GMO Facts – The Non-GMO Project
What is a GMO?
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
Most GMOs have been engineered to withstand the direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. However, new technologies are now being used to artificially develop other traits in plants, such as a resistance to browning in apples, and to create new organisms using synthetic biology. Despite biotech industry promises, there is no evidence that any of the GMOs currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.
In the absence of credible independent long-term feeding studies, the safety of GMOs is unknown. Increasingly, citizens are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.
Are GMOs labeled?
Sixty-four countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, require genetically modified foods to be labeled. 1 While a 2015 ABC News survey found that 93% of Americans believe genetically modified foods should be labeled, GMOs are not required to be labeled in the U.S. and Canada. 2 In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.
Which foods might contain GMOs?
Most packaged foods contain ingredients derived from corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet — and the vast majority of those crops grown in North America are genetically modified. 3
To see a list of high-risk crops, visit the What is GMO page.
Animal products: The Non-GMO Project also considers livestock, apiculture, and aquaculture products at high risk because genetically engineered ingredients are common in animal feed. This impacts animal products such as: eggs, milk, meat, honey, and seafood.
Processed inputs, including those from synthetic biology: GMOs also sneak into food in the form of processed crop derivatives and inputs derived from other forms of genetic engineering, such as synthetic biology. Some examples include: hydrolyzed vegetable protein corn syrup, molasses, sucrose, textured vegetable protein, flavorings, vitamins yeast products, microbes & enzymes, flavors, oils & fats, proteins, and sweeteners.