOP regulations.
Please see this story on the issue:
Just reluctantly bought Organic adamame beans USDA certified...Question....I did not think you could find soy beans that HAVE NOT BEEN GMO'd so how did these get certified. Has the USDA fallen prey to greed and palm greasing by the likes of Monsanto?
Do the people who make the GMO food, grow it and make the rules on them for the rest of us, eat it? I invite anyone of them to come to my table for dinner where I will be sure my whole meal is made from GMO food and see if they even take a bite or just sit there looking at it like they are going to get sick. Yeah you know who you are and I bet you don't eat this crap because you know the true nature of it. Depopulation at its finest folks!
I haven't read all the comments so I have no idea if someone already said this but why can't we just use GMO seeds/foods (which are not proven to be harmful to health and can be beneficial by resisting disease, increasing yields, etc) with the sustainable organic farming processes? Best of both worlds, no?
How many years did it take the tobacco industry to admit that smoking caused cancer? How many studies did they do? How come Ph.D. scientists backed up their claims that it was safe? It's all about money, folks. How rich can Monsanto get before the GMO food is shown to be bad for people to eat? This is why big industry is not to be trusted.
If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's a duck. People need to use their own good instinct about this. You are what you eat. We need to change the course and go back to producing healthy food.
Let's follow other countries and label GMO food. Then Steve and Michael can eat the stuff if they want to, and I can avoid it if I want to.
I just got a call to take a survey about GMOs and how I will vote about labeling. I had just read an article about US foods that are banned in other countries and why, and I decided to take the survey. It soon became clear that this survey was really a way to find out how to manipulate the public about GMO labeling and which argument against labeling would make me change my vote in their favor. They even repeated the questions at the end to see if I would vote differently after hearing their arguments. It really made me angry. I can't believe they are trying to use farmers to gain our sympathy against labeling our food after everything Monsanto has done to farmers. They do not care about farmer's profits.
I think their argument about profit loss is ridiculous. There are so many uninformed people in the US who guzzle high fructose corn syrup, nitrates, chemicals, and preservatives that they will continue to profit from. It is time consuming and expensive to eat healthy in the US. The parents feeding their kids pop and hotdogs are not going to care about GMOs. They will have plenty of people to profit from, unfortunately. There other arguments were just as stupid.
Even if they did lose some money by labeling, why should their profit or loss of profit be more important than my right to know what I'm eating. They aren't fighting against people who want to ban GMOs; they are fighting against people who want the right to choose what they eat by labeling their food. Some people don't want to be forced to become lab rats in this experiment, because we can't trust food manufacturers or FDA to keep us safe. Some people want to avoid GMOs whether they are safe or not, and why can't they have that option.
It's bad enough that they put things in our food that are known to be a health threat or that they don't know due to a lack of information, but now they want to hide it from us, force it on us, and remove our choice. That's not right. We need to know what's in our food. We should always have a choice not to eat something if we don't want to eat it. We don't even need a good reason. The choice should still be ours.
I don't think fighting food labeling is going to work in their favor. They have silently slipped so much crap into our food that most people barely pay attention. Turning this into a big deal has drawn attention to GMOs and the problems with them and makes people wonder what they're trying to hide. They would have been better off if they didn't turn this into a huge issue. I also wonder what they will do when they are fully liable for the health problems their food causes. Right now everyone blames the consumer. "It's your fault you got cancer or heart disease or diabetes. No one forced you to eat all that junk food." How are they going to blame it all on us when they actually did force us to eat it? Labels have worked in their favor as much as they have worked in ours. They are acting like power hungry dictators about this whole thing.
I find it odd that any manufacture or grower that has a product that has a "beneficial" component or ingredient that they proudly display it on their product labeling or in their advertisement such as Low Sodium, less fat, organic, all natural, energy efficient, greener etc.. this list goes on. The GMO people state that GMO are good and safe but want to hide the fact that it is contained in food products hence their efforts to fund lobbyist to fight the labeling of GMO products. Their excuse that consumers do not understand what GMO means and would not buy them for that reason. They should be proud to label a "good and safe" quality if it so exist. Whole Foods for one, proudly displays the the "Non GMO" label with out fear consumers would not buy it because it did not contain the "benefits" of GMO.
Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut have gmo labelling laws because the USDA did not act. GMO labelling initiatives will appear on November ballots in Colorado and Oregon. Monsanto spent many millions to defeat the California measure.Cheers to the activists in those 2 states who gathered far greater signatures than were required and were certified by their Secretaries of State.Monsanto will probably try to defeat those measures as well.
