At the Non-GMO Project, we believe everyone has the right to know what’s in their food and deserves access to non-GMO choices. For the past 15 years, we’ve protected that right with the most trustworthy, rigorous certification in North America for GMO avoidance.
With new and experimental GMOs entering the food supply unlabeled and unregulated, our work is more important than ever. But why does protecting your right to choose matter to you? What’s at stake when we don’t have clearly labeled, Non-GMO Project Verified choices?
Food is essential
Food is more than just the fuel we use to get our bodies from point A to point B. It’s indispensable to our very existence and elemental to our experience as human beings. Food is a part of our traditions. Our cultural and social identities are intertwined with our food choices — and choices is the key word here.
The choices we make have consequences. When exercised collectively, their power grows. When we vote with our dollars we can help move the food system towards a nourishing, sustainable model that truly supports both people and the planet. And once we’re paying attention to the kind of food system we want, we wake up to the critical need for regenerative practices, fair working conditions for producers and workers and the shift toward clean energy.
As our awareness about food grows, so does our realization of interconnectedness with our living environment.
The other label
The Butterfly label is second to none in rigor and transparency for GMO avoidance. Since 2007, the Non-GMO Project has monitored genetic engineering developments to preserve and build the non-GMO food supply. Genetic engineering is a rapidly evolving field — new GMOs aren’t regulated or labeled by government agencies in the same way as traditional GMOs that contain DNA from other species. Most consumers want clear, meaningful and timely labeling of GMOs.
On January 1, 2022, the new federal bioengineered (BE) food labeling law went into full effect. The law was created in part because of public demand. However, the BE labeling law leaves out many common products made with GMOs. That means shoppers using BE disclosure labels to guide their choices don’t have all the information they need.
Here are some of the products the BE label misses, and the Butterfly label catches:
- New GMOs
- Highly processed foods like sugar or cooking oil made from GMO crops
- Animal-derived products
- Many prepared foods, depending on the ingredient panel
For more information on the BE labeling law, check out What You Need To Know About Bioengineered (BE) Food Labeling.
Protecting your right to know and more
GMOs entered the food supply so discreetly that many people in the natural foods industry worried non-GMO resources such as organic seeds would be lost. In fact, that concern is part of what motivated Non-GMO Project founder and executive director, Megan Westgate. To this day, GMO contamination remains a major concern. When contamination events happen, we lose the genetic diversity of plant species that were cared for by our ancestors for millennia. The Non-GMO Project’s segregation and testing requirements for high risk crops help to protect the non-GMO food supply, which in turn protects our entire food and seed supply. In the face of disruptions and extreme weather events, diversity means resilience.
As we live through the uncertainties brought by climate change, pandemic impacts and supply chain disruption, we become more aware of how interconnected our global systems truly are. Consumer concern has expanded. There is a growing awareness that our choices have implications beyond our immediate welfare.
Broadening our sphere of our concern is a good thing. That’s how empathy grows, powerful coalitions are formed, and the systemic change we need so desperately becomes possible.
Our connectedness is our strength — and every butterfly effect starts with the Butterfly.