Organic vs. Non-GMO Labels

Guest post by PacMoore

There was a time fairly recently where you were lucky if food labels listed the ingredients. In keeping with the Information Age, however, today there’s a surplus of information on labels in every aisle of the grocery store. Food labels tell you what’s in your food, how many calories it contains, how large a portion is, and so on and so forth. And, as the food industry and consumers continue to become more demanding, the amount of information those labels contain is increasing.

For example, more people today are apprehensive about eating non-organic foods or foods prepared with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), so organizations such as the USDA and the Non-GMO Project are labeling foods to help consumers make better-informed decisions. For many people, especially people trying to uphold a vegan diet, food labeling has become an important component of their lifestyles.

Nevertheless, more information means more opportunities for confusion, as consumers might not yet be aware of the difference between foods certified as organic or non-GMO. Even though some overlap exists between the two categories, they are still different enough that shoppers need to be aware of what makes them distinct. For example, foods certified by the USDA as organic have been produced without the use of GMOs, but foods certified as Non-GMO only have to meet the criterion of being produced with less than 1 percent GMO content. Although a food product may be categorized as Non-GMO, it still may have been produced with the use of chemical fertilizers, or subjected to antibiotics or hormone treatments. Subsequently, all USDA Organic-certified foods are Non-GMO, but not all Non-GMO certified foods are organic.

The amount of people trying to live vegan or organic lifestyles is on the rise, and as a result organic is one of the fastest-growing segments of the American food industry. As food labeling becomes more thorough and information-dense, it’s important for consumers to know exactly what those labels mean. The following infographic by PacMoore lists the criteria for USDA Organic and Non-GMO labels to help consumers make a more knowledgeable decision during their next trip to the store.

PacMoore is a leader in contract food manufacturing services, headquartered in Hammond, IN.