I have a question that perhaps someone can help me find an answer to. I recall that as the USDA was initially considering its organic standards, USDA considered transgenic seeds to be acceptable in organic farming, but later reversed itself by excluding the practice. I am curious, how and why was that decision made? What kind of expertise was relied upon in making that decision? Were there scientific voices included in the process as well as political ones (e.g. anti-gmo activists)? What do farmers themselves think about the distinction?
My wife 46 yrs old, died from pancreatic cancer 4 months ago. She was a non smoker, non drinker, no drugs, no family history. Her diet is an obvious contributing factor. What are we doing people. We need to quit being sheep.
Monsanto owns the USDA? Holy s&it! And to think I just felt good about eating USDA approved arugula! I feel like I am going to vomit! It feels eerily as though Big Brother is watching.
Steve, you are so sad- is it your dream to work for the "bad guys" who are willing to risk all life on earth for wealth and power?!?! Totally unacceptable!
Whether GMOs are safe or unsafe is actually irrelevant. What is at stake is the consumer's choice to purchase GMO or organic products. The reality is, when given the choice, consumers will almost always choose organic. Therefore Monstanto etc are not making their profits, hence the "blurry" line between GMO and organic. Stricter polices and labeling are in order, as well as significant fines for big companies that intentionally or unintentionally contaminate organic farms with GMO seeds, etc.
So glad I found this great information, thanks
Roy says: "If what you conveniently pick up in the store does not explicitly say that it containes NO GMO then you can assume that it does.". Um no, there is still a huge amount of produce that is not GMO but is conventionally grown. Pretty poor argument for not labeling.
Oh my, anyone with a good article on the safety of GMO's have cited sites with the name bio-whatever...these are funded from organizations that have a stake in biotechnology. Remember when 4 out of 5 doctor's said cigarettes were the "best". Label it! Code produce with a coffee number that starts with, let's say, a 9.
If GMOs were good and healthy and proven safe, why is Monsanto fighting with millions of dollars to keep the label off the packaging?
I'm sorry for all of the children growing up in this environment where the government allows mega-multibillion dollar corrupt corporations like Monsanto free reign to pollute our water, soil, food supply and environment with impunity!
Hola, gracias por la información algo así me viene estupendo para un trabajo que estoy realizando, gracias
Amy Putkonen put it right.
The Right Wingers are always crowing about free markets and capitalism -- until it will cost them money. Then they want regulation, regulation, regulation.
A free market for GMO's means a consumer that can look at an item and see a label identifying it as GMO so he can decide for himself whether to buy it.
The Steve guy cited the GENERA site from the pro-GMO lobby group Biology Fortified, Inc. (BFI). You have to see this. It is typical industry whitewashing, with a logo that has a green, pretty DNA double helix wafting towards a shining sun. Holy crap. This is exactly the type of propaganda from the American Petroleum Institute.
Industry-linked studies were much more likely to find that the GMO was safe. In contrast, studies where no such conflict of interest was present were more likely to reach unfavourable conclusions, even finding that the GMO's were toxic.
GM Watch dot org
At least one study proving there are odd effects of GM crops ...
Hey Steve Savage if they exist you should provide direct links to some of the independent studies about GMO's on the Genera site - I, for one, can't find any, and if you don't provide proof of what you say, why should anyone listen to you? ...
For heaven's sake.
Just label the food, GMO or NON-GMO, and let US,
the consumer, decide if WE want to buy the product,
or not !
Those who care, and are concerned about their, and their family's, health, WILL read the label, as they )I) do now. Those who don't, won't, and that's fine.
"JUST LABEL IT" and let the people decide, please !
Steve, the idea that there have been long term safety studies of GMOs is the lie. In fact, originally GMOs were allowed into our food supply thanks to deregulation - this was a political move and still remains so. At the heart of this was the ideology that GMOs are substantially equivalent, again, a deregulation move - which means that GMOs were able to be pushed into our food supply WITHOUT necessary and rigourous safety testing. Again, this was a political move that was only concerned with $$$ and economical growth.
Nai'a The interesting thing to me is that anyone that wants to avoid GMO has ample opportunity to do it. Buy organic. This is already regulated and cannot allow GMO in it's supply chain. What's the problem? Why do we need the "admission of guilt" label when there is no evidence that there is any risk? If you believe there is, buy organic. Done.
Nancy Harrison raises a great question and answer.
