GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are plants, animals or microorganisms whose genetic makeup has been artificially modified to create combinations and crossbreeds that do not occur naturally. Organic food does not allow GMOs to be used during cultivation or processing. This means that at the farming stage, the seeds should not be genetically modified; animals whose products are sold should not be fed food containing GMOs; organic food industries should not use GMO ingredients in production and processing.
The following are some risk factors:
- Cross-pollination with neighbouring conventional farms.
- Sharing of farm equipment.
- Planting organic crops next to GMO crops.
Farmers resort to the following prevention practices in order to avoid the risk:
- Timing the planting so as to prevent both the organic and non-organic crops from flowering at the same time, thereby reducing the scope for pollination.
- Sign agreements with neighbouring farms in order to prevent them from planting GMO crops next to organic crops.
- Cleaning any equipment that might be shared so as to prevent residual substances from affecting non-GMO organic produce.
Food that contains GMOs is not certified as 100% organic. If a label claims that a product is 100% organic, it means that the ingredients that went into its making are all organic and GMO-free. Sometimes, however, GMO contamination might creep in through conventionally raised and fed animals, seeds blown in from surrounding areas, or through unsupervised products used in processing. Loopholes in certification laws sometimes allow these things to pass unnoticed, leaving customers with an element of doubt. The only way out is to also look for a non-GMO project label (along with the organic certification label, because not all non-GMO products are organic) and buying only those products.
Along with GMOs that can potentially interfere with our system, organic food also bans the use of chemicals in the form of pesticides, insecticides or fertilisers. Right from the growth stage to obtaining the finished product, organic farmers take utmost care to ensure that their produce is not exposed to foreign substances that may cost them the 100% organic certification label.
The same level of care on the part of the customers when they buy food can ensure that they are benefited by a healthy diet. Genetic modification interferes with the genetic makeup of the substances used, which may cause damage to our body when consumed. Some studies have shown stunted growth, weakened immune system, precancerous growth, high blood sugar, underdeveloped brain, etc. to be associated with GMO consumption.
Do not let your health go for a toss and always choose the best, purest products.