October is Non-GMO month and here at Gearist we figured it would be a great idea to talk about GMOs in the spirit of our Environmental Responsibility Series. Today, genetically modified crops dominate within our food system with over 90% of national corn and soybean production now GMO. Ultimately, the debate over GMOs effects us all, even though most of us know very little about it.

Regardless of the science behind GMOs and Non-GMOs, our Environmental Responsibility series advocates transparency at every stage of the game in terms of what were putting on and in our bodies. 93% of Americans think altered ingredients should be identified. States like Washington, Vermont, Connecticut and Maine have all made breakthroughs in terms of legislature to require labeling of GMO ingredients. In fact, Nearly 60 countries mandate GMO labeling. But the United States does not. One of the easiest ways to identify if foods contain GMOs or not is to either look for the “Non-GMO Project” label, or for a certified Organic symbol, from one of the many organizations (such as the USDA or Quality Assurance International). Remember, certified Organic means Non-GMO; Natural does not. Increasingly these days more nutrition companies are using organic ingredients, and labeling the ingredients in their food.

Non-GMO food tends to have a lower environmental impact than GMO food. This is due mainly to the fact that all organic foods (as decided by the USDA http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/05/17/organic-101-can-gmos-be-used-in-organic-products/) cannot contain GMOs in order to be considered organic. Organic agriculture’s lack of the use of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and synthetic fertilizer, overall benefits the environment due mainly to decreased run off of these chemicals into watersheds. While they may not directly affect humans, the Nitrogen and Phosphorous present in the run off of pesticide, herbicides etc. contributes heavily to Algal blooms which decrease the dissolved oxygen levels in the water and cause problems for marine life. Besides the negative aspects of pesticides on the environment, studies have shown that pollen from GMOs can kill unintended predators.

One of Gearist’s favorite nutrition bars – that just happens to be a non-GMO product – is PROBAR. PROBAR a company that strongly believes food should come from the earth — not laboratories. This year PROBAR is a Platinum Sponsor of Non-GMO Month and is proud to offer only 100% non-GMO verified snacks, sports nutrition, and meal bars. The prevalence of GMO’s in our food system is ultimately up to us (consumers) to demand increased transparency and national labeling for GMO products.

Overall, there’s a lot to know and learn about the GMO v. Non-GMO debate, so if you’re interested in learning more check out this info-graphic:

GMO Facts Infographic



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