Food Labels 101: The Difference Between Certified Organic VS. Non-GMO

We’re all about better-for-you products but we know labels can be confusing, so we’re here to help with the second part of our Food Labels 101 series!

With the organic product industry booming (and growing in leaps and bounds every year!) it’s not surprising that non-GMO products are also on the rise. But what’s the difference between these two types of products? And why should this matter to you?

Why does it matter?

There seems to be some confusion about what qualifies a product as being a “non-GMO” item and one that is certified organic.

Organic = (of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.

non-GMO = non-genetically modified organisms. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are novel organisms created in a laboratory using genetic modification/engineering techniques. 

The USDA labelling even indicates how many ingredients in the product are organic. Does the product you’re holding in your hand say 100% organic? Then each and every ingredient is certified organic. The term “organic” by itself means that 95% or more of the ingredients are organic, and “made with organic ingredients” means that 70-94% of the contents are organic. There’s also the term organic in the ingredient list, which means that less than 70% of the ingredients are actually organic. But while all organic products are non-GMO, as regulated by the USDA/FDIA, not all non-GMO products are organic.

Here’s a handy infographic to sum up all the differences: 

In a nutshell, if you want to choose the best product for you and the environment then certified organic should be at the top of your list, with Non-GMO products following at a close second.Luckily, we match the products we promote against both of these criteria, and you can find our handy “non-GMO” and “organic” labels on any of the products that measure up. Check out our newest product trials here.

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