“Non-GMO” is one of those health buzzwords, but what does it mean? Does it mean something is healthier or cleaner? What does it take to be Non-GMO and what does it mean for the health supplement industry?
A survey conducted by YouGov showed that roughly 7 out of 10 consumers are not confident they understand what GMOs are and that this lack of knowledge may be driving overall uncertainty. As we know with all food and nutrition labels, many people think they know more than they actually do. Jimmy Kimmel sent a crew to a local farmer’s markets to ask people why they avoid GMOs and what the letters GMO stand for.
What Is GMO?
GMO is short for “Genetically Modified Organism” and are created by using lab techniques to delete or alter particular sections of DNA. This will change specific characteristics of the organism which might sound like something from a sci-fi thriller, but it’s not so ominous. The goal behind genetically modifying plants is to bring together the most beneficial genes into one plant. This creates the potential for more nutritious foods, increased crop yields, and reduced farm costs. GMOs are used for medical, environmental and commercial applications. About 90% of the scientific community claim that GMOs are fine for consumption, a view backed by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association.
The first GMO product was a delayed-ripening tomato named Flavr Savr in the 1990s. The goal of this tomato was to extend its shelf life, but some challenged the safety of the tomatoes and it was pulled off the shelves in 1999. Since then, more and more people are growing weary of GMOs. Many studies have shown that about half of the population believe GMOs are generally unsafe and in 2016, federal law required uniform labeling of all food products containing any genetically modified ingredients.
There is a lot of suspicion and mistrust around the safety of GMO foods. To this date, there have been no proven adverse effects on consumers in the decades that GMO products have been on the market. However, there are concerns associated with every new technology and GMO is no different. These concerns include an unintentional introduction of allergens into foods, modified genes migrating from cultivated crops into their wild relatives and toxic effects on bodily organs. In light of these concerns, consumers are encouraged to research and make their own decisions around GMO and Non-GMO foods.
What Is Non-GMO?
Non-GMO products are those that are unaltered in the lab. In order for a product to be Non-GMO, there needs to be a GMO counterpart. For example, Non-GMO tomatoes would not be an option if GMO tomatoes did not exist. Amino acids are the molecular building blocks of protein and cannot be genetically modified. If a product is fundamentally Non-GMO, like pure amino acids, there is not a GMO version that could exist.
If amino acids are fundamentally Non-GMO, which means there is no such thing as GMO amino acids, why do we label our products as Non-GMO? Even though pure amino acids can only be Non-GMO, this doesn’t mean that all amino acid supplements hold this status. Other brands bulk up their amino acids with fillers and artificial ingredients. Adding these ingredients to the pure amino acid blend increases the likelihood that the overall product is not Non-GMO. Amino VITAL contains only amino acids, natural flavoring,
Many consumers are making decisions about the products they buy without fully knowing what certain labels entail. There is not enough scientific evidence to say whether GMOs are bad or good. We encourage consumers to research what these labels mean, read supplement facts and ingredients, and make educated decisions about whether or not to buy GMO or Non-GMO products.