Ask the Dietitian - What's the Difference Between Non-GMO and Organic?
Does no-GMO on a label or a Non-GMO Project Verified seal on a label mean the product is organic?
If you’re feeling confused while reading product labels these days, you’re not alone! As a health conscious shopper, it’s important to understand labeling so that you can make informed decisions while you shop. I often receive questions about labeling and more specifically, what does the no-GMO label and the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal on a label mean? Does this mean the product is organic?
The quick answer to the “does Non-GMO equate to being organic” is a resounding NO! GMO only stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Non-GMO does not mean that the product meets the U.S Department of Agriculture (UDSDA), National Organic Program’s regulations for organic certification. USDA Organic regulations only allow the use of the organic seal when a product meets all the requirements for organic certification including use of Non-GMO ingredients. Further, an independent organic certification agency (OneCert is used by Nature’s One) reviews all of the processing steps and all ingredients used to make a product and verifies that the product meets all criteria. Once approved, the product will display an organic seal on the package. This seal also verifies that the product is Non-GMO verified at all levels.
A product without the organic seal that claims Non-GMO may contain ingredients or be made with processes that do not meet organic standards. For example, a product claim of Non-GMO on a dairy product may have been made with milk from a cow treated with prohibited antibiotics or may have been raised on a farm that did not humanly pasture the animals. Another example could be crackers with a Non-GMO claim where the wheat was grown with exposure to pesticides not allowed by the National Organic Program.
There are many other “non” claims out there and those too do not mean the product is organic. Always check the label for the USDA green organic seal. This seal is the real deal!
For additional information about the National Organic Program, please visit the USDA website.
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**For specific medical care and nutritional advice on product usage, please see your healthcare professional