News and FAQs

First things first: what is organic?  In order to carry the USDA Organic seal, products must be from farms or production systems that have been inspected by a state or private organization that has been accredited by USDA.  You will usually find the name of the inspecting state or company on the label. Companies using the seal inappropriately can be fined up to $11,000 for each offense.

One issue small companies face is that earning the USDA seal can be expensive.  One alternative is the Non-GMO Project, a non-profit organization that used a third-party verification process to certify products as GMO-free. What does that mean? In their own words: "So in short, what our seal means is that a product has been produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance, including testing of risk ingredients." It's not the same as organic (which is more restrictive) and doesn't guarantee that the product is GMO free, but it does make the statement that the company is making an effort to follow more natural practices, and avoid GMO. You can find a list of participating brands and products here.

Let me back up a minute- what's GMO?  GMO, genetically modified organisms, have been created through the gene-splicing techniques of genetic engineering.  This  allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. The main reasoning behind using GMO is that they can be engineered to be resistant to herbicides and other chemicals so that farmers planting GMO crops can use larger amounts of weed and insect killing chemicals without simultaneously killing their crop.  Why this sounds like a good idea is beyond me. For more information, visit the Non-GMO Project's information on GMOs.

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