I recently came across this product and was incredibly relieved to finally find a salt that hasn’t been genetically modified (although, the “pinkness” of this salt makes me wonder if it has been spliced with the genes of salmon)!
This would be funny if this product label were a spoof, but it is real.
There are people in the world who are ignorant, and unfortunately some exist within our industry. Ignorance often leads to fear- and sometimes fear leads to irrational hysteria. If you think this example of salt is extreme, it isn’t. There are many products now that are unnecessarily labeled as “non-GMO.”
An informed person would know that only corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, zucchini and yellow squash, alfalfa, and papaya are grown in the US as GMO. [Add to that list cotton, btw- how many of you are most definitely wearing non-organic GMO cotton right now- and supporting an industry that does more environmental destruction than any farmed edible plant?]
Yet, we are now seeing consumers demand that products that couldn’t possibly be GMO are tested and labeled as non-GMO. Manufacturers are pandering to this and slapping the non-GMO label on everything from lentil pasta to cranberry juice to seaweed. And rather than work to educate consumers on this issue, retailers are demanding that manufacturers of certified organic products also get labeled as non-GMO, even though they know that certified organic = certified GMO-free. And frankly, I’m surprised that the non-GMO Project verified this salt at all (let alone other products that couldn’t possibly be GMO).
This unnecessary labeling is creating consumer confusion and helping to fan the flames of hysteria.
Take, for example, this not-very-unusual email I received from a customer recently. He believes that organic products cannot be trusted and that GMO-free is top priority, even though GMO-free products can be grown with a plethora of toxic chemicals and organic products are already GMO-free:
“I buy the following bulk grains from your store:
1. Organic rolled Oats
2. Organic steel-cut Oats
3. Organic Amaranth
4. Organic Quinoa
5. Organic Mung(Moong) beans
6. Organic Black-eyed peas
Can you email me contact details of Manufacturers of above please?
I will directly contact them to get verified by NON-GMO project.
Please see the website: http://www.nongmoproject.org/
They have a verification process and they have verified more than 15,000 products as NON-GMO.
There is a US law which prohibits GMO content in USDA Organic labeled products. But it is very naive to assume that this law is strictly followed for following reasons:
1. Politicians are bought by election campaign contributions and they keep USDA and FDA under-funded.
2. Because of #1, FDA can not conduct frequent enough inspections to enforce the law. In fact, some organic movement proponents think that USDA do not verify NON-GMO content for Organic products.
3. There is a revolving door between USDA, FDA and GMO businesses like Monsanto. There are definitely conflicts of interest.
4. Big companies are buying out purely organic businesses. Most of these companies have been doing GMO food business for a long time.
For example, Dean Foods has a very bad reputation for using GMO sourced seeds etc.
Earthbound Farm Organic was a very good organic business. They started in earnest and maintained good standards for a long time. They sold out to Whitewave for $600 million in December 2013. Whitewave is a spin-off of Dean Foods. Now I can not trust Earthbound Farm Organic products.
Scott, for above-mentioned reasons it makes perfect sense to use NON-GMO project verified products.
I am paying top dollars for Organic products and I want verified NON-GMO products.
Your business will lose money if you do not stock enough NON-GMO products.”
Secondly, if we strive to be fair, people are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This statement is worrisome: “Earthbound Farm Organic was a very good organic business. They started in earnest and maintained good standards for a long time. They sold out to Whitewave for $600 million in December 2013. Whitewave is a spin-off of Dean Foods. Now I can not trust Earthbound Farm Organic products.” If guilt by association were enough to convict someone of a crime, I’ll bet most of us would be in prison.
Sure, some companies have proven themselves as unethical- and as a result, cannot be trusted. If you don’t want your shopping dollars supporting Dean, then by all means buy Olivia’s salads instead of Earthbound. But, can we really assume that Earthbound Farms is now breaking laws and packing chemical-laden and GMO lettuces (GMO lettuce doesn’t exist, btw) simply because their parent company is looking to profit from the organic industry? I see such tactics and misinformation all the time from fringe groups within our industry.
The science of gene splicing is being terribly misused by large agribusinesses such as Monsanto. At MOM’s we have been demanding for years now that new products which have the potential to be GMOs be verified as non-GMO.
We are most dedicated to organic farming practices. If a manufacturer’s product is certified organic, it gets top priority from us, so we have been phasing out many natural products when there are organic alternatives (in case you’re wondering where the Fage Greek yogurt went!). Organic products get placed prominently on end caps and generally promoted with more shelf space and promotions. MOM’s realizes that certified organic products are far superior to non-organic, GMO-free products. Rather than appease the lowest common denominator which demands GMO-free labeling for products that couldn’t possibly be GMO, we work to educate consumers that an organic product is a non-GMO product, but without the chemicals.