“Non-GMO Project Verified” is a label that pops up everywhere in grocery stores and supermarkets, and even on our favorite snacks. We've all seen it around, so we’re going to do a deep dive into what it means!
What Does GMO Mean?
Let's break it down. GMO stands for genetically modified organism.
GMO can refer to a plant, animal, or any other organism whose genetic make-up has been altered. These modifications are typically done in a lab that uses genetic engineering and/or transgenic technology to change the genetics of the organism at its most microscopic levels, resulting in something that typically wouldn’t have occurred on its own in nature. GMOs are humans using science to alter the natural world to their desire.
Humans altering the natural environment isn’t new -- we’ve been using traditional methods to breed plants and animals for generations. The first corn on the cob was actually smaller than the size of your pinky finger! After centuries of taking the pollen from this plant and fertilizing the pistil of another plant (high school biology coming in handy!), we bred corn to become larger, sweeter, and more delicious for humans.
Traditional breeding techniques are slow and uncertain and humans have developed science to shortcut this natural evolution of plants and animals.
DID YOU KNOW... that in 2018, 92% of corn planted was GMO corn? 🌽
Is GMO Safe?
Whether or not GMOs are safe is a very, very complex topic.
We want to be transparent with everyone and hope that other companies do the same when it comes to the ingredients in their products.
Science generally agrees that GMOs are safe to eat. However, the majority of available studies done on human health and GMO safety are conducted by the same biotech companies making those GMOs, so you might be rightly skeptical about these studies.
One argument in support of GMOs is that they actually help the planet because crops are modified to adapt to the changing climate, including less water availability, and are altered to resist certain pests, diseases, and herbicides.
Here at Moonshot, we acknowledge that GMOs are a nuanced, complicated topic. We decided to source ingredients that are non-GMO because we believe that nature knows best.
That’s part of why we support regenerative farming practices that stem from the wisdom of working together with nature as Indigenous Peoples have for millennia.
DID YOU KNOW... that 93% of crops in the U.S. were genetically modified in some way in 2015? That’s a lot of GMO!
What Makes Something Non-GMO?
A product is non-GMO if it was created without any genetic engineering. This also means that any ingredients used to make a product were not derived from GMOs.
How Does a Company Earn the Non-GMO Label?
The non-GMO label provides consumers with confidence that the product they are buying meets specific standards. For a product to use the non-GMO label, it must be Non-GMO Project Verified.
Getting this certification is a process.
First, you must select one of the Non-GMO Project’s four independent technical administrators. Next, you sign the Non-GMO Project License Agreement. Then, you complete a product evaluation with the technical administrator that you selected. From there, you can work to promote your verification.
It takes between three and six months to earn the non-GMO label. The length of the process depends on variables like how many ingredients your product has, how likely it is for these ingredients to be non-GMO, and how quickly your product is evaluated.
Each year, you must renew your certification. The cost varies depending on how many projects you want verified and if they are high-risk or not.
Why is Non-GMO Important for the Planet?
GMO crops may spread beyond where they are planted since they share a good part of their genes with their wild relatives. This can lead to the loss of wild or natural crops, since GMO crops are often modified to be more resilient than their wild counterparts.
80% of all genetically modified crops have been engineered for herbicide tolerance. This means that they can survive when sprayed by herbicides that are used to kill weeds. These herbicides are a driving factor of habitat loss for wildlife, can limit farmland biodiversity, and decrease soil health.
Non-GMO crops are important for the planet because they help prevent all of the above from happening. The non-GMO supply chain is a vital step we must take to transition towards a healthy food system that supports us and the planet.
DID YOU KNOW... that GMO crops are responsible for the emergence of superweeds and superbugs that can only be killed off through toxic poisons? These weeds and bugs threaten the biodiversity of the environment.
Why Moonshot Chose Non-GMO
Moonshot is passionate about the planet – and we want to welcome you to the climate-friendly food movement with open arms. All of our ingredients are clean and traceable, as well as non-GMO and certified organic. 🌿
Our ingredients are sourced from climate-friendly farmers who practice regenerative agriculture. This practice helps with carbon drawdown and allows for healthier crops, and ultimately healthier, more nutrient-dense ingredients.
We chose non-GMO because we want to play our part in restoring the planet’s ecosystems. All three of our flavors, Sourdough Sea Salt, Tomato Basil, and Rosemary Garlic are USDA organic, use regeneratively grown wheat, and are carbon neutral!
Julia Collins created Moonshot to help support human health and Earth’s health with delicious snacks that aim to make a difference in how food companies handle business as usual. Collins wants to make her tiny human proud by giving him a happy planet he can thrive on.
Julia has taken things a step further and built a platform, Planet FWD, which helps other food companies in the industry make the planet a better place for all living things.
Innovative snacks are just the beginning of this mission to help support the planet!
DID YOU KNOW… that the food industry accounts for over 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions?
Common GMO Ingredients To Watch For
We are so happy that companies are starting to adopt non-GMO methods. Although many farmers are making changes, it’s important to know what to look out for in your food.
Here are some common GMO ingredients we should all watch out for, as they are often genetically engineered unless labeled otherwise:
Sugar derived from sugar beets (about half of U.S. sugar production is from GMO sugar beets)
Animal products (95% of animals used for meat and dairy in the United States eat GMO crops like alfalfa)
Zucchini and yellow summer squash
By keeping an eye out for common GMO ingredients and choosing to buy non-GMO, we can make more confident purchases for ourselves, friends, and family.
We can all go out into the world and make educated decisions and purchases that are more climate-friendly, even if we just take a first step by transitioning over to non-GMO produce.
Through our purchases, actions, and conversations, we as consumers and advocates have the power to make a difference. While there is no silver bullet for climate change, making changes to the food we purchase and consume is a great place to start. If not for ourselves, for those around us! It just so happens that there are delicious ways to do so… and we aren’t complaining about it!
Snacking champions unite!
If you’re interested in doing more, reach out to us for ideas on how you can fight back! A great step to take is by becoming a Zero Waste Hero. Consider switching from single-use plastic bags and packaging to reusable and recyclable options that are planet-friendly. Together, we can take a bite out of climate change! 🌎
What is a GMO? | The Non-GMO Project
Non-GMO Project Verified | The Non-GMO Project
Technical Administrators | The Non-GMO Project
Pesticides | National Institutes of Health
How widespread are GM foods? | VOX