Non-GMO Project and Food Trends

In this article, we will dig into the question of the Non-GMO Project as well as, understand the development of GMO – genetically modified organisms and why avoiding this type of food became important for different reasons. When we talk about food trends, there are a lot of routes to take. Nowadays, food production and agriculture are one of the biggest ones in the world. That impact also translates into environmental impact. To adapt to new trends and development, there are different slopes and technologies. Every time we talk about nutrition and food, we need to talk about health, environment, waste and resources, and all these interests can bring us some controversy but also some creative solutions and new business. 


What is GMO? 

Genetically modified organisms are considered an important technology to avoid waste, make food safer, and improve, but what can be viewed as a GMO? There are 11 crops of GMOs, and they pass through a process of genome editing, which is a process of changing genes in plant foods. The process involves changing the DNA and cutting a desired spot. 

GMOs are part of biotechnology, as genetic engineering, when we combine different genetic materials, using DNA technology as a differential to achieve goals such as “turning off” the enzyme that turns the apple brown. 

It’s important to say that GMO and transgenic stand for the same process, and according to The Real Dirt Farming, eating genetically modified food is safe. They affirm that not a single case of illness happened in Canada because of the consumption of those in the diet. 

But this topic is still controversial, mainly in the market of healthy and organic food growing in North America. The USA is the most significant transgenic production in the world and where the Non-GMO project started. 

The Non-GMO project 

They believe that genetic breeding needs auditing, regulation, and transparency, and they work to create this awareness and give the consumer the information that we need to have a healthier and balanced diet. With the increase of GMO inputs and the high utilization of those in the food system, the worry about that also started to grow. And for verification, research and labelling of those organisms, the Non-GMO Project began. 

The project strongly believes that food doesn’t need to be transgenic and that those organisms don’t belong in our food. With this statement, they want us to understand that there are other, safer ways to prevent waste, fight plagues, and avoid allergens and toxins. 

An essential part of their mission is giving information and easy access, knowing what we eat is not only a right but choices are what we deserve as customers at the end of the chain. They stand by the fact that the buyers are collectively decision-makers in the food system; to make good decisions, we need information. 

They also believe our responsibility is to make these good decisions for the next generations, building an inclusive food system. 

The Non-GMO Project standard 

One of the tools of the project, essential to diffuse the information, the standard is the most rigorous certification for GMO avoidance in North America. The project verified the products against the requirements available in the statement and using the label below, you can quickly identify which of the products are GMO-free at the groceries stores in Canada and The USA.

Label. Source: The Non- GMO project 

If more information is needed, the standard is available for free access online, with detailed information about the verification process, the inputs classification, chain of custody, inspection, testing,  quality, requirements and more. 


The concern over the GMO technology 

The first statement of the project is that GMOs,  the crop parts of one of the 11 types added to other organisms, are unnatural. And this is the work of corporations to save money, not food. And because this is a relatively new technology, they understand that there needs to be more research on the long-term effects of the consumption of transgenics.

The project also stands that GMO technology started to solve the herbicide/insecticide issue. What is now being developed to create new organisms is a concern because they believe that we don’t know what to expect from that. It’s essential to clarify the difference between doing natural crops, such as traditional cross-breeding and GMOs, which change organisms’ DNA, and sometimes synthetic biology. 

Another concern is transparency, some of the genetic engineerings is important, but the project believes in changing the GMO landscape by being more open and conducting more research on the topic.

Understanding the risk 

An essential word in this matter is potential. As the organic & non-GMO report says, this process is random and can disrupt other genes in the organism, creating proteins that have never been in the food supply leading to toxins and allergens instead of preventing them.  

One crucial step in this path is to categorize low-risk and high-risk crops, knowing the risk is related to the probability of being a GMO.

The Risk is not about how harmful the crop can be but about the Risk of being a GMO. This happens because we have some products mainly produced with genetically modified organisms. One example of a high-risk organism is corn because 90 % of this product in North America comes from GMO corn. 

High-risk GMO Crops.

To be considered high-risk, it needs to be widely commercially available; if it exists but is not in the market, the project finds a monitored risk.

Monitored risk GMO crops. 

Finally, low Risk are the ingredients that are not as often produced, meaning no known GMO counterparts existing 

Intersectional worries 

When we talk about food that is not restricted only to diet concerns. It’s essential to understand the intersectionality with the social and environmental aspects. 

What makes some people believe that GMOs are essential to feed the population and create a more sustainable food system. On the GMO supporters’ side, it’s believed that technology is crucial to assure food security. The other aspect widely disclosed is the benefits of avoiding insect devastation; the other one to consider is avoiding diseases and allergens. Those aspects directly affect the life of farmers and the availability of produce. 

The Non-GMO project disagrees with that statement, saying that most of the GMOs are produced to feed animals and fuel markets and the ones used for the human diet are associated with non-nutritious and processed food that usually is not accessible or the first option for people in food insecurity. They also disclaim that only 3 companies control 60 per cent of the world’s seed supply, which is not sustainable for the farmers. 

Those farmers depend on the patents, which increase the bureaucracy and restrict their use, representing a threat to farmer sovereignty.

Lastly, there are disagreements about the impacts on the environment as well. The project affirms that over 80 per cent of the GMOs have herbicide tolerance, the use of toxins is still increasing, and we witness the emergence of superweeds and superbugs. Something that can’t be understated is the relationship between GMOs and chemicals and the necessity of research to understand the long-term effects of those technologies. 

But now, what do you think is GMO the future of food production and agriculture or is it a risk that we can’t afford to take? 

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GMOs. (2020, November 10). Real Dirt on Farming.

Non-GMO Project. (2019a, September 12). Where Food Comes From Canada.

Non-GMO Project. (2019b, September 12). Where Food Comes From Canada.

The Non-GMO Project. (2022a, October 14). GMO FAQ – The Non-GMO Project. The Non-GMO Project – Everyone Deserves an Informed Choice.

The Non-GMO Project. (2022b, October 14). The Non-GMO Project Standard – The Non-GMO Project. The Non-GMO Project – Everyone Deserves an Informed Choice.

The Non-GMO Project. (2022c, November 2). About The Non-GMO Project – The Non-GMO Project. The Non-GMO Project – Everyone Deserves an Informed Choice.

The Non-GMO Project Launched in the US and Canada. (n.d.).

What is Non-GMO? What are genetically modified foods? (n.d.). The Organic & Non-GMO Report.

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