"Why the organic farmers, who are not spreading contaminated seed, are being given the burden of insuring themselves, when it should be the GMO seed providers, whose seeds are contaminating the area, who should be made to bear the financial burden. Yet again, Monsanto is being protected from the consequences of its actions.
The problem, and it is a huge one, is that Monsanto essentially ‘owns’ the USDA (look at the background of USDA top brass over the last 2 decades) and can control what it says, does, and rules."
I can say the only good thing about hearing the new Monsanto commercials is it's actually opening up the question to consumers... "Who or what is Monsanto." The Monsanto company has been a quiet killer since the early 1900's. Starting with fake sugar, moving into chemical warfare sprays, gmo's.... PEOPLE... it's a chemical company that is in bed with our food supply. This is ridiculous! The only people who should be paying more is Monsanto. Paying the hospital bills of everyone who is getting sick from the chemicals in our food supply; cancer, diabetes, alzheimer's, etc, etc, etc! Our bodies are natural, so we should be putting natural things into our bodies. LABEL GMO'S!
Some of the most educated and affluent people in the USA don't even know what GMO means. Yet, in 69 other countries GMO's are BANNED! Banned. Why do we protect them? You have to ask yourself that.
We are a money hungry country and our government is not ours anymore, the people and companies with the most money own our government.
We should have the choice and option to know what we're EATING.. the very basic need to life, food. We should know what is in our food supply. Otherwise, people, companies, and the government can do what they want if we don't ask questions. And my question is... if GMO's aren't bad, why not label the food containing them?
Hi, is it true when labeling beef as organic, that under the USDA guidelines, beef can be fed and injected with anything up till the last 4 to 6 weeks before slaughter, when they must be fed only organic feed?
Obviously the real winners in this debate are the companies that sell products in which they claim "GMO free"(GE) ingredients. Without an actual tolerance level for GE derived ingredients, the consumer is completely misled into spending their hard earned money for an organic product that they trust is of a higher quality. A third party verified standard is a safer bet for a consumer because the GE ingredient tolerance is .9% for non-meat products and the GE animal feed allowed is likely less than 1.5% for meat products. The testing of products are maintained on a regular basis to maintain these tolerance thresholds for all products that contain GE claims.
I am sick. Dr. Don,t know what is wrong.. I think I finally figured it out. Gmo. Stomach problems,pain when I get out of bed, depression,tired,have to find a bathroom asp,thyroid,checking problem, hard to go to dentist because I want to gag..What doctor is going to fix something they can,t unless we get our food more gmo free................seriously
Transparency is the best for all people so Labeling of food will allow all to choose what they want to eat. Keep informed and read these publications.
See this link, a 3rd party verification of Non-GMO foods.
Thank you for having the Non-GMO project.
Health concern aside, the planting of GMO seeds requires death on a massive scale to large swaths of land due to the chemical applications. For many people, environmental impact is a big factor in purchasing decisions. Labeling would allow the consumer to make informed choices according to what's important to them.
This discussion is about the food safety integrity of the seeds used in USDA organic farm/food industry. If you are eating toast or a sandwich made with USDA organic Cisgenically genetically engineered Clearfield Wheat you are eating a Cisgenic mutagenic GMO approved for consumer consumption by the FDA without food safety testing because the laboratory created cisgenically genetically engineered GMO process is viewed as traditional by the USDA/FDA. Since the introduction of this Cisgenic GMO wheat in the US the CDC has noted a spike in celliac dissease. The whole gluten free food diet is based on the health safety concern for this cisgenically genetically engineered (usiing laboratory mutagenisis) wheat GMO. This is one example of the USDA NOP permitting of Cisgenic GMOs in organic farming/food.
