There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about the similarities and differences between organic and non-GMO. We are here to answer all the questions you’ve perhaps been wondering about, starting with the common question, “What does non-GMO even mean?” GMO is an abbreviation for genetically modified organism, and we’ll tell you all about what that encompasses.
Banyan is particularly interested in this topic because we are currently in the process of certifying all of our products as non-GMO. Although we have offered exclusively non-GMO products since our humble origins in 1996, only recently has there become a widely recognized certification process for non-GMO foods and supplements.
Though nothing about our products is changing except the label, we feel it is paramount to make sure that each product is clearly identified as non-GMO so that our customers can absolutely know that what we produce and sell is safe on all levels, whether ingested, inhaled, or applied to the skin. We are working closely with the Non-GMO Project for all of our certifications.
What Are Genetically Modified Foods?
Foods that have been genetically modified are grown from seeds that have had genetic material from another species introduced. The purpose of this engineering is to express desired traits in the plant, like natural insect resistance, thicker skin on the fruit to avoid puncture during transport, or apples that resist browning.1 After modification, the seed is no longer in its natural and original state, and the changes made to it are permanent, and sometimes quite radical, as scientists strive to come up with their desired results. In addition, once a GMO crop is growing, the pollen from it is now genetically modified pollen, and any resulting pollination from, let’s say, a GMO cornfield to a nearby non-GMO cornfield, will change the non-GMO crop forever. It will be a GMO crop from that point forward. The reverse is not true—if a non-GMO crop pollinates a GMO crop, the GMO crop will not revert back to non-GMO. Once a GMO crop, always a GMO crop.
This also applies to some animals. In the US, between 10–15% of cows are injected with the bovine growth hormone rBGH, which has been genetically modified. This hormone has a negative impact on a cow’s health, and rBGH has been banned in many countries.1 Our ghee comes from grass fed, pasture raised cows, and it is certified organic.
The Difference Between Organic and Non-GMO
If a product is certified organic, it is by its very nature non-GMO. If a product is certified non-GMO, it doesn’t have to be organic.
Part of the organic certification process bans the use of genetically modified organisms in any form throughout the entire cultivation process—from farming to the processing of organic products. Banyan Botanicals is 100% certified organic, meaning we never use GMOs or, for that matter, chemical pesticides, antibiotics, or synthetic fertilizers—which are also prohibited when growing organically. And for all of us who love animals, the welfare of animals is closely monitored for acquiring and maintaining organic certification.
Like organic products, you must be able to track non-GMO products back to their origins and specific lots to insure no contamination has occurred along the product’s path to the market place. Required testing of samples is also done to ensure that DNA is intact and does not contain genetic material from another species.2
Since GMO crops require the use of environmentally damaging herbicides and directly conflict with the principles of growing organically, we are dedicated to making sure our products are safe, healthy, organic, and non-GMO. To this end, we at Banyan Botanicals are proud to join the Non-GMO Project.
We passionately love our planet and deeply respect the wise herbs that are here as our companions. Likewise, we are proud to be your companion in supporting your health and happiness through the use of safe, organic, non-GMO, and effective herbs.