“GMO” vs. “Non-GMO” – What’s the Difference?

You can’t ignore the headlines. GMOs have become a widely popular topic of discussion among consumers, but it is also a topic that has spurred many misconceptions by activists and food companies. Consumers have choices from GMO products to non-GMO products when shopping. Many, when looking for foods without GMO ingredients, look for the “USDA Organic” label or products labeled as “non-GMO.”

According to the latest survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 55 percent of Americans believe organically grown produce is healthier than conventionally grown varieties, while 41 percent say there is no difference between organic and conventionally grown produce and 3 percent say that conventionally grown produce is better.

Many are not aware that food from GM seeds have the same nutritional characteristics as food from seeds produced through conventional breeding, including organic crops.
“The nutritional value of GMO foods is tested and compared against non-GMO foods. Numerous studies have shown no nutritional difference between commercially available GMO and non-GMO foods. In fact, genetic modifications can actually improve nutritional content for some foods” Says Dr. Peggy Lamaux, Cooperative Extensions Specialist at the University of California, Berkeley as quoted on Bestfoodfacts.org.

Put simply, USDA and FDA state the following:

  • If a bioengineered food is significantly different from its traditional counterpart, such that the common or usual name no longer adequately describes the new food, the name must be changed to describe the difference.
  • If an issue exists for the food or a constituent of the food regarding how the food is used or consequences of its use, a statement must be made on the label to describe the issue.
  • If a bioengineered food has a significantly different nutritional property, its label must reflect the difference.
  • If a new food includes an allergen that consumers would not expect to be present based on the name of the food, the presence of that allergen must be disclosed on the label.

To read more about bioengineered food labeling, visit the following: