With new forms of genetic engineering like synthetic biology and gene editing now entering the marketplace, keeping GMOs out of your shopping basket is trickier than ever. To keep it simple, look for the Non-GMO Project Verified Butterfly—that’s your best assurance that a product has been produced according to the most rigorous standards for GMO avoidance.


All of the following crops are in large-scale commercial production and are at high risk for being genetically engineered:

  • Alfalfa
  • Canola
  • Corn (except popcorn)
  • Cotton
  • Papaya
  • Potato
  • Soy
  • Sugar beets
  • Zucchini and yellow summer squash

Animal Products

Livestock, apiculture, and aquaculture products are at high risk because genetically engineered ingredients are common in animal feed; this impacts animal products such as:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Meat
  • Honey
  • Seafood

Processed Inputs, Including from Synthetic Biology

GMOs also sneak into food in the form of processed crop derivatives and inputs derived from other forms of genetic engineering like synthetic biology; some examples include:

  • Corn syrup
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Molasses (from sugar beets)
  • Sucrose (from sugar beets)
  • Textured vegetable protein
  • Flavorings
  • Vitamins
  • Yeast products
  • Microbes
  • Enzymes
  • Synthetic biology inputs like flavors, eggs, milk, oils, fats, proteins, sweeteners, etc.


The Non-GMO Project carefully monitors the development of new genetically engineered products; we are currently tracking close to 100 products. Of those, we have included the following in our surveillance program, either because they will likely soon be widespread or because of known instances of contamination from GMOs:

  • Flax
  • Mustard
  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Apple
  • Mushroom
  • Orange
  • Pineapple
  • Camelina (false flax)
  • Salmon
  • Sugarcane
  • Tomato

Some crops with cross-pollination risk: chard, table beets, rutabaga, Siberian kale, bok choy, mizuna, Chinese cabbage, turnip, rapini, tatsoi, acorn squash, delicata squash, patty pan squash, pumpkin, etc.