Here at the Project, we have received an influx of queries about modified corn starch over the past few weeks. Let’s talk about modified corn starch!

The “modified” in modified corn starch (and other types of modified starches) does not stand for genetically modified. In this context, “modified” simply means that the corn starch has been changed or altered in some way to make it more useful in food production. This could mean:

  • Roasting the starch
  • Treating the starch with an acid
  • Using an electrical charge on the starch
  • Treating the starch with sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide

These types of modifications are usually made to improve the consistency of processed foods. It is often the reason you can stir powdered cheese into your macaroni with ease and the secret to making your instant pudding thicken instantly.

Thus, “modified” does not necessarily mean “genetically modified organism,” which is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified using recombinant DNA methods (also called gene splicing), gene modification or transgenic technology. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

You can be sure products bearing the Non-GMO Project verification mark are in compliance with our rigorous Standard, which includes testing of high-risk products such as corn. We have several Non-GMO Project Verified modified starches, which you can find here.

 

6 Comments

Jan

What about testing modified cornstarch and other preservatives derived from corn for gmo’s?

Reply
Rasheed Ali

If the corn is GMO how could the corn starch be non GMO??? most corn grown in the US and CANADA are GMO ask Monsanto

Reply
Alli Willis

Hi Rasheed,

You’re right; nearly all corn grown in the U.S. and Canada is genetically modified. That’s why it’s so important to look for the Non-GMO Project butterfly when buying things made with corn!

If the corn is GMO, any product that comes from that corn would be GMO.
The point of the information above is that if the corn is non-GMO, then “modified corn starch” coming from that corn would be non-GMO. The word “modified” in this specific product does not necessarily mean “genetically modified”. Does that make sense?

Reply
Charles

Hi Alli, What about these “biodegradable corn starch peanuts”? I assume they are made from GMOs and all these organic companies are using them because they break down into nothing, it got me wondering what else aren’t they telling us about their production?

Reply
Alli Willis

Hi Charles,

That is an excellent question. When you see a high-risk crop such as corn in a product and it’s not Non-GMO Project Verified, it’s best to assume it’s derived from a GMO. This is especially true of non-food items like packaging and packing peanuts. It is a pretty safe bet that those products are made with GMOs in many or most cases. However, I learned that some of these biodegradable peanuts are made with sorghum (not a GMO risk), wheat (not a GMO-risk, but also a potential problem for people who are very sensitive to gluten) or potato starch (there’s only one type of GMO potato and they’re almost certainly not making peanuts with it).

I went digging through our records, and I do not believe there are any Non-GMO Project Verified packing peanuts at this time. It wouldn’t hurt to write to some of the companies that use these biodegradable products and ask them to choose something other than corn! It would be awesome to see some Non-GMO Project Verified packing peanuts in the future.

Alli

Reply
Dave F.

Somewhere, sometime, I was led to believe that “modified” anything on a list of ingredients generally meant that monosodium glutamate was indicated…
What can you tell me, if anything, about that?

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.