GMO vs. Organic: What is the Difference?


Food labeling today can be confusing. Everyone can agree that the quality of the food you eat will ultimately affect your health. But what should a person eat? Non-GMO? Organic? Does it matter? What is the difference? Understanding the labels that are on food can help you decide on how healthy you want to eat.

What are GMOs?

GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. These foods have had certain molecules either added or removed from the actual DNA of a food product to enhance it in some way. Another gene is inserted into the DNA that the food would not normally have naturally. Oftentimes, these genes are grown from a virus or bacteria that is designed to change the way food is grown. When you see abnormally large strawberries at the store, it is likely due to genetically modified processes. Some GMOs may increase nutritional value, or make it resistant to insects.

Pros and Cons of GMOs

While it may seem like science fiction to alter food, there are some benefits such as fewer weeds, sweeter taste, higher nutritional value and a substantial reduction in cost to produce. However, with these benefits comes the production of bacterial toxins leading to resistant insects, consumption of toxic bacteria or other toxins, the creation of allergic reactions in humans, and even the development of cancer due to carcinogens found in GMOs. If you are trying to decide whether you should avoid GMOs, this is a personal decision, however, studies have shown that GMOs are causing more pollution and an increased danger to health safety.

Organic Foods

Organic foods are any foods that are completely free from any harmful chemicals, synthetically made herbicides or pesticides, antibiotics, residue from drugs, or neurotoxins. Foods that are organic are always more expensive because they take more time and care to produce and cultivate. Additionally, in order to be qualified as “organic” they must be approved by an independent unbiased qualified party.

Pros and Cons of Organic Foods

Organic foods are never treated with any kind of pesticide or hexane, which is a neurotoxin. Organic meats will never contain any hormones and animals are not allowed to be given any type of antibiotic. However, organic foods are substantially more expensive than even foods that are non-GMO, and not all stores have a good selection of organic foods. Because they are not treated with pesticides, they tend to go bad more quickly and may even have higher bacteria levels. There has never been found to be an increase in the nutritional value of organic foods over other types of food that are non-organic. Finally, some organic foods may still contain harmful ingredients cush as monosodium glutamate (MSG), soy protein, autolyzed yeast extract, textured protein, and other yeast extracts.

Contact a California Food Law Attorney

At De Cárdenas Law Group, we make it our mission to help you with your food business. Give us the opportunity to show you how we can help you with our legal services. You can schedule a meeting with our legal team in San Francisco or South Pasadena by calling (626) 577-6800.

#organicfood #foodbusiness

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The De Cardenas Law Group is an advisory group that works with family and privately owned businesses in the food and beverage and consumer packaged goods space.  

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