Genetically modified organisms are causing problems for people who eat across America. So basically everyone. The majority of us don’t know when we are ingesting them because food is so easy to get and inexpensive to procure that we rarely take the time to check labels or become truly informed about what goes into the things we eat. Backyard farming is changing all of that. People are quick to jump on the organics food bandwagon, but there are somethings we all need to recognize when it comes to the organic movement and non-GMO foods.
What Is Organic?
Organic is now more than just an aisle in your local supermarket; it’s a movement, it’s a way of life. While there is no evidence to suggest that organic food offers more nutrients, it does offer those who partake in it the ability to steer clear of harmful pesticides and genetically modified organisms which have been proven to do harm to humans and animals alike.
There are actually three different types of organic. 100% of course means that everything in that product is organic from the start to finish. When you see the “Certified Organic” seal on your food, what that actually means is that it is 95% free of dyes, industrial solvents, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and does not utilize genetically modified organisms or GMOs. Made with organic means that 70% of the ingredients are actually organic, but strict restrictions are placed on the other 30%. (Including no GMOs!)
This is how it works. A government approved certifier inspects farms to insure that all of the standards and practices are being adhered to. This includes particular feeding and housing arrangements for animals, farmland that has been free of chemicals for a certain amount of years (usually three or more), and avoidance of synthetic substances, especially GMOs. The keyword here is avoidance.
Why Non-GMO Is Best
Many people purchase organic because they know that non-GMO crops can still be contaminated. The problem with organic is that it is certified organic before it is even grown. In the mean time, it can easily become contaminated because of drift, and upwards of 25% of organic foods are affected by cross pollination, but this isn’t the only issue. Fertilizer gathered from non-organic or non-GMO fed livestock (such as chickens) can be used to help organic crops grow, which of course, renders the end product as non-organic even though it is labeled as such.
Just because an organic product is supposed to be non-GMO doesn’t mean it was grown that way, and the farmer may not even know because of factors outside of his control. Hiland Naturals sticks with non-GMO because, honestly, the certified organic system is flawed.
The Hiland Naturals Way
We know that non-GMO feeds can still have chemicals in them because farmers are still allowed to use certain chemical pesticides in their growing practices. We will not accept crops for our livestock feed until it has been tested—after the harvest, not before. There have been too many days where we had to turn farmers away because their products didn’t meet the cut. Before we use any crops in our livestock feed, we test for the top 100 insecticides and herbicides to insure what we sell our customers is the best this business has to offer.
We wish that certified organic actually meant GMO-free, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. For now, we will stick with high quality, non-GMO crops and practices based on integrity so we can help feed the world the way nature intended.