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Say No to GMO Food: Buy Certified Organic

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 by: John Dill
Tags: GMO, organic food, health news

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(NaturalNews) Organic food is gaining in popularity as consumers learn about the dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In fact, recent polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans would actively choose to avoid eating genetically modified foods.

Despite these findings, the FDA does not require food manufacturers to disclose to the buyer that their food product contains GM content. However, there is one reliable way to avoid these GM brands: buy products that bear the USDA Certified Organic seal.

The USDA Certified Organic Seal
If a product bears the "USDA Certified Organic" seal on its package, it is a safe bet that it is free of GMOs, according to the Organic Consumers Association. It is the only federally-regulated product label that specifically prohibits the use of genetic engineering.

This seal certifies that the product is at least 95% organic, and that no genetically modified ingredients or derivatives were used in the manufacture of the food product: the remaining 5% of the ingredients are legally required to be non-GMO. To earn the USDA seal, a food product undergoes an extensive certification process that goes from field to fork.

Certified Organic Labeling
*Single-Ingredient Foods
A product that is completely organic, such as fruit, eggs, vegetables or other single-ingredient product, is labeled 100% organic and can bear the USDA organic seal. You may also find the seal and the word "organic" on packages of meat, cartons of milk and cheese.

*Multiple-Ingredient Foods
A multiple-ingredient product, such as a breakfast cereal, beverage or snack, can only bear the USDA seal if at least 95% of its ingredients are organic. The following classification system is used to indicate varying proportions of organic ingredients.

1. 100% Organic. A product that is completely organic or made entirely from organic ingredients
2. Organic. A product that contains at least 95% organic ingredients (by weight).
3. Made with organic ingredients. A product that contains at least 70% organic ingredients
4. Contains organic ingredients. A product that contains less than 70% organic ingredients. This product cannot use the USDA organic seal or use the word "organic" on its product label. However, it can include organic items on its ingredient list.

Organic vs. Natural
It is important to keep in mind that the terms "organic" and "natural" on a product label are not interchangeable. Since a product that contains less than 70% organic ingredients cannot use the USDA organic seal, marketers use the terms "natural" or "all-natural" instead. However, these are mere marketing terms that have no actual legal meaning and may be applied to food products that contain GMOs.

1. Organic Consumers Association: What is organic food and why should I care?
2. The Mayo Clinic: Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?
3. NC State University: What Does the "Organic" Label Really Mean?

About the author

John Dill begun writing as a freelancer in 2007, and has since written and published hundreds of online articles. He specializes in writing health, wellness and insurance-related articles and other web content for a number of online health publications, including Livestrong, Demand Studios and eHow.

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