Hi Donald Sutherland, I am a biologist. I wasn't sure what you meant by Cisgenically genetically engineered, so I looked it up. I got zero results, so I tried just cisgenetic and found that you are referring to plants that have been changed by moving a gene from a close botanical relative into the genome of another plant. Traditionally that's been done by crossing plants directly, but that's not very efficient. While I take exception to your categorization of these plants as "Cisgenic mutagenic GMO" (when mutagenic means that something causes mutations and this has never been shown to be true for these plants), I absolutely agree with your conclusion that this wheat has caused an increase in GI tract problems. I started having a skin problem about the time that this wheat came on the market, but didn't figure it out until my daughter grew up and moved out more than 20 years later. That was when I stopped eating wheat products, just because I didn't feel like having them as much as she did. Coincidentally, my skin problem cleared up, and because my diet had so little wheat in it, it was clear that wheat was the culprit when my skin problem returned after eating bread, or muffins, or cake. A second related health consequence was that every year my company's health physical showed I had above the average number of eosinophils in my blood- UNTIL I stopped eating wheat. Suddenly, and for the first time in over 15 years, my eos dropped into the normal range. I realized that my problem was not a gastrointestinal gluten sensitivity, but a sensitivity to some allergen in this wheat that triggered a skin allergic response similar to what happens in atopic dermatitis. No one ever told us that the wheat in our country had been mostly replaced with a variant that was substantially different from what we evolved to eat. (Did you know it has an extra pair of each chromosome compared to what was grown in 1970?) I don't think GMO is the devil, but I absolutely agree that it should be labeled to give people a choice. I also think that it should be much more controlled. The new genetically engineered salmon terrify me because they will be grown in the open ocean, and a small percentage of the fish will be capable of reproduction- if some of them escape their pens and reproduce with wild fish, we may face a devastation of the fisheries of the world. It is a disaster in the making, and it seems we are not going to be able to prevent it.
Steve: None of those studies prove GM foods are safe because none of them are long term. Long term studies will absolutely prove GM foods to detrimental to the human digestive and elimination systems, just as they are already proving to be detrimental to fish and animals eating them for extended periods of time. Long term studies should have been conducted before the very first GM food was planted commercially. It's too late for that now but we can start now to do what should have been done in the first place.
Watch "The Truth About Cancer, a Global Quest". GMO's have been proven dangerous ond carcinogenic. They've produced horrible cancerous tumors in mice and understanding the scientific mechanism by which these substances work in our bodies, when invested, gives overwhelming evidence that GMO's are extremely dangerous. What really gets me is that we are feeding these foods to our children and think about what it is doing to there poor developing systems. It's criminal!! And the the thing that so inferiating is that the FDA and the regulating institutions know this information and because of greed, they cover it up every way that they can. The very institution that is supposed to be protecting us is feeding us lies and poisoning our food...poisoning our children! It's the sad truth and if we don't all start educating ourselves and stand up to these crimes...stand up to Monsanto, we will all suffer greatly and it will not only effect us, but our children and generations to come! I strongly urge you all to watch "The Truth About Cancer". I have never watched a more compelling and thorough documentary. It will open your eyes and educate you. We must educate ourselves and join together and work toward eradicating GMO's.
I once viewed a single page of companies with logo, where shoppers alerted to each side of the fence GMO Co. vs Non-GMO Co. But now have not been able to find it? Can you direct me to this wonderful tool? Thanks, Ken
I personally think if I want to know what is in my food, I go ask a farmer. The farmer is going to do everything they can to sustainably, profitably take care of their land. The land is their livelihood and the future of their children. I know many organic farmers who regularly use pesticides on their crops (yes that is allowed) Make sure you are getting your information from a viable source. I look at Africa and see that they have been "organically" farming for decades and cannot feed their own people they have been stuck in a poverty agrarian society and the United States is feeding a large portion of the world on less land. While I don't agree with all of the GMO issues, I think there is also a large disconnect between the public and what "Organic" really is.
I do care about GMO's and I support the work being done with GMO's. I believe they will become increasingly necessary if we are to reduce pesticides and herbicides with their attendant downsides and also feed the worlds peoples in the face of such things as climate change etc. Unfortunately "Organic" has become increasingly dogmatic rather than scientific which is to the detriment of the worlds food supply. Therefore I do not support the Organic movement or purchase their products.
People should be aware of what they are buying. GMO labels should be placed on GMO products. However, I don't see how people couldn't have already known about the GMO product. Have they never ate a seedless watermelon or grape or how about bananas? What about pork meat or turkey bought from the store? GMO's are already out there in the public. its what we feed to our children. GMOs offer healthy options that are more affordable for people who are struggling.
It is regrettable USDA ever involved itself in the practice of vanity labeling by developing the certified organic program. Worse, USDA failed to mandate unbiased inspections, routine testing and strict enforcement of organic production. Worse still, USDA neglected to impose ethical fair play restrictions on organic advertising and marketing, resulting in widespread fraudulent marketing claims and unethical slanderous marketing tactics against modern agriculture. Now USDA will encourage yet another deceptive marketing tool in the form of a "non-GMO" label which, no doubt, also is without mandatory guidelines for routine inspection, testing or enforcement.