What’s the Difference Between Organic and Non-GMO?

Posted on 08/12/2016 by Left Coast

Since way back when we started making foods in 1996 we put our foot down on certain principles. Even though many certifications weren’t established or on the radar of most people yet, we aimed for organic, non-GMO, natural foods instead of overly processed, artificial ones. Just because we thought it was the right thing to do.

Today, we’re excited that more and more people are talking about Organic and Non-GMO. But we find that sometimes people recognize the logos but are still confused about what they actually mean. In short…


You’ve probably seen this little butterfly in grocery stores everywhere now. The Non-GMO Project seal is, “North America’s only independent verification for products made according to best practices for GMO avoidance.”

It means that less than 0.9% of the product contains genetically modified organisms. And no, it’s not the same as “GMO free” claims because GMO free is, “not legally or scientifically defensible due to limitations of testing methodology.  In addition, the risk of contamination to seeds, crops, ingredients and products is too high to reliably claim that a product is “GMO free.” – Non-GMO Project



With organic people often get caught up in the “is it better for me” question. But it’s so much more. Organic is about a wider, sustainable system. It considers whether something was treated with chemicals that will contaminate drinking waterhow much CO2 was produced to grow something, if growing inputs will kill aquatic life miles away, if the soil’s nutrients are being replenished, and more.

Also, organic doesn’t just include the way crops are grown or animals are raised, but the entire network of growers, processors and distributors that handle the product until it reaches you. You can find out just how in depth the process is in Organic 101.

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How They Overlap. How They’re Different.

All organic foods are non-GMO but not all non-GMO foods are organic. Make sense? The point is that under organic regulations genetically modified seeds, animal feed, etc. are prohibited. So unless there’s been cross crop contamination, your organic foods should be non-GMO. Whereas non-GMO ingredients have just been tested for GMOs. Being Non-GMO verified is the due diligence step to ensure there really is no, or virtually no, presence of GMOs in a product.

Really, we applaud people who actually take the time to read labels. These decisions have a much larger impact than just what’s for dinner tonight. We think Organic and Non-GMO are both important. In fact, we have an official Non-GMO Policy – the first of it’s kind for a distributor in North America. And we double certify the products we make so people can be sure their foods are organic and non-GMO.

NPR and the Huffington Post have also covered this topic recently. Check out their articles for more info on how the labels are affecting one another’s sales. What do you think?

1 Comment

  1. bob

    No gmo crap, kill the people who produce gmo crap if you have to to get the message out its not even murder its more like self defence at this point